Alert Notice #5
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 May 14, 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

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


  Westeck Windows

  CMHC Equilibrium

Please Don't Tell My Mother!

You've probably heard the line "He's a child that only a mother could love". Sometimes I must admit, smiling within, that such a quote could well be used to describe certain adventures of yours truly.

Picture this. It's a sunny afternoon, and you're walking down the almost-deserted laneway behind a local mall in your idyllic little community, far away from the inner slums of the big city. Then, suddenly, in disbelief, your innocent eyes land upon an image-shattering sight. Right there, in broad daylight, smack dab in the middle of your personal Pleasantville, you see him...a dumpster diver. How would you react?

It depends. If you are a suit, you may rigidly strut on by and pretend you didn't really see anything. If a teenager, you and your friends might point, giggle, and make jokes. If you are a woman, you may quickly pick up your pace and somewhat fearfully move on out of there. But if you happen to be a gardener, you just might read between the lines and actually stop to talk with this ol' scrap scrounger. How do I know? You guessed it. I know from personal experience. Because I was (and still am) said dumpster diver. Or as our homeless buddy laughingly labels me...a "binner".

Now before you commence bemoaning the current state of my affairs, perhaps some explanation is in order. Hint...compost. You see, I've negotiated a special, gardener's-heaven contra with the people at the produce store. And it's a big time win/win. They receive my mother-in-law's famous shortbread, plus some of my fresh, homemade corn bread. In exchange, I get to dive for their premium waste produce, which I transform into natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer for my garden, Prozac. To make this deal even sweeter at my end, I am blessed with an incredible opportunity to research various people's responses to dumpster divers, I mean binners. Aren't you jealous?

Full disclosure: Perhaps I'm stretching the truth just a wee bit when I ask you not to tell my mother, because she already knows. Much to her chagrin, she's aware that her beloved eldest is a part-time binner. And as with some (OK, quite a few) of my past escapades, she just shakes her head and lovingly accepts it all. However, methinks it is still best that you not let her know I have shared this binner tale with all of you. Like Moms the world over, there are things my dear Mom will accept, but prefer not be publicized.

My thanks to Mark Gauvin, John Vukanovich, Pat Caporale, Herman Rebneris, Ken Sawatsky, Ben Van Nostrand, Barbara Conrad, Mario Goncalves, Tim Parsons, Marie Savage, Frank Came, Sean Keller, Ross Power, John Chepil, Peter Ronald, Jeff Melvin, Lisa Toyne, Dan Poh, Kevin Wong, Rick Fearn, Mila Djuras, Ivar Brovold, Jeff Croft, Wilma Leung, Greg Clarke, Richard Kadulski, Lee Boland, and Brian Hart 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

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

Newsletter On Green Building
With the increasing interest in green building, there is an ever-growing amount of information available. Every day I find links to new articles, events, resources, courses, codes & by-laws, research, products, and other green-related materials. I've been wondering if it would be worth producing an additional Alert newsletter, one that focuses on green building resources of interest to those of us here in BC. Let me know if you think this would be of value to you by answering the survey at the end of this newsletter.

Directory Topics With New Links Added
These Topics in our Directory now have lots of new links:
Renewable Energy: General Info
Renewable Energy: Biomass & Biofuel
Renewable Energy: Fuel Cells
Renewable Energy: Geothermal
Renewable Energy: Green Power
Renewable Energy: Small Hydro
Renewable Energy: Thermal Storage
Renewable Energy: Wind Power

Solar Energy: General Info
Solar Energy: Air Heating
Solar Energy: Passive Design
Solar Energy: Photovoltaics
Solar Energy: Water Heating

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 *************************************************

Looking For Products That Meet BC Rainscreen Code Requirements?

           PowerWood can supply you with a wide range of tested and proven building envelope and            rainscreen products including:
  • For Stone & Masonry: Sure Cavity SM
  • For Stucco, Siding and Shingles: Driwall
  • Commercial Grade Building Wrap: Typar

  • Find out more about PowerWood rainscreen products…


    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    Statistics & Surveys For BC Municipalities
    Civic Info BC, a web resource for information sharing among local government sectors, offers searchable database of Ministry of Community Services statistics, local government surveys, and Statistics Canada 2006 Census information for BC municipalities.

    Canadian Statistics At A Glance
    Canada at a glance presents current Canadian demographic, education, health, justice, housing, income, labour market, economic, travel, financial, and foreign trade statistics. It also includes important international comparisons, so readers can see how Canada stacks up against its neighbours. (PDF)

    Impacts Of Aging Canadian Population On Housing & Communities
    CMHC Research Highlight summarizes what we know about the aging of the Canadian population, explores potential impacts on Canadian communities and housing, outlines possible responses, and indicates where further work is needed. 2008 (PDF)

    World Economic Outlook Of Housing & Business Cycle
    World Economic Outlook presents the IMF staff analysis and projections of economic developments at the global level, in major country groups (classified by region, stage of development, etc.), and in many individual countries. It focuses on major economic policy issues as well as on the analysis of economic developments and prospects. April 2008

    2. Business Management

    Purchasable Book On Markup & Profit For Contractors
    Journal of Light Construction book for contractors describes importance of setting your own markup, what markup is, how to arrive at it, calculations you need to correctly figure markup based on your individual business, and more. It comes with a CD-ROM including 21 ready-to-use forms and checklists. $26 USD

    Resource Site On Techniques For Persuasion & Changing Minds
    Changing Minds three main sections on disciplines, techniques, and explanations are filled with articles, theories, subtle tricks, techniques of manipulation, and practical exercises. With detailed information on everything from Propaganda to Body Language and Confidence Tricks, visitors can delve into the real potential we all have to change one anothers mind.

    Purchasable Book On Building Your Referral Business With Warranty
    Builder Books sells Beyond Warranty: Building Your Referral Business, that covers how to; align buyer expectations with the service they receive; create a limited warranty document; develop and use warranty and maintenance guidelines effectively; structure warranty service procedures especially for your market; create an efficient repair process; make service a positive experience for home owners. $45 USD.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    New Urban News Has Resources On Urbanism & Smart Growth
    A professional newsletter, New Urban News is for planners, developers, architects, builders, public officials and others interested in the creation of human-scale communities. It offers a backgrounder on new urbanism, articles, and links to related organizations, architectural & planning firms, new urban projects, and other resources.

    US 2008 Surveys Reveal Home Buyer Wishes
    Builder Online article summarizes research conducted by the US National Association of Home Builders and Better Homes & Gardens that reveals noteworthy consumer demands, including energy-efficient features, outdoor living, kitchen islands, and specialty spaces.

    2008 US Multifamily & Remodeling Outlook, Consumer Preferences
    US National Association of Home Builders offers online presentations from the 2008 International Builders Show that summarize research into consumer preferences in homes, and multifamily & remodeling industry outlooks.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Roel Schootman of Urban Haus Kitchens, says: "I like what you are working on, Your Web site is great."

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    BC Building Code Clarifications For Cladding & Rainscreen April 2008
    BC Building & Safety Policy Branch bulletin of April 23, 2008 clarifies some building code issues relating to siding, cladding and rainscreen. It covers furring & strapping, venting to attic, end dams, sill drainage, trim, flashing, capillary break materials, shingles & vertical siding, and more. 2008 (PDF)

    Video On BC Government Update Of New Green Building Code
    Trudy Rotgans from BC Government Building Policy Branch, in this video from CHBA-BC 2008 conference on Checklist to a Greener Future, provides an overview of the governments greenhouse gas reduction strategies, and contents of the new BC Green Building Code.

    BC Government Proposes Green Legislation For Local Governments
    BC Government proposed Bill 27 will help municipalities and regional districts create more compact, sustainable and greener communities. They will be able to use development permits to promote energy & water conservation and reduction of greenhouse gases, as well as encourage alternative transportation options for off-street parking. Developers who are building small housing units (29 square metres or less) will be exempt from paying Development Cost Charges. Local governments will have the ability to waive or reduce these charges for green development including small lot subdivisions and affordable rental housing.

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

    Designers' Choice For Windows & Doors – We Do It All

  • Choose from a wide range of window design options
  • Frames of wood, vinyl, or combination wood interior and vinyl exterior
  • Choose from 25 custom frame colours to match your project design
  • 5 Year building envelope warranty covering water infiltration
  • Limited Lifetime warranty on Super Spacer warm edge® insulating glass
  • Wood, fibreglass, and aluminum-clad doors for entry, patio, and garage
  • Our staff will gladly assist you on both standard and complex projects

  • View your many design options in these window galleries

    Find our more about Westeck Windows – We Do It All


    5. Building Science & Technology

    ASHRAE Article On The Perfect Wall
    Dr. Joe Lstiburek article from ASHRAE magazine describes the perfect wall as an environmental separator that must keep the outside out and the inside in, with the wall assembly controlling rain, air, vapour, and heat. (PDF)

    Air Flow Control In Buildings
    Building Science digest on Air Flow Control In Buildings details fundamentals and driving forces of wind pressures, stack effect, and mechanical air handling equipment. It describes how to control air flow using air barriers, air barrier systems vs vapor barriers, common air barrier systems, and references.

    BCIT Database Of Links To Research & Information On Building Envelopes
    BCIT Building Science Centre of Excellence searchable online database lists books, reports, and research articles on building science, building envelope & durability, environmental loads, building codes & standards, construction materials, walls & windows, roofs & attics, foundations & basements, ventilation, green technologies in building envelopes, maintenance & renovation, mould &decay, earthquake resistance, and acoustics & fire control.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Accessible Bathrooms By Design
    CMHC factsheet outlines design considerations and elements of a universally designed bathroom, from manoeuvring space and ease of cleaning to grab bars and walk-in bathtubs and showers.

    Airborne Sound Insulation In Multi-Family Buildings
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction Update on Sound Insulation In Multi-Family Buildings reviews concepts and terminology used to describe sound insulation for the complete building system, and presents research results that illustrate how typical wood-frame construction details can determine the sound insulation actually achieved.

    New US Rule For Renovation When Lead Based Paint Is Present
    US Environmental Protection Agency rule Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting governs remodelers doing work in homes where there is lead-based paint. It addresses projects disturbing more than six square feet of potentially contaminated painted surfaces for all residential and multifamily structures built prior to 1978 that are inhabited or frequented by pregnant women and children under the age of six.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Calendar Of Green Building Events In BC & Cascadia Region
    Cascadia Region Green Building Council online calendar of green building events, searchable by regions of British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, and Non-Cascadia, provides details and links to more information for each event.

    Seminars & Reports On BC Sustainable Industry & Market
    Light House quarterly Market Insights seminars and reports provide analysis of BC green & sustainable industry and issues such as local green building demand; local services, programs, and training; emerging policies and regulations; marketing green buildings and communicating sustainability.

    Canadian Efficiency Designation For Fireplaces & Stoves
    All hearth products are required to be tested to proper Canadian standards and must have the EnerGuide efficiency rating on display. But only a select few have the EnerChoice designation that is reserved for products meeting or exceeding efficiency levels determined by an independant committee managed by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada.

    BC Web Site On Hazardous Waste Management
    BC Environmental Industry Association site on Hazardous Waste Management in British Columbia contains Fact Sheets on generation, transportation and processing of hazardous waste materials, plus industry specific (including construction) reference information and tips on how to ensure full compliance with BC Ministry regulations.

    Renovating Different Types Of Houses For Energy Savings
    Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation fact sheets describe 11 different styles of single family, duplex, row houses, mobile homes, and simple additions, with suggestions on renovating them to achieve best energy savings.

    Don't Let Green Design Cause Red Ink
    American Institute of Architects conference presentation says with increasing public emphasis on green design, architects face significant exposures that challenge their professionalism and profitability. These notes provide a realistic appraisal of emerging risks and discusses skills to manage them. 2007 (PDF)

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

    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.


    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Weekly Top 40 Cool Products
    Weekly Top 40 is a designer resource for cutting-edge furnishings available for specification. Each week forty cool products from their Product Gallery are spotlighted and emailed free to subscribers, making it easy to stay abreast of hot new products.

    Tool Reviews & Guides For Building Industry
    Fine Homebuilding online Tool Guide site has tool reviews, photos, specs, videos, books, and comments on a wide range of tools used in home building and renovation.

    BC Testing, Certification & Technical Support For Engineered Wood
    BC-based CertiWood technical centre is internationally accredited, and equipped with the latest high tech test equipment for testing and certification of engineered wood products such as plywood & veneer, OSB, LVL, composite structural wood columns, I-Joists, and glulam.

    Canadian Information & Resources On Anti-Counterfeiting
    Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada manufacturers division provides an online resource with links to anti-counterfeiting information and directions to mitigate the risks.

    9. Information Sources

    Free Newsletter With Quick Tips For Contractors
    Chris Rankin at Contractor City offers a free Quick Tips newsletter for growing a construction business. It includes business management tips & tricks, exclusive specials on books & publications, and more. Free site membership sign-up required.

    Tips & Links To Resources On Construction
    Construction Knowledge site of Ned Pelger, a US engineer, provides tricks of the trade, answers to both simple and complex construction questions, and construction information culled from various sources and arranged by topic.

    Books On Structure & Framing
    Journal of Light Construction sells a wide range of building industry books on structure and framing.

    10. Conferences & Shows

    Sustainable Urban Development Summit In Victoria
    Gaining Ground Sustainable Urban Development Summit, May 22-24, 2008 in Victoria, will bring together leaders and leadership teams from champion cities - North American places large and small that have made significant progress in urban sustainability programs - to explore their initiatives and the conditions that currently foster or frustrate whole-city shift toward sustainability.

    2008 National Summit Of Canadian Green Building Council
    Canada Green Building Council first national summit, in Toronto in June 2008, will showcase Canadian LEED solutions for achieving high performance buildings and will focus on moving green building practices into the mainstream.

    US Design Intitute For Builders In Las Vegas In June
    US National Association of Home Builders presents the Design Institute for Builders in Las Vegas on June 6-11. It brings together builders and top design professionals to explore latest techniques and trends, and see practical examples of design solutions through interactive design charrettes, case studies and individualized breakout sessions.

    11. Education & Training

    Search For Construction Training Courses At Provncial Colleges
    Association of Canadian Community Colleges online database allows searching for training courses by province, and by industry sector, including construction.

    BC Construction Industry Courses & Career Resources
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association online Construction Job Centre lists BC schools that offer industry courses, and has job profiles, a job board, and career info

    Update On CITO Development Of BC Apprenticeship Courses
    BC Construction Association provides an update on their CITO course development including standard scheduled programs: electrical, carpentry, sheet metal, plumbing, joinery, and roofing, plus additional programs: drywall installer, gas fitter. (PDF)

    12. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Directory Of Construction Software For Builders
    US National Association of Home Builders easy-to-use directory allows builders, remodelers and contractors to find information on construction software and IT solutions & services.

    Award Winning Web Sites From Various Industry Sectors
    The Web Marketing Association has a searchable list of their Web Award winners from last 10 years, from a wide range of industry categories including architecture, construction, home building, manufacturing, real estate, and many more.

    Online Videos Of Almost-Funny Construction Mishaps
    You Tube online videos show a number of different construction blunders from around the world, some that might bring back memories or make you shake your head.

    13. Industry Survey

    Today's Survey:   

    Would You See Value In A Newsletter Focused On Green Building For BC?
    Do you think there would be value in having a BC home building industry focused newsletter with links to new articles, events, resources, courses, codes & by-laws, research, products, and other green-related materials and resources?

    Yes, I think such a newsletter would be valuable
    No, I already have access to all of the green building info I need
    Not applicable to me

    Last Survey: Should The Canucks Keep Marcus Naslund?

    • 57% Said: Yes
    • 19% Said: No
    • 24% Said: Ask somebody that cares

    Thanks for your participation

    Ditty For Today

    Talk doesn't cook rice. - Chinese proverb

    Quick Links

    Subscription Info

    © Copyright 2008               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada