Alert Notice #56
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 December 20, 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 David Hill, Arthur Lo, George Pinch, Wilma Leung, Brian Hart, Peter Weiss, David Bak, Dave Fisher, Lorna Malone, Robby Schwarz, Brent Wilker, Joey Fearn, and Jeanette Wilkinson 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

Online Presentations On Building Science Topics
Building Science Seminars allows online viewing of many slide shows and presentations including fundamentals, environmental separation, rain control, air flow, pressures & IAQ, heat air & moisture, walls, insulation & thermal bridges, cathedrals & conditioned attics, foundations & basements, HVAC, crawlspaces slabs & flooring, windows & curtainwalls, retrofit & rehabilitation, green buildings & sustainability, and much more.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Highlights OF BC Statistics For December 2011
BCStats highlights for December 2011 say unemployment in BC is up marginally, Canada’s economy continues to expand in the third quarter, investment in residential construction is down 2.9% in the third quarter, and more. (PDF)

BC Mortgage Rate Forecast December 2011
BC Real Estate Association mortgage rate forecast of December 2011 projects the five-year fixed rate to rise gradually to a still very low 5.6% and the one-year to reach 3.85% by the end of 2012. (PDF)

Canadian Housing Commentary
Canadian Home Builders Association report provides commentary on the housing market situation and future considerations. (PDF)

November 2011 Canadian Housing Starts
CMHC says seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 181,100 units in November, down from 208,800 units in October 2011.

Canadian Housing Market Trends & Affordability November 2011
RBC Economics Research report Housing Market Trends & Affordability November 2011 says While the European sovereign-debt crisis in the past several months re-ignited tensions in global financial markets and heightened uncertainty about the world economy, the effect on Canada’s housing market so far might not have been all negative. In fact, it appears that developments related to the crisis likely provided some benefits in the form of lower interest rates. (PDF)

Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update December 2011
Canadian Home Builders Association online Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update for December 2011 offers information on international, national and regional economic trends of interest to the home building industry. (PDF)

2. Business Management

Surrey Introduces Smart Phone Apps For Building Inspection Request & Info
The City of Surrey has introduced a Mobile Inspection Request system for requesting building inspections via Blackberry, iPhone, and on the web. The apps allow you to view your building permits, view building inspections associated with your permits, and request building inspections.

Incomes In British Columbia
Business Council of BC summarizes Statistics Canada’s most recent review of incomes for the calendar year 2009, for British Columbia and the major urban centres in the province. (PDF)

CFIB: Canada Pension Plan Changes Coming In January
Canadian Federation Of Independent Business describes some changes to the Canada Pension Plan that are coming as of January 1, 2012.

Small Business Assessment Of Workers Compensation Boards
Canadian Federation of Independent Business study Small Business Assessment of Workers’ Compensation includes all the provincial/territorial workers’ compensation boards. It provides a comparative analysis of seven major areas of workers’ compensation: cost of premiums; claims management; experience rating; classification and assessment; coverage; long-term fiscal sustainability; and customer service. (PDF)

Construction Marketing Association
Construction Marketing Association is a professional group focused on a broad range of resources and support for marketers in the construction category.

How Wireless Gizmos Impact Construction
Daily Commercial News describes how the proliferation of consumer wireless devices and cloud computing services is changing the way workplace safety managers track their data.

Effective Cash Flow Management
For Residential Pros says cash flow management is a common problem affecting small to moderate sized businesses, and offers some simple, effective methods to correct this.

Cost Of Constructing New Single-Family Home In US In 2011
US National Association of Home Builders says that while the average price of a single family home has dropped over the last two years, the share of that price which goes to construction cost and finished lot cost has not changed significantly.

3. Building Design & Trends

10 Top Design Trends Of 2011
Builder Magazine describes 10 of the strongest design trends of 2011. They are direct and smart responses to shifting priorities occasioned by tough economic conditions and anxious times.

10 Lifestyle Trends To Watch For In 2012
Builder Magazine describes 10 trends that are likely to influence how consumers live for much longer than the next 12 months.

White Kitchen Design Trends
Custom Home magazine says white kitchens are a trend that lives on, and there are lots of good reasons why.

18 Pro Theater Designs
HGTV Remodels online slide show provides descriptions of some incredible home theaters to inspire your own project.

Pulte Phases Out Standard Formal Dining Room Option
Building Online says in response to the housing and lifestyle needs of today's modern families, Pulte Homes recently debuted their new Life-Tested designs across the country. These say goodbye to the formal dining and living spaces, and hello to planning centers, oversized pantries and impressive mudrooms as standard items in a new home.

Living Small In BC Laneway Houses
BC Business article says laneway houses are tiny and adorable, and discusses whether they make economic sense.

Narrow Houses Offer Sustainable Living
Montreal Gazette says a row of skinny, stucco-clad houses seems an unlikely example of cutting-edge architectural principles. The nondescript two- and three-storey homes date back to the mid-1800s and were built to house the workers at nearby factories.

People's Choice For EnergyValue Housing Award
US National Association of Home Builders allows the public to vote on the People's Choice Award For EnergyValue Housing Award for Residential Home Builders and Remodelers. You can view and vote on these finalists that were chosen from hot, moderate, and cold climate regions in the following categories: Affordable, Custom/Demonstration, Production, Multi-family, Existing Home (Remodel).

Finalists For 2011 Canadian National SAM Awards
Canadian Home Builders Association lists the finalists for the 2011 CHBA National SAM Awards that celebrate excellence in new homes, home renovation, innovative technology and construction, outstanding presentation and marketing across Canada.

Integrated Building Design & Building Information Modeling
ASHRAE BC online slide show presentation describes requirements to begin the process of adopting and using BIM as an integrated design tool. (PDF)

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Garry Lowney, CEA, President of The House Whisperers says: "I find your newsletter a great source of info."

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

What’s New From BC Building & Safety Standards Branch
Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentation describes some of the upcoming BC building code changes, and issues and opportunities related to building officials and authorities having jurisdiction. (PDF)

BC Fenestration Energy Performance Requirements
BC Homeowner Protection Office Builder Insight #9, Fenestration Energy Performance, clarifies the energy performance requirements for windows, glazed doors and skylights used in residential buildings, and provides a roadmap for compliance. (PDF)

Input Requested On 2012 Vancouver Building By-law
Vancouver is currently developing the next edition of the Building By-law based on the recently released 2010 National Building Code of Canada and the proposed 2012 British Columbia Building Code. Over the next few months, they are seeking your comments on proposed by-law amendments including model codes, environmental protection, flex space, and general amendments.

2012 Public Review On Energy Efficiency Requirements For Canadian Housing
Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes invites all interested parties to participate in a special public review on proposed changes to incorporate energy efficiency requirements for housing and small buildings into Part 9 of the 2010 National Building Code of Canada. This public review will run from January 9 to March 2, 2012.

Resource Site on 2012 Canadian Electrical Code
CSA Standards new resource site on the 2012 Canadian Electrical Code is an information resource geared towards stakeholders impacted by the electrical industry in general and the CE Code in particular. It includes news items on the Code launch, related standards, and other information for the electrical community.

Water Use Efficiency Objective For 2015 National Building & Plumbing Codes
Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes is moving forward with the proposal to add a water use efficiency objective to the 2015 National Building and Plumbing Codes of Canada.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Ten Rules Of Roof Design
    Green Building Advisor says lots of things can go wrong with roofs, from bad flashing causing leaks to poorly designed valleys that can turn into slow-moving glaciers. For the best performance, build a simple roof shape over a vented unconditioned attic.

    High Performance Walls
    Building Science online slide show presentation on High Performance Light Framed Walls covers advanced framing, insulating sheathing, and air barriers. (PDF)

    Definition Of Mean Radiant Temperature
    Healthy Heating explains, in detail, how the mean radiant temperature of a space is the measure of the combined effects of temperatures of surfaces within that space.

    Overview Of Radiant Systems
    American Society of Heating Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers provides online slide show presentation describing theory and applications for radiant heating systems in commercial and residential buildings. (PDF)

    How To Build An Insulated Cathedral Ceiling
    Green Building Advisor says whether you decide to make it vented or unvented, get the details right, because every cathedral ceiling offers opportunities to make big mistakes.

    Innovative Wood Building Systems
    Woodworks online slide show Innovative Wood Building Systems describes how to apply traditional wood construction techniques in new ways to improve the structural efficiency, wood applications for structural techniques commonly used with other materials, unique wood systems that utilize pre-fabrication techniques to reduce waste and construction time while improving quality, and new wood products and how they can be used in your next project. (PDF)

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Rain Control
    Building Science online slide show presentation on rain control covers driving rain load & &wind, penetration forces, risk, rain control strategies, flashing & details, window & door openings, and curtainwalls & precast. (PDF)

    Water Management At Tub & Shower Assemblies
    US Department of Energy online Water Management at Tub and Shower Assemblies guide covers the fundamental waterproofing strategies for tub and shower assemblies. (PDF)

    Thermally Modified Wood Windows
    Window & Door Manufacturers Association of BC online slide show on Thermally Modified Wood Windows describes issues and considerations for more energy efficient wood windows. (PDF)

    Dealing With High-Capacity Range Hood
    Green Building Advisor describes why big fans need lots of makeup air, and where it can come from.

    Substances Adversely Affecting Health & Environment
    Perkins+Will online database gives descriptions of building materials containing substances that are publically known or suspected to be associated with an adverse finding in relation to human and environmental health.

    Healthy Ventilation & Indoor Air Quality For Children With Asthma
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction field study investigated the impact of residential ventilation rates on indoor air quality and the respiratory health of asthmatic children.

    Claim Adjuster Guide To Handling Hail Related Claims
    Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau online Claim Adjuster Guide To Handling Hail Related Claims provides information and resources for dealing with hail storm damage. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    BC Harmony House Open Houses To Be Held In January
    The Harmony House EQuilibrium Project located in Burnaby, is a net zero energy house and a winning entry in the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s EQuilibrium Initiative competition. It will be open to the public in the month of January, on weekends from the 7th to the 29th. Hours are 10 am - 5 pm on Saturdays, 11 am - 4 pm on Sundays. The street address is 7990 Joffre Avenue, Burnaby, BC.

    10 Green Building Trends For 2012
    Sustainable Industries article believes the green building industry will see continued growth in 2012 despite economic challenges in most developed countries, and cites 10 things to look for during the coming year.

    Residential Exterior Wall Superinsulation Retrofit
    Building Science presents many of the lessons learned from several cold-climate residential retrofit projects that have been completed using an exterior insulation approach on light-frame above-grade walls. The methods demonstrated here result in walls with insulation levels in the R-35 to R-40 range, and include overall enclosure strategies, such as air barriers, drainage planes, and moisture control.

    Top 10 Air Leaks In Existing Homes
    Green Building Advisor describes the ten most likely suspects for air leaks on existing homes.

    BC Major Appliance Stewardship Plan
    Canadian Appliance Manufacturers Association and Retail Council of Canada drafted a stewardship plan for major appliances in British Columbia. The plan gives a desription of a proposed system to build on and support the successful market-driven system for major appliances that operates in British Columbia today. (PDF)

    Phase-Out Of Inefficient Light Bulbs
    Natural Resources Canada describes the new timeline for energy efficiency regulations to phase out the use of inefficient light bulbs.

    Standby Power Uses & Reduction
    Natural Resources Canada describes standby power and methods of reducing its consumption. Standby Power is the uninterrupted supply of electricity that powers most household electronics, even when they are turned off.

    Legal Tips For Construction Firms Pursuing LEED
    Daily Commercial News says new construction techniques and new contract terms may be creating legal risks around liability, insurance and project certification that have not yet been fully explored.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Design + Build 2011 Top 100 Products
    For Residential Pros lists their Residential Design + Build 2011 Top 100 Products that have generated the most interest from their readers. (PDF)

    Ultra-Portable Table Saws
    Tools Of The Trade describes some new ultra-portable table saws that are small, light, and designed for the carpenter on the go.

    Right-Size HVAC Systems
    Remodeling Magazine describes five steps to accurately size HVAC systems from design through installation and testing.

    A Few Things You Should Know About LEDs
    BC Hydro describes some key features and benefits of LED light bulbs.

    Storage Vs Tankless
    Plumbing & HVAC magazine article says there's plenty of controversy in the HVAC industry over traditional storage-type heating vs tankless water heaters. They talk to industry experts on both sides of the argument.

    Market Expanding For Electrochromic & Thermochromic Glass
    Glass magazine describes how greater commercialization is ahead for electrochromic and thermochromic windows.

    Economics Of Commercial Geoexchange Heat Pump Systems
    ASHRAE BC online slide show presentation discusses economics of commercial ground loop water source heat pump systems. (PDF)

    9. Installation Procedures

    Water Pipe Sizing
    Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentation on water pipe sizing describes how to determine the sizing method appropriate for the type of building, determine use, determine materials used, and choose appropriate sizing table. (PDF)

    BC Windows & High R-Value Wall Assemblies
    Window & Door Manufacturers Association of BC online slide show on Design & Window Detailing Considerations for High R-Value Wood-Frame Wall Assemblies describes issues and design considerations from the perspective of BC building practices, climate, and building codes. (PDF)

    How To Protect & Cure Concrete In Cold Weather
    Concrete Network describes how to protect and cure concrete in cold weather.

    How To Install Tile Over Concrete
    Green Building says an uncoupling membrane can prevent cracks in a slab from affecting tile or grout when tile is placed over concrete.

    Installation, Care, Maintenance Of Wood Shake & Shingle Roofs
    US Forest Product Laboratory gives general guidelines for selection, installation, finishing, and maintenance of wood shake and shingle roofs. (PDF)

    How To Prime Cedar Siding To Control Staining
    Fine Homebuilding online video describes how to prime cedar siding to control bleeding tannins and other staining problems.

    Designing Interior Ducts In New Construction
    US National Renewable Energy Laboratory report Measure Guideline: Summary of Interior Ducts in New Construction, Including an Efficient, Affordable Method to Install Fur-Down Interior Ducts, describes a variety of methods to create interior ducts including the fur-up chase method, the fur-down chase method, and interior ducts positioned in sealed attics or sealed crawl spaces. (PDF)

    10. Information Sources

    Purchasable 2011 Ventilation Guide
    Building Science book 2011 Ventilation Guide presents a variety of recommendations for improving indoor air quality in residential buildings through controlled mechanical ventilation. $20 USD

    Purchasable Concrete & Concrete Mixtures Handbooks
    Cement Association of Canada sells Concrete Design Handbook for $130.00, and Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures for $60.

    Technical Bulletins On EIFS
    Exterior Insulation Finish Systems Council of Canada offers online technical bulletins on EIFS applications and procedures.

    Fact Sheets On Window Retrofit Options
    US Department of Energy fact sheets on window retrofit options include awnings, existing window performance upgrade, exterior Low-e storm windows, exterior window shades & shutters, deciding what to do with existing windows, interior blinds, shades, and drapes, interior insulating blinds, interior window panels, and surface-applied window films.

    Online Videos Of Building Process
    Builder Russ Barstow of Richmond, BC prepared these online on-site videos showing different stages of building a house.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    BC Building Industry Trade Show
    Buildex, the BC design, real estate, and construction show, held February 8 & 9 at Vancouver Convention Centre, features products, services, information, and education related to the management, design and renovation of commercial buildings, single family, multi-family, condominium, and community developments.

    Low-Rise Housing Study Tour In Austin Texas
    CHBA Alberta has invited all members of CHBA BC to the Low-Rise Housing Tour in Austin, Texas January 25-28 2012. Austin is consistently in the top ten most active housing markets in the US, and communities range from the green urbanist redevelopment of the former Austin municipal airport to Rocky Creek Ranch in the Texas Hill Country.

    BC Home & Garden Show
    BC Home & Garden show takes place at the new Vancouver Convention Centre February 22-26, where top celebrity experts and over 425 exhibitors will display the latest in new products for the home.

    Conference On Building Enclosure Science & Technology
    BEST3 Conference On Building Enclosure Science & Technology in Atlanta, April 2-4, comprising three tracks (Energy Efficiency/Whole Building/Fenestration). Twenty-two sessions will provide more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, and a products expo will give attendees access to the latest developments in building envelope products and services.

    12. Education & Training

    Seminar On Building Smart With Windows
    BC Building Envelope Council and the Homeowner Protection Office present a half-day workshop in Burnaby on January 19th that will focus on building enclosure and window installation requirements for thermal performance in new and retrofit buildings. (PDF)

    Economic Outlook For BC Construction In 2012
    BC Construction Roundtable presents Economic Outlook in Vancouver on January 20. It will cover the economic forecast for the construction industry in 2012, how the EU monetary problems and the weak US economy are impacting on the economic health of BC, and how commodities and mining are being affected by the events in China.

    Credit Basics & Collection Fundamentals
    Credit Institute of Canada BC Chapter seminar Credit Basics & Collection Fundamentals, held in Coquitlam on January 17, will provide supervisors, small business owners and individuals at the entry/intermediate level of credit granting & collections with information to assist them in their day to day roles.

    Excelling As First-Time Manager Or Supervisor
    Independent Contractors and Businesses Association seminar Excelling as a First-Time Manager or Supervisor, on January 27th in Burnaby, can show you how to successfully make the transition from team player to take-charge leader. You will learn how to establish the credibility and authority you need to organize constantly shifting projects, priorities and deadlines. (PDF)

    Estimating Sitework Construction
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association presents a five-day course on Estimating Sitework Construction, January 23-27. This course will cover all the tasks required to develop an accurate sitework estimate.

    Energy Efficiency & Building Enclosure: Standards, Compliance Paths, Emerging Technologies
    Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of BC half-day seminar Energy Efficiency and the Building Enclosure: Standards, Compliance Paths, and Emerging Technologies, held on February 7th in Vancouver, will be of interest to building enclosure professionals and others interested in the impact of enclosure design on energy performance of Part 3 buildings.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Online Video Tutorials On Windows 7
    Top Windows offers easy to understand video tutorials on Windows 7.

    News, Analysis, Opinion About Future Of Internet
    Internet Evolution covers the future of the Internet. It has a great quantity of topical information, and there's also a Web Wise World Tutorial section, which helps you keep up with new developments.

    Click On The Ball
    Very frustrating! That's all I can say.

    Dittie For Today: On Attitude

    It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it. - Lou Holtz

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    © Copyright 2011               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada