Alert Notice #55
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 November 24, 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 Graham Finch, Peter Weiss, Richard Kadulski, Myranda Nickoloff, Wilma Leung, John Nicol, Alec Caldwell, Garry Lowney, Joey Fearn, John Majernik, Zane Yang, Kimberly Hurley, Glenn Duxbury, Dan Brown, Candice Gibson, Molly Kray, Michele Bell, Maureen McLaughlin, David Hill, Douglas Berg, Ross Woolford, John Chepil, David Bak, Joanne Spurrell, Mark Gauvin, John Davies, Fred Stitt, and Christine Webb 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

    BC Design & Window Detailing Considerations For Wood Framed Walls
    RDH Building Engineering online slide show presentation Design and Window Detailing Considerations for High R-Value Wood-Frame Wall Assemblies covers current and future building code requirements for wall and window thermal performance, design considerations for high R-value wood-frame wall assemblies, and window and door detailing considerations. (PDF)

    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    BC Housing Forecast Fourth Quarter 2011
    BC Real Estate Association Housing Forecast includes information on MLS residential sales, housing starts, mortgage rates, and regional real estate board statistics and forecasts. It says after declining 12 per cent in 2010, residential unit sales through the Multiple Listing Service in BC are forecast to rise by 3 per cent to 77,000 units in 2011 and a further 4 per cent to 80,000 units in 2012. (PDF)

    Canada's Housing Market Forecast Update November 2011
    Royal Bank of Canada report says recent developments in global financial markets since July have somewhat altered the economic landscape but, perhaps surprisingly, not the bottom line for Canada’s housing market. They still believe that the most likely outcome is one of stable resales and prices in 2012. (PDF)

    Canadian Housing Industry Performance & Trends 2011
    Canadian Home Builders Association October 2011 report Canadian Housing Industry Performance and Trends covers New Housing Activity, Residential Construction and the Economy, Drivers of Housing Activity, Projections of Housing Demand, Housing Prices, State of Homeownership Affordability, Challenges Facing Homeownership Affordability, Challenges Facing the Renovation Sector, and Challenges Facing the Rental Sector. (PDF)

    Canadian Month At A Glance, November 2011
    Conference Board of Canada says after posting strong gains in September, the labour market lost 54,000 jobs in October, pushing the unemployment rate up two basis points to 7.3 per cent. The job losses were concentrated in construction and manufacturing, which together shed 68,000 jobs.

    Canadian Homebuilders Are Initiating Projects
    Journal of Commerce says the outlook for the world economy may have taken one or two bad turns lately, but Canadian homebuilders are initiating projects “like a good thing”.

    No Further Measures Needed To Cool Canadian Housing Market
    CHBA report says recent housing market performance alongside recent data on the performance of household balance sheets suggest that policies already introduced are probably already having the effect of cooling the market, and further measures are unnecessary. Moreover, with housing prices already flat or falling in Canada, and consumer deleveraging emerging, there is a risk that further measures undertaken by government to cool the housing market could have longer term pernicious effects. (PDF)

    BC Housing Coalition To Increase Affordable Rental
    Urban Development Institute describes a BC coalition of industry, non-profit and government leaders that signed a Canadian Rental Housing Charter outlining a nine-point plan to increase the supply of affordable rental housing across the nation.

    2011 Report On Canadian Housing Affordability & Accessibility
    Canadian Home Builders Association 2011 Report On Canadian Housing Affordability & Accessibility provides recommendations on key issues and options for improved affordability and accessibility. (PDF)

    Free Industry Reports On Intelligent Buildings
    Continental Automated Buildings Association has released free executive summaries for its Intelligent and Integrated Building Technologies: Market Size in North America 2010 report, its Connected Home Roadmap 2010 report, its Energy as a Managed Service 2010 report and its North American Intelligent Buildings Roadmap 2011 report.

    2. Business Management

    16 DNA Markers Of Top Performers
    Contractor Selling says when hiring your winning team, you must look for the markers that are the make-up of heavy hitters. They provide a list of the 16 DNA markers that the winning manager uses to evaluate new or existing talent on the sales force.

    BC Employers Need To Respond To Immigration Consultation
    Business Council of BC says given the level of influence of the Provinces and Territories over the direct selection of immigrants, it behooves employers and corporate leaders to organize themselves through employer or industry associations to have their particular business needs and interests identified and communicated and acted upon by the Federal Government. (PDF)

    Older Workers In Construction Industry
    Canadian Construction Sector Council report provides a comprehensive picture of the current state of attitudes, policies and activities regarding older workers in the construction industry.

    Best Practices For Recruitment & Retention Of Older Workers In Construction
    Canadian Construction Sector Council report provides a series of practical tools for the retention of older workers in the construction industry. These are grouped into four areas: recruitment, retention, transition to retirement support and other strategies and best practices.

    Balance Sheets
    Fine Homebuilding online video on balance sheets provides an introduction on how assets, liabilities, and equity must balance.

    New NAHB House Price Estimator
    US National Association of Home Builders updated House Price Estimator estimates the price of a home, and the impact various physical and neighborhood features have on the price, using data from the American Housing Survey.

    2011-12 US Cost Vs Value For Remodeling Projects
    Remodeling Online 2012 cost vs. value data describes relationship between remodeling costs and resale value for different remodeling projects in various markets across the US.

    Online Calculators For Homebuying
    CMHC online calculators help you establish your financial situation, determine how much house you can afford, and the maximum price that you should be considering.

    Is Your Business System Set To Withstand Online Threats?
    Canadian Federation Of Independent Business says it's an organization's legal responsibility to protect the personal information it collects. They provide a series of articles prepared by The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to help you determine steps you can take to protect your business.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    2011 BC Georgie Award Finalists
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC displays finalists of the 2011 BC Georgie Awards for the home building industry.

    Structural Design Issues For Housing & Small Buildings In BC
    Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC outlines structural design issues for housing and small buildings in BC as information for local authorities, homeowners & developers. (PDF)

    2011 Builders Choice Award Winners
    Builder Magazine presents, with pictures and descriptions, 2011 winners of their Builders Choice Awards. Elegantly simple, perfectly suited to the site, and assuredly green are the shared attributes that distinguish this year’s winning projects.

    Past Custom Homes Of The Year
    Custom Home Magazine online slide show shows winners of the past eight years of their Custom Home Design Awards winners.

    Top 10 Best-Selling House Plans of 2011
    Builder Magazine presents the plans from Builder House Plans that won this year’s popularity contest.

    Multigenerational Households Rise & Builders Accommodate
    Builder Magazine says homes-within-homes designs and models are blending into existing communities to accommodate multigenerational households.

    2011 Remodeling Master Design Award Winners
    Qualified Remodeler offers pictures and descriptions of their 2011 Master Design Award Winners.

    Homes For Life Remodeling Award Winners
    US National Association of Home Builders displays annual winners of their Homes for Life awards that recognize Certified Aging In Place Specialists designees for excellence in aging in place design and/or accessible home modifications in a remodeled home. These homes offer specific design or programmatic solutions that aid the individual residents to continue living in the house as they grow older and/or face physical challenges.

    Designers’ Top 2011 Trends For Kitchens & Baths
    Builder Magazine interviewed some top National Kitchen & Bath Association designers to see what’s hot and what’s not for 2011.

    Design Considerations For Multi-Story Wood Buildings
    Woodworks online slide show Design Considerations For Multi-Story Wood Buildings covers detailing and design for lateral system, design assumptions and code criteria, and structural challenges with designing a podium structure. (PDF)

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Gary Hamer, Engineer, BC Hydro Power Smart says: "Great issue Ken - as usual."

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    Surveys On Proposed 2012 Changes To BC Building Code & Policy
    BC Government 2012 BC Building Code and policy surveys allow you to send your thoughts and opinions on a number of selected changes to the BC Building Code as well as several conceptual issues related to the development and construction industry. Both consultations will be available online until December 16th at 4:30 p.m.

    BC Network Of Regional Safety Coordinators Now Available
    BC Construction Safety Alliance now has three regional safety coordinators available to assist contractors who have safety questions or concerns, are looking to develop safety programs and materials, or want to prepare for COR (Certificate of Recognition).

    Know Your Rights On WorkSafe BC Worksite Inspections
    Journal of Commerce column is the result of complaints received by the Council of Construction Associations over the past few months about the way in which some WorkSafeBC inspections are conducted. The two problems that keep recurring are inconsistent inspections and a failure to have a post-inspection conference.

    BC Directive On B149 1 & 2 Interpretations
    BC Safety Authority directive provides clarification on several sections of the Canadian Standards Association B149.1-10 & B149.2-10 Natural Gas and Propane Code.

    BC Requirements To File Land Title Forms Electronically In Land Title Office
    Land Title and Survey Authority of BC has announced the second phase of requirements to file certain land title documents and plans electronically pursuant to the Land Title Act.

    Canadian Code Development Priorities Addressed By Task Groups
    Canadian National Research Council describes how national code development priorities are to be addressed by joint task groups.

    Have We Maxed Out On Furnace Efficiency?
    Plumbing & HVAC magazine says forced air furnaces are getting pretty darned efficient, as much as 98% or more. Even if it were possible in theory to get to 100% efficiency, it would be so expensive that there's not really much point.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Thermal Bridges & Solar Control
    Building Science online slide show presentation on thermal bridges & solar control covers heat flow basics, walls & windows practical detailing applications, and window solar gain control. (PDF)

    Overview Of Wood Trusses
    Canadian Wood Council describes wood trusses including history, terminology, materials, advantages and applications. (PDF)

    Overview Of Thermal Metric Model For Building Assemblies
    Building Science online slide show describes an approach to developing a thermal performance rating system or metric that provides a means of crediting properly built assembles while penalizing poorly built ones. Good thermal control includes consideration of materials, system design, and construction quality. (PDF)

    Hybrid Ground-Source Heat Pump For Large Buildings
    Energy Center of Wisconsin describes how installing a hybrid geothermal heat pump system can reduce the cost of implementing geothermal heating and cooling on your commercial building project. A hybrid system reduces the peak capacity of your ground loop, letting you install a smaller, less expensive ground heat exchanger.

    Blueprint For Reinventing Rainwater Management In Canada's Communities
    Polis Water Sustainability Project report Peeling Back the Pavement: A Blueprint for Reinventing Rainwater Management in Canada's Communities, provides a comprehensive action plan outlining the crucial steps necessary for changing the way communities govern stormwater. The blueprint describes measures that local and senior levels of government can take to move from the current system of stormwater management to one based on rainwater management.

    2011 BC Research & Education Projects
    BC Homeowner Protection Office provides a summary of their various research and education projects for 2011. (PDF)

    Fall 2011 Canadian Housing Research Projects
    CMHC Fall 2011 Current Housing Research report is a directory to ongoing housing research on social, economic and technical issues. It describes research currently underway and provides announcements on newly completed research reports and research highlights. (PDF)

    Earthquakes Of Pacific Canada
    Natural Resources Canada online video describes history and considerations for earthquakes in the Pacific region.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    High Risk Walls
    Building Science describes issues around a high risk wall that has a face-sealed cladding (perfect barrier) that is impermeable to water vapor. It is insulated on the interior with air permeable insulation usually held in place between steel studs or impaled on pins protruding from the back of the cladding and covered by a vapor barrier.

    8 Building Science Horrors To Scare You
    Energy Vanguard describes 8 things related to energy, HVAC, or building science that should scare the heck out of you...or at least irritate you once you understand them.

    Heating System Inspection, Repair, Maintenance
    InspectApedia articles answer questions about all types of building heating systems and describe how to inspect, diagnose, and repair heating system problems, how to cut heating bills, and heating system safety, heating system efficiency and heating trouble-shooting advice.

    How To Track Down Leaks In Forced Air Ductwork
    Green Building Advisor says leaky ducts in a forced-air heating and cooling system are an all-too-common problem, and discusses whether or not ducts can be effectively sealed from the inside.

    Attic Fans Can Cause Combustion Appliances To Backdraft
    Home Energy Pros describes how exhaust fans intended to cool the attic can end up depressurizing appliance rooms and back-drafting furnaces and water heaters.

    Concrete Replacement Conditions
    Concrete Network describes when concrete may need to be removed, as there are certain conditions under which using a patching compound and resurfacing product will result in merely a short-term fix.

    Soundproofing Retrofit Of Party Walls In A Townhouse
    Mike Holmes online video describes how to to soundproof party walls between two townhouse units when not done adequately in the first place. Learn that they could hear the neighbors sneezing.

    Considerations For Swimming Pool Enclosures
    Building Science says indoor swimming pool ventilation, dehumidification, depressurization, water temperature control and the use of a pool cover will reduce the load on the enclosure, but even all of them together won’t avoid problems without a good enclosure.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Assessment Criteria For New Home Labels & Energy Ratings
    Canadian Home Builders Association report identified 10 criteria to guide you in comparing new home labels and energy rating systems in Canada. (PDF)

    Canadian Regulations For Incandescent Lamps Efficiency Delayed Until 2012
    Natural Resources Canada Amendment 12 to the Energy Efficiency Regulations delays the effective date for the minimum energy efficiency performance standard for general service incandescent lamps (light bulbs) by two years. The standards for 100 and 75 watt light bulbs will apply as of January 1, 2014 and for 60 and 40 watt light bulbs on December 31, 2014.

    What Matters Most In Green Bamboo Flooring
    Green Spec says eco-friendly bamboo options have gotten better, but the choice is still not simple.

    Cold Climate Comprehensive Deep Energy Retrofit
    Building Science describes a cold climate comprehensive deep energy retrofit that included thick interior insulation for the foundation walls, a new insulated basement slab, new boiler and water heater, exterior and interior insulation and recladding of the walls and roof, new triple- and double-glazed windows, replacement of the central air conditioning system with a high efficiency air-source heat pump, and provision of a heat recovery ventilator for mechanical ventilation.

    BC Power Smart Forum Presentations
    BC Hydro Power Smart Forum, BC's Energy Conservation Conference, offers access to the 2011 speaker presentations, discussions, and webcasts.

    Myths About People, Energy & Buildings
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory essay takes a closer look at the ways energy professionals and the public talk, write and think about how energy affects the way in which we design, operate, retrofit and inhabit buildings. (PDF)

    Vancouver Home Energy Loan Program
    City of Vancouver Home Energy Loan Program simplifies the process of making select home energy efficiency upgrades. It connects you to experts, financing, and rebates to help you upgrade your home.

    CanSIA Solar Thermal Theory Course
    Canadian Solar Industries Association 2-day Solar Thermal Theory Course is one of the requirements for becoming a Certified Solar Hot Water Installer in Canada. The course is intended for students with trades experience.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    New Tools Launched At 2011 Trade Show
    Tools Of The Trade describes 18 new tools and accessories that will be showcased at this year's Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association show.

    Six Systems For Waterproofing &, Damp-Proofing Basement Walls
    US National Association of Home Builders describes six state-of-the-art systems that are available to builders who use concrete masonry, a common material choice for foundation wall construction, to help prevent water from penetrating basement walls.

    High Performance Lighting As A Value Differentiator
    Avid Builder article on high performance lighting says emerging technology is forcing builders to look at lighting as a system, just like the HVAC system. In turn, these developments are opening up opportunities for builders to differentiate the homes they offer through high-efficiency lighting systems.

    Flooring Options, Ideas & Materials
    HGTV Remodels provides an overview of flooring including hardwood, laminate, vinyl, tile, concrete, carpet, linoleum, bamboo, cork, and alternate surfaces.

    Big Cordless Circular Saws
    Tools Of The Trade tested four higher-voltage saws, 36-volt models from Bosch, DeWalt, and Hilti, and a 28-volt model from Milwaukee. They used them while framing and siding a house and for building a deck, and performed a test to see how many cuts each saw could make per charge.

    Kitchen & Bath Industry Directory
    National Kitchen & Bath Association offers a kitchen & bath industry directory where you can conduct targeted searches for products and services by company name, location, service and product categories, or relevant words.

    Search For BC Wood Products Manufacturers
    BC Wood, the trade association for BC value-added wood product manufacturers, allows you to search for suppliers based on city, region, sector, product line, and wood species.

    Engineered Wood Construction Guide
    Engineered Wood Association free APA Engineered Wood Construction Guide covers both residential and commercial construction, offering up-to-date information on APA Performance Rated Panels, glulams, I-joists, floor, wall, and roof systems, diaphragms, shear walls, fire-rated systems, and finishing methods. Free site registration required.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Overview Of Proposed BC Replacement Window & Door Guidelines
    Window & Door Manufacturers Association of BC online slide show presentation outlines their proposed new Replacement Window and Door Guidelines. (PDF)

    Changes To Concrete Mix During Cold Weather
    Concrete Network describes some possible changes to concrete mix during cold weather.

    5 Reasons Bath Fans Have Such Poor Air Flow
    Energy Vanguard describes, with pictures, 5 reasons why many bath fans have such poor air flow.

    Installing Rigid Foam Under Footings
    Green Building Advisor online video describes how to install rigid foam under footings.

    Why Fiberglass Batt Insulation Underperforms
    Energy Vanguard provides pictures of some typical installation problems that cause fiberglass batts to perform poorly.

    Keeping Ducts Indoors
    Green Building Advisor says you should keep ducts indoors, and describes five ways to bring ducts inside a home’s conditioned space.

    Beefing Up Attic Joists For Living Space
    Journal of Light Construction explains how to achieve the strength and stiffness you want when doubling up the floor joists in an existing attic, without disturbing the occupied space below.

    12 Restoration Blunders
    Fine Homebuilding describes 12 restoration blunders that help prevent poor planning and unrealistic expectations from destroying a great old house.

    10. Information Sources

    Podcasts On Construction & Building Skills
    Contractor Chad Ryan's online series of podcasts and videos talk about construction and the skills to develop and build on to make work a little less stressful and help avoid common mistakes. He talks a lot about commercial and multi-family jobsites, but the single family construction can benefit greatly also since many of the steps are the same.

    Decorative Concrete Q & A
    Concrete Network has an online library of questions & answers relating to decorative concrete.

    Resource Site On Flooring
    Flooring Guide provides information and resources on flooring including carpet & rugs, ceramic tile, hardwood, laminate, stone, vinyl, specialty, related products, care & cleaning, how-to resources, as well as troubleshooting.

    Lighting Tips For Every Room
    HGTV Remodels provides information, resources, and tips for residential lighting systems.

    Free Architectural & Engineering Support For Larger Wood Buildings
    Woodworks, offers free architectural and engineering support for larger wood buildings. (PDF)

    Resource Site On Tilt-Up Concrete Construction
    Concrete Network offers information and resources on tilt-up concrete construction.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    BC Georgie Awards Celebrate Excellence In BC Home Building
    The Georgie Awards of the Canadian Home Builders Association of BC will be held February 25, 2012. This residential construction awards program highlights and celebrates excellence in home building.

    Concrete & Masonry Industry Trade Show In Las Vegas
    World of Concrete, the annual international event dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries, will be held in Las Vegas January 24-27. Featuring indoor and outdoor exhibits with suppliers showcasing innovative products and technologies, demonstrations and competitions, and many education programs.

    International Builders Show In Orlando
    US National Association of Home Builders presents The International Builder's Show In Orlando Feb 8-11. The largest in North America, it features over 1800 exhibitors of building industry products, innovations, and demonstrations, plus almost 300 educational sessions.

    2012 Canadian Home Builders Conference In Quebec
    Canadian Home Builders Association annual national conference, held March 16-18 in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, includes a number of speakers and sessions on business and industry issues, awards presentations, product displays, and social and networking events.

    12. Education & Training

    BC Luncheon Conferences On Wood Design
    Canadian Wood Council free Wood Design Luncheon Conferences held around BC cover innovative wood design in Europe & here in BC. There will also be information and a presentation on the recent update to the Building Enclosure Design Guide for Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Residential Buildings, a session about Lessons from the Living Building Challenge, and exhibits, expert advice and information about wood products.

    BC & Metro Vancouver Housing Trends 2012
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association presents Trends 2012 on December 6th in Coquitlam. Topics include local and national economies, transition from HST back to the GST/PST, BC as a place for investment and business, new-construction and renovation activities, homebuyer demographics and the changing landscape of real-estate marketing.

    Construction Business Management Course
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association course Construction Business Management, held in Abbotsford December 1-2 is designed for construction business owners, managers, estimators, supervisors and staff. Participants will learn how to improve the management and systems of their construction company.

    Upcoming BC Construction Courses & Events
    Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC lists their various upcoming courses for companies in the construction and building industry.

    Timber Connection Design Workshop In Kelowna
    Wood Works presents a Timber Connection Design Workshop in Kelowna December 8-9. It is intended for the experienced structural engineer looking for an opportunity to do hands-on designs of wood connection systems, starting with connections found in the CSA 086 Wood Design Standard and moving on to those connections found in timber frame and log structures.

    Online Course On Supervising For Safety
    WorkSafe BC offers the free, nine-module online Supervising for Safety course for supervisors. The nine modules include: Safety Management Systems, Keys to Effective Safety Supervision, Communication Skills, New/Young Worker Education & Training, Substance Abuse, Musculoskeletal Injury Reduction, Workplace Evaluations, Incident Analysis, as well as Claims and Disability Management Programs.

    Resource Site For Canadian Tradespersons
    Trade Links provides links to information and Web sites that will help you join the ranks of professional tradespersons in Canada.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    iPad Apps To View Word, PDF, Excel
    While there are a number of concerns surrounding the iPad for the construction industry such as connectivity, security, and durability, one of the primary hindrances of the device is the difficultly of viewing Microsoft Excel and Word documents as well as PDFs, among others. The good news is there are apps for that.

    LinkedIn Tools & Tactics Resources
    LinkedIn may be considered a Facebook for business. B2B marketers get a twofer for their time spent on LinkedIn. It's good for gathering connections and sales leads for your current employer or clients. It also is a must-have networking tool for your career. Here are some LinkedIn tools, tactics, and resources to make it work better for you.

    Draw A Stickman
    It's rather juvenile (which is probably why I liked it), and it's a time waster, but it's fascinating how they do this stuff.

    Dittie For Today: On Life

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. - Author Unknown

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    © Copyright 2011               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada