Alert Notice #4
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 April 9, 2008


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. Information Sources
10. Conferences & Shows
11. Education & Training
12. Computer, Internet & Fun
13. Industry Survey

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Crashing Hurts...Even More So When I Trip On My Ego

Some lessons come easy. Some come hard. And some just keep on coming.

It was another one of those Sacred Thursdays, when I get to volunteer in the outdoors with a cool group of on-the-edge teenagers. Over and above the joy of adventuring to new and interesting places, and the oft-painful up-a-mountain exercising of aging body parts, these outings almost always deliver a little life lesson to this ol' dude. Based on results, it seems that on this particular occasion the universe decided I still needed to learn a little more about focus. Or as some today might more trendily describe it - being in the moment. Or as my loving Dad would simply call it - gettin' cocky.

Both relief and fear descended on me as we were informed that this trip we were being treated to downhill skiing. Relief, because this meant avoidance of our too-frequent (my view only) treks up steep mountain trails. Fear, from the fact I had never downhill skied before. But as always, knowing my role is none other than to hang out with the group and lead/follow by example, I was open to the unfolding of our day's adventures.

After being fitted with fashionable rental gear we headed off to tackle the slopes. As we approached the top of our first hill, I leaped at the chance to provide moral support and words of wisdom to one of the youth. As he stood on the precipice and peered over the edge, he meekly uttered "I'm scared." So for no other reason (not true) than to help him out, I whimpered "Me too". But with patient guidance from the instructor, and motivating cheers from our more experienced team members, we slowly and gently snowplowed all the way down this dangerous cliff (OK, OK, so it was just the Bunny Hill). But that was only the start!

As the day progressed, I got better. I was paying close attention to the terrain, my body positions, and ski & pole placements. With each run down evermore challenging hills I reached another level of self-proclaimed professionalism. I was bending my knees, using my poles, making proper turns, and stopping with ease and grace. I was getting real good...I thought. But alas, I was once again to learn that all ego-puffing, man-am-I-good, not-focused-on-what-I'm-doing thoughts must come to an end. And an abrupt end this one was.

I was jolted out of my vision as victor when, upon attempting a rather small jump, I found myself fully face-planted in the snow, with skis torn off and body components positioned in non-natural ways. I laid there, spread-eagled on the ground, afraid to move in fear of finding out which personal parts were broken or no longer functioning. Then it dawned on me. I had just been delivered another little lesson in the value of staying focused. And to assist me in truly getting and remembering this message for at least a while, it came with a strained knee ligament, bruised ribs, and a once-more humbled ego. Upon reflection, the latter was probably the most painful.

So will I go downhilling again? You bet! I loved it. Right now I'm dutifully exercising my knee, and it's coming along real well. The only time it hurts is when I forget and twist my leg the wrong way...when I'm not focused. Seems some lessons just take longer than others.

My thanks to Mike Ponych, John Chepil, Mark Gauvin, Hugh Poole, Bob Muir, Doug Harrison, Wilma Leung, George Pinch, Herman Rebneris, Jeanette Wilkinson, Rita Georgeson, Tim Parsons, John Vukanovich, Sao Stante, Nafisa Abdulla, Dick Van Nostrand, Lee Boland, and Ron Farrish for their comments, tips and resources. I hope you find some value in this Alert Notice.

Have a "Top Drawer" day.

Ken Farrish

Update On The New BC Building Info Site
"Where the BC building industry finds and shares information"

Directory Topics With New Links Added
These Topics in our Directory now have lots of new links:
Green Building: General Info
Green Building: Commercial
Green Building: Community
Green Building: New Homes
Green Building: Renovations
Green Building: Waste & Recycle

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

Advertise In BC Building Info
For suppliers of products and services, BC Building Info provides you with new and effective ways of reaching the desktops of industry decision makers. To find out about our special combination offer for newsletter and Web site ads, contact Ken at

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New Request for Proposals for EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative
EQuilibrium is a national housing initiative led by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which brings the private and public sectors together to develop homes, and eventually communities, that address occupant health and comfort, energy efficiency and renewable energy production, resource conservation, reduced environmental impact and affordability. It offers builders and developers across the country a powerful new approach to meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly housing.

Following the initial competition in May 2006, 12 teams were selected to build demonstration homes. This new RFP invites builder/developer led teams to develop proposals for the design, construction or renovation of EQuilibrium demonstration homes in the three regions that do not currently have EQuilibrium housing demonstration projects. These regions are British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, and the North.

For more information on the EQuilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative, visit and type keyword: EQuilibrium. To get the complete RFP package visit and search for file number 0981-305-1. The submission deadline is July 14, 2008. Find out more about this RFP here.


1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Canadian Residential Construction Industry Outlook Winter 2008
Conference Board of Canada report Canadian Industrial Outlook: Canada's Residential Construction Industry – Winter 2008, says Canadian residential construction industry can expect profitability to decline further in 2008, and also covers material prices, young adults living at home, and renovations. Free registration required.

Where Will US Housing Industry Go In 2008
James Hardie newsletter Streetscapes says with the US housing industry in the worst state it's been in since the Great Depression, it seems the market has nowhere to go but up. Yet industry observers and homebuilding executives seem to differ on where the economy is heading, and when a housing recovery will begin. Here is a brief roundup on what various industry sources are predicting for US housing market in 2008 and beyond.

Are Suburbs The Next Slum
Atlantic Monthly magazine article says the subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg, and that fundamental changes in American life may turn suburban McMansions into future tenements.

2. Business Management

New US United Construction Contracts
ConsensusDOCS, resulting from 20 leading US construction associations uniting to publish a consensus set of contract documents in September 2007, allow owners, contractors, subcontractors, designers, and sureties to all agree on a standard contract, fair to all parties.

Tips For Photography For Contractors
Journal Light Construction article describes how to create a professional looking portfolio without a pro photographer by following the advice of photographer and building professional Steve Greenberg.

Book On Meetings With Clients: A Manual For Builder Frontline Personnel
Builders Books sells Meetings with Clients: A Self-Study Manual for a Builder's Frontline Personnel, that covers four major issues confronting a builder’s front-line personnel: Pre-construction Meeting, Frame Stage Tour, New Home Buyer Orientation and Warranty Service. It has step-by-step instructions on policies, procedures, predictable situations and how to handle problems that arise during orientation. $40 USD

Free Newsletters On Marketing
Marketing Profs offers free e-mail newsletters with bite-sized advice & tactics covering customer behavior, e-mail marketing, marketing inspiration, small business, business to business, marketing optimization, and new media.

3. Building Design & Trends

Summary Of Annual Color Trends
Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute provides insight in current colour trends, and archives of annual trends from 2002.

Latest Market Trends In 50+ Housing 2008
US National Association of Home Builders 2008 50+ Housing Awards show judges noticed trends including emergence of high-density projects; greening of active adult communities; merging of mind, body and spirit; lifelong learning still a high priority; and return to functionality.

Survey Of Consumers Reveals Ideal Kitchen Renovations
Research and Markets has published a new report on the kitchen remodeling. It includes a survey of 10,000 consumers of which 800+ remodeled their kitchens. The study includes data on lifestyles, kitchen product shopping and purchasing patterns, kitchen remodeling details, media consumption, market segments, and trends in consumer tastes and preferences.

Photos Of 2007 NKBA Kitchen & Bath Design Competition Finalists
National Kitchen & Bath Association has online photographs from their 2007 Design Competition finalists, with floor plans and design statements for each.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Bob Deeks, President, RDC Fine Homes says: "I review your newsletter every time it comes out. And your site looks great. It will become a fantastic resource."

Feel free to let others know about BC Building Info.

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

2008 Bill 10 On Green Code, Building Specialists & Interpretations
BC Ministry of Housing describes Bill 10 that amends the Local Government Act, Community Charter, Vancouver Charter, Architects Act and the Engineers and Geoscientists Act. These amendments include; allowing local governments to make bylaws to conserve energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve building accessibility for persons with disabilities; introduce the use of building specialists trained in new and more complex building technologies such as rain screen and green building techniques; permit the Minister responsible for Housing to designate an official to make binding interpretations of the BC Building Code.

HPO Policy & Procedures For Compliance, Offences & Penalties
BC Homeowner Protection Office outlines policies and procedures for compliance with the Homeowner Protection Act and regulations. HPO compliance officers perform on-site visits throughout the province. In cases where compliance still does not transpire, the HPO may issue compliance orders, recommend the issuance of monetary penalties by the Registrar, or submit cases to Crown Counsel to consider for prosecution and pursue civil court-ordered injunctions.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Canadian Building Science & Technology Conference In Montreal In May 2009
The Quebec Building Envelope Council is organizing the 12th Canadian Conference on Building Science and Technology, to be held in Montreal in May 2009. They are now calling for submission of abstracts for papers, and have conference information and key contacts on their site.

Resource Site On Human Comfort & Building Design
Square One site covers the theory of sun control, human comfort, climate & thermal analysis, passive systems, sustainability, light & lighting, acoustics, and much more.

6. Building Performance Issues

Residential Construction Performance Guidelines
Builder Books sells Residential Construction Performance Guidelines, the industry accepted reference on how homes should perform. This fully revised and updated reference was created specially for builders and remodelers to help successfully manage customer expectations, and protect the bottom line, while delivering high-performance homes. Features include: nearly 300 guidelines in 12 major construction categories; 50 new guidelines on cabinets, cement board siding, concrete, countertops, drainage, driveways, drywall, landscaping, water infiltration, and more; new remodeling-specific content; guidance on how to take critical measurements; glossary of common terms. $40 USD

Air Leakage Control For Existing Multi Family Buildings
CMHC online manual describes air sealing measures to reduce air leakage, reduce building energy consumption, improve indoor air quality and occupant comfort in multi family buildings. Air sealing products and measures are detailed for common air leakage points. 2007 (PDF)

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

50 Strategies To Reduce Fossil Fuel Consumption In Buildings
American Institute of Architects describes 50 strategies for readily available and effective tools and techniques to help architects achieve significant carbon reduction. The strategies span a spectrum from broad-based site and planning objectives to specific, building-based concepts. Each strategy includes an overview of the subject, typical applications, emerging trends, links to information sources, and important relationships to other carbon reduction strategies.

Worldwide Examples Of Low Impact Multifamily Projects
Low Impact Housing, from Abri Design, a Canadian company, provides a database of worldwide low impact multifamily projects, searchable by building type, designer, location, name, and year.

Regreen US Best Practice Guidelines For Green Remodeling
American Society of Interior Designers Foundation and US Green Building Council have partnered on the development of best practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential remodeling projects.

Checklist To A Greener Future Conference In Vancouver April 30
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC is presenting the 1-day conference Checklist to a Greener Future, on April 30th in Vancouver. It will focus on the value added of Built Green BC and latest trends and technologies in sustainable building. Participants will assess how alternate energy sources and green products and services help save our environment.

Opinions On New BC Government GHG Reduction Act
Green Business magazine article says the new BC government Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act sets a bold GHG reduction target for the province of at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020, and makes the province the first government in North America to require all public sector organizations to publicly report on their emissions levels and actions taken to reduce those levels. The targets set leave some wondering how they can be met, and at what cost to business, while ohers believe it’s the very boost that the clean tech and energy management sectors need to thrive.

Legal Risks Of Green Building
This article from Custom Home Magazine summarizes the seminar Green Building Legal and Liability Issues from the International Builders Show, where Jeffrey Masters, litigation partner with Cox, Castle & Nicholson, and David Crump, Jr., director of legal research for the National Association of Home Builders, discussed the potential legal issues and pitfalls of the emerging field of green home building.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Pictures & Descriptions Of Exotic Woods
    Hobbit House site displays over 17,000 color-correct pictures of exotic and domestic woods.

    New Developments In Decking
    Qualified Remodeler article says as the trend toward exterior living spaces serving as an extension of the interior continues, manufacturers offer products designed with designers in mind. Decorative railings, grain and color options, drainage systems and concealed fasteners are available to make the deck visually appealing and user-friendly.

    Choosing Tank Or Tankless Water Heaters
    Fine Homebuilding article explains how tank and tankless water heaters work, how to choose and size one to suit your needs, and how to save money and energy in the process. (PDF)

    BCUC Decision Sees Terasen Natural Gas Prices Increase In April 2008
    BC Utilities Commission provided Terasen Gas with its decisions on the natural gas and propane commodity rates Terasen Gas passes on to customers. Effective April 1, 2008, natural gas customers will see rates increase while propane rates will remain the same.

    Faulty Gasket Prompts Rannai Wall Furnace Recall
    CSA International and Rinnai America have announced a voluntary recall in Canada of approximately 200 direct-vent wall furnaces. A gasket in the unit can fail, posing a risk of poisonous carbon monoxide gas leaking into the home. The recall involves natural gas or LP gas (propane)-fueled Rinnai Energy Saver direct-vent wall furnaces, models RHFE-431 and RHFE-556. Those with affected wall furnaces should stop using the furnace immediately and contact Rinnai to receive a free retrofit kit. (PDF)

    9. Information Sources

    Free Newsletter On Building Technology & Products
    Journal of Light Construction free newsletter JLC Update features articles, tips, detail drawings, industry news, Q & A, surveys, hot forum topics, internet resources, products, tools, and more.

    US Real Estate News & Tips For Buyers, Sellers & Investors
    Inman Real Estate News is a US newsletter and site with information and resources on real estate news & tips for buyers, sellers & investors.

    10. Conferences & Shows

    Architects Conference & Exhibition In Vancouver April 24 - 26
    Architectural Institute of BC annual conference is the largest annual gathering of architects and allied professionals in British Columbia. Each conference is themed to address the most relevant issues facing those responsible for the built environment.

    Conference On Future Of Housing Industry In Vancouver May 27
    BC Homeowner Protection Office is presenting Next Generation: Future of the Housing Industry in British Columbia, a conference on May 27, 2008 to explore issues and opportunties for the BC housing industry in the next 15 to 20 years.

    NAHB Building For Boomers & Beyond Conference In New Orleans May 19-21
    Now in its seventh year, Building for Boomers & Beyond, held May 19-21 in New Orleans, is the premier education and networking conference for industry professionals who serve the 50+ housing market, attracting hundreds of builders, developers, architects, sales and marketing professionals, and others in the 50+ housing industry.

    11. Education & Training

    BC Seminars On Window Performance, Selection & Installation
    BC Homeowner Protection Office presents Building Smart #9 seminar throughout BC in April & May. The three-hour presentation and includes a review of window performance, selection and installation practices. It covers; window frame construction & performance factors; glazing options & performance coatings; window performance, energy efficiency, codes, standards, testing and certification; integration of windows into the surrounding exterior wall assembly.

    12. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Disable Caps Lock On Your Keyboard
    Accidentally hitting the Caps Lock key on your keyboard when typing can be maddening. Most people never use it anyway, so why not disable it? In Windows, you can, by adding one of these simple Windows registry programs. It worked for me.

    Free Google TiSP In-home Broadband Wireless
    Google TiSP (BETA), is a new FREE in-home wireless broadband service. Sign up today and they will send you your TiSP self-installation kit, which includes setup guide, fiber-optic cable, spindle, wireless router and installation CD.

    Idiot Test
    I wonder...if I pass an idiot test, does that mean I'm truly an idiot? No matter how hard I concentrated I could not make it through this without having to start over. Good Luck!!

    13. Industry Survey

    Today's Survey:   

    Should the Canucks keep Marcus Naslund?

    Since the Canucks missed the playoffs, there seems to be a general consensus that Marcus Naslund should be traded. Do you agree?

    Yes, It's time to replace Naslund
    No, They should keep him for at least one more year
    Ask somebody that cares

    Last Survey: Are More Of Your Customers Buying Green?

    • 46% Said: Yes
    • 39% Said: No
    • 15% Said: Green is not applicable to our product

    Thanks for your participation

    Ditty For Today: On Tao

    Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich. - Tao Te Ching

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    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada