Alert Notice #49
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
July 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 Carrie Davis, Brian Hart, Norma Bourque, Joey Fearn, Maureen McLaughlin, Wilma Leung, John Chepil, Soni Riediger, David Hill, Fred Stitt, Glenn Duxbury, Graham Finch, Jordan Papanier, Michelle Enfield, Peter Sundberg, Garry Lowney, and Joanne de Vries 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

    Issues Around Accurate Heating & Cooling Load Calculations
    US Department of Energy online Accurate Heating and Cooling Load Calculations guide can be used for collaborative discussions between a builder, HVAC contractor, and other trade partners to understand the importance of appropriately calculating peak heating and cooling loads, as the first step of HVAC system design. (PDF)

    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    BC Housing Market Update July 2011
    BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the June 2011 statistics and an in depth look at net migration in the BC regions.

    Foreign Investment Not Driving Prices In Lower Mainland
    Urban Futures says publicly available data do not support the anecdote that foreign investors are driving residential price increases in the Lower Mainland: overall they accounted for 0.4 percent of all residential sales in the region in 2010.

    320,000 Canadian Construction Workers Needed In Next Decade
    Construction Sector Council says Canada’s construction industry will need about 320,000 workers over the next nine years to meet demand for new construction and to replace retirements and mortalities. Canada’s slowing population growth combined with its rising demand for large natural resource construction projects is challenging the industry to find the required number of skilled workers.

    Estimating Underground Economy In Canada
    Statistics Canada study Estimating the Underground Economy in Canada, 1992-2008 reports on the size of the underground economy in Canada. The study’s findings suggest that the underground economy grew less quickly than the total economy in Canada from 1992 to 2008, and in 2008, the upper bound estimate of the underground economy was $36 billion, an increase of 90% from 1992, the initial year for the period under study. (PDF)

    Provincial Current Trends July 2011
    RBC provides statistics on Canadian provincial current trends and economic indicators. (PDF)

    Homeowner Association Fights Get Ugly
    Builder Magazine describes how homeowner association fights are tending to get very ugly.

    2. Business Management

    Releases Of Claims
    Construction Business magazine says whether or not legal action was commenced, when a construction dispute is settled, a party should put its mind to the issues surrounding obtaining and/or signing a Release of Claims as one of the settlement requirements. (PDF)

    10 Strategies For Getting Good Customer Testimonials
    HVACR Business describes 10 strategies for getting good customer testimonials and 7 ideas for using them to overcome scepticism

    Estimating Amount Of Concrete For Steps
    Concrete Network online slab calculator can figure out the concrete needed for porch surface, and footing calculator can calculate the sides of the porch and the steps.

    BC Certificate Of Recognition Program
    BC Construction Safety Alliance offers the Certificate of Recognition program for construction safety. Companies who achieve and maintain certification are eligible for a 10-15% rebate from WorkSafe BC.

    Online Commercial Building Cost Calculator
    WoodWorks online Cost Comparison Calculator gives you a current comparison of commercial building material costs using RSMeans Costworks data. Building types covered include apartment, restaurant, church, rink, gymnasium, school, motel, swimming pool, office, and town hall.

    Doing Business With Canadian Government
    Public Works and Government Services Canada offers information and resources on how to do business with the federal government.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Thoughtful Details For Stairs
    Builder Magazine online slide show describes how innovative instalments and thoughtful details can bring staircases to new heights.

    2011 Best Of Best Kitchen & Bath Award Winners
    HGTV Pro online slide show describes the NKBA 2011 Best of the Best Award winners, picked by experts at the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

    Five Pillars Of Design For Outdoor Living
    Qualified Remodeler describes how beautiful, functional outdoor living spaces must reflect elements of balance, nature, longevity, details and convenience.

    iPhone & iPad App For Landscape Design
    Home Outside Design app for iPhone and iPad offers 280 landscape elements that can be arranged to fit outdoor spaces of any size or shape.

    Tile Design Trends
    HGTV Pro online slide show gives examples of how to take advantage of tile's wide variety of colors and textures to express your creativity, and how different patterns can produce different effects.

    Modern Accessibility In Remodeled Kitchen
    eBuild online slide show describes a remodeled kitchen that shunned the notion that universal design has to be clunky and obvious.

    Rise Of Mid-Rise Buildings
    Builder Magazine says we may be poised to witness a new era of mid-rise construction, and provides a slide show of 10 examples of such buildings.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Richard Fearn, President of Fab-Form Industries Ltd says: "I really appreciate your work here on BC Building Info. All the best."

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    Energy Efficiency In 2012 BC Building Code
    Urban Development Institute describes how the 2012 update to the BC Building Code will bring significant new requirements for energy efficiency.

    National Building Code Part 9 Energy Efficiency Requirements Take Shape
    Canadian National Research Council says development of energy efficiency provisions for housing and small buildings is progressing, technical requirements have been prepared, a cost/benefit analysis is underway, and proposed changes are expected to be submitted for public review in late fall 2011.

    Cost Considerations For Canadian Energy Efficiency Requirements For Houses
    CHBA says while the Joint Task Group on Energy Efficiency in Housing and Small Buildings has attempted to choose the most practical set of requirements necessary to reach the level of energy efficiency proposed, there is no cost analysis. (PDF)

    Mandatory Reporting For Consumer Product Safety
    Health Canada says as of June 20, 2011, when the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) comes into force, industry will be required to provide information to the Minister of Health and to the person from whom the company obtained the product, if applicable, regarding certain consumer product safety incidents.

    Inspection Services For New Construction
    Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors are now providing inspection services on newly constructed homes in some areas of Canada.

    Online Inspector Game To Find Code & Safety Violations
    Fine Homebuilding provides online game called The Inspector which challenges you to spot code and safety violations, missing structural elements, and anything else that has been added or deleted from the real job site photos.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Decks Are Roofs You Can Walk On
    Building Science describes how a deck is pretty much an unvented roof that you walk on. We drain and drain again, provide drainage gaps, slope to drains and add insulation on the top. If we can’t add insulation on the top, we insulate from underneath. When we insulate from underneath, we follow the International Residential Code (IRC) provisions for unvented roofs. Open cell, closed cell, vapor retarders, air impermeable. It is all there.

    Roof Venting
    Fine Homebuilding article by Joe Lstiburek describes when to vent your roof, when not to, and how to execute each approach successfully.

    Problems & Solutions For Floor Slabs
    Building Science online slide show describes problems and solutions for concrete floor slabs. (PDF)

    Impact Of Gas Fireplace On Winter Energy Consumption & House Temperatures
    CMHC study showed fireplace operation had a significant impact on increasing total house heating energy consumption and lowering air temperatures in far away rooms. (PDF)

    In-Field Performance Of Condensing Boilers In Cold Climate Region
    Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings says the combination of a gas-fired condensing boiler with baseboard convectors is a low-cost, energy efficient solution for high-efficiency residential space heating in cold climates. But in many instances, condensing boilers are not achieving consistent condensing performance levels due to high return water temperatures. (PDF)

    Combustion Byproducts From Wood Structural Panels
    Engineered Wood Association bulletin Combustion Byproducts from Wood Structural Panels summarizes available information regarding the environmental concerns of burning wood structural products containing adhesives. (PDF) Free registration required.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Concrete Moisture Problems
    Concrete Network says water vapor from the floor can make rooms more humid, which can be a concern with new tighter home construction. In extreme cases, when you started with wet concrete or when the ground beneath the slab is very wet, the floor can actually be damp and slick and moisture will condense beneath objects placed on the slab.

    Dealing With Creaky Subflooring
    Journal of Light Construction describes soundproofing techniques that might help if re-fastening the subflooring isn't feasible.

    Toxic & Non-Toxic Houses
    Green Building Advisor discusses why green builders are obsessed with toxins in houses.

    Home Radon Testing
    Radiation Safety Institute of Canada provides information on home radon testing.

    Universal Design In The Bathroom
    Qualified Remodeler describes how every bath designer can consider safety, comfort and sanitation.

    Mercury Hazards Responsibilities For Lighting
    Canadian Property Management says Canadian consumers will still be able to purchase fluorescent, metal halide and sodium vapour lamps after a pending federal regulation to restrict or outright prohibit mercury-containing products goes into effect, but product prices may be higher. Both commodity and servicing costs are likely to increase as manufacturers comply with new content limits and vendors/distributors take on new responsibilities for recycling.

    Standard On Prevention Of Legionellosis Is Open For Public Comment
    A proposed standard practice that specifies requirements to prevent legionellosis associated with building water systems is currently open for public review from ASHRAE. Standard 188P, Prevention of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems, is intended to help facility managers/owners understand how to apply the available information on Legionella effectively in order to prevent cases of legionellosis associated with building water systems. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Climate Adoption Perspective & Priorities Of Canadian Residential Construction Industry
    Canadian Home Builders Association summarizes the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy meeting on Business Resilience in a Changing Climate, and describes perspective and priorities of the residential construction industry related to climate adaptation. (PDF)

    Big Changes & Future Trends In Sustainable Buildings
    Building Science online slide show on healthy, durable, energy efficient and more sustainable buildings describes big changes and future trends. (PDF)

    Passive House Concepts & Basics
    Green Building Advisor discusses the Passivhaus standard, the housing industry's simplest yet most rigorous and challenging energy consumption standard.

    Zero Energy Not Feasible For All New Housing
    Big Builder article by a builder and a land use lawyer and planning consultant says zero net energy is a lofty goal, and its application to even a small percentage of new homes serves as a proving ground for new technologies and new design methods, some of which can be applied to production homes. It is not, however, a feasible or practical approach for all new housing. Nor should it be.

    Get Rid Of Naturally Aspirating Gas Water Heaters
    Green Building Advisor says some experts think it's time to ban atmospherically vented gas water heaters from green homes. The alternatives, electric-resistance and heat-pump water heaters, are getting more efficient, and they won't fill tight homes with poisonous exhaust fumes.

    Energy-Use Monitoring A Trend To Watch In Green Home Technologies
    US National Association of Home Builders says providing technology that enables home owners to monitor their residential energy usage is a growing trend for electronics systems contractors who are working with builders and remodelers on the installation of new green home technologies.

    Healthy Housing Opportunities During Weatherization Work
    US Department of Energy report provides an overview of health and safety practices currently followed by the network of organizations that provide weatherization services for low-income families under DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program. (PDF)

    2011 Collective Biofuels Conference In Duncan
    Cowichan Energy Alternatives and Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-Op hosts the 2011 Collective Biofuels Conference in Duncan, August 5-7. It will cover feedstock, biodiesel production and distribution, and discuss other alternative fuels, emerging technologies, regulatory issues, and biodiesel coop case studies from across North America.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    CO Risk For Navien Hot Water Heaters
    Technical Standards and Safety Authority bulletin says the connection between the vent collar and the vent pipe on a limited production run of instantaneous (tankless) water heaters manufactured by Navien may not have fused properly during the installation. Any connection of the venting system not properly fused has the potential to expel flue products into the living space. These flue products may include Carbon Monoxide.

    Product Recalls For Venmar Air Exchangers
    Health Canada Safety Upgrade Program involves Venmar air exchangers sold under different brands. Air exchangers included were manufactured from 1983 through 2001 and have brand and model information printed on the unit's rating plate or on the side of the unit. The motor in the air exchangers can overheat, posing a fire hazard.

    Spectacular Sunscreens
    Custom Home magazine describes some artfully screened outdoor spaces from their 2011 Custom Home Design Awards.

    Pocket Door Possibilities
    Builder Magazine shows pocket doors with clean lines and an array of design and architectural possibilities that can add a subtly modern element without disrupting the home’s existing style.

    Selecting Lighting & Controls
    US Department of Energy offers information and resources on selecting lighting and controls to use energy more efficiently.

    New Tools & Products From JLC Live Show
    Journal of Light Construction describes some of the new and different, interesting tools and products on display at this spring's JLC LIVE show. (PDF)

    Top Tools From 2011 National Hardware Show
    Popular Mechanics describes what it feels are the top 8 tools from the 2011 National Hardware Show.

    Heat Pump Water Heaters
    Green Building Advisor provides an overview and discussions on heat pump water heaters.

    9. Installation Procedures

    How To Retrofit Cathedral Roof With Insulation
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether is it better to add insulation to a cathedral roof on the inside, or on top of the roof deck.

    Advanced Wall Framing
    Fine Homebuilding online diagram describes methods of advanced wall framing. (PDF)

    Panelized Systems Enable Builders To Frame Faster And Reduce Labor & Materials Costs
    US National Association of Home Builders says home builders who use traditional stick-built construction can frame faster and reduce overall labor and materials costs using panelized building systems, a construction technique that also enables them to quickly gear up production.

    Air-Tight Window Installation
    Fine Homebuilding podcast gives description, with construction details, on how to perform an air-tight window installation.

    Home Fires Linked To Spray Foam Installation
    Green Building Advisor says some home fires have been linked to spray foam installation.

    10. Information Sources

    News On Vancouver Municipal Affairs
    Novae Res Urbis Vancouver Edition is a limited circulation news service that helps important decision-makers stay current on municipal affairs in Vancouver. It provides useful and up-to-date information on municipal issues to decision-makers in the real estate and development industries, architecture and planning, financial sector, public sector and, other major businesses in the Vancouver market. Subscription required.

    Online Video Tips For Framing With OSB
    Ainsworth, an OSB manufacturer, offers online educational videos on best framing practices using OSB.

    Asbestos: The Hidden Killer
    WorkSafe BC has a new asbestos website that provides information and resources on asbestos-exposure prevention.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Architectural Walking Tours of Vancouver
    This summer, uncover some of Vancouver`s hidden treasures with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia`s architectural walking tours. Learn about Vancouver's diverse and unique history, and explore the city's rapidly changing urban landscape. There are six guided tours to choose from: Victory Square & Gastown; Chinatown; Strathcona; False Creek North & Yaletown; The West End; and The Downtown Business Core. (PDF)

    BC Water Symposium
    Occurring concurrently in Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria, from August 30 to September 1, this BC Water Symposium event will bring together water researchers, water decision-makers and end-users from across the province to develop a long-term and comprehensive Water Science Strategy to help secure and manage our fresh water supply for future generations.

    Interior Design Show West
    Interior Design Show West, held in Vancouver September 29 - October 2, is the West Coast consumer and trade show for contemporary residential design. It showcases local, Canadian, and international furnishings, fixtures and accessories for the design of a home.

    12. Education & Training

    Seminar On Builders Lien Act
    Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC seminar on Builders Lien Act, held in Vancouver on July 22, will offer a concise, up to date overview of builders' liens, including a discussion on the obligations on design consultants with respect to payment certification and release of holdbacks, and practical tips to manage the risks.

    Webinar Series For Window Industry
    Fenestration Canada webinar schedule for the summer/fall period includes Energy Codes in Canada, Building Codes in Canada, and Glass Performance for Energy Efficient Fenestration.

    BIM Forum In Vancouver
    Insight Information presents Building Information Modeling (BIM) Forum in Vancouver, September 27-28. It covers a broad range of topics to assist in understanding how highly BIM-enabled, collaborative projects can transform project delivery at all levels.

    Employers Toolkit For Apprenticeships
    Canadian Apprenticeship Forum online Employers Toolkit provides information and resources on apprenticeships in Canada.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Smart Insights On Smartphones In Canada
    Ipsos Reid has been tracking smartphone penetration and consumer behavior in Canada for several years now, and describes how smartphones appear to be everywhere and are changing the way the world functions and behaves.

    How To Videos Q&A Forums
    Mahalo is building a massive library of how-to videos and articles so someone looking for instruction can read an article by Mahalo writers, watch a video or use the question-and-answer forums to ask for help from other Mahalo users.

    It's Mosquito Season
    The word's out that mosquito season is here. This guy can handle it, fast. Just move you mouse pointer near his head and watch. I'll bet his first swat made your knee jerk!

    Dittie For Today

    A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew. - Herb Caen

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    © Copyright 2011               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada