Alert Notice #53
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 October 13, 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 Mark Gauvin, Rob Dumont, Wilma Leung, Norma Bourque, Amy Spencer, Denisa Ionescu, Ian Broadfoot, Jay Lewis, Cheryl Cater, Montgomery Wood, Richard Fearn, Brent Wilker, Chris Docchio, Garry Lowney, Pat Isaac, Maureen McLaughlin, Donna Williams, Fred Stitt, Bob MacKie, Wendy McNeil, Marita Luk, and George Pinch 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

Findings From Coquitlam Building Envelope Test Hut
Building Science online slide show presentation by Mark Gauvin describes his take on the Vancouver leaky condo disaster, and some findings from his Coquitlam Test Hut that he built to better understand our local building envelope construction techniques and issues relating to moisture. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Labour Market In Post-Recession Context
BC Business Council report People, Skills and Prosperity: The BC Labour Market in a Post-Recession Context points to tighter labour market conditions in BC in the years ahead. (PDF)

BC Building Industry Survey On Importance Of Issues
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC brief online survey asks for your indication of the level of importance of various issues on your business.

2011 Housing Outlook Conference Coming To Vancouver
The CMHC annual Housing Outlook Conference to be held in Vancouver on November 16th provides access to timely, reliable and unbiased housing market information and forecasts. Tailored to the specifics of the local market, it may also enable you to earn education credits.

Provincial Current Trends October 2011
Royal Bank of Canada Economics Research describes current provincial trends as of October 2011, within a wide rage of economic factors. (PDF)

Long Term Canadian Household Projections 2011 Update
CMHC report Long Term Household Projections presents an update of the projections of household growth for Canada reported in the 2009 Canadian Housing Observer. As in the 2009 projections, the current set span the period 2007 to 2036 and include projections of households by age-group, household type, dwelling type and tenure. While the previously-published projections were limited to Canada, the present ones include projections for the provinces and the territories. (PDF)

ICBA Encourages MPs To Support Union Transparency Bill
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC is throwing its support behind MP Russ Heibert’s private member’s bill that would require unions to publicly disclose their financial statements or lose their tax-exempt status. (PDF)

US Home Buying Season Worst In 50 Years
Big Builder magazine says this year's US home-buying season was the worst in at least 50 years.

2. Business Management

Tips For Creating A Winning New-Home Sales Team
US National Association of Home Builders describes how building an effective team hinges on a manager’s skills to recruit, coach and train, motivate and retain top sales talent.

How Small Businesses Survived The Recession
Canadian Federation Of Independent Business report Survival of the Smallest has responses from over 6000 small & medium businesses describing tools used by them during the past economic downturn. It includes comments to questions in four different categories: owner behaviour; staffing and employment; sales and marketing; new and existing markets. (PDF)

How Subcontractors Can Protect Themselves Against Bid Shopping
American Subcontractors Association online podcast focuses on how construction subcontractors can protect themselves against bid shopping.

Canada Revenue Agency Programs To Help People Buy Or Renovate
CMHC provides summaries of programs and incentives that Canada Revenue Agency administers that can make buying or renovating a home easier.

3. Building Design & Trends

Housing Priorities For Retirees
Builder Magazine provides a summary of a recent poll by National Public Radio, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health, that asked a series of retirement-related questions having to do with housing preferences, as well as other issues such as financial situations and health care.

Winners Of BC Central Interior Keystone Home Builders Awards Of Excellence
CHBA Central Interior lists the 26 winning entries in their 7th annual Keystone Home Builders Awards of Excellence. (PDF)

2011 US Multifamily Pillars Of Industry Award Winners
US National Association of Home Builders describes winners of its 2011 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards. They represent the nation's top-performing firms working in design, development, marketing and management of apartments and condos.

Examples Of Outdoor Living Spaces
HGTV Remodels provides examples and tips for outdoor living spaces.

Kitchen Island Examples & Planning Checklist
HGTV describes 13 kitchen island designs and provides a checklist to see if this independent structure will work for you.

Best Ways To Add Value To Your Home When Remodeling
US National Association of Home Builders describes home remodeling projects that are the best ones for those looking for a solid return on their investment.

BIM For Residential Home Builders
Home Builder magazine describes how building information modeling can be beneficial to residential home builders.

Residential Steel Load Span Tables
US National Association of Home Builders online Residential Steel Load Span Tables include beam and column sections supporting floor systems spanning 6 to 24 feet. (PDF)

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Craig East, semi-retired, past Board Member of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association says: "Thanks for continuing to provide this forum of info."

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

FAQ On New BC Builder Qualifications For Licensing
BC Government through the Homeowner Protection Office developed recommendations for a new system of prescribed qualifications for licensees under the Homeowner Protection Act. This included the establishment of an industry-led body to assist government in establishing and maintaining qualifications for homebuilders of 1 to 4 unit buildings as a requirement of licensing. The Professional Builders Institute of British Columbia answers Frequently Asked Questions about the continuing role of the HPO and PBIBC.

BC Requirements For Temporary Wiring On Construction Sites
BC Safety Authority bulletin provides guidance on the application of Rule 76-000 of the BC Electrical Code, Section 76, as it applies to temporary wiring installations for buildings under construction or demolition. (PDF)

BC Consultation On Proposed 2012 Amendments To Occupational Health & Safety Regulation
WorkSafe BC has approved release of the 2012 proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation for consultation. The consultation phase provides stakeholders with an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed amendments. All feedback received will be reviewed, and changes will be made to the proposed amendments, where appropriate, prior to the proposed amendments being taken to a public hearing in May–June 2012.

Public Review Of Proposed Changes To 2010 Canadian National Model Construction Codes
Canadian National Research Council has announced the fall 2011 public review to focus on proposed changes to the 2010 National Model Construction Codes.

New Earthquake Resistance Provisions In 2010 National Building Code
National Research Council of Canada report outlines the earthquake resistance provisions of the National Building Code of Canada, 2010 edition.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Principles Of Moving Air
    Building Science online slide show presentation by BC ventilation expert David Hill provides an introduction to the principles of moving air quietly and efficiently. (PDF)

    Controlling Cold-Weather Condensation Using Insulation
    Building Science describes how in walls with sufficient exterior insulation, the dewpoint temperature of the interior air will be below the temperature of the back of sheathing, therefore condensation due to air leakage cannot occur within the studspace.

    Roofing Issues & Considerations
    Building Science online slide show presentation on roofing describes issues and design considerations for low-slope, pitched, membrane, metal, and other related materials. (PDF)

    History & Literature Review Of Residential Thermostats
    US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report Residential Thermostats: Comfort Controls in California Homes provides a good literature review to improve our understanding of the factors affecting the effectiveness of the thermostat and its use including technical, behavioral, and organizational aspects. (PDF)

    Characteristics Of Usable Room Temperature Control
    VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland report describes the characteristics of usable room temperature control. (PDF)

    How Smoke Detectors Work
    Engineer Guy online video shows a smoke detector being reverse-engineered, to demonstrate how the device's radioactive element creates a small current that is broken when smoke passes through it.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Pros & Cons Of Programmable Thermostats For Energy Savings
    University of Alberta study Programmable Thermostats as Means of Generating Energy Savings: Some Pros and Cons, suggests that for various reasons the extent of any energy savings resulting from programmable thermostats in a residential context is much less than projected. (PDF)

    How People Actually Use Thermostats
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study How People Actually Use Thermostats says today’s modern programmable thermostats are complicated and difficult for users to understand, leading to errors in operation and wasted energy. (PDF)

    Combustion Analysis 101
    Home Energy online video provides description of the theory and procedures for combustion analysis of fuel burning appliances.

    Seasonal Home Maintenance Calendar
    National Home Warranty online seasonal maintenance calendar provides tips that can help keep your home in top shape throughout the year.

    Natural Gas Pipeline Safety
    FortisBC describes considerations for staying safe when working around a natural gas pipeline right of way. (PDF)

    Community Land Use Planning For Wildfires
    Canadian Partners In Protection manual, FireSmart, outlines how effective planning helps communities anticipate and prevent interface fire dangers, discusses the challenges facing planners, and uses Alberta legislation and planning systems to illustrate how the planning process can tackle interface fire issues. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    2011 Built Green BC Award Winners
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC lists, with pictures, winners of their Second Annual Built Green BC Awards.

    KB Home Raises Bar With Net-Zero Home Rollout
    Builder Magazine describes how large builder KB Home plans to roll out a series of net-zero homes throughout the United States.

    Links To Information On Canadian Green Building Standards
    Green Standard provides links to information and resources on Canadian green building standards.

    Overview Of Green Mechanical Systems
    Green Building Advisor describes how green mechanical systems save water, deliver clean air, and lower utility costs.

    Product Preview From 2011 Greenbuild Conference
    Custom Home magazine describes nine of the most interesting new products for homes, from the recent 2011 Greenbuild Conference.

    World's Best Sustainability Ideas
    Forbes magazine says Katerva, the sustainability-intelligence organization, has announced its selections for the 50 most groundbreaking sustainability innovations of the past year.

    Passive House Course In Vancouver
    Cascadia Green Building Council presents the Passive House Course In Vancouver, October 24-28. It is a challenging and intensive full week of instruction, aimed at Canadian building professionals who have a passion to learn the art of Passive House design, the world’s leading standard in low-energy, sustainable construction.

    Online Solar Energy Event
    Global Spec online Solar Energy event on October 26 explores the latest developments in photovoltaic and solar thermal systems, developments in concentrating solar power, and new applications for passive solar. You will be able to network with peers and suppliers, participate in key educational sessions, and keep pace with today's fast-changing alternative & renewable energy marketplace.

    Global Reporting Initiative Course In Vancouver
    LEAD Canada, in association with Sustainalytics, is offering a two-day course in sustainability reporting in Vancouver on October 25-26. The training is certified under the Global Reporting Initiative, the world's most widely used sustainability reporting framework. Course participants will gain practical skills so they will be able to effectively communicate any organization's sustainability efforts, in accordance with international standards.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    2012 Product Showcase
    Custom Home magazine's 2012 annual products showcase singles out exquisitely formed and beguiling functional essentials for the high-end home. They present products for kitchens, baths, interior, exterior, green, and outdoors.

    Zuckle Is New Wall Aligner Made In BC
    BC manufacturer Fab-Form has developed the Zuckle concrete wall aligner. It is the first drill-adjustable turnbuckle on the market and is 60% lighter than other products.

    Types Of Connections For Wood
    Canadian Wood Council describes types of connections for wood including nails, shanks & points, materials, screws, framing connectors, hangers & plates, bolts, washers & side plates, bolt installation, lag screws, glulam rivets, split rings & shear plates, timber joinery, and adhesives.

    Understanding Sealants
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes sealant basics, purposes, installation, applications, failures, warranties, and more. (PDF)

    Air Sealing With Sprayable Caulk
    Green Building Advisor says homes insulated with fiberglass batts are leakier than homes insulated with cellulose or spray polyurethane foam. Owens Corning EnergyComplete and Knauf EcoSeal are two sprayable products that aim to help batts perform the way they're supposed to.

    HVAC Strategies For Energy Efficient Houses
    US Department of Housing report summarizes an expert meeting that recapped the current state of knowledge in the area of simplified space conditioning systems in new and retrofitted house. (PDF)

    Nail Gun Safety Guide For Contractors
    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors provides a resource for residential home builders and construction contractors, subcontractors, and supervisors to prevent nail gun injuries.

    Transparent Concrete Makes North American Debut
    Cement Association of Canada describes solid insulated concrete construction panels which transmit light, both natural and artificial.

    Web-Based Software Now Certified For Integration With SAP
    Corecon Technologies, a Web-based software developer for the architecture, engineering and construction industry, has announced its CoreconLink 8.0 solution has achieved certified integration with the SAP Business One application. With this utility, all project financials entered into Corecon V7 can be transferred easily to SAP Business One, eliminating duplicate data entry and maintaining consistency across the organization.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Prevent Pneumatic-Nailer Blowouts When Installing Trim
    Fine Homebuilding online video describes how to prevent pneumatic-nailer blowouts when installing trim.

    Online Video On Layout Of Footings
    Mastering Construction and Building Skills online video provides an overview laying out the concrete footing before trenching is started.

    Painting In Cold Weather
    Paint Pro Magazine provides tips for painting in cold weather.

    How To Install Rigid Foam Sheathing
    Green Building Advisor describes what you need to know to install polyisocyanurate, XPS, or EPS on the outside of your walls.

    Installing Deck Flashing
    Remodeling TV online video demonstrates how to install deck flashing ledgers and cantilevered beams, and offers tips and ways to avoid common mistakes.

    How To Trim A Hollow-Core Door To Height
    Fine Homebuilding online video shows how to trim down a hollow door, showing tips for making a clean cut, and how to add blocking to fill the hole you've just made in the bottom of the door.

    10. Information Sources

    BC Safety Information For Apprenticeship Programs
    WorkSafe BC Apprenticeship Portal provides health and safety resources aligned to the Industry Training Authority curriculum for BC apprenticeship programs. It will assist you if you provide apprenticeship training, employ an apprentice, work as an apprentice, or are learning a trade.

    Online Builders Guide To Trusses
    Alpine Engineering, wood truss specialists, offer this 48-page online builder's guide to trusses. (PDF)

    Resource Site On Gardens, Lawns & Landscapes
    eXtension, a project of over 70 universities, has information and resources covering a wide range of topics on gardens, lawns, and landscapes.

    New Resource Site For Renovations
    HGTV Remodels new site has information and resources for renovating, including kitchens, bathrooms, interiors, outdoors, house systems, and more.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Building Design & Construction Show In Toronto
    Construct Canada, held in Toronto November 30 to December 2, is a building and construction industry show featuring product exhibits, seminars, and demonstrations. The show includes Construct Canada, HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo, PM Expo, Concrete Canada, and Design Trends.

    Building & Remodeling Trade Show In Portland
    Journal of Light Construction hands-on JLCLive show will be held December 7-9, in Portland, Oregon. The show attracts contractors who want to learn skills and products that will keep them on the forefront of homebuilding and Remodeling.

    BC Housing Affordability Symposium In Richmond
    Canadian Home Builders Association BC is presenting its second Housing Affordability Symposium in Richmond February 2-3. It brings together stakeholders to openly discuss barriers and solutions to market housing affordability in BC. More than an educational conference, this symposium provides interactive roundtable discussions amongst all delegates to address various issues related to community planning, maximizing housing stock, economic issues, and regulatory constraints.

    12. Education & Training

    Course On Builders Lien Act 101
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association's presents Builders Lien Act 101, on October 19th in Coquitlam. Topics covered include: The only two times you should file a lien; Avoiding personal liability; Getting paid the holdback.

    Profitable Contracting Seminar
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association seminar on Profitable Contracting, held in Vancouver on October 25th, provides a CFO’s perspective on current contracting challenges facing your business, and describes how to make more money by controlling and reducing expenses, increasing cash flow and improving profits.

    Dr. Joseph Lstiburek Workshop On Building & Remediation On The West Coast
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association is presenting Building and Remediation on the West Coast with Dr. Joseph Lstiburek on Tuesday, November 1st in Vancouver. This full-day seminar will discuss principals of building science and provide the latest research on building on the 'wet coast', the upcoming changes to the BC Building Code, as well as the ever-important issue of mould remediation and deep-energy retrofits.

    2011 BC Construction Safety Conference
    WorkSafe BC 2011 Construction Safety Conference, held in Richmond on November 17-19, provides participants the opportunity to learn and discuss a variety of health and safety issues that are identified in WorkSafeBC’s construction high-risk strategy, as well as other issues currently facing the industry.

    BC Education Seminars On Building Code Topics
    Building Officials Association of BC is hosting a 3-day Education Seminar in Richmond November 24-26. It is aimed at codes, building standards and regulations relating to the BC Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes. The sessions will be beneficial to code officials, architects, designers, engineers, builders, fire protection officers and other practitioners. (PDF)

    Project Management Course
    The Project Management Conference in Vancouver on November 23rd is for building owners or managers, contractors, architects, or engineers. It will cover skills and knowledge to stay on top of your work through a more projectized and productive work environment.

    New Home Sales Boot Camp
    Marketing expert Bob Schultz and his team of new home sales specialists present their New Home Sales Boot Camp, November 15-17 in Florida.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Smart Phone App For Change Orders
    Fine Homebuilding says iConfirm is easy to use and solves the problem of misunderstandings between contractors and homeowners by allowing the user to put it in writing and get it signed off. All on the user’s phone.

    Google Plus Now Open To Public
    Google+ is now open to the general public. It is the new social networking tool that makes connecting on the web more like connecting in the real world. Share your thoughts, links and photos, video chat with as many as nine people at once.

    Free Online Movies, TV, Cartoons
    Need a good laugh? Want to share a good laugh with others? Head on over to Public Domain Comedy Videos where you can watch, download, and share Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Ozzie and Harriet, Jack Benny, Charlie Chaplin, Abbot and Costello, The Three Stooges, WC Fields, Dick Van Dyke, Victor Borge, Buster Keaton, Milton Berle and more.

    Dittie For Today: On Wisdom

    The road to wisdom? Well, it's plain and simple to express: Err and err and err again but less and less and less. - Piet Hein

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    © Copyright 2011               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada