Alert Notice #39
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
December 22, 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

Thanks to our advertisers, these Alert Notices come to you free. Check out what they offer.

  VSA Enterprises Inc.


  Gienow Windows & Doors

Merry Christmas to you and yours! And may 2011 bring joy to your journey.

My thanks to Ben Van Nostrand, George Pinch, Wilma Leung, Bill Curtis, Tanya Rosendahl, Richard Fearn, Dave Ricketts, Bob Withers, Ian Broadfoot, Andrea McDougal, Amy Spencer-Chubey, Sandy Crowe, David Xu, Glenn Duxbury, David Verge, Mark Gauvin, Brian Hart, Joe Verhulst, Soni Riediger, John Chepil, and Graham Finch 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

************************************************* Advertisement *************************************************

Self-Flashing, Exterior Electrical Mounting Blocks
Fast, inexpensive, patented, Over Air Barrier electrical plug & light mounting blocks protect the integrity of your building envelopes and rainscreen systems.
  •  Eliminate the need for cutting large holes into the envelope
  •  Divert water from back of wall before it can penetrate the envelope
  •  Save time & labour with a two-in-one application
  •  CSA/UL approved                                                      Find out more…
  • **********************************************************************************************************************

    Ken's Top Pick

    BC Construction & Demolition Waste Reduction Toolkit
    Columbia Shuswap Regional District online Construction and Demolition Waste Reduction Program and Toolkit provides options for the disposal of your material, such as recycling and/or reuse, including the costs to do so. (PDF)

    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    BC Housing Market Update
    BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the November 2010 statistics and an in depth look at the rollercoaster of home sales.

    Vancouver Island Economic & Housing Market Outlook
    BC Real Estate Association online slide show presentation on the Vancouver Island Economic and Housing Market Outlook says Vancouver Island employment is lagging BC & Canada but still improving, & although a weak construction market is forecasted for 2011 long-run fundamentals are strong. (PDF)

    2009 Recession Crimps Otherwise Strong BC Growth Performance In 2000s
    Business Council of BC reports says BC’s 2009 recession set back the gains in prosperity which the province enjoyed earlier in the decade. Still, gains in per capita GDP and personal incomes were made during the 2000s, lifting overall wealth levels and improving economic well-being. (PDF)

    BC Booms When Population Grows
    Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC report says BC forestry, mining, and tourism remain important, it is population growth (the in-flow of individuals and families from the rest of Canada and increasingly from overseas) that is at the heart of our economy. (PDF)

    BC Mortgage Rate Forecast December 2010
    BC Real Estate Association mortgage rate forecast says slowing growth and muted inflation means a prolonged pause in Bank of Canada rate tightening. (PDF)

    Provincial Outlook December 2010
    Royal Bank of Canada monthly provincial economic update charts and tables show 2011 growth to be broadly shared across provinces.

    Government-Imposed Charges On New Housing In Canada
    CMHC report Government-imposed Charges on New Housing in Canada (2009) is a summary of taxes, fees, charges and levies assessed on new housing. (PDF)

    Economic Impacts Of Canadian Housing Industry 2010
    Canadian Home Builders Association provides statistics on the economic impact of the housing industry in various provinces and municipalities in Canada.

    2. Business Management

    2010 Silver Winners Of US National Sales & Marketing Awards
    US National Association of Home Builders lists the finalists for their National Sales and Marketing Awards. These awards recognize superior new home sales and marketing achievements in categories across various disciplines of the new home industry, including product and community design, advertising, and marketing and sales achievements by individuals and sales teams.

    Marketing As A Process, Not Voodoo
    Dovetail report discusses basic principles of marketing & proposes a process, The Wheel of Marketing, as a means of coordinating marketing activities to ensure success. The Wheel of Marketing process intends to help a company start with what they already know to create effective new approaches.

    Dealing With Obstructionist Neighbours
    Custom Home magazine explains how pros and clients deal with obstructionist neighbours.

    2010 Wage & Benefit Survey For US Remodelers
    Remodeling Magazine 2010 Wage & Benefit Survey sheds some light on how remodelers have faced the questions of compensation in a down economy.

    Podcasts For Small Business
    Blue Collar offers podcasts dedicated to the subject of small business.

    Book On Managing The Small Construction Business
    Journal of Light Construction book has articles on writing job-site procedures manuals, simple profit sharing, contracting without a crew, remodeling estimating checklist, practical change order procedures, a guide to double-entry accounting, pricing for profit, and more. $35 USD.

    Free Accounting Software For Personal & Small Business
    GnuCash is a free, personal and small-business financial-accounting software that allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Favorite Houses Of 2010
    Builder Magazine displays their favorite houses of 2010, that demonstrate beauty, brains, problem-solving, and a willingness to step outside the ordinary.

    Best Home Theaters Of 2010
    HGTV Pro online slide show describes some of 2010's best home theaters produced by the nation's top home theater designers.

    Information On Laneway Housing
    City of Vancouver resource site on laneway housing offers information on regulations & guidelines, what's new, photo gallery, archive, related links, and contacts.

    Mid-Rise Wood Construction
    Woodworks online slide show presentation covers the history of North American mid-rise buildings, nuances of six story buildings, how to address and detail for wood shrinkage in a multi-story wood frame building, and how continuous tie rod systems work in a mid-rise wood shear wall application. (PDF)

    Census Gives Characteristics Of New US Housing
    US Census searchable database provides a wide range of details on characteristics and components of different types of new homes in America.

    Online Calculator For Various Whole Wall R-Values
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory online calculator allows you to perform whole wall R-value calculations for direct comparisons of different wall technologies.

    Online Commercial Lighting Design Tool
    US Department of Energy online Commercial Lighting Solutions Web tool provides building owners and tenants access to lighting design strategies that will save up to 60% on energy while still providing quality lighting. Strategies include the use of high performance commercially available products, daylighting, and lighting controls. Free registration required.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Remy at Dunn Wright Systems says: "I found the information on this site to be accurate. I recommend this site."

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    2010 Canadian Construction Codes Now Available
    National Research Council Canada has launched the 2010 editions of the National Model Construction Codes. Published by NRC and prepared under the direction of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, they comprise the National Building Code of Canada, the National Fire Code of Canada and the National Plumbing Code of Canada. The 2010 editions incorporate nearly 800 technical changes that address technological advances as well as health and safety concerns.

    ASHRAE 62.1 Calculation App For iPhone
    Developed for Apple's iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, the ASHRAE Standard 62.1 app allows for ventilation rate calculations while in the field. It performs the outdoor air calculations found in the Ventilation Rate Procedure and the interactive 62MZCalc spreadsheets contained in the ASHRAE User's Manual for Standard 62.1, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. The ASHRAE 62.1 app can also be used to determine 62.1 compliance of simple ventilation systems, as well as more complex ventilation systems and can operate in both IP and metric units.

    Heritage Conversion Exclusion From BC Warranty Insurance
    BC Homeowner Protection Office describes a new exclusion to policies of home warranty insurance that has been added to Section 10 of the regulation, specifically those components of a converted heritage building that have heritage value and do not conform to the BC Building Code.

    Potential Effects Of Inclusionary Zoning In Canada
    Canadian Home Builders Association report Potential Effects of Inclusionary Zoning in Canada provides helpful information to home builders who are finding discussion of inclusionary zoning policies emerging in their local areas, and provides guidance to municipal and provincial policy makers. It focuses on lessons learned from the U.S. where inclusionary zoning policies have a long history in some municipalities, particularly in certain states such as California. (PDF)

    ************************************************* Advertisement *************************************************

    Lennox Energy Efficient Home Comfort Systems
    Lennox’ innovative solutions include energy-efficient, Energy Star approved;
  •  Heating: Furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, air handlers, garage heaters
  •  Cooling: Air conditioners, heat pumps
  •  Indoor Air Quality: Air purification, filtration and humidification
  •  Comfort Controls: Thermostats and zoning systems

  • Most Lennox products are backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal
    Find out more...        
    5. Building Science & Technology

    Insulating Sheathing For Building Enclosure
    Building Science research report examines methods of incorporating insulating sheathing into the thermal and moisture management systems of the building enclosure in a variety of climate zones across North America.

    Limitations Of R-Value
    Building Science report says as the industry demands higher levels of thermal performance the short comings of the R-value metric make it increasingly difficult to properly distinguish which products will perform best in different application, and even to quantitatively predict heat flow with accuracy. (PDF)

    Overview Of HVAC Systems
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes HVAC system objectives, functions, and systems & components. (PDF)

    Properties Of Wood From Building Design Perspective
    Woodworks online slide show presentation describes wood-moisture relationships, microscopic structure of softwoods and hardwoods, shrinkage and swelling, principles of visual lumber grading and Machine-Stress-Rating (MSR) of lumber, and the quality attributes of old-growth and second-growth timber. (PDF)

    Structural Properties & Performance Of Wood
    Woodworks online fact sheet describes the structural properties and performance characteristics of wood. (PDF)

    Passive Ventilation Water-Resistive Barriers
    Building Science paper demonstrates the beneficial effects of passively driven airflow through both solar and wind forces allowing small amounts of air flow to provide a significant increase in drying potential to walls that include dual ventilation water resistive barriers.

    Framing Floors Above A Garage
    Journal of Light Construction describes four options for framing the floors for rooms above the garage.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    BC Construction & Demolition Waste Reduction Toolkit
    Columbia Shuswap Regional District online Construction and Demolition Waste Reduction Program and Toolkit provides options for the disposal of your material, such as recycling and/or reuse including the costs to do so. (PDF)

    Is Cold OSB Wall Sheathing A Risk?
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether or not, if you build a very thick wall, your sheathing will stay cold and wet.

    Troubleshooting Drywall Cracks
    Journal of Light Construction describes how to prevent drywall cracks at doors, windows, and ceilings.

    How Safe Is PEX Tubing?
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether PEX plumbing pipe contains hazardous materials.

    Lead Paint Remodeling Center
    Fine Homebuilding Lead Paint Remodeling Center has online videos, downloadable articles, US compliance toolkit, and more.

    Free App For Life Cycle Assessment Of Building Assemblies
    ATHENA EcoCalculator for Assemblies, developed by the Athena Institute, provides instant LCA (life cycle assessment) results for commonly used building structure and envelope assemblies. The Residential version of the EcoCalculator was developed to allow assessment of single family residential buildings, whether detached, semi–detached, or row houses. Free registration required.

    Accessible House Designs & Floor Plans
    CMHC fact sheet provides design guidelines for the most common types of accessible house designs including: visitable housing, adaptable and accessible housing and housing built using the concepts of universal design.

    Designing Wood Frame Structures For High Winds
    Woodworks online slide show presentation Designing Wood Frame Structures For High Winds covers calculating windspeeds, uplift, wall design, diaphragms, and shearwalls. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Study Of Vancouver Homes & Energuide 80
    City of Vancouver online slide show provides a summary of their study into what Energuide ratings are for current new homes, and what is required to raise the levels to Energuide 80. (PDF)

    2010 Green Product Award Winners
    eBuild displays the winners of their 2010 Green Products Awards, including 16 products that combine sustainable features with innovation, value, and style.

    Overview Of Passivhaus Principles & Benefits
    Dovetail report provides provide an overview of the PassivHaus phenomenon including a brief history, a summary of the certification standards, design and construction techniques, and the potential economic benefits and energy savings. (PDF)

    Landscape Material Recycling Options In Lower Mainland
    BC Landscape Nursery Association lists places in the BC Lower Mainland that accept landscape material recycling. (PDF)

    Energy Efficiency Certification For Products
    Underwriters Laboratories division UL Environment offers its Energy Efficiency Certification Program, through which manufacturers can show consumers, competitors, and regulators that their products are helping lower energy demand.

    Discussion Forums On Home Energy Retrofit Best Practices
    Home Energy Pros Best Practices (Residential) discussion forum covers topics related to building, retrofitting, or auditing practices.

    Custom Query System For Canadian Energy Use Database
    Natural Resources Canada online query system allows you to design and customize your own energy and GHG tables, using data contained in the Comprehensive Energy Use Database.

    New ANSI Standards For Green Roofs Maintenance Create Owner Liability
    Canadian Property Management says new fire and wind design standards for green roofs reinforce the importance of maintenance and explicitly state the building owner’s responsibility for upkeep of vegetation and adequate water supply.

    Gifford Files Class Action Lawsuit Against USGBC LEED
    Home Energy magazine says Henry Gifford, a mechanical systems designer and principal at Gifford Fuel Savings, in New York City, is suing the U.S. Green Building Council for millions of dollars. Gifford, in the class action suit, claims that the USGBC has committed fraud in the selling of energy savings its Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) program, and has unfairly kept work away from people like him who are not involved in the program.

    ************************************************* Advertisement *************************************************

    Gienow High Performance Windows can serve your specific needs
    By choosing Gienow windows that meet ENERGY STAR performance levels, your customers will reduce their energy costs, help protect the environment, and enjoy increased comfort in all seasons. Gienow offers SOL-R® glass that has a transparent coating which acts as a shield from heat and cold, blocks ultra-violet rays, and provides thermal insulation.


    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Composite Building Materials & Products
    Composite Build provides information on composite building materials and links to composite material fabricators and distributors.

    Combination Systems With Air Source Heat Pump
    Building Science describes their research project on the integration of a combination space and domestic hot water heating system (combi system) with a high-efficiency air source heat pump to optimize efficiency and comfort.

    Overview Of Cross Laminated Timber
    Woodworks online slide show presentation covers what cross laminated timber (CLT) is, types of CLT assemblies, CLT status in Europe & North America, CLT in codes and standards, and performance attributes. (PDF)

    Specifying Glazing Options
    Green Building Advisor describes considerations for specifying appropriate glazing for your application.

    Comparison Of Physical Properties Of 2lb. Medium Density Closed Cell Foam
    Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association chart provides a comparison of physical properties of 2lb. medium density closed cell foam products. (PDF)

    How Hot Water Recirculation Systems Work
    Fine Homebuilding describes how hot water recirculation systems work, whether controlled by a demand switch or by simple gravity.

    Five Questions About Ground-Source Heat Pumps
    Green Building Advisor discusses five key questions concerning the design and installation of ground source heat pumps.

    State Of Canadian Geothermal Heat Pump Industry 2010
    Canadian GeoExchange Coalition report on the State of the Canadian Geothermal Heat Pump Industry 2010 presents a comprehensive picture of the Canadian geoexchange industry. (PDF)

    BC Hydro Wants To Raise Rates By 27% Over Next 3 Years
    Vancouver Sun reports that BC Hydro wants to raise average rates by 27% over the next three years.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Low-Slope Re-Roof With EPDM Membrane
    Journal of Light Construction explains how a remodeler installed a self-adhesive EPDM membrane to protect the living space under a nearly flat roof. (PDF)

    Calculating Minimum Thickness Of Rigid Foam Sheathing
    Green Building Advisor provides simple sizing guidelines for exterior rigid foam insulating sheathing.

    Exterior Wall Superinsulation Retrofit
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes details and analysis for residential exterior wall superinsulation retrofit. (PDF)

    PERSIST Technique Puts Insulation On Outside
    Green Building Advisor describes the PERSIST (Pressure-Equalized Rain-Screen Insulated Structure Technique) system that puts insulation on the outside.

    Fastening Furring Strips To Foam-Sheathed Wall
    Green Building Advisor describes how you should attach strapping when building a house with foam sheathing, and your siding is installed over vertical rainscreen strapping installed on top of the foam.

    How To Compact Small Concrete Projects
    Fine Homebuilding describes how to compact small concrete projects by running the shoe of your sawzall (without a blade installed) along the sides of the form. The vibrations will settle the concrete and get rid of the voids.

    Building Plans For Advanced Framing
    Green Building Advisor provides construction details for advanced framing that will help you get the most from your lumber by keeping your framing crew on the same page. Site membership required.

    10. Information Sources

    Free Newsletter On Canadian Research On Building Technology
    Canadian Centre for Housing Technology has been created to accelerate the development and application of improved technologies for the Canadian housing industry. Their free e-newsletter provides updates on the latest projects and publications.

    BC Resource Site On Landscaping & Gardening
    BC Landscape & Nursery Association offers information and resources on gardening and landscaping products, procedures, and companies.

    Greening Gardens & Home Landscape
    Landscape for Life provides explanations and practical approaches to greening gardens and home landscape based on the principles outlined in the Sustainable Sites Initiative. This national rating system for sustainable landscapes was developed over four years by technical experts on water, sustainable materials, human health and other topics. The Landscape for Life Web site provides homeowners a scaled-down version of the SITES voluntary guidelines and performance benchmarks that have, until now, been developed for landscape professionals.

    Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse
    Smart Grid Information Clearinghouse offers basic information about smart grids, notes on standards, technologies, and security, and a very large number of use cases.

    Blog On R & D For Windows & Building Envelopes
    US Department of Energy blog on Building Envelope and Windows R&D offers up-to-date information on the Building America R&D program, as well as providing updates on activities, archived information, and past presentations.

    Reviews & Pricing For New & Used Cars & Trucks
    Edmunds car buying guide lists new car prices, used car prices, car comparisons, car buying advice, car ratings, car values, auto leasing.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    International Builders Show Updates On Mobile App
    US National Association of Home Builders is offering a free Smartphone application for the International Builders Show that allows you to get 24-hour access to on-the-go information, maps and networking, organize your schedule, navigate using the interactive show floor plan with GPS tracking, download exhibitor and product information, stay in-the-know with show alerts and event schedules, follow and join in the IBS 2011 Twitter feed, and connect using the friends feature.

    BC Building Industry Trade Show Feb 23-24
    Buildex, the BC design, real estate, and construction show, held February 23 & 24 at Vancouver Convention Centre, features products, services, information, and education related to the management, design and renovation of commercial buildings, single family, multi-family, condominium, and community developments.

    BC Home & Garden Show March 2-6
    BC Home & Garden show takes place at the new Vancouver Convention Centre March 2-6, where top celebrity experts and over 425 exhibitors will display the latest in new products for the home.

    12. Education & Training

    BC Code Changes To Window & Door Installation
    Window & Door Manufacturers Association of BC technical meeting on January 6th covers important BC Building Code changes to window and door installation coming in 2011. (PDF)

    BC COR Safety Courses
    Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC presents several courses for the Certificate of Recognition program for construction safety. Included are Small Business COR Auditor Training on January 25th, and Foundations for Health and Safety Excellence on January 24 & 25. (PDF)

    Free Lighting Design Workshop
    BC Hydro free seminar on lighting covers best practices for energy-efficient lighting design and details on Power Smart incentives for commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings.

    Economic Outlook 2011
    Vancouver Board of Trade annual Outlook Forum on Economic Outlook 2011 on January 13th covers the influence of emerging economies, old world realities and the implications for B.C.’s economy. The panel of financial and industry experts will weigh in with their perspectives on the provincial economy, the labour market and what British Columbian’s need to know about US politics.

    Economic Trends 2011
    BC Construction Roundtable workshop on January 20th with Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist for Central 1 Credit Union, presents an update on economic trends and developments in the US, Canadian, and BC economies. The BC economy is examined in greater detail to reveal varying industry and sector performances, and forecasts of the macro economy for 2011 to 2013 will be presented.

    Cross-Laminated Timber Symposium
    Wood WORKS BC, FPInnovations, and BC Wood Specialties Group presents a comprehensive two-day symposium on cross-laminated timber panels. This event will take place on February 8 & 9 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, where all major aspects relating to cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels will be discussed.

    Air Tightness In Large Buildings
    Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC seminar Air Tightness In Large Buildings on February 10th will examine key questions regarding air tightness of the building enclosure. It will address why air tightness is important and include an overview of the methods of measuring air tightness and the significance of measurement protocols.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Uninstall Software
    Revo Uninstaller is a freeware uninstaller, which you can use to uninstall programs and scan after uninstall for leftover registry keys, files and folders so you can remove them.

    Free Online Photo Editor & Logo Creator
    Picnik makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools. Tweak to your heart's content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames.

    Quantitative Easing Explained So A 5th Grader Can Understand
    American Parchment online video makes sense out of the financial morass...maybe!

    Dittie For Today: On Mistakes

    A mistake is evidence that someone tried to do something. - Author Unknown

    Quick Links

    Subscription Info

    © Copyright 2010               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada