Alert Notice #45
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 April 18, 2011


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 Garry Lowney, Bryan Shrake, Marita Luk, Wilma Leung, Richard Fearn, John Krigger, George Pinch, Maureen McLaughlin, Jennifer Shaw, Joanne DeVries, John Davies, and Dave Ricketts 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

    Online Presentations On New 2010 Canadian Codes
    Canadian National Codes site offers free online presentations providing detailed overviews of major technical changes in the 2010 National Model Construction Codes.

    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    2009 BC Builder Perceptions
    BC Homeowner Protection Office summarizes results of its 2009 Survey of Licensed Residential Builders. The survey measured satisfaction with the licensing and home warranty insurance systems and the owner-builder exemption, as well as builders’ views related to training, education and research needs of the residential construction industry. (PDF)

    BC Home Sales To Increase 7% In 2011, Median Price To Rise To $402,000
    Home sales in British Columbia will rise about 7 per cent in 2011 and the median price will set a new record of $402,000, according to the latest B.C. Housing Forecast 2011-2013, released by Central 1 Credit Union.

    20 Most Influential People Of 2011 In BC Residential Construction
    BC Homes magazine lists their 20 Most Influential People in BC Residential Construction of 2011, counting some of the most interesting and impactful leaders of recent challenging times.

    Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update April 2011
    Canadian Home Builders Association Economic Update for April 2011 offers information on international, national and regional economic trends of interest to the home building industry. (PDF)

    Canada's Housing Market Update April 2011
    Royal Bank of Canada reports that home resales statistics for March by the Canadian Real Estate Association confirmed that, overall, the Canadian housing market is transitioning to a more stable, sustainable path, following more than two years of significant volatility. (PDF)

    Is It “Go West Young Man” All Over Again?
    Conference Board of Canada says the trend observed in the second half of the 2000s of a shift in growth toward Western Canada is expected to resume. It is principally attributable to four factors, which are not mutually exclusive.

    Half Of Younger Canadians Plan To Buy Next Year
    RBC annual Homeownership Study finds over half of younger Canadians plan to buy next year, and 46 per cent of younger homeowners say mortgage costs eat up too much income.

    Young Home Buyers Will Lead US Housing Market Recovery
    US National Association of Home Builders survey shows Generation X (young families and adults ages 31 to 45) are likely to lead the home buying recovery as it gets underway. These potential home buyers are most likely to think it's a good time to get off the fence, and they have strong opinions about the design features their new homes will include.

    2. Business Management

    Five Ways To Woo Your New Home Buyer
    Builder Magazine describes five ways to woo your new home buyer.

    Purchasable Book On Social Media For Home Builders
    US National Association of Home Builders new resource book Social Media for Home Builders: It's Easier Than You Think is for builders and residential construction professionals. It teaches them how to use social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to increase their visibility and improve their sales results. $16 USD

    Minimum Wage Hikes Lead To Job Losses
    Canadian Federation Of Independent Business report attempts to quantify the number of Canadian jobs affected by minimum wage increases. CFIB estimates that a 10 per cent increase in the minimum wage across all provinces costs between 92,300 and 321,300 jobs.

    RSMeans Detects Speed-up In Construction Material Prices
    Journal of Commerce says RSMeans detects a speed-up in construction material prices.

    Canadian Construction Cost Guide
    The Altus 2011 Construction Cost Guide, now available free as a downloadable PDF, provides data for planning a more detailed independent analysis of achievable revenues, absorption rates, hard and soft construction costs, and potential profit associated with new construction. Free registration required.

    BC Online System For Complete Construction Bidding Process
    BidCentral from the BC Construction Association provides electronic solutions to every aspect of a construction project from initial planning to procurement, project management, and maintenance.

    Youth Skills BC Workplace Pilot Program
    Youth Skills BC Workplace Pilot Program is new program, funded by the Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development, that provides BC employers with a hiring incentive of up to $2,000 per eligible participant (up to three participants each @ $2000) and up to $1,000 per participant for training. The program runs until March 2012.

    Purchasable Book On Warranties For Builders & Remodelers
    Builder Books sells Warranties for Builders and Remodelers that gives home builders, remodelers, trade contractors, suppliers and other industry professionals vital knowledge concerning the basic elements of a warranty so they can avoid costly mistakes. $30 USD

    Secrets Of Entrepreneurial Success
    Canadian Federation Of Independent Business report Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success says there are many factors which determine an entrepreneur's level of success, but none are more important than the employees that work alongside the owners in their day-to-day operations, the customers who recognize the various benefits of buying from small and mid-sized enterprises and the hard work and long hours that entrepreneurs put in day in, and day out. (PDF)

    3. Building Design & Trends

    2011 AIA Housing Awards Winners
    American Institute of Architects displays their 2011 Housing Award winners in the categories of One- and Two-Family Custom Residences, One- and Two-Family Production Homes, Multifamily Housing, and Specialized Housing.

    2010 Trends In Kitchen & Bath Design
    Qualified Remodeler magazine describes some of the key trends in kitchen and bath design trends for 2010 from their Master Design Awards' kitchen and bath category winners.

    Kitchens & Baths Regain Some Attention In Home Design
    American Institute of Architects survey shows that as the residential sector begins to recover, focus turns to making kitchens and baths more accessible and sustainable.

    New Traditions In 2011 Kitchen & Bath Design
    Custom Home magazine 2011 annual portfolio of kitchens and baths highlights calm, Zen-like spaces.

    Kitchen & Bathroom Planning Guide
    Moen online Kitchen and Bathroom Planning Guide: walks the customer through each phase of a kitchen or bath remodel; helps customers clarify their design style and identify products that will enhance that style; includes a design questionnaire that's similar to the programming interview an architect or designer typically conducts with a customer, and helps the customer to prepare for the interview or create their own design; features sections on working with a contractor, making a budget, and choosing faucets, sinks and accessories; offers helpful hints on how to smooth out those inevitable emotional ups and downs that are part of a remodeling project. (PDF)

    Home Buyers Looking For Open Floor Plans & Memorable Details
    US National Association of Home Builders says home buyers are looking for open floor plans, energy-efficient features and lots of closet space, according to panelists who spoke at two design trends seminars during the 2011 NAHB International Builders Show in Orlando.

    Examples of Great Porch Designs
    HGTV Pro online slide show of 20 Examples of Great Porch Designs shows why porches are making a comeback in both new designs and home renovations.

    Guidelines For Designing Concrete Driveways
    Concrete Network drawings are guidelines to design and build residential driveways.

    Don’t Try These Designs At Home
    Builder Magazine's panel of builders and architects weigh in on trends, practices, and products to avoid.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Dave Miller, President of M-Time Developments says: "Great site!"

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    WorkSafeBC Considers Risky Change For Construction
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association raises concerns that WorkSafeBC is considering a change that would increase the range of the maximum discount and surcharge that can be assessed against an individual construction company.

    BC Public Hearings For 2011 Amendments To OHS Regulation
    WorkSafe BC notice describes public hearings planned for the 2011 proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

    Water Use Efficiency Consideration For Canadian National Codes
    Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes is considering the possibility of developing a water use efficiency objective for Canada’s National Building Code and National Plumbing Code.

    MasterFormat 2011 Now Available
    Construction Specifications Institute sells MasterFormat 2011, a master list of numbers and titles classified by work results or construction practices, used throughout the North American construction industry to organize project manuals, detailed cost information, and relate drawing notations to specifications. $169 CDN

    Phone App To Access WorkSafe BC OSH Regulations
    WorkSafe BC free app allows you to search and browse the OHS Regulation, Policies, Guidelines, and WCB Standards on your iPhone.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Exterior Spray Foam
    Building Science describes why and how spray polyurethane foam (SPF), the high-density stuff, is the only product (so far) that can perform all of the functions of the principal control layers of the perfect wall including water control, air control, vapor control, and thermal control.

    Influence Of Low-Permeance Vapor Barriers On Roof & Wall Performance
    Building Science paper describes how, in many practical situations, a low-permeance vapor barrier will not improve hygrothermal performance and may in fact increase the likelihood of damaging condensation or trap moisture in the system.

    Connection Solutions For Wood Framed Structures
    Woodworks online slide show presentation describes the wide variety of connectors available for wood framed structures and how they can be used most effectively to meet a specific design need. (PDF)

    New Concrete Walkways & Sidewalks
    Concrete Network shows how the versatility of concrete and the many decorative techniques available for adding color and pattern provide man options for making a concrete sidewalk unique.

    Guide To Panelized Roof Systems
    Woodworks online slide show presentation describes what makes a panelized roof system so cost effective, how to decide which panelized roof system best suits your building, the basic structural, fire protection, and construction aspects of design, as well as other advantages to the panelized roof system. (PDF)

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Compatibility Of Fasteners With Residential Pressure Treated Wood
    BC Homeowner Protection Office bulletin Compatibility of Fasteners and Connectors with Residential Pressure Treated Wood updates the earlier version (Builder Insight #1: ACQ Treated Wood) and provides builders, designers, and those specifying treated wood for residential construction with the most up-to-date information available and best practice. (PDF)

    Sound-Abatement Windows Can Help Make House Hushed & Healthy
    EcoHome magazine describes how sound-control windows are increasingly in demand for dwellings in dense urban or suburban areas, and lists suppliers of these types of windows.

    How To Keep Garage Fumes Out Of House
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether an exhaust-only ventilation, excellent air-sealing, and an attached garage may prove problematic for keeping garage fumes out of a house.

    Garage Connection: Solving Indoor Air Quality & Comfort Problems
    Affordable Comfort online slide show presentation describes how to use diagnostic tools, air sealing, and duct sealing to address leakage problems between an attached garage and a house. (PDF)

    Problem With Undercutting Doors For Return Air
    Building Science describes problems with undercutting bedroom doors to provide return airflow from bedrooms, along with options for solutions.

    Window Reflections Can Melt Vinyl Siding
    Green Building Advisor says window reflections can melt vinyl siding and siding and window manufacturers are reluctant to discuss the problem.

    The Life Of Buildings & Maintenance Planning
    Condominium Home Owners Association bulletin describes five general lifecycle stages of buildings that enable owners to anticipate future capital renewal requirements and to make informed decisions about budgeting and other resources for maintenance, repairs and asset renewals. (PDF)

    Free Wildland Urban Interface Hazard Assessment Training Videos
    National Fire Prevention Association offers a free training CD set on minimizing the wildfire risk to housing areas in wildland settings.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    New BC Incentives For Home Energy Efficiency Improvements
    BC Government program LiveSmart BC outlines it's new financial incentives for making existing homes more energy efficient. There are links to Frequently Asked Questions, Eligible Improvements, and Terms and Conditions.

    Fortis BC Incentive Programs For Energy Efficiency
    FortisBC provides customers with incentives, rebates and special offers to save energy & money while making home improvements or simply shopping for new appliances.

    Standard Work Specifications For Home Energy Retrofit
    Home Energy magazine describes the development of standardized work specifications for residential energy retrofits. (PDF)

    Houses Now Consume Less Energy And Appliance & Electronics Consume More
    US Energy Information Agency survey shows home energy use per household has dropped drastically in the US since the 1970s, however energy use on home and consumer electronics has more than doubled in the same period, partially offsetting the gains in heating and cooling efficiency.

    Canadians' Attitudes To Sustainability
    LePage Report on Canadians' Attitudes to Sustainability reveals that while an overwhelming majority of Canadian homeowners view indoor air quality and using sustainable and green building products as important, only half are aware of products to improve indoor air quality. The report showed that British Columbians lead Canada in adoption of environmentally sustainable building products and in knowledge of products that contribute to indoor air quality, followed by those in Ontario and Quebec. (PDF)

    Blog On Building Science & Energy Efficiency
    The author of the Energy Vanguard blog, Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a RESNET-accredited energy consultant and trainer. He performs heat loss calculations, provides HERS rating services, and provides rater training and Energy Star training, among other services. His blog covers a wide range of building science topics relating to energy efficiency and green building.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    New Fireplace Products & Ideas For 2011
    Builder Magazine describes what's smokin' hot in fireplace design for 2011, including new materials, funky shapes, and in some cases, products that produce no smoke at all.

    Panelized vs. Stick Framed
    Forintek brochure provides an economic impact analysis of stick framed vs. panelized home construction methods through case study analysis. (PDF)

    DuctWheel For Duct Sizing Now Available As iPad App
    Air Conditioning Contractors of America now offers their DuctWheel duct sizing as a software application for the iPad. It is available for purchase in Apple’s iTunes store.

    Speedi-Boot Vent Boot Hanger, Debris Cover, & Gasket
    US National Association of Home Builders describes Speedi-Boot, an integrated metal fastening frame and duct boot complete with a foam gasket and construction debris cover, available as a pre-assembled one piece accessory for HVAC duct installation.

    Overview Of Window Films
    BC Hydro provides an overview of window films including what the options are, how to make the best choice, what's on the horizon, and who are the manufacturers.

    Energy Star Gas Unit Heaters
    Natural Resources Canada provides a searchable database of Energy Star rated gas unit heaters.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Top 10 Tips For Wall Framing Layout On New Subfloor
    Fine Homebuilding online video shows two experienced builders demonstrating ways to be more productive as they measure and mark plates for a new multi-family home.

    Garage Floor Coatings
    Concrete Network describes how epoxy floor coatings can turn garage floors into an extension of a living area by adding color, hiding imperfections and improving wear resistance.

    Insulation For Better Energy Performance
    Woodworks online slide show presentation on insulation for better energy performance describes how to select the best insulation system for a given application, write better specifications, sort fact from fiction regarding manufacturer claims, and more. (PDF)

    Installing Home Fire Sprinklers
    Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition provides information and resources on the installation of home fire sprinkler systems.

    10. Information Sources

    Tips & How-To Articles For Kitchens & Baths
    National Kitchen & Bath Association offers tips and how-to articles on a variety of subjects, including kitchen or bath remodels, budgeting a project, green design, and safety.

    Technical Reports On High R-Value Foundations
    Building Science technical reports on High R-Value Foundations are summaries of the results of BSC’s ongoing High R-Value Enclosure research to identify and evaluate residential assemblies that cost-effectively provide 50 percent improvement in thermal resistance.

    Fact Sheets On Wood Painting & Finishing
    US Forest Products Laboratory has online fact sheets on wood painting and finishing.

    Newsletter For Remodeling Industry
    Daily 5 Remodel newsletter for remodeling professionals and industry stakeholders provides inspiring and industry-specific business intelligence, best practices and peer-to-peer engagement.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Pacific Coast Builders Show
    Pacific Coast Builders Show held in San Francisco June 22-24 offers trade show, educational programs, pre-conference intensives, executive-level programs, and more.

    Multifamily Trends Conference
    Multifamily Trends Conference is being held as part of the Pacific Coast Builders Show in San Francisco, June 22-24

    12. Education & Training

    Luncheon Seminar On Specifying Preservative Treated Wood
    BC Building Envelope Council luncheon in Vancouver on April 21 covers the parts of the 2010 National Building Code of Canada that reference the CSA standards for treated wood which has a new approach to classifying treatments for different end uses.

    Free Webcast On Ground Source Heat Pump Systems
    ASHRAE webcast Ground Source Heat Pump Systems, Putting the Earth to Work for You on April 21st features leading heat pump experts describing how site, climate, building, HVAC system and ground characteristics affect ground heat exchanger design, how ground source system design enhances efficiency, and how to avoid design and operations pitfalls.

    Introduction To Lean Construction Basics
    BC Wood & FPInnovations full-day introduction to lean construction will be held in Burnaby on May 17. It focuses on methods that encourage collaboration between developers, architects, contractors and key suppliers that maximizes value for all project stakeholders and minimizes waste in the design and construction of building projects. (PDF)

    Free Online Seminar Series For Builders
    Hanley Wood presents their free Presidential Online Seminar series that encompasses 6 live, one-hour webinar sessions presented by successful industry experts in finance, design, research and construction. Each seminar will include a 30-minute presentation followed by a 30-minute Q&A forum.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Charging Pad That Can Charge Four Devices At Once
    Duracell's MyGrid Charging Pad can charge up to four devices from a list that contains wide range of mobile devices, all in one neat contraption.

    Directory Of Knowledge Discovery Resources 2011
    Internet MiniGuide Annotated Link Compilation lists the latest and most reliable resources for knowledge discovery on the Internet. The selected resources and sites offer a wide range of dependable, expert knowledge and information discovery sources to help you accomplish your research goals.

    The Power of Words
    This short online film illustrates the power of words to radically change your message and your effect upon the world.

    Dittie For Today: On Determination

    Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting. - Christopher Morely

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    © Copyright 2011               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada