Alert Notice #37
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 November 8, 2010


1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends
2. Business Management
3. Building Design & Trends
4. Codes Standards & Regulations
5. Building Science & Technology
6. Building Performance Issues
7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency
8. Building Products & Suppliers
9. Installation Procedures
10. Information Sources
11. Conferences & Shows
12. Education & Training
13. Computer, Internet & Fun

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My thanks to Arthur Lo, Joanne DeVries, Prakash Arige, Wilma Leung, Tony Funk, Mary Hart, Mark Gauvin, David Hill, Marie Orton, James Dibben, George Pinch, Margo Longland, Tara Culham, Amy Spencer-Chubey, and Matthew Cherris for their comments, tips, and resources. I hope you find at least a wee bit of value somewhere in this newsletter.

Have a "Top Drawer" day.

Ken Farrish

Send Us Your Industry & Product News
These Alerts contain summaries and links to industry news, events, issues, information, products, resources, and more. If you have any new products, events, or information that you would like to have included, just e-mail me at

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    Ken's Top Pick

    Forced Air Supply Registers May Not Need To Be Under Windows
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction study found in terms of thermal comfort and indoor air quality, there is no significant heating-season benefit, in a well-insulated and constructed building, to positioning the supply air register under the windows.

    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    Report On Aging In Place 2.0
    MetLife Report on Aging in Place 2.0: Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge focuses on the age 65+ population. It says in the coming years adjustments will need to include homes in which residential design, health care services and new monitoring technologies are combined with comprehensive community care services to form a dynamic and efficient home health management system. (PDF)

    2010 Canadian Seniors Housing Reports
    CMHC free 2010 Seniors Housing Reports provide description and analysis of seniors housing market across Canada and in each region, including vacancy rates, rents, and data for retirement homes.

    Evaluating Current Measures Of Occupancy Affordability
    Urban Futures says in order to specifically address the issue of housing affordability, tenant household expenditure data for all items (including shelter), delineated by household tenure (rental versus owned), would need to be tabulated for specific regions or housing market areas. (PDF)

    Index Confirms Choppy Recovery For BC
    Business Council of BC Economic Index says like the rest of North America the economic recovery in the province has lost momentum in recent months. (PDF)

    Fears Of Canadian Housing Market Crash Overblown
    Royal Bank of Canada report says affordability measures suggest that housing market fundamentals are comparatively stronger than those that prevailed in 1990, thereby minimizing the risk that a 1990s-style crash will occur. Nonetheless, because the cost of homeownership is likely to remain higher than average, a slower pace of housing market activity and more subdued pricing environment than we have experienced from 2002 to 2008 and again during the second half of last year should be expected. (PDF)

    Canadian Outlook Autumn 2010
    Conference Board Of Canada Canadian Outlook Autumn 2010 says exuberance we saw in domestic spending early this year is wearing away, and the pace of household spending and residential investment is sure to slow as we approach 2011. Free registration required.

    Canadian Renovation Nation Struggles to Stay On Budget
    Royal Bank of Canada annual Renovation Poll shows house-proud Canadians are investing in their homes, but some are struggling to keep the related costs in check. It also covers using credit to finance a renovation, renovation trends, and renovation outlook for Canada vs United States.

    Canadian Construction Looking Forward 2010-2018
    Construction Sector Council report National Construction Looking Forward 2010-2018 analyzes employment requirements, available workforce, training and certification programs, replacement demand related to retirements, workforce mobility and market rankings for 33 trades and occupations in 14 regional markets over the next nine years.

    US Housing Industry Blog: Eye On The Economy
    US National Association of home Builders free blog Eye on Housing offers the latest US economics and housing policy news, analysis, studies, charts and graphs from NAHB. It also includes links to relevant housing stories and information from other news sources.

    2. Business Management

    Construction Material Costs In Canada Remain Restrained
    Journal of Commerce says advance of total construction material prices remained modest (+2.3% year over year) in September, based on industrial product price index and raw material price index information released by Statistics Canada.

    BIM For Home Builders
    Professional Builder magazine article describes features and benefits of building information modeling software for home builders who are considering adopting the technology.

    Builders Debate In-House Marketing Versus Outsourcing
    Custom Builder magazine has two successful custom-home builders and an industry consultant discussing the merits of using outside consultants.

    Builder Strategy For Best Advantage Of Social Media & Web
    US National Association of Home Builders says too many builders are throwing away a tremendous amount of time, effort and other resources experimenting with social media before they have the slightest inkling of how it could benefit their business or return measurable results. There is no doubt social media holds some promise to help you sell more homes, but success requires a disciplined, calculated approach.

    How To Stage A Model Apartment Unit
    Multi-Housing News describes how to stage a model apartment unit so prospective residents can picture themselves living in the apartment or to figure out if their furniture will fit in a unit at the property.

    Mortgage Finance Reform To Protect Taxpayers From Liability
    Fraser Institute study recommends the Canadian government reduce taxpayer vulnerability, including withdrawing government guarantees from all mortgage insurers (public and private) and privatizing the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's mortgage insurance business.

    2010-11 US Cost Vs Value For Remodeling Projects
    Remodeling Online 2010 cost vs. value data describes relationship between remodeling costs and resale value for different remodeling projects in various markets across the US.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    2010 Builders Choice Award Winners
    Builder Magazine presents, including pictures and project descriptions, the 2010 winners of their Builders Choice Awards. Epitomizing grace under pressure, this year’s winning projects set a new course for the industry.

    2010 Multifamily Pillars Of Industry Award Finalists
    US National Association of Home Builders site features finalists in its 19th annual Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards. The recently-named finalists represent the nation's top-performing firms working in design, development, marketing and management of apartments and condos.

    2010 Remodeling Design Award Winners
    Remodeling Magazine displays winners of their annual Remodeling Design Awards that represent highest standards of design and excellence.

    Winners Of Pacesetter Awards For Custom Green Home Building
    Custom Home magazine presents winners of its 2010 Pacesetter Awards program that this year recognizes custom builder achievements in innovation and leadership in sustainable custom building. Each of this year's Pacesetter winners interprets the term "green building" differently, applying a custom-designed set of priorities to the implementation of sustainable construction.

    Characteristics Of US Single-Family Homes Started In 2009
    US National Association of Home Builders study Characteristics of Single-Family Homes Started in 2009 scrutinized census data collected from 2005 to 2009 on the characteristics of new homes started in that period to identify trends. The most significant change in home features has been the median size of single-family homes.

    2010 Report On Concrete Floor Trends
    Concrete Network online 2010 Concrete Floor Report offers insights about current attitudes and trends in concrete floor design. (PDF)

    International Database & Gallery Of Structures
    Structurae offers information on works of structural engineering, architecture or construction through time, history and from around the world. Documentation begins at the time of the pyramids in Egypt and Roman construction, continues to Romanesque and Gothic churches and through to the Industrial Revolution all the way to today and beyond. Structurae deals mostly with bridges, tunnels, dams, skyscrapers, stadiums, towers, etc.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Barbara Young, President of 12 Volt Solar Panels says: "I'd like to thank you for the excellent information I've found in BC Building Info. It's one of my favourite readings on the Web."

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    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    Proposed Energy Standards For Residential Appliances
    BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is proposing BC Energy Efficiency Act standards for household appliances. This regulatory impact statement provides details on the proposed standards for residential refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and clothes washers. (PDF)

    BC Standards & Best Practices For In-Stream Works
    BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air guide Standards and Best Practices for Instream Works will help in planning and carrying out proposed development activities so that they: comply with applicable legislation, regulations, and policies; and meet provincial standards of performance. (PDF)

    New BC Solid Fuel Burning Appliance Regulations
    BC Ministry of Environment intends to review and revise the Solid Fuel Burning Domestic Appliance Regulation, to reduce air pollution from domestic wood heating by regulating the sale of woodstoves and other solid fuel burning domestic appliances in BC.

    Revised WorkSafe BC Occupational Exposure Limits
    WorkSafe BC lists their new 2008 & 2009 Occupational Exposure Limits for maximum allowed airborne concentration for a particular substance. (PDF)

    New Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy
    Metro Vancouver has released their Regional Growth Strategy Bylaw 2010. (PDF)

    Summary Of Key Changes To 2010 National Building Code Part 9
    The 2010 National Building Code (NBC) of Canada is scheduled for release on November 29, 2010. Although not all provinces and territories will be immediately affected by the changes introduced, progressive builders will be interested in knowing how codes are evolving. This Canadian Institute for Research in Construction article summarizes the major changes which are going to affect housing construction. (PDF)

    Roadmap 3 To Assist Review Of Canadian National Energy Code Changes
    Canadian Home Builders Association Roadmap Part 3 provides information to assist you in compiling information to support comments you may wish to submit on proposed changes to the NECB, relative to larger residential buildings. (PDF)

    Canadian National Standards of Practice For Home Inspectors
    Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors new National Standards of Practice are a set of guidelines for home and property inspectors to follow in the performance of their inspections, and include all the home’s major systems and components. (PDF)

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Advanced Systems Research On High R-Value Enclosures
    Building Science research has determined that a 50% improvement in thermal resistance of exterior wall, roof/ceiling, and foundation assemblies must be achieved with a reduction in materials and labour costs in order to reduce whole-house energy use by an average of 50%. (PDF)

    Air Flow Effects Humidity, Mold, Indoor Air Quality
    Green Building Advisor describes how humidity, mold and IAQ are affected by air flow created from air leaks, wind, stack effect, and fans.

    Airflow Control, Air Barriers & Energy
    Building Science online slide show presentation on airflow control covers energy & R-value, airflow control vs air barriers, airflow & energy, and metrics & measurement. (PDF)

    Engineered Floor Rim Joists, Squash Blocks, Web Stiffeners
    Journal of Light Construction provides online video explaining rim joists, squash block precision, and web stiffeners.

    Practical Use Of Structural Wood Building Components
    Woodworks online slide show presentation covers introduction to wood structural building components, features & properties, job site applications, and proper selection and specification of wood structural building components. (PDF)

    Double Structural Insulated Panel Walls
    CMHC describes use of a double layer of structural insulated panels in the Avalon Discovery 3 home, one of the homes in the EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. (PDF)

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Quality Assurance Roadmap For High Performance Residential Buildings
    Quality Assurance Roadmap for High Performance Residential Buildings outlines the approach to quality assurance in the construction process as recommended by Building Science Corporation for new residential construction. Seven process steps are described from the assessment of current construction practice, through design and documentation changes, to training and quality control for on-site personnel. (PDF)

    Floor-Ceiling Construction Effects On Flanking Transmission
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction flanking study on two types of floor-ceiling assemblies with and without topping shows that both decoupling the ceiling and adding a topping are effective in reducing direct transmission. However, they affect flanking transmission differently. (PDF)

    Moisture Content & Movement In Wood Trim
    This Is Carpentry explains importance of understanding wood movement, how to use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of trim, how to decide when a load of trim should be rejected, and how to accurately estimate how much trim will move after it’s installed.

    Detailing Exterior Wall Construction In Wood Framed Buildings
    Woodworks online slide show presentation describes requirements for exterior walls in woodframe construction, common water intrusion deficiencies, common detailing deficiencies in the design and construction of building envelopes, relationship between design detailing and construction practices, and techniques to improve the design of water resistant building envelopes. (PDF)

    Effects Of Heating Systems On IAQ For Children
    Healthy Heating summarizes a study that looked at the Effects of the Indoor Environment (with different heating systems) on the Fraction of Exhaled Nitric Oxide (an asthma marker) in School-Aged Children. Hydronic radiant heating, forced air and electric baseboard are included in the study. Once again, hydronic radiant heating shows favourable results over other types of heating systems.

    Designing Ramps For Accessible Housing
    CMHC fact sheet explains how a ramp should be built, materials that should be used, and things to consider before building a ramp for a home.

    Thermal Resistance Of Foil Foundation Wall Insulation
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction researched the effect of foil emissivity on the effective thermal resistance of a foundation wall system with foil bonded to expanded polystyrene foam in a furred assembly having airspace next to the foil. Results showed that when the furring was installed horizontally a low foil emissivity of 0.05 can increase the wall R-value to as much as 10%. (PDF)

    Radiant Barriers Are A Solution In Search Of A Problem
    Green Building Advisor sorts through the claims and the truth about radiant barriers.

    Hazards Of Isocyanates In Industry
    Workers Compensation Board of BC document explains health hazards posed by isocyanates and describes types of products that contain isocyanates. It also describes dangers of applying isocyanate-based products in the workplace and how to reduce the risk of exposure.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Details For Air Sealing Thermal Bypasses
    Green Building Advisor offers 50 online detail drawings that solve the problems listed in the Energy Star Thermal Bypass Checklist.

    Deep Energy Retrofits Lessons From Field
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes deep energy retrofits lessons from the field from the Building America program. (PDF)

    Deep Energy Retrofit Of Building Envelope
    Green Building Advisor podcast describes a deep energy retrofit with focus on the envelope. It discusses how to cut a home's energy use by 50% by working out the details for walls, roof, foundation, and slab.

    Energy Consumption In Mid & High Rise Residential Buildings
    Community Energy Association online slide show presentation by Graham Finch of RDH Building Engineering provides a summary of energy consumption realities in mid and high rise residential buildings. (PDF)

    Green Landscapes With Native Plants & Soil
    Green Building Advisor landscape article describes issues and ideas around native plants and soil, and how green landscapes take less and give back more.

    Online Community For Home Performance Industry
    Home Energy Magazine and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory online community allows members to create personalized profiles, read blogs by industry experts (and start their own), and participate in relevant discussions on home performance topics.

    Green Marketing To Grow Sales In Growing Markets
    Dovetail article describes marketing fundamentals necessary to enter into the fast growing and exciting green marketplace. For many organizations the effort can be transformative for the organization’s market success, and may also trigger a cultural shift of dynamic proportions. (PDF)

    Greenwashing Report 2010
    TerraChoice 2010 edition of Sins of Greenwashing reports greenwashing in more than 95 percent of consumer products labeled as green. The construction sector by itself fared only slightly better, with greenwashing evidence in close to 94 percent of eco-marketed products.

    Green Roof Technology Workshop In Vancouver
    Xero Flor is offering a one-day green roof technology workshop in Vancouver on November 29th. It will cover pertinent issues such as various green roof systems; benefits and scientific data; load capacity; roofing assemblies; fire and wind uplift considerations; LEED credits; leak detection; and maintenance.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Tile Trends From Cersaie 2010 Tile Show
    Custom Home magazine describes some of the latest ceramic tile and bathroom furnishing trends displayed at the Cersaie 2010 tile show.

    New Simulated-Wood Siding Products
    Qualified Remodeler describes new sidings that combine practicality with aesthetics for products that look just like real wood but offer far superior performance.

    Backyard Fireplace Designs & Ideas
    Concrete Network offers design ideas for outdoor rooms with fireplaces.

    Pros & Cons Of Asphalt Roofing Vs Metal
    Builder Magazine outlines pros and cons of asphalt versus metal roofing to help you evaluate options for your customers.

    Designing Durable Wood Buildings With Preservatives
    Woodworks online slide show presentation covers wood durability and service life, what causes wood to deteriorate, how to protect wood from deterioration, where is pressure treated wood required by the IBC, specifying treated wood, preservative treated wood, types of preservatives, how wood is pressure treated, how treating is quality measured & verified, use & handling of treated wood, and design considerations for exterior glulam. (PDF)

    You Can Swap Lithium Ion for Nicad Batteries
    Journal of Light Construction says as long as the voltage is the same, tools don't know the difference between different battery technologies.

    Frigidaire & Electrolux Cooktops Recalled
    Health Canada describes a recall of Frigidaire and Electrolux smoothtop cooktops and slide-in electric ranges with rotary knobs and digital displays.

    New Exterior Electrical Mounting Blocks For Rainscreen Walls
    These new self-flashing Outboud Air Barrier (OAB) electrical mounting blocks feature patented rain channels and bottom drip cap to divert water from the back wall before it can penetrate the building envelope. Manufactured in BC, these patented systems are now CSA/UL approved.

    Natural, Hand-Carved Stone From Mexico Now Available In BC
    Cantera, a volcanic stone, is widely used in Mexico and the southern United States. Natural stone blocks and slabs, pavers, veneers, tiles, and custom stone carvings are now available in BC through Amando Stone. Applications include flooring, fountains, columns, fireplaces, vanities, countertops, carvings, and more.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Supply Air Registers May Not Need To Be Under Windows
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction study found in terms of thermal comfort and indoor air quality, there is no significant benefit to positioning the supply air register under the windows in a well-insulated and constructed building during the heating season.

    How To Combine Board & Batten Siding With Exterior Rigid Foam
    Green Building Advisor Q & A says exterior foam helps minimize thermal bridging and improve energy efficiency, and discusses how to keep costs down and avoid moisture problems.

    Jigs & Techniques For Installing Joist Hangers
    Fine Homebuilding Q & A suggests jigs and techniques for installing U-shaped joist hangers that make the job faster and easier.

    Deep Energy Retrofit Of Windows
    Building Science online slide show presentation on deep energy retrofit of windows describes “Innie” and “Outie” installation methods. (PDF)

    Staging Off Staircases For Drywall Installation
    Journal of Light Construction online forum has drywall pros discussing their tricks for creating a convenient work platform over a staircase.

    How To Straighten A Framed Wall
    Fine Homebuilding online video offers tips to straighten framed walls.

    How To Use Ventilation Systems In Your House
    CMHC provides online guide to using the ventilation systems in your house to provide adequate fresh air to residents.

    10. Information Sources

    Resource Site On Radiant Heating & Indoor Environment
    Healthy Heating is an educational resource site with a wide range of information and news on radiant heating, indoor environmental quality, and HVAC industry.

    Online Videos On Moisture Control In Residential Construction
    Engineered Wood Association online videos demonstrate proper moisture control techniques in construction applications, including cover groundwork, foundations, floors, walls and roofs.

    Glass Industry Reports, Manuals, Bulletins
    Glass Documents site is sponsored by American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Glass Association of North America and Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. It offers access and ordering information to documents covering all areas of glass for fenestration, categorized by Codes & Standards, Design & Fabrication, Voluntary Test Methods, Post Fabrication & Installation, Thermal Performance and Care & Maintenance.

    Advanced Lighting Guidelines
    Advanced Lighting Guidelines is an online resource for energy efficient lighting design, technologies and applications. Membership required.

    Concrete Use In Outdoor Kitchens
    Concrete Network offers design ideas & tips for creating an outdoor kitchen using concrete countertops. They include information about sizing, countertop finishes, outdoor kitchen locations, and more.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Construct Canada Building Design & Construction Show In Toronto Dec 1-3
    Construct Canada, held in Toronto, December 1-3, is a building and construction industry show featuring product exhibits, seminars, and demonstrations. The show includes Construct Canada, HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo, PM Expo, Concrete Canada, and Design Trends.

    Canadian National GreenBuilding Conference & Exposition In Toronto Dec 1-2
    The National GreenBuilding Conference will be held on December 1-2, 2010 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. The conference will focus on all aspects of green design, construction, retrofit, and maintenance leading to high performance buildings, and will examine best practices and project delivery models that result in more efficient methods of designing sustainability into any project.

    Thermal Performance Of Exterior Envelopes Of Whole Buildings In Florida Dec 5-9
    US Department of Energy Building America Program presents Thermal Performance of the Exterior Envelopes of Whole Buildings Conference, December 5-9, in Clearwater Beach, Florida. IT will present one track on Principles which is devoted to research, and another track on Practices which focuses on practical applications and case studies.

    US Conference For Sustainable Buildings In Washington Dec 7-9
    Ecobuild conference, held in Washington DC, December 7-9, explores sustainable, green, high-performance solutions for the built environment with the newest information technology. Topics include building information modeling, green technology, high performance building, sustainable design, energy-efficiency, smart buildings, security and more.

    International Builders Show In Orlando Jan 12-15
    US National Association of Home Builders presents The International Builder's Show, the largest in North America, featuring over 1800 exhibitors of building industry products, innovations, and demonstrations, plus almost 300 educational sessions.

    12. Education & Training

    New Professional Builders Institute For BC
    BC Ministry of Housing has announced that the Professional Builders' Institute has been established to raise the bar of professionalism in the residential construction industry and protect consumers in British Columbia. (PDF)

    Courses On Internet Marketing
    Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada is offering two courses in Vancouver covering Interactive Marketing & Online Advertising, and Social Media Marketing.

    Free Webinar On Dos & Don’ts Of Exterior Wood Detailing
    Woodworks free online webinar on November 22 covers what happens when design principles of durability are ignored, and examples of details that work and why.

    Project Management Course In Vancouver
    The Project Management Conference in Vancouver on November 23rd is for building owners or managers, contractors, architects, or engineers. It will cover skills and knowledge to stay on top of your work through a more projectized and productive work environment.

    Building Science Seminars Annual Expert Session
    At Building Science Expert Session in December, Dr. Joseph Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube host a special 2-day seminar on advanced building science topics to provide thought provoking professional development for experienced building industry professionals.

    New Online Training Program for Plumbing Inspectors
    CSA Standards and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating offer a new online program to provide standardized, quality education and training for plumbing inspectors across Canada.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Online File Sync, Sharing & Backup
    Dropbox is a small application that saves you immense amounts of time and effort. Once set up, Dropbox becomes just another folder on your PC or other computing device that can display documents. Your files are stored both locally in your Dropbox folder and online on the service's servers. Dropbox lets you back up, share, and sync any file merely by dragging the file into the Dropbox folder on your desktop. Any changes made to files in Dropbox are automatically updated in all other linked Dropbox folders in other devices, as long as you are connected (or when you reconnect) to the Internet.

    Award Winning Web Sites From Various Industry Sectors
    The Web Marketing Association has a searchable list of their Web Award winners from last 14 years, from a wide range of industry categories including architecture, construction, home building, manufacturing, real estate, and many more.

    Some of you will stick with this simple little game until your mouse-finger aches, and others will likely quit real quick. Guess which one I was? Ouch!!

    Dittie For Today - On Responsibility

    You must get good at one of two things: sowing in the spring or begging in the fall. - Jim Rohn

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    © Copyright 2010               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada