Alert Notice #38
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 November 29, 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 Jay Lewis, Wilma Leung, John Chepil, Glenn Duxbury, George Pinch, Peter Sundberg, Amy Spencer-Chubey, Kal Minhas, Montgomery Wood, Richard Kadulski, and David Wilson for their comments, tips, and resources. I hope you find at least a wee bit of value 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

Public Review Of 2011 BC Building Code Variations
BC Building and Safety Standards Branch invites you to participate in the public review for the 2011 BC Building Code. This public review focuses on recommended variations from the model 2010 National Building Code. The review will continue from November 9, 2010 until December 21, 2010 and will gather feedback on the 14 variations recommended.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Building Permits By Type 2001-2009
BC Stats report covers most recent statistics covering all types of building permit values for all BC Districts and Communities, covering the years 2001 to 2009. The findings indicate for the period January to September 2010, compared to January to September 2009, Building Permit values increased by over 27% across Canada and over 36% in British Columbia. (PDF)

BC Housing Forecast
BC Real Estate Association BC Housing Forecast includes information on MLS residential sales, housing starts, mortgage rates, and regional real estate board statistics and forecasts. (PDF)

Fourth Quarter 2010 Housing Market Statistics For BC
CMHC Housing Now publication summarizes housing market statistics for the province of British Columbia, shedding light on housing starts, completions, dwellings under construction, mortgage rates, home prices, absorption rates and economic factors for the province as a whole and for Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations. (PDF)

Provincial Outlook Economic Forecast: Autumn 2010
Conference Board Of Canada Provincial Outlook Autumn 2010 quarterly economic forecast provides highlights of short-term outlook for Canada's provinces. It says there is upside economic potential in British Columbia if the provincial government goes ahead with cuts to personal incomes taxes. Free registration required.

Preferences Of Single Buyers Of New Homes
Builder magazine summarizes the 2010 BUILDER/American LIVES New Home Shopper Survey that reveals the wants and needs of single buyers.

Canadian Housing Industry Performance & Trends 2010
Canadian Home Builders Association November 2010 report Canadian Housing Industry Performance and Trends covers New Housing Activity, Residential Construction and the Economy, Drivers of Housing Activity, Projections of Housing Demand, Housing Prices, State of Homeownership Affordability, Challenges Facing Homeownership Affordability, Challenges Facing the Renovation Sector, and Challenges Facing the Rental Sector. (PDF)

Canadian Housing Market Trends & Affordability
RBC Economics Research report Housing Market Trends & Affordability September 2010 says despite a significant slowing in resale market activity in recent months, the cost of homeownership continued to climb across Canada in the second quarter of this year. (PDF)

Canadian Housing Activity To Moderate in 2011
CMHC fourth quarter Housing Market Outlook, Canada Edition says housing starts are expected to continue to moderate in the last quarter of 2010. Overall, starts are forecast to stabilize at levels consistent with demographic fundamentals in 2011.

Presentations From BC Housing Affordability Symposium
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC offers online access to presentations made at their recent Housing Affordability Symposium.

2. Business Management

White Paper On BC Limitation Act Reform
BC Ministry of Attorney General paper on Limitation Act Reform sets out proposed changes to time periods people have to start a proceeding to sue one another in the civil justice system. (PDF)

Options For Resolving Residential Construction Disputes
BC Homeowner Protection Office online Options for Resolving Residential Construction Disputes guide covers: general information on negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation; information on the Notice to Mediate (Residential Construction) Regulation (for any party of a residential construction dispute); mandatory mediation of warranty insurance disputes between homeowners and warranty insurance providers; list of resources for more information on any of these topics. (PDF)

Presentation On How To Sell Homes In Any Market
US National Association of Home Builders offers online access to their webinar Think Sold! Creating Home Sales in Any Market, that provided proven strategies that will help new-home sales professionals close the deal with more home buyers, despite the economy. $29 USD

New Home Warranties For Canadian Consumers
Canadian Home Builders Association report New Home Warranties for Canadian Consumers describes how Canadian new home buyers are protected from systemic risk and extreme events. It compares the principal features, coverage, policies, fees, risk management measures and tests of Canadian warranty programs. (PDF)

Podcasts For Remodeling Businesses
US National Association of the Remodeling Industry provides access to online podcasts covering various business topics.

Guide For Use Of Environmental Marketing Claims
US Federal Trade Commission Guide For Use Of Environmental Marketing Claims address environmental advertising and marketing practices.

Road Conditions For Various Areas Of BC
Drive BC provides current information on road conditions for all areas of BC including events & conditions, major events by route, by area, by popular route, and inland ferries.

3. Building Design & Trends

BC Awards for Excellence In Urban Development
Urban Development Institute offers the Awards for Excellence in Urban Development, that recognize the contribution of those in the development industry who went that extra mile to create the communities that make us proud. These Awards are presented to the top achievers for the exceptional impact that their projects have made on our urban landscape.

New Plans & Projects Offer Less For Success
Builder Magazine describes how builders are rolling out new, smaller, cheaper, better designed, and more appealing plans for the new market.

First-Time Buyers Stoke Demand For Smaller, Less Expensive Homes
US National Association of Home Builders economic study reveals that growing numbers of first-time home buyers in the marketplace are contributing to an increase in demand for smaller and less expensive new homes.

Designing Accessible Living Spaces
CMHC provides an overview of planning issues and design elements to consider when creating, renovating or redecorating living spaces.

Drivers Of Apartment Living In Canada For 21st Century
GWL Realty Advisors report says economic, demographic and social shifts are increasing the popularity of multi-family living in Canada. They list reasons this shift will continue and even accelerate in the coming decades. (PDF)

Boutique Cities On The Way
Multi-Housing News says boutique cities, another word for suburban downtown, are on the rise.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Robert Bean, President of Healthy Heating says: "In my opinion BC Building Info gets a Gold for online's on our favourite tab and we use it frequently in our own research efforts."

Please feel free to let others know about BC Building Info.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

November 2010 Directive On Interpretations Of BC Electrical Code
BC Safety Authority directive provides guidance on the interpretation and application of certain issues pertaining to the appropriate rules of the 21st Edition of the BC Electrical Code. These include plans & specifications, ventilation around electrical equipment, electrical maintenance, adequate working space, flame spread requirements for electric wire & cable, and protection for electrical workers. (PDF)

BC Plumbing Code Issues & Interpretations
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating bulletin outlines BC Plumbing Code information for non-compliance of certain installations, applying for an alternative solution, and certification marks. (PDF)

2011 Fee Freeze For BC Electrical & Gas Permits
The BC Safety Authority has announced that for 2011, fees for most services and permits will remain frozen at 2008 levels. These include electrical, gas, elevating devices, and boilers, pressure vessels and refrigeration systems.

Important Changes To 2010 Canadian National Building Code
Canadian National Code site describes important changes being made to various parts of the 2010 National Building Code.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Simplified Prediction Of Driving Rain On Buildings
Building Science digest Simplified Prediction of Driving Rain on Buildings: ASHRAE 160P and WUFI 4.0 describes how to calculate magnitude, duration, and frequency of driving rain and driving rain deposition on buildings.

You Can Add Foam To The Interior In A Renovation
Green Building Advisor discussion suggests that it is possible to install rigid foam on an interior wall during a renovation, if care is taken to properly address potential moisture issues.

Ensuring Long Life In Wood Products
Woodworks online slide show presentation describes issues and solutions around ensuring long service life of wood and wood products in modern structures. (PDF)

Controlling Air Leakage In Building Assemblies
Morrison Hershfield paper Controlling Air Leakage In Building Assemblies describes procedures for planning and installation of air barriers in large buildings. Free registration required.

2010 BC Research & Education Projects
BC Homeowner Protection Office provides a summary of their various research and education projects for 2010. (PDF)

Fall 2010 Canadian Housing Research Projects
CMHC Fall 2010 Current Housing Research report is a directory to ongoing housing research on social, economic and technical issues. It describes research currently underway and provides announcements on newly completed research reports and research highlights. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Purchasable Residential Construction Performance Guidelines
Builder Books sells Residential Construction Performance Guidelines, the home building & remodeling industryís reference for residential construction performance. Created specifically for home builders and remodelers, this warranty tool will help you manage customer expectations, prevent and resolve customer complaints, and explain how the home should perform during the warranty period. $45 USD

Field Water Testing Lessons Learned
Window & Door Manufacturers Association of BC bulletin Field Water Testing Lessons Learned discusses appropriate field test method to specify/use, appropriate performance criteria to specify/use, how many specimens to test, what is the pass fail criteria, what happens after failed test, and when is it acceptable to vary from industry standards, or what if there are no guidelines. (PDF)

Causes & Prevention Of Mold In Homes
Consortium for Advanced Residential Building describes how mold can grow, and methods to prevent moisture related mold problems in homes. (PDF)

Lead In Your Home
CMHC and Health Canada online document informs homeowners about lead in the home, including the most common sources of household lead, lead testing, lead removal and minimizing your exposure to lead. (PDF)

Sound-Proofing Bedrooms
Green Building Advisor discusses best approaches to sound-proofing bedrooms.

Make Up Air For Commercial Exhaust Fans In Homes
Fine Homebuilding online video shows how a builder supplied make-up air for a 600 CFM exhaust hood for a gas range, so that when the exhaust fan turns on it will actually be able to suck the moisture/smoke/gas out of the house.

Online Course On Combustion Safety Testing
Advanced Energy online course shows how to perform a combustion safety sequence, recognize equipment and tools used to do a combustion safety sequence, and identify safety risks and follow protocol. $75 USD

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Top 10 Green Products 2010
Building Green, publisher of the GreenSpec Directory and Environmental Building News displays their picks for the Top 10 Green Building Products of 2010.

New Eco-Friendly Products Displayed At CIPHEX West 2010 Trade Show
Canadian Institute Of Plumbing & Heating describes some new products that were displayed at their CIPHEX West trade show in 2010. (PDF)

Passivhaus For Beginners
Green Building Advisor describes the history of a superinsulation standard.

Available Information On Chemical Emissions Of Residential Materials
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report summarizes available information on chemical emissions from new residential products and materials. It identities databases that provide information on new or low-emission materials and products. The review focuses on the primary chemical or volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from interior surface materials, furnishings, and some regularly used household products; all of these emissions are amenable to ventilation. (PDF)

Low Energy Enclosures For Commercial & Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
Building Science online slide show presentation on Low Energy Enclosures For Commercial & Multi-Unit Residential Buildings provides rationale for low-energy buildings, how we use energy, conservation and efficiency, building enclosures, and mechanical systems. (PDF)

Encouraging Energy Efficiency In Existing Homes
Canadian Home Builders association report Encouraging Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes covers background of previous programs, what worked and what did not work, and essential elements for future programs. (PDF)

US National Residential Retrofit Guidelines
US Department of Energy is developing Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades to foster the growth of a high quality residential retrofit industry and a skilled and credentialed workforce. These voluntary guidelines can be adopted by home energy retrofit programs nationwide seeking to increase the consistency and effectiveness of the work performed, and utilized by training providers to improve course curriculum and other training materials.

Report On Business & Environment: Manufacturing 2011
RBC Royal Bank report by Jayson Myers, president and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters urges leaders of manufacturing companies to consider the business risks and opportunities embedded within the environmental sustainability challenge and to take action. Advantages of becoming a cleaner, greener manufacturer include new market opportunities, lower costs and reduced risks. Free registration required.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

US Drywall Producers To Hike Prices by 25%
Tools Of The Trade says at least five US drywall manufacturing companies announce price increases effective in early December.

10 Luxury Products To Consider For The Future
Builder Magazine shows 10 products that may be pricey, but are also irresistibly good-looking.

25 New Tools You'll Want to Know About
eBuild describes some of the newest products at the annual Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association show.

Overview Of Lifts & Residential Elevators
CMHC describes types of residential lifts and elevators that are commonly available in Canada, and some of the things you should consider when you choose and install an elevator or lift in a home.

In-Field System Performance Of Residential Ground-Source Heat Pumps
Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings research showed ground-source heat pump systems are a viable technology for providing heating and cooling in high-performance, cold-climate homes. When compared to high-efficiency fossil fuel heating equipment (such as a condensing natural gas furnace), all of the monitored systems provide energy cost savings. (PDF)

Testing Hardened Concrete
Concrete Network describes how to investigate problems with hardened concrete by following these steps to identify the cause and come up with the appropriate solution.

How To Wrap Cords & Hoses
Fine Homebuilding article and online video describes how to wrap cords and hoses to avoid twists and kinks that can cause damage.

New BC Company Marketing Energy Efficient HVAC Products
KSM Energy, a new manufacturer's rep in BC, is marketing energy efficient HVAC products for the residential and commercial markets. They represent lines of boilers, water heaters, solar hot water heating, geoexchange heat pumps, PEX tubing & fittings, valves, and more.

9. Installation Procedures

Framing An Arched Doorway
Fine Homebuilding describes simple steps to mark and cut a plywood arch when framing houses.

How To Finish Exterior Foundation Insulation
Green Building Advisor describes options for covering up above-grade rigid foam insulation.

Mitered Beveled Cedar Siding Corners
Journal of Light Construction online forum says beveled lap siding usually gets butted to corner boards at outside corners, but this conversation discusses another way by mitering the end joints.

Installing Windows In Exterior Insulated R40 Wall
Building Science Corporation online video walks through the steps of flashing a window into a wall super-insulated with four inches of exterior rigid foam.

How To Stamp Concrete
Vancouver Concrete online video describes how to stamp concrete.

Reframing Windows
Home Energy magazine describes how simply repairing and weather-stripping existing windows is often a better choice than replacing them.

10. Information Sources

Ask An Expert Service On Landscaping & Gardening
BC Landscape & Nursery Association site provides experts to answer your questions on everything from lawn care to plant pests to water conservation.

Find BC-Grown Plants
Canadian Nursery Landscape Association online Plant Finder search service allows you to find BC-grown plants.

Presentations From Multi-Story Wood Structures Workshops
Woodworks online slide show presentations from Multi-story Wood Structures Workshops include Advanced Wood Framing, Designing the World's Tallest Mixed-use Wood Building, European Experience: Construction and Testing of a Six Story Wood Frame Building, 5-over-1 High Rise Podium Structures, Lateral Systems for Multi-unit Construction, and Continuous Tie-down Systems for Multi-story Construction.

11. Conferences & Shows

Vancouver Laneway House Tour
Vancouver Heritage Foundation is holding a Laneway House Tour on December 11th, showcasing six recently completed laneway houses in Vancouver.

Concrete & Masonry Industry Trade Show In Las Vegas
World of Concrete, the annual international event dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries, will be held in Las Vegas January 17-21. Featuring indoor and outdoor exhibits with suppliers showcasing innovative products and technologies, demonstrations and competitions, and many education programs.

2011 Canadian Home Builders Conference In Banff
Canadian Home Builders Association annual national conference in Banff, February 25-27, includes a number of speakers and sessions on business and industry issues, awards presentations, product displays, and social and networking events.

12. Education & Training

BC Harmony House Talk & Tour Dec 15
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Associationís Academy of Housing and CMHC present Harmony House Talk and Tour on December 15. The Harmony House is a winning entry in the CMHC Equilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. Allan Dobie will discuss the principles behind sustainable housing design and the technologies and design features of Harmony House. The seminar will be followed by a tour of the home, currently in the framing stage of construction, and displays by suppliers.

BC Course On Project Planning & Cost Control
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association course Project Planning & Cost Control is designed to provide owners, managers, estimators, and field personnel with a general knowledge of the process of planning and controlling a project from beginning to end utilizing ways and means of monitoring, saving and controlling costs. (PDF)

Online Courses & Videos On Wood Design & Applications
Woodworks provides access to their online courses and webinars covering a range of topics on wood and its applications.

BC Seminars & Workshops For Small Business
Small Business BC provides a listing of their current training events, seminars, and workshops on various business topics.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Free Service To Transfer Large Files
WeTransfer is a free service to send big or small files from A to B. You can send files up to 2GB in size, free, and without registration. The files will be kept on their server for two weeks to allow your recipients to retrieve them.

Free App For Searching Images
Ginipic is free software that allows you to search image search engines, photo sharing websites or your own local picture collections simultaneously.

Multi Tasking Cell Phone Of The Future
First there was the simple phone call. Then came text messaging. Then we gained the ability to send e-mail, take photos, download music, surf the Internet, and get turn-by-turn driving directions. Now, for the next generation of cell phones...a true definition of the term multitasking.

Dittie For Today: On Moderation

Excess on occasion prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit. - W. Somerset Maugham

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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada