Alert Notice #62
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 April 18, 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 David Hill, Sean Moss, Wilma Leung, Doug Harrison, George Hawirko, Doug Rempel, Sabine Just, George Pinch, Rod Goy, Amy Spencer, Alan Mark, Peter Weiss, Irene Strong, Ryan Coleman, Inga Liimatta, Louise Dunne, and Aoibhe Glynn 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

    Slab Happy Insulation
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    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    Summary Of 2012 Vancouver Real Estate Forum Presentations
    Clark Wilson provides a summary of presentations at the recent Vancouver Real Estate Forum, that looked at what may be in store for the industry in 2012 and beyond.

    BC Housing Market Update April 2012
    BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the March 2012 statistics.

    Presentations From BC Housing Affordability Symposium
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC offers online access to presentations made at their recent Housing Affordability Symposium.

    Current Provincial Economical Trends April 2012
    Royal Bank of Canada Economics Research describes current provincial trends as of April 2012, within a wide rage of economic factors. (PDF)

    Majority Of Canadians Would Rather Renovate Than Relocate
    Annual RBC Homeownership Poll shows a majority of Canadians (83 per cent) would rather renovate their homes than find a new place to live if their current home needed major work.

    Housing Starts For Canada, Provinces, Metropolitan Areas 1990–2011
    CMHC data tables show housing starts for Canada, provinces, and metropolitan areas for 1990–2011.

    2. Business Management

    Builders Lien Risk Management For Owners
    Clark Wilson gives descriptions of some steps and approaches available to reduce the owner's risk of builders liens.

    Development & Construction Contracts
    Best Practices Construction Law provides descriptions of some items to think about when drafting construction contracts.

    Stressed Worker Legislation Could Have Massive Impact
    Journal of Commerce says a sleeper issue is working its way through the BC Legislature. The Liberal government has introduced amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act that would broaden the acceptance of stress claims.

    How Mobile Mapping Can Save You Money
    On-Site magazine describes how mobile mapping is an emerging technology the benefits in terms of data collection costs, productivity, and safety improvements.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    2011 Winners Of Best In American Living Awards
    NAHB describes the 2011 winners of their Best in American Living Awards. The awards recognize good design in single-family and multifamily homes of all types and sizes, communities, interior design, remodeling and rental developments.

    Pictures Of Home Builders' Best Designs
    US National Association of Builders offers ideas for new homes and remodeling projects with these pictures of award-winning designs from home builders around the country.

    Creativity & Cost-Savings Reflected In Top New Home Design Trends
    NAHB shares the hottest design trends that will be seen in new homes in 2012. New home buyers will be able to take advantage of emerging market trends that incorporate creative use of materials, layouts and features that provide maximum utility and beauty while being cost-conscious at the same time.

    Multigen Living In Many Flavours
    Builder Magazine online slide show describes floor plans for a new master-planned community that will focus on multigenerational living.

    Plans With Room For Grandma
    Builder Magazine describes four smart plans that have easily accessed rooms perfect for an elderly relative or boomerang kid.

    8 Boutique-Inspired Closets
    HGTV Remodels describes 8 boutique-inspired closets that, more than just a place to store things, are meant to be lived in and enjoyed.

    10 Ideas For Landscape Lighting Design
    HGTV Remodels provides design tips for choosing a landscape lighting system for your yard and outdoor areas.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Mark Nowotny, Project Manager, My House Design Build says: "I really like the BC Building Info resources. Each issue has a good mixture of valuable information, and the link-based format allows me to quickly scan and access articles I'm interested in."

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    Alternative Development Standards Guide
    CMHC online Alternative Development Standards: A Guide For Practitioners draws from the results of projects across Canada. It provides an overview of the subject for development professionals such as engineers, planners and builders. It presents technical information, how-to guidance, and lessons learned. (PDF)

    Members Of Standing Committees On Canadian National Model Construction Codes
    Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes lists members of the following committees: Building and Plumbing Services; Earthquake Design; Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Environmental Separation; Fire Protection; Hazardous Materials and Activities; Housing and Small Buildings; Structural Design; Use and Egress; Technical Translation Verification.

    International Swimming Pool & Spa Code
    International Code Council published the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code that uses prescriptive and performance-related provisions to establish minimum safety requirements for public and residential pools, spas and hot tubs.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Bulk Water Control Methods For Foundations
    Building Science research report describes issues, considerations and recommendations for bulk water control methods for foundations. (PDF)

    Comparison Of Air Barrier & Vapor Barrier
    Green Building Advisor online podcast by Dr. Joe Lstiburek offers a simple comparison between air barriers and vapor barriers, and warns that we need to worry more about airtightness if we want to keep our homes healthy and dry.

    Thermal Comfort & The ASHRAE Standard
    Energy Vanguard article by Robert Bean says everyone wants thermal comfort but few know the ASHRAE standard.

    HVAC Right-Sizing & Calculating Loads
    Avid Builder article on HVAC right-sizing provides description of why rules of thumb are obsolete for calculating loads.

    Revolution In Window Glass Performance
    Green Building Advisor describes how early gains in window energy performance were made by adding additional layers of glass and deepening the air space.

    Magic Of Low-e Coatings
    Building Green describes how Low-e coatings reduce heat transfer through windows by limiting the amount of radiant energy they emit.

    Window Performance With Low-Conductivity Gases
    Green Building Advisor describes how filling the gap between multiple glazing layers with a low-conductivity gas like argon or krypton greatly improves a window’s energy performance.

    Glazing Spacers & Edge Losses
    Building Green describes how warm-edge glazing spacers play a significant role in creating the highest-energy-performance windows.

    Indirect Fired DHW Tank With Boiler
    Healthy Heating describes how a typical tank type water heater is adapted or converted to an indirect fired water heater for use with a heating boiler for winter time operation. During summer time, boiler is turned off and water heater operates as a normal fuel fired appliance.

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Increasing Durability Of Building Constructions
    Building Science digest says examining failures gives us guidance on increasing the durability of building constructions, and provides detailed information on durability issues ad recommendations.

    High Performance Lighting Guide
    IBACOS online High Performance Lighting Guide provides energy-conscious builders with information on high performance lighting background and terminology, and how to implement it in the new homes that they will build.

    Should You Turn Down Radiant-Floor Heat At Night?
    Green Building Advisor readers and editors discuss whether thermostat setbacks make radiant systems work too hard in the morning.

    Combustion Appliance Safety & Testing
    US weatherization training conference online slide show presentation on Combustion Appliances for Energy Auditors and Inspectors describes issues with HVAC equipment, and how to perform combustion safety inspections and tests. (PDF)

    Residential Humidity Control Strategies
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and recommendations for residential humidity control. (PDF)

    Why R-Value Is Not Accurate
    Canadian Contractor magazine online video explains how new products are exposing the limitations of R-value as a measure of efficiency.

    Incorporating Universal Design Into A Remodeling Project
    Remodeling Magazine describes 15 ways to incorporate universal design into remodeling projects.

    Fixing The Lid
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes considerations and solutions for energy efficient roof retrofits. (PDF)

    Assessment Of Methods For Determining Wind Loads
    National Institute of Standards and Technology report Assessment Of Methods For Determining Wind Loads covers wind speeds in non-hurricane regions; alternative analytical methods for determining wind loads on Main Wind Force Resisting Systems and Components/Cladding; aerodynamic pressure coefficients; pressures on rooftop equipment; component and cladding pressures on arched roofs; and the wind tunnel procedure. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    City Of Vancouver Green Building Strategy & Bylaws
    Vancouver describes its Green Building strategies and bylaws for designing and constructing green homes and buildings.

    Free BC Sustainability Way-Finder Service
    BC-based Sustainability Synergizer is currently offering a free online information service to help you find a way, or remove a barrier, to make your initiatives, projects, facilities, operations, homes or backyards more sustainable.

    Energy Retrofit Of Uninsulated Cold Climate Multifamily Housing
    US Department of Energy summarizes a large-scale renovation project in a 500-unit, 1960s era subsidized urban housing community. The development comprises low-rise and mid-rise structures, and the report focuses on the airflow control and window replacement measures implemented as part of the renovations to the low-rise apartment buildings. (PDF)

    Occupant Behavior Makes A Difference
    Green Building Advisor describes how energy monitoring data from two zero energy homes prove that there’s no such thing as a zero-energy home, just zero-energy homeowners.

    Net Impact Conference 2012 Sustainability: Beyond Rhetoric
    UBC Net Impact Conference and Sustainability Expo, held Friday April 20th in Vancouver is Sustainability: Beyond Rhetoric. This year’s gathering will showcase pragmatic, solutions-based initiatives that advance the integration of sustainability into all aspects of business. It features high-caliber panel discussions on Clean Tech & Energy, Impact & Ethical Investing, Leadership in Corporate Responsibility, Natural Resources, and Measurement & Benchmarking.

    Perspectives On Design: Design, Architecture & Sustainable Living
    Fast Forward: Perspectives on Design, held in Vancouver May 3-5, brings together thinkers, doers and innovators in the fields of design, architecture and sustainable living. Featuring a morning seminar followed by master classes taught by top design professionals, this conference will pose questions, explore innovative themes, and offer a platform for skill development and the sharing of great ideas in an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity.

    Promote Your Green Resource At BOMA BC's Green Buildings Gala
    Building Owners and Managers Association of BC offers suppliers a chance to identify their company as a green resource at their Green Buildings Gala, held in Vancouver on May 17th.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Top-Notch Products From High End
    Builder Magazine describes some high-end and luxury products from the annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York City.

    New Tools For Your Equipment
    Home Builder magazine describes some of the latest gizmos and gadgets to help you protect, cover, find and maintain your equipment.

    Review Of Affordable Line Lasers
    Tools Of The Trade provides results of testing on 11 self-leveling line lasers that can be purchased for $300 or less.

    Promising Future of Middleweight Concrete
    Structure magazine describes middleweight concrete, a portland cement concrete made by supplementing a portion of normalweight coarse and fine aggregates with lightweight synthetic particles, resulting in a concrete with a substantially reduced unit weight.

    Micronized-Copper Treated Wood
    Journal of Light Construction explains how to select micronized-copper treated wood for ground-contact and above-ground use, and the environmental impact.

    Achieving Best Performance From High-Efficiency Residential Gas Furnaces
    US Department of Energy report Achieving the Best Installed Performance from High-Efficiency Residential Gas Furnaces, identifies installation practices that provide the best installed efficiency for residential gas furnaces, explains how AFUE and field efficiency can differ, and investigates the impact of installation practices on the efficiency and long-term durability of the furnace. (PDF)

    2012 Canadian Geothermal Heat Pump Industry Technology Roadmap
    Canadian GeoExchange Coalition 2012 Canadian Geothermal Heat Pump Industry Technology Roadmap reflects on and analyzes the events of the last ten years. It focuses on the state of the industry, measures its progress, evaluates its capacity, and identifies new areas of development. (PDF)

    Tankless Water Heaters Have Long Payback Period
    Green Building Advisor says the energy savings you’ll get from a tankless water heater are too low to justify the high purchase price, but you may want to buy one for its performance specifications and compact size.

    Kitchen & Bath Career Center
    National Kitchen & Bath Association online Career Center is an electronic recruitment resource for the industry. Here, employers and recruiters can access a qualified talent pool with relevant work experience to fulfill staffing needs.

    9. Installation Procedures

    How To Divide A Building Into Heating Zones
    Healthy Heating describes how to divide a building into heating zones.

    Installing A Nail-On Flange Window
    The Research Alliance describes procedures and provides construction details for installation of a nail-on flange window. (PDF)

    Choose & Mix Setting Type Joint Compound
    Fine Homebuilding online video offers describes tips for using setting-type compounds, including how to mix them properly.

    Flash & Batt For Air-Sealing & Insulation
    Eco Home describes how spray-on sealants and flash-and-batt systems combine to reduce air infiltration and make insulation more effective.

    How To Build Deck & Shed Foundations
    Fine Homebuilding online videos describe how to build deck and shed foundations.

    Attaching Deck Ledger To Wood Truss Floor System
    Structural Building Component Association presents five details that illustrate general blocking and reinforcement of floor trusses for ledger attachment in their Attachment of Residential Deck Ledger to Metal Plate Connected Wood Truss Floor System technical note. (PDF)

    Durability For Cold Climate Interior Insulation
    Building Science online slide show presentation describes durability issues and considerations for cold climate interior insulation of load-bearing masonry.

    Builder's Guide For Hybrid Wood & Steel Framing
    US Department Of Housing & Urban Development online Hybrid Wood & Steel Details Builder's Guide is a manual containing hybrid framing details for combining light-gauge steel and sawn lumber for house framing. (PDF)

    10. Information Sources

    Purchasable Book On High Performance Enclosures
    Building Science sells High Performance Enclosures: Design Guide for Institutional, Commercial and Industrial Buildings in Cold Climates. It provides guidance for architects and building enclosure engineers working to meet the growing need for buildings that have significantly lower operational energy consumption. $65 USD.

    Project Drawings For HVAC Systems
    FortisBC provides online project drawings and information for HVAC systems for multifamily and single family applications.

    Resource Site On Skyscrapers
    Skyscraper Center is an online resource about skyscrapers from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. It profiles every building in the world higher than 656 feet, or 200 meters.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    FCM Annual Conference & Trade Show
    Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual Conference & Trade Show will be held in Saskatoon, June 1-4. It is for municipal political leaders and senior staff to engage in professional development and learn about leading-edge innovations and solutions for Canadian cities and towns.

    Canadian Green Building Conference
    Canada Green Building Council 2012 conference and expo Beyond Buildings: The Green City, will be held in Toronto, June 11-13. It will bring together the best thinkers, practitioners and decision-makers to have an open discussion about making The Green City become a reality.

    International BioEnergy Conference & Exhibition In Prince George
    International BioEnergy Conference and Exhibition, the annual forum for the global bioenergy sector, will be held in Prince George June 13-15.

    12. Education & Training

    Introduction to Workplace Mediation
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association course Introduction to Workplace Mediation: A win-win approach to resolving conflict, will be held in Vancouver on May 1. The course is designed for construction managers and site supervisors to develop skills in managing worksite conflicts. Participants will learn and practice a mediation process designed to resolve conflicts and create a collaborative workplace culture.

    Basics Of Design Of Piled Foundations
    Vancouver Geotechnical Society seminar Basics Of Design Of Piled Foundations, held in Burnaby on May 4, provides background and procedures for designing pile foundations. (PDF)

    Supervisory Skills & Management Training
    Independent Contractors & Businesses Association course Supervisory Skills & Management Training will be held in Burnaby May 10-12. Owners, managers, and field personnel will benefit from this Gold Seal Certified Course as it covers leadership skills, motivation, performance management, conflict resolution, and time and stress management. (PDF)

    BC Seminars On LED Lighting
    BC Electrical Association is presenting workshops around BC on LED lighting technologies. They cover how to decipher fact from fiction in the LED world, current standards being adopted across the country, application of LED products, where they work and where they don’t, and how to control them. (PDF)

    Extreme Makeover With Whole Building Retrofits
    Lighthouse presents Extreme Makeover: Whole Building Retrofits, in Vancouver May 23rd. A panel of experts, including two property owners/managers and two providers of whole building retrofits, will discuss what industry is doing, the opportunity for incorporating energy efficiency practices and achieving operational efficiencies and cost savings, and the challenges we are going to face in the future retrofitting the new buildings of today.

    Overview Of Radiant Heating
    ICBA course Radiant Heating, held in Burnaby on May 25th, is designed for anyone looking to develop their understanding of radiant heating system design and application. (PDF)

    Introduction to Hydronic Heating Installations
    Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating BC Chapter presents a 2-day course, Introduction to Hydronic Heating Installations, in Victoria May 30-31. It is designed to assist the hydronic heating installer to interpret job specific designs and incorporate best piping practices and control application. (PDF)

    Fundamentals Of Building Science
    Building Science Fundamentals is a two-day seminar, held in Seattle on June 13-14. It teaches the basic knowledge needed to design and build durable, energy efficient, affordable and healthy buildings. Dr. Joseph Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube will discuss building science principles and show you how to apply them to low-energy enclosure design, advanced HVAC systems, forensic investigations, and the repair and retrofit of existing buildings.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    What's My Computer Doing?
    What's My Computer Doing is free software that shows you a dynamic list, updated every second, of all the software and processes running on your system. You can use the tool to help identify mystery software and processes, to search online anti-malware sites for information about any suspicious activity you find and immediately kill any errant program or process.

    User Manuals For Consumer Electronics
    Retrevo offers downloadable manuals for all kinds of electronics, from calculators and cell phones to TVs and remote controls.

    It took me a while to figure this thing out (the pong ball comes towards you), then it took me ages to stop playing. I actually won a couple of times.

    Dittie For Today: On Happiness

    May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy. - A Proverb

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    © Copyright 2012               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada