Alert Notice #59
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 February 20, 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 Garry Lowney, Lori Matthes, Wilma Leung, Brent Wilker, Roger Lam, Mary Hart, Michael Holmes, Lynn Bartoshuk, George Pinch, Claire Munroe, Joanne DeVries, Dave Fehr, Maureen McLaughlin, Peter Weiss, and Glenn Duxbury 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

Guideline For Foundation Insulation Retrofits
Building Science research report Hybrid Foundation Insulation Retrofits: Measure Guideline describes a variety of recommended designs and variations for retrofit hybrid assemblies in basements and crawlspaces. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

New HST Rules For BC New Home Purchases
The BC Government describes the New Housing Transitional Rules For HST & GST. The housing transition rules help ensure when people buy a newly constructed home under the PST, whether built entirely under the HST, entirely under the PST, or partly under HST and partly under the PST, they will all pay a consistent and equitable amount of tax. The transition rules provide certainty for new-home construction and sales, particularly during the transition period.

Slow But Gradually Improving Growth In Store For BC
BC Business Council Economic Review and Outlook says they expect BC’s economic growth to moderate slightly from the pace set toward the end of 2011, resulting in another ho-hum year in 2012, not terrible, but below average. (PDF)

Buildex 2012 Vancouver Construction Keynote Panel Presentation
Journal of Commerce online video of the Buildex Vancouver Construction Keynote Panel features a cross-section of the best minds in the construction industry discussing procurement, shifting demographics, labour shortages and foreign investment.

Census 2011 Highlights For BC
BC Stats provides highlights of the recent Canadian Census 2011 as it relates to BC. (PDF)

2011 Canadian Housing Observer
CMHC 2011 Canadian Housing Observer presents a detailed review of housing conditions and trends in Canada and of key factors behind them. It examines the state of housing at national, provincial/territorial, and metropolitan levels, and discusses influences on housing demand, current market developments, housing finance, housing affordability, and other topics.

Housing Market Outlook Canada For First Quarter 2012
CMHC Canadian Housing Market Outlook provides information on national and provincial housing trends and forecasts as of the first quarter 2012. It says with the Canadian economy set to expand at a moderate pace and mortgage rates expected to remain low, activity levels in 2012 in both new home construction and sales of existing homes will stay close to levels seen in 2011. (PDF)

Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update February 2012
Canadian Home Builders Association online Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update for February 2012 offers information on international, national and regional economic trends of interest to the home building industry. (PDF)

2. Business Management

Construction Costs Up But Have Eased
Journal of Commerce says the price of construction materials rose 3.1 per cent between December, 2010 and December, 2011. The year-over-year increase in the total construction cost index was made up of a -0.2% figure for residential, +3.1% for non-residential building and +5.8% for engineering.

Builders Share Social Media Strategies That Win
Builder Magazine summarizes what four builders are doing with social media.

Contractors Go Mobile To Make Purchase Decisions
Building Online says contractors and trade professionals are relying on smartphones and other mobile technology like laptops and tablets to assist in purchase decision-making, according to a national research study.

Market For Aging-in-Place Remodeling Goes Mainstream
US National Association of Home Builders says the market for aging-in-place remodeling continues to grow as more homeowners choose to remain in their homes as they age.

How Do You Fire A client?
Canadian Contractor provides some suggestions on what to do when you start to realize that the client is not worth the trouble.

Online Filing Of Records Of Employment
Service Canada online service, ROE Web, can help save time and money by filing Records of Employment electronically, instead of filling out hard copies.

3. Building Design & Trends

2012 Winners of Best of American Living Awards
Builder Magazine describes the winners of the 2012 Best of American Living Awards.

20 Housing Trends For Today
Builder Magazine provides descriptions of 20 trends that architects and designers offered at the International Builders Show.

Builder's 2012 Concept Homes
Builder Magazine describes Builder’s Concept Home 2012 including three fresh and flexible houses that adapt and appeal to a wide range of buyers: Gen X, Gen Y, and Boomers.

33 Professionally Designed Home Offices
HGTV Remodels online slide show describes 33 professionally designed home offices.

Top Kitchen & Bath Trends For 2012
National Kitchen & Bath Association member designers took part in the 2012 NKBA Design Trends Survey to cite the materials, product types, and styles that they’ve incorporated into their kitchen and bath designs over the final three months of 2011.

Tips For Hardscapes
HGTV Remodels provides tips for creating hardscapes, including the walls, paths, decks and other hard surfaces in your outdoor space.

Free Software Tool Compares Geothermal Options
HyGCHP (Hybrid Ground-Coupled Heat Pumps) free software is an easy-to-use method of analyzing hybrid geothermal configurations. It helps users investigate several configurations of geothermal systems, including conventional geothermal systems and hybrid options. It helps determine how much money a building owner can save, helps select optimal sizes for the equipment, compares different hybrid geothermal approaches, and analyzes the effects of different control strategies.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

John Friswell, President, CCI Renovations says: "Great work! BC Building Info is a great one stop shop."

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

February 2012 Changes To WorkSafe BC OHS Regulations
WorkSafe BC describes Amendments to the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation made in 2012.

Advanced Permitting For Deconstruction In Vancouver
City of Vancouver deconstruction permit allows applicants to receive their permit to deconstruct roughly two weeks in advance of their development/building permit, and allows deconstruction to begin prior to receiving those permits. (PDF)

New Standard For Residential HVAC Zoning
Air Conditioning Contractors of America sells Manual Zr, the first ANSI recognized standard for residential zoning. It includes all of the information needed to design a zoned HVAC system. $100 USD

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Role Of Building Science In Past & Future Low Energy Buildings
    Building Science online slide show presentation discusses the role of building science in past and future low energy buildings. (PDF)

    Overview Of Residential Heat Recovery
    Heating Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Institute of Canada online slide show presentation covers when residential heat recovery is appropriate, types of equipment, economics, selecting HRV/ERV equipment, and installation considerations. (PDF)

    Introduction To Pervious Pavement
    Buildipedia discusses permeable pavement, which allows rain and snow to seep into the ground.

    Selecting Proper Coating For Concrete Floors
    Concrete Network describes how to select the proper coating for concrete floors including material selection process, material properties & application procedures, specifying type & thickness, and installation & inspection.

    Plumbing Vent Definitions & Distances
    Inspectapedia provides an explanation and drawings of plumbing vent systems.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Resource Site On Wall Bracing
    Engineered Wood Association resource site provides information on designing, building, and enforcing wall bracing systems.

    R-Value Myth Busting
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations around the difference between R-value of materials and those of walls. (PDF)

    Strange Geography Of Thermostat Settings
    Green Building Advisor describes how, contrary to expectations, in winter Northerners set their thermostats lower than Southerners.

    Vented vs. Unvented Crawlspaces In Homes In Mixed Humid Climate
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory study Vented vs. Unvented Crawlspaces in Identical Side-by-Side Homes in the Mixed Humid Climate indicated that the sealed and insulated crawlspace design is better than the traditional vented crawlspace in the mixed humid climate. (PDF)

    Technical Guideline On Through-Penetration Firestopping
    Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors online Technical Guideline On Through-Penetration Firestopping was prepared in response to increasing concerns and lack of understanding of the through-penetration firestopping issue by designers, code officials and contractors. The requirements of the Model Code groups have been identified and the responsibilities of architects, engineers/designers, code officials and contractors have been outlined. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    US Green Homes Market Expected To Increase Five-Fold by 2016
    McGraw-Hill Construction summarizes findings from a new Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study at the 2012 National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show that shows green homes comprised 17% of the overall residential construction market in 2011 and are expected to grow to between 29% and 38% of the market by 2016.

    Changes To National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011
    Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes online presentations on the 2011 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) provide overviews of major technical changes in the 2011 NECB.

    Introduction To Photovoltaic Systems
    Green Building Advisor describes features, benefits and considerations for photovoltaic systems.

    Canadian Resource Site On Passive House
    Canadian Passive House Institute provides information and resources on the international Passive House Standard.

    American Passive House Resource Site
    American Passive House Network website serves as a news and technical resource site for the US Passivhaus community.

    ecoENERGY Program Closed For New Participants
    Natural Resources Canada provides updates on new deadlines for the ecoEnergy program grants. On January 28, 2012 registrations closed for new and past participants. March 31, 2012 is the deadline to purchase and install eligible products and equipment, and to obtain a pre-retrofit evaluation from a licensed service organization. June 30, 2012 is the deadline to obtain a post-retrofit evaluation and sign an application form for eligible retrofits completed by March 31, 2012.

    Green Real Estate Forum In Toronto
    Green Real Estate forum, held April 4th in Toronto, will address the key trends from the perspective of building owners, tenants, design and construction professionals, and the overall real estate market.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    12 New Products From IBS 2012
    Builder Magazine describes 12 new products from the International Builders Show.

    Choosing A Water Heater
    Green Building Advisor describes how to choose a water heater, given that simple, affordable water heaters aren’t very efficient, and efficient equipment is complicated and costly.

    Insulated Siding Guide For Users & Energy Raters
    Vinyl Siding Institute provides online Insulated Siding as Home Insulation: Guide for Users and Energy Raters, that covers how it qualifies to meet the requirements of various residential energy efficiency programs, how insulated siding products are tested to determine actual R-value, proper installation techniques, and more.

    Recall Of Coleman Furnaces
    Health Canada recent recall involves Coleman, Coleman Evcon and Red T brand furnaces that can overheat causing the heat exchanger to crack, burn-through and in extreme cases cause furnace wrapper burn-through.

    Search For An Architect In BC
    Architectural Institute of BC provides online search service allowing you to find an architect by member, firm, or associate.

    List Of Members Of Electrical Contractors Association of BC
    Electrical Contractors Association of BC lists their members, along with their contact information and website links.

    9. Installation Procedures

    How To Paint Fiber Cement Siding
    Fine Homebuilding online video describes how to paint fiber cement siding.

    Construction Details For Masonry Walls
    Masonry Institute of BC provides detail drawings for masonry walls attached to block, wood, and steel.

    Air Distribution Basics & Duct Design
    US National Renewable Energy Laboratory guideline Air Distribution Basics and Duct Design describes how the energy efficient house design process offers opportunities to integrate the HVAC system into the design earlier in the process and to utilize a strategy of shorter duct runs with smaller cross-sectional areas that can reduce system costs and that can be installed completely within the conditioned space. (PDF)

    Air Mixing & Thermal Comfort From High Sidewall Supply Air Jets
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides information to guide the selection of high sidewall air supply inlets to maintain proper room mixing for heating and cooling of high performance homes. (PDF)

    Sequencing Electrical Process Of Gas Furnace
    Rochester Heating & Air provides online video describing how to sequence the electrical process of a gas-fired furnace.

    Window Replacement Considerations
    RDH Building Engineering online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for window replacement.

    Free Online Calculator For SFD Residential Electrical Service Panel
    Doug Helmer created this free online form that calculates the proper conductor sizes, meter base, etc., for a Canadian single-dwelling residential service panel.

    10. Information Sources

    Framing Strategies for Seasoned Pros
    Journal of Light Construction and Ainsworth Engineered online digital field guide offers in-depth advice for all experience levels, including steps for faster wall framing, a field guide to wood I-joists, and tips for avoiding red flags.

    State Of Canadian Geothermal Heat Pump Industry 2011
    Canadian GeoExchange Coalition statistical report The State of the Canadian Geothermal Heat Pump Industry 2011 summarizes its industry survey and market analysis. (PDF)

    Free Canadian Housing Information Monthly Report
    CMHC free report Housing Information Monthly consists of ten modules, containing more than 90 easy-to-read, data-rich statistical tables on starts, completions, absorptions and prices for both provincial and local markets.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    2012 HVACR & Mechanical Conference For Educational Professionals
    Dedicated to enhancing the skills and knowledge of technical educators and trainers, the 2012 HVACR & Mechanical Conference for Educational Professionals will offer technical sessions covering the latest topics and advancements in the HVACR mechanical and plumbing trades. It will be held March 12-14, in Colorado Springs.

    2012 World Indigenous Housing Conference In Vancouver
    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 in Vancouver.

    12. Education & Training

    Advanced Lighting Controls Workshop
    Illuminating Engineering Society (Vancouver Section) workshop on Advanced Lighting Controls will be held in Vancouver on March 8th. It will focus on how modern, state-of-the art lighting controls can deliver significant energy savings while maintaining the visual quality and also improving users’ experience.

    Supervisory & Management Skills
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association presents Supervisory and Management Skills (Gold Seal Certified) in Abbotsford March 8-9. It is designed for construction owners, managers, estimators and supervisors, to improve skills in leadership, management and supervision of staff.

    Steep Slope Roofing Symposium
    WorkSafe BC and Roofing Contractors Association of BC present Steep Slope Roofing Symposium on March 28th in Langley. This safety workshop for those employed in the steep slope roofing industry covers safety responsibilities, fall protection planning and procedures, and onsite inspections. (PDF)

    UDI School of Development: The Green Challenge
    Urban Development Institute presents The Green Challenge in Vancouver, March 30-31. It examines whether you can make a profit by building green, and explains the relationship between planning, design and economics.

    Introduction To Building Information Modeling
    Canadian Construction Sector Council online course Introduction To Building Information Modeling covers basic concepts, getting started, and putting BIM to work in building construction. It also provides an overview of how BIM can improve productivity, cost-effectiveness, worker-effectiveness, and error-management during the six phases of a project: design, bidding, construction, commissioning, delivery, and as-builts.

    Value Engineering: Getting The Most For The Least
    Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC seminar Value Engineering: Getting the Most for the Least, held in Vancouver April 25, describes that it is a review process that seeks alternatives to perform the identified functions at minimum life cycle cost. The lecture material of this one-day workshop covers the history, benefits and process for enhancing the value of manufactured products as well as capital projects.

    Courses On Internet Marketing
    Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada is offering several courses in Vancouver including Interactive Marketing & Online Advertising, Social Media Marketing, and Mobile Marketing.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    20 Best Windows Downloads For Any New Computer
    LockerGnome gives descriptions of their recommendations for the 20 best programs to install on a new Windows computer.

    How To Use Google+ For Your Business
    Fix Course describes various ways you can use Google+ in your business.

    Don't Mess With Little Old Ladies
    This little video provides a surprising example of the downside of impatience. Note the air bag...and resultant humility!

    Dittie For Today: On Responsibility

    Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. - Erica Jong

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    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada