Alert Notice #48
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
June 21, 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, Wilma Leung, John Chepil, George Pinch, Glenn Duxbury, Martin Noe, Dave Fisher, David Hill, and Brent Wilker 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

    Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction
    Canadian Wood Council online Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction provides guidance to engineers, building designers, building officials, and builders on the structural design of wood elements and connections for wood frame buildings. (PDF)

    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    BC Mortgage Rate Forecast June 2011
    BC Real Estate Association mortgage rate forecast of June 2011 says mortgage rates have moved off year-to-date lows but may be heading back down, and inflation worries are overdone. (PDF)

    Deciphering Trends In BC Real Estate Prices
    Urban Futures first installment of Averages & Anecdotes considers the past two years of sales data for the Lower Mainland region and pulls the most expensive sales out of the calculation of average sales prices to provide a clearer picture of prices (and price changes).

    Provincial Outlook June 2011
    Royal Bank of Canada monthly provincial economic update charts and tables show provincial economies are facing a period of sustained growth, albeit still modest for the most part. (PDF)

    May 2011 Canadian Housing Starts
    CMHC says seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 183,600 units in May, up from 178,700 units in April 2011.

    Canadian Housing Market Trends & Affordability May 2011
    RBC Economics Research report Housing Market Trends & Affordability May 2011 says the reprieve from the rising trend in homeownership costs that Canadian homebuyers enjoyed during the second half of 2010 came to an end in the early months of this year. (PDF)

    The Cost Of NIMBYism
    Builder Magazine says fear among residents that new smaller homes, and especially multifamily units, will lower existing-home values are unfounded.

    2. Business Management

    GST/HST Reporting Requirements For Builders
    Government of Canada gives description of changes to GST/HST reporting requirements for certain builders of newly constructed or substantially renovated housing in Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. (PDF)

    Five Builders Offer Survival Strategies That Work
    US National Association of Home Builders describes how five builders have succeeded against difficult odds in keeping their businesses going and positioning them for the new markets slowly emerging from the rubble of one of the most challenging housing downturns imaginable.

    Save Up To $1,000 Through New Hiring Credit
    Canadian Federation Of Independent Business says federal budget announced a new hiring credit designed to alleviate the burden on small businesses trying to expand their payroll. Those businesses paying $10,000 or less in EI premiums in 2011 will see any additional hiring and accompanying premiums credited back up to $1,000. This means any business with a payroll of around $400,000 or less could add an employee in 2011 and suffer no extra EI premium on the first $1,000.

    Construction Employer's Roadmap To Hiring & Retaining Internationally Trained Workers
    Construction Sector Council free Construction Employer’s Roadmap provides information on the role of employment agencies and immigration consultants and provides an overview of Canada’s immigration programs and the different paths open to permanent residents, temporary residents and workers outside of Canada. The roadmap offers advice on how to assess experience obtained in other countries, make job offers, develop orientation programs and retain workers.

    Using Local Publications To Reach Potential Clients
    Remodeling magazine says by using local publications to reach potential clients remodelers can meet prospects on the pages they’re reading.

    Purchasable Book To Benchmark Your Business
    NAHB step-by-step assessment manual Benchmark Your Business, helps the homebuilder, developer, or trade contactor evaluate and assess business management and operational systems by comparing managerial proficiencies to construction output quickly and efficiently. By the completion of the assessment manual the user will have benchmarked these systems: business planning, office management, quality management, cost estimating, cost accounting, cost control, scheduling, safety, trade contractors and supply partnering, customer care and warranty programs. A resource guide is included at the end of the book to direct the user to a wealth of resources to improve benchmarks for each system. $26 USD.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Sources Of Span Tables & Design Software
    Woodworks provides links to sources of span tables and design software.

    2011 Custom Home Design Award Winners
    Custom Home Magazine provides online slide shows and descriptions of their their 2011 Custom Home Design Award winners.

    Call for Entries For 2011 Annual Georgie Awards
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC has released the Call for Entries for the 20th Annual Georgie Awards.

    10 Patio Ideas
    HGTV Pro online slide show describes how, with attractive flooring, lighting and accessories, you can turn your once-boring patio into an inviting area for outdoor living.

    10 Ideas for Great Concrete Entryways
    Concrete Network describes 10 ways to create a grand entrance to your home with concrete walkways, steps and decorative accents.

    Echo Boomers Transform Multifamily Expectations
    Multi-Housing News says the echo-boomer generation, born between 1980 and 1995, represents a significant retreat from the propensity-to-own mentality. Many of them have seen how their siblings or parents got caught up in the housing boom and bust, and they don’t want to make the same mistake.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    David Mitten, Executive Director, Siding & Window Dealers Association of Canada says: "I just spent an enjoyable hour or so exploring your web site. Wow, you've gathered together a lot of interesting stuff!"

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    36 BC Communities Regulate Solar Ready Homes
    BC Ministry of Energy and Mines lists 36 communities that have agreed to adopt a new building regulation that requires all new single family homes built in their community to be solar hot water ready.

    BC Landscape Standards
    BC Landscape Standard 7th Edition is an essential reference for landscape architects, design firms, municipalities, growers and landscape installation and maintenance companies and anyone buying their services and products. Developed by the BCSLA and the BCLNA (BC Landscape and Nursery Association), the Standard establishes levels of quality and sets standards for plant production, landscape construction and maintenance.

    Would Canadian Buildings Stand Japan-Sized Earthquakes?
    National Research Council of Canada explains how our National Building Code does not need to account for the same levels of seismicity as Japan. Our requirements are designed for Canada’s relative seismic hazard.

    Alberta Requirements For Combo Systems
    Alberta Safety Services and Plumbing and Gas Technical Council bulletin Requirements For Combination Heating Systems informs plumbing and gas industry of requirements associated with the sale and installation of dual purpose water heaters. (PDF)

    New Quality Installation Guidelines For Energy Star HVAC Systems
    Energy Star for Homes Version 3 guidelines (effective on January 1, 2012) will require that HVAC systems be installed according to industry–accepted Quality Installation (QI) guidelines established in ANSI/ACCA Standard 5 QI. The four main requirements of an HVAC QI are: proper equipment sizing and component matching; correct refrigerant charge; proper airflow to match refrigerant capacity; sealing ducts to minimize leaks.

    Guidelines For Practice Of Building Enclosure Engineering
    Morrison Hershfield provides Guidelines For Practice Of Building Enclosure Engineering that set out the standards of practice that a Building Enclosure Engineer should follow and meet when providing building enclosure engineering services for building projects. Free registration required.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Exhaust-Only Ventilation Can Be Best In Some Cases
    Green Building Advisor summarizes a study that shows exhaust-only ventilation systems can be a very effective, low-cost ventilation option.

    Behaviour & Performance Of Concrete Sidewalks
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction describes current construction practices and the types of deformation and damage that reduce service life of concrete sidewalks.

    Tankless Heaters Used In Combo Systems
    Building Science online slide show summarizes field experience with tankless hot water heaters used in combination space and domestic hot water heating systems. (PDF)

    Determination Of Indoor Humidity Using Hygrothermal Model
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction paper describes how a whole-building hygrothermal model called HAMFitPlus, which takes into account the dynamic interactions between building envelope components, mechanical systems and indoor heat and moisture generation mechanisms, is used to assess the indoor humidity condition of an existing occupied house. (PDF)

    Parapets, Where Roofs Meet Walls
    Building Science says when wind blows against a building it produces vortices at the roof edges that create huge pressure differences at roof perimeters that can suck roofs off buildings. Parapets dramatically reduce these pressure differences at roof edges.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Responding To Concerns About Wood Frame Structure Fires
    Journal of Commerce says we should not confuse the fire risk of a building under construction with the fire risk of a completed building.

    Why House Paint Fails
    US Forest Products Laboratory describes causes of paint failure on wood siding and trim. (PDF)

    Formaldehyde & Structural Wood Products
    Engineered Wood Association describes why PS 1 and PS 2 certified panels easily meet or are exempt from the world's leading formaldehyde emission limits and regulations.

    Power Attic Ventilators Are Bad Idea
    Energy Vanguard says in order for the powered attic fan to work the air needs to come from the outside and not be pulled from the house so this means that the attic ceiling needs to be airtight. If the attic ceiling is airtight you don’t need the fan. Your money is better spent on something else.

    Quality Lighting Contributes To Organizational Effectiveness
    Canadian National Research Council study shows that quality lighting is indirectly related to fewer health problems, higher job satisfaction and organizational commitment, as well as lower staff turnover.

    Model Lighting Ordinance For Addressing Light Pollution
    Illuminating Engineering Society of North America online Model Lighting Ordinance will allow communities to drastically reduce light pollution and glare and lower excessive light levels.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Net Zero Energy Homes
    Green Building Advisor podcast Net Zero Energy Homes, Part 1 discusses the mega trend that is net-zero housing, which are homes that produce as much energy as they use.

    Solar Ready Truss Design Guidelines
    Canadian Solar Industries Association is developing Solar Ready Guidelines for Trusses that will include a design process to enable builders using truss systems to readily overcome potential structural design concerns related to additional loads associated with solar systems that may be installed on their Solar Ready homes.

    Online Greenhouse Gas Calculator For New Homes
    GreenPoint Rated Climate Calculator is an online calculator to measure total greenhouse gas emissions avoided by building greener homes.

    10 Products For A Healthy Home
    HGTV Pro describes 10 products for a healthy home, including fungus-based insulation, chemical-free paint strippers, low-VOC wood stains, and more.

    Comparison Of Wood-Plastic Composite & Wood Decking
    Dovetail report Comparison of Performance Characteristics & Environmental Attributes of Wood-Plastic Composite vs Wood Decking says life cycle assessment indicates that WPCs have substantially higher environmental impacts in comparison to a naturally durable solid wood product such as western red cedar. While WPCs may be made completely, or nearly so, from recycled content, the overall environmental impact of WPC products is nonetheless large as compared to impacts linked to traditional solid-wood decking products. (PDF)

    Money Sucking Vampires Emanating From Your TV
    Home Energy describes how cable, satellite, and DVR set-top boxes in the field today act like vampires by sucking up huge amounts of electricity all night long even though the user has turned off their box.

    Quarterly Report On Green Building Market Intelligence
    Light House Sustainable Building Centre online Market Insights Quarterly Report for the first quarter 2011 provides information to keep you abreast of market developments and the latest intelligence on green building. (PDF)

    Cleantech Report Card For British Columbia
    KPMG Cleantech Report Card for British Columbia is intended to act as a benchmark for the size and growth of the industry, and to provide valuable insights for evaluating and monitoring the growth and development of the industry in British Columbia.

    Canadian Budget 2011 Included $400 Million For ecoENERGY Retrofit
    Canadian Budget 2011 included $400 million for 2011-12 for the ecoENERGY Retrofit for Homes program to help homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient and reduce the burden of high energy costs.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Recall Of GE Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners
    Health Canada has announced a recall of GE Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners and packaged terminal heat pumps, most often used in apartment buildings and commercial space. An electrical component in the heating system can fail, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

    13 Universal Design Products Builders Should Be Using Now
    Builder Magazine describes 13 universal design products builders should be using now.

    Summary Of Residential Air Cleaning Devices
    US Environmental Protection Agency online publication covers pollutant types, air cleaning strategies, types of air cleaners, effectiveness, health effects, installation, use, maintenance, guidelines for comparing, and references.

    Information & Resources On Steel Framing
    Steel Framing Industry Association provides information and resources on steel framing.

    Difference In Deck Stains
    Fine Homebuilding says most deck stains are engineered to color and protect wood in a single coat and are available in oil-based, water-based, and water-based epoxy-fortified mixtures.

    Fortis BC Gas Contractor Program
    Fortis BC offers a Contractor Program to connect customers seeking products and services in their area with reliable and knowledgeable natural gas contractors who are registered with the British Columbia Safety Authority.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Techniques For Advanced Framing
    Building Science online slide show describes techniques for advanced framing. (PDF)

    Shear Bracing For Foam-Sheathed Walls
    Fine Homebuilding podcast discusses the new trend of exterior foam walls, and how to properly brace such a structure.

    Composite Deck Tips
    Remodeling TV online video covers basic rules and pointers for working with composite decking that will make your job faster and easier without having to cut corners.

    10. Information Sources

    Tour Of Net Zero Home Project In Burnaby On July 7
    The next Harmony House industry tour will by on Thursday July 7th from 10:00-12:00, and 1:00-3:00. The house will be at the pre drywall stage and will showcase innovative insulation systems, mechanical systems, electrical systems and windows. Many of the suppliers and those involved in the house design and construction will be available to answer questions. The address is 7990 Joffre Ave. in Burnaby.

    Technical Papers On Structural Engineering Topics
    Structural Engineers Association of British Columbia offers free access to technical papers and articles on various structural engineering topics.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    2011 Remodeling Show In Chicago
    US National Association of Home Builders annual Remodelers Show will take place In Chicago, October 13-15. It offers education sessions, networking opportunities, trade show, and more.

    2011 National Home Inspector Conference In Edmonton
    Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors 2011 National Conference will be held in Edmonton October 13-15.

    12. Education & Training

    Education & Training Courses On Canadian Standards
    CSA offers scheduled public courses, annual conferences, certification programs, online training, blending learning, and customized on-site training. Topics include business & quality management, climate change, construction, electrical, energy, environment, health care, information technology & telecommunication, infrastructure & public works, mechanical & industrial equipment, occupational health & safety, and public & community safety.

    Online HVAC Courses & Certification
    HVACR education offers a variety of online education and training options for assessments, certificate programs, certification review prep courses, continuing education units, degree seeking programs, and individual courses.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Google Cloud Connect To Store & Collaborate For Microsoft Office
    Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office allows collaborative multi-person editing. You can share, backup and simultaneously edit Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents with colleagues.

    Better Sites Than Facebook For Personal Networking
    Website Magazines says many Web professionals might be missing personal connections needed to truly drive traffic and engagement to receive the many benefits (traffic, exposure, conversion). Outside of Facebook and Twitter. They list other sites that you should consider adding to your list of key personal networking sites.

    Try Your Bow & Arrow Skills
    Here's a simple little time-waster that will test your bow and arrow skills. I sure felt guilty when I missed!

    Dittie For Today: On Wisdom

    A wise man knows his own ignorance. A fool knows everything. - Charles Simmons

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    © Copyright 2011               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada