Alert Notice #58
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 January 30, 2012


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 Chris Mattock, Doug Harrison, David Hill, Wilma Leung, Charles Goldman, John Nicol, Glenn Duxbury, Emily DeWolfe, Rick Fearn, Robyn Kauppila, Peter Weiss, George Pinch, Bill Gies, Kevin Holland, Andrew Rice, Susan Scott, Denisa Ionescu, Jeanette Wilkinson, Robyn Hall, Maureen McLaughlin, Carl Jones, and Joey Fearn 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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    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    BC Housing Market Update January 2012
    BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the December 2011 statistics and an in depth look at 2011 in review.

    Provincial Outlook December 2011
    Royal Bank of Canada monthly provincial economic update charts and tables show provincial economies are facing a period of sustained growth, albeit still modest for the most part. (PDF)

    Canadian Building Industry Leaders Speak About 2012
    Home Builder magazine asked Canadian industry leaders to comment on the coming year. Here are their comments on building & renovating, economics, education & training initiatives, energy efficient building initiatives, home builders’ associations, sales & marketing, and technology.

    Approaching 2012 With Caution & Some Optimism
    Journal of Commerce says during the last couple of months, the employment numbers in Canada have been disappointing, but other statistics on the economy have been more upbeat.

    2012 Canadian Construction Forecast
    On-Site Magazine says despite all the bad news, though, the near-term health of construction in Canada seems strong.

    Fair-To-Great Data On Year-End 2011 & Early 2012
    Reed Construction Data summarizes recent data released on the US and Canadian economies, with most of it being mediocre to slightly positive.

    2012-2013 Canadian Economic Outlook
    Canadian Chamber of Commerce 2012 Economic Outlook says Canada’s sound banking system, comparatively better fiscal position, resilient housing market and strong corporate balance sheets have steered the economy through turbulent waters in 2011, but 2012 might bring a more challenging reality and constrained growth is expected. (PDF)

    CHBA-BC Is Searching For New Chief Executive Officer
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC is searching for a talented professional to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer. (PDF)

    2. Business Management

    Selling To Women Vs Men
    Remodeling Magazine describes why you won’t get far trying to sell to women and men the same way.

    How Social Media Impacts Brand Marketing
    Nielson Wire summarizes research by NM Incite on what impacts social media may have for marketers trying to build their brands and connect with their audience more directly.

    Scheduling For Home Builders With Microsoft Project
    US National Association of Home Builders sells Scheduling for Home Builders with Microsoft Project. It provides easy step-by-step instructions to help you master this powerful scheduling program. $45 USD

    Understanding Contractor Capacity
    Canadian Construction Sector Council research paper Understanding Contractor Capacity looks at factors impacting contractors and goes beyond labour requirements to consider all aspects of a contractor’s business. A new tool has been developed to help owners, contractors, government, training providers and labour groups plan for the addition of new capacity.

    Free Online Interactive Business Planner From Small Business BC
    Small Business BC has joined together with Business Plans Canada to create a new Interactive Business Planner. This new tool has been designed to help you create your plan step-by-step, providing tips and guidelines at each stage. The interactive planner will help guide you through each of the sections of the plan: from operations to implementation, from marketing to your company financials.

    BC Raises Threshold Of Homeowner Grant
    BC Government says British Columbians who own homes worth up to $1.285 million may be eligible to receive the entire homeowners’ grant this year, after the Province raised the threshold to accommodate rising property values.

    Estimating Roof Area
    Journal of Light Construction describes how to estimate roof area.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    Lennar Introduces Multigenerational Homes To Las Vegas
    Building Online says Lennar Homes debuted its multigenerational home plan to the Las Vegas market in early December. The concept has enjoyed a resurgence among homebuyers (and builders) in an economy where many generations are staying under one roof to save money.

    Live-Work Housing That’s More Livable & Workable
    Builder Magazine shares ideas about the current demand for live-work housing, and the important role that developers, architects, builders, and property managers can play in helping to change the rules.

    Modular Care Cottages An Independent-Living Alternative For Elderly & Disabled
    US National Association of Home Builders says a modular alternative to full-scale home adaptations, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 642-square-foot home that can easily fit in a back yard, serves people with disabilities or the elderly who want to live independently but close to their caregivers.

    10 Custom Home Design Trends For 2012
    Builder Magazine describes of the top custom home design trends for 2012, as predicted by Schumacher Homes, an Ohio-based company that claims to be America’s largest custom on-your-lot home builder.

    A Man's Bathroom Remodel
    HGTV Remodels describes what more guys are now wanting in a bathroom they can call their own.

    Examples Of Freestanding Bathtubs
    Builder Magazine online slide show describes bathrooms featuring freestanding tubs, and how they can be the centerpiece of the room, making a statement about luxury, serenity, or even quirky style, a design object that stands on its own.

    Urban Travel & Neighbourhood Form
    CMHC funded the development of a tool to estimate annual car use in vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) per household for weekday trips as well as other outputs, such as the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. Nine neighbourhood scenarios are included as examples, embodying a wide range of contrasting locational and neighbourhood design characteristics. This report will help neighbourhood planners estimate the effects of land-use, design and location decisions on personal urban travel, such as car use.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Chris Mattock, Principal of Habitat Design & Consulting says: "Just got the latest BC Building Info and was amazed to see it's number 56. What an accomplishment! Keep up the good work."

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    Board Member Position On BC Building Code Appeal Board
    BC Government has issued a Notice of Appointment for a Board Member Position on the BC Building Code Appeal Board. Interested parties may submit a resume to the Building and Safety Standards Branch at by February 15, 2012. (PDF)

    Public Review On Proposed Changes To the 2010 Canadian National Building Code
    Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes invites Code users and stakeholders to participate in the review of proposed changes to the National Building Code of Canada 2010. This national public review takes place from January 9 to March 2, 2012.

    Key Changes In 2012 Canadian Electrical Code For Electrical Contractors
    CSA list the key changes for electrical contractors in the 2012 Canadian Electrical Code. (PDF)

    2012 Canadian Electrical Code Workshop
    British Columbia Electrical Association presents 2012 Canadian Electrical Code Workshop in Burnaby on February 6. It covers changes to the Canadian Electrical Code, workplace electrical safety, and new technology highlights.

    Canadian Energy Star Qualifications For Fenestration Products
    Natural Resources Canada describes how Energy Star windows and doors are qualified for their energy efficiency by either a U-value or Energy Rating (ER) for each of the four Canadian zones.

    Standard For Vapor Permeable Flexible Sheet Water Resistive Barriers
    ASTM E2556 / E2556M -10 Standard Specification for Vapor Permeable Flexible Sheet Water-Resistive Barriers Intended for Mechanical Attachment applies to vapor permeable flexible sheet materials which are intended to be mechanically attached and are generally installed behind the cladding system in exterior walls.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Foam Shrinks, And Other Lessons
    Building Science article in Fine Homebuilding describes what was learned from updating a 16-year-old deep-energy retrofit.

    Hockey Pucks & Hydrostatic Pressure
    Building Science Insights describes how barriers in the airspace between cladding and building paper can cause water to build up and be held in the space, causing perched water, which exerts a force on the wall assembly.

    Natural Cooling Options
    Green Building Advisor describes some cooling-load-avoidance strategies and natural ventilation.

    Think Lumens Not Watts For Light Bulbs
    Solar Lighting Smart article says when you look at the replacements for incandescent bulbs, don’t think of wattage. Instead, look at the packages and read the Lumen output to estimate the light strength you can expect.

    How Water Works
    American Water Works Association describes processes, equipment and technology involved in a water supply and wastewater treatment system.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Hygrothermal Analysis Of Exterior Rockwool Insulation
    Building Science report Hygrothermal Analysis Of Exterior Rockwool Insulation predicted winter time plywood sheathing wetting, and the drying of wetted plywood sheathing. Results from the exterior XPS insulated walls were compared to similar assemblies constructed with the same R-value of rockwool insulation. (PDF)

    Smart Meter’s Contentious Opponents
    Green Building Advisor says they still remain very much in the minority, but anti-smart-meter protesters are prompting investigations and continue to voice concerns about security and safety.

    Smart Home Technologies To Support Independent Living
    Canadian Institute for Research in Construction Centre for Computer-assisted Construction Technologies is developing and testing smart home technologies to support independent living. These are expected to provide high quality and yet affordable supports for seniors and people with disabilities to live safely and independently in their own homes.

    BC Financing Program For Home Adaptations For Independence
    Home Adaptations for Independence is a BC Housing program to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities finance home modifications for accessible, safe and independent living. It provides homeowners and landlords with eligible tenants with financial assistance for home adaptations such as handrails in hallways or stairways, ramps for ease of access, easy to reach work areas in the kitchen or bath-tub grab bars.

    Resource Site On Radon
    Health Canada provides information and resources on radon.

    Guideline For Quality Management In Existing Homes
    US Department of Energy provides online Strategy Guideline: Quality Management in Existing Homes which is designed to highlight the quality assurance (QA) process that can be applied to any retrofit activity. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Green Marketing Implementation
    Dovetail report Green Marketing Implementation recommends some important activities that are essential to a marketing program’s success, and provides several publicly available examples of how organizations have addressed the sometimes-confusing product adoption process.

    Service Cavities For Wiring & Plumbing
    Green Building Advisor describes how designers of superinsulated houses are developing new ways to disentangle plumbing and electrical utility runs from insulated wall and ceiling assemblies.

    The Challenge Of Counting Green Jobs In BC
    Business Council of BC report How Big (And What Is) the Green Economy? The Challenge of Counting Green Jobs in BC suggests that green industries collectively do have both a substantial presence in BC and considerable upside potential. However, the green sector is modest in overall size and quite limited in its aggregate economic impact. It also finds that some existing reports on the green economy in BC are rather generous in their interpretations of what should be counted as a green job. (PDF)

    Web Site For Industry Input & Discussion On R2000 Renewal
    BC green building advocate Wilma Leung has created this site to provide industry members an opportunity to submit and discuss ideas around future criteria and directions for the R2000 program.

    Proposed Changes To Canadian Energy Efficiency Regulations
    Natural Resources Canada describes recently proposed changes to the regulatory standards.

    Performance Of 7 Energy Retrofits
    Building Science says with the high exposure of energy efficiency and retrofit terminology being used in the general media at this time, it is important to have evidence that measures being proposed will in fact benefit the homeowner through a combination of energy savings, improved durability, and occupant comfort. It summarizes their research on 7 test homes that included the approximate energy savings and comfort improvements that can be expected from combinations of retrofit measures, example retrofit costs, and the importance of data collection during the retrofit process.

    Quantifying Environmental Value Of Building Reuse
    Cascadia Region Green Building Council report Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse provides analysis of the potential environmental benefit of building reuse. (PDF)

    Renewable Energy Conference & Trade Show
    Building Energy 2011, held March 6-8 in Boston, is a cross-disciplinary renewable energy and high performance building conference. It brings together architects, engineers, builders, policymakers, developers and building managers for three days of networking, accredited educational sessions and a trade show.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Test Of 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Impact Drivers
    Tools Of The Trade tested various models of 18-Volt lithium-ion impact drivers. The best models have good speed and runtime, and added features like variable output and a battery gauge.

    Seven Steps To Choosing Circular Saw
    Fine Homebuilding online video Seven Steps to Choosing the Perfect Circular Saw summarizes their review of 14 sidewinder circular saws and the seven features they found that separate the good from the not-so-good.

    Upcoming Window Advancements & Options
    US Department of Energy displays an Energy Design Update interview with Stephen Selkowitz, of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to get an expert opinion on upcoming window advancements, options, and best resources for residential building. (PDF)

    Zoned Heating & Cooling Innovation
    Natural Resources Canada has been researching opportunities for zoned forced air systems in the increasingly multi-storey and multi-unit residential construction sector. The end result was an affordable zoned forced air system that offered greater performance and ease of use.

    Performance Of Retrofitting From Tank To Tankless Water Heaters
    CMHC study Performance of Retrofitting from Tank to Tankless Water Heaters was initiated to better understand the impacts that retrofitting a conventional storage tank hot water heater to a gas-fired tankless heater had on water and energy consumption. Monitoring in 23 houses found an average 46 percent reduction in natural gas used for water heating after such a retrofit, and while the impacts on water consumption were more varied between households, there was an average increase in water consumption of 2 percent. (PDF)

    Fiberglass Duct & HVAC Insulation
    North American Insulation Manufacturers Association describes fiber glass use as thermal and acoustical insulation in forced air heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems.

    Are Radiant Barriers A Good Investment?
    Advanced Energy provides facts about radiant barriers and reflective insulation products to determine if they are a wise investment for achieving energy and cost savings in your home. (PDF)

    9. Installation Procedures

    Internal Insulation of Masonry Walls
    Building Science describes issues and considerations for insulation and air sealing of mass masonry walls. (PDF)

    Installation, Care, Maintenance Of Wood Shake & Shingle Siding
    US Forest Products Laboratory gives general guidelines for selection, installation, finishing, and maintenance of wood shakes and shingles. (PDF)

    Repair, Replacement, Maintenance Of Historic Slate Roofs
    US National Park Service online guide The Repair, Replacement & Maintenance of Historic Slate Roofs covers history of slate use, character and detailing, where slate comes from, deterioration of slate and slate roofs, repairing, replacement of deteriorated roofs, and maintenance.

    Window Repair, Rehabilitation & Replacement
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for window repair, rehabilitation and replacement. (PDF)

    10 Essential Details For Successful Snowmelting Systems
    HPAC magazine describes 10 essential details for successful snowmelting systems. (PDF)

    How To Provide Makeup Air For A Wood Stove
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether a wood stove should get ducted outdoor combustion air direct to the firebox, or to a location near the stove, or perhaps no ducted outdoor air at all?

    Electrical Panel Safety Tips
    Fine Homebuilding online video describes what you can and can't touch when installing circuit breakers.

    10. Information Sources

    Resource Site On Building & Construction
    Buildipedia covers design and construction with online videos, interviews, photo galleries, and case studies. Their knowledgebase of building materials and systems accepts contributions from all users, and their social network provides a place for users to ask questions, share best practices, and showcase their own design, home-improvement, and other construction projects.

    Resource Site On Sealants
    Sealant Technologies offers sealant resources and guidance for finding the right solution for your specific application needs.

    Online Videos On How To Paint
    Dunn-Edwards Paints series of 10 online how-to videos about painting will help ensure success for your painting projects.

    BC Statistical Publications & Reports
    CMHC offers statistical reports for BC including Housing Market Outlook, Housing Now, Rental Market Reports, Renovation & Home Purchase, and Seniors Housing.

    Resource Site For Aboriginals In Construction
    Aboriginal Construction Careers provides information and resources for career seekers, job seekers, construction employers and career counsellors.

    Online Videos On Appliance Repair
    Part Select enhanced YouTube Channel offers a comprehensive library of professionally-produced instructional videos for appliance repair.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    HVACR Conference & Indoor Air Expo
    Air Conditioning Contractors of America annual conference and trade show, held this year in Las Vegas, March 5-8, serves the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry.

    Canadian Trade Show For Plumbing & Heating Industry
    CMX-CIPHEX Show, Held in Toronto March 22-24, is the Canadian national trade show for the air conditioning, heating, hearth, plumbing, piping, refrigeration and ventilation industries.

    BC Annual Water & Waste Conference & Trade Show
    BC Water & Waste Association annual conference & trade show held in Penticton, April 21-25, features a trade show, technical and operator sessions, and networking opportunities.

    2012 World Indigenous Housing Conference
    2012 World Indigenous Housing Conference will be the first international conference to bring indigenous housing providers from around the world together to share common experiences, showcase achievements, and strengthen indigenous housing by creating a global network. It will be held June 11-15, 2012, in Vancouver.

    12. Education & Training

    Construction Law
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association presents Construction Law (Gold Seal Certified) in Abbotsford February 9-10. It is designed for construction owners, managers, estimators and supervisors to develop an understanding of contract law as it relates to construction. Participants will also learn how to effectively and proactively deal with conflict situations and avoid litigation. The course will also review other construction related law such as environmental and safety laws.

    Construction Businesses Tax Seminar
    BC Independent Contractors & Businesses Association presents Construction Businesses Tax Seminar on February 9. This session will help you keep up-to-date on current and upcoming taxation issues facing small to mid-size construction businesses today. (PDF)

    Course On Business Valuation, Estate & Succession Planning
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association's presents Business Valuation, Estate & Succession Planning on February 14. It covers vital information to business owners at any stage of their companies' evolution including business valuation methods used to identify the value of your company, and succession planning issues for an internal family succession, a management buy-out, or a sale to a third party.

    The Heart Of A Canuck
    On Friday, February 17 the Vancouver Board of Trade presents The Heart Of A Canuck. Mike Gillis, Stan Smyl, Victor de Bonis and Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks will share the values that lie at the core of our city’s top sports franchise, including courage, honour, humility, integrity and passion.

    Complying With ASHRAE Standard 90.1 (2007)
    Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC seminar Complying With ASHRAE Standard 90.1 (2007), held in Vancouver March 29-30 is targeted at design professionals, code officials & building owners. It presents an overview of the 2004 standard, the addenda that are added in the 2007 version, the Standard's requirements, and methods for compliance. The session will also dedicate a few hours on the 2010 version for future reference as there is no current date for adoption for this version.

    Business Case For Essential Skills In Construction
    Canadian Construction Sector Council report The Business Case for Essential Skills in Construction establishes a link between Essential Skills upgrading during early apprenticeship training and return on training investment for employers. It contains three major sections: the impact of offering Essential Skills training for apprentices; the impact on return on training investment; and lessons learned from applying Essential Skills interventions.

    Construction Worker Self-Assessment Of Essential Skills
    Canadian Construction Sector Council Essential Skills tool is for tradespeople, apprentices and people interested in construction careers who want to assess their current Essential Skills and their readiness for technical training. Based on typical construction workplace tasks, the exercises allow users to practice Reading Text, Document Use and Numeracy. The score sheet allows them to assess their skills and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    8 Simple Tools For Mobile Scanning Of Documents
    Open Forum describes eight apps and tools that seamlessly scan and file your most important documents and keepsakes.

    Best Cloud Services Of 2011
    Website Magazine lists five of the best cloud service providers from the past 12 months.

    Screaming Severed Head
    Sit back and enjoy. Life is not always what it seems, and at times offers rude surprises!

    Dittie For Today: On Patience

    Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in one ahead. - Bill McGlashen

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    © Copyright 2012               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada