Alert Notice #65
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 June 19, 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 William Gies, George Hawirko, Glenn Duxbury, Gary Colip, Hal Richman, Inga Liimatta, Sabine Just, Mary Biddle, Chase Gentry, David Hauser, and Charlotte Davis 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

Do's & Don'ts For Basement & Crawlspace Insulation
Building Science online slide show presentation describes what to do and what not to do when insulating basements and crawlspaces. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Women More Likely to Be First-Time Homebuyers In Next Two Years
Royal Bank of Canada 19th annual Homeownership poll shows that among Canadians who plan to buy a home within the next two years, women (49 per cent) are more likely than men (35 per cent) to be first-time homebuyers.

BC Mortgage Rate Forecast June 2012
BC Real Estate Association mortgage rate forecast of June 2012 says rapidly falling bond yields will likely open the door for banks to reduce posted mortgage rates, though tighter proposed lending standards, a rationing of portfolio insurance, and more intense regulatory scrutiny may place a floor under rates. They are forecasting that the benchmark five-year fixed mortgage rate will average 5.3 per cent for the remainder of the year. (PDF)

What If It's Not A Bubble?
Real Estate Marketer Bob Rennie, in an online video of his address at the Urban Development Institute’s 2012 Annual General Meeting, responds to recent public discourse of a bubble in the Vancouver housing market.

BC Housing Market Update June 2012
BC Real Estate Association provides online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discussing the May 2012 statistics.

2011 Year In Review From HPO
BC Homeowner Protection Office newsletter Building BC looks back at the highlights of 2011.

Housing Market Outlook Canada, Second Quarter 2012
CMHC Canadian Housing Market Outlook provides information on national and provincial housing trends and forecasts as of the second quarter 2012. It says both new and existing home market activity are expected to moderate through the end of 2012. (PDF)

2012 Economic Impacts Of Canadian Housing Industry
Canadian Home Builders Association provides 2012 estimates of the economic impacts of the residential construction industry for your area, showing the positive contribution that our industry makes to local economies.

Taxes Cost Canadian Families More Than Food, Clothing & Shelter Combined
Fraser Institute says the Canadian Consumer Tax Index 2012 calculates that over the past 50 years, an average family’s total tax bill has increased by a staggering 1,738 per cent, while over the same period the cost of shelter increased by 1,185 per cent, food by 518 per cent, and clothing by 500 per cent.

2. Business Management

Resource Site On Lean Construction
Associated General Contractors of America provides information and resources on lean construction.

Builders Lien An Extraordinary Remedy That Requires Expeditious Enforcement
Vancouver Regional Construction Association article says a builders' lien is an extraordinary remedy, and the lien claimant must commence an action to enforce its claim within one year of filing the lien on title to the project lands.

Confined Spaces Information
WorkSafe BC provides information to help you identify and work safely in confined spaces.

What You Should Know About Hiring Subcontractors
Lowes For Pros podcast features a New York-based construction consulting company discussing the risks, benefits and items to remember when hiring a subcontractor.

$80 Million To Help Canadian SMEs Grow Through Technology
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses says the federal government has announced a pilot project, the Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program, aimed at helping SMEs achieve increased productivity. $80 million dollars is being invested over a 3 year period, to enable 600 businesses to adopt digital technology along with instruction to aid in its implementation.

Online Calculator For Personal Tax Freedom Day
Fraser Institute online Personal Tax Freedom Day calculator determines the day you stopped working for government and started working for yourself.

3. Building Design & Trends

2012 AIA Housing Awards Winners
American Institute of Architects displays their 2012 Housing Award winners in the categories of One- and Two-Family Custom Residences, One- and Two-Family Production Homes, Multifamily Housing, and Specialized Housing.

15 Amazing Landscapes
HGTV Remodels online slide show gives descriptions of 15 landscapes and outdoor spaces, from traditional to exotic.

Architectural Staircases That Defy Gravity & Beauty
Green Building Elements displays some staircases that celebrate the much overlooked functional materials and give an artistic edge that truly shows off their beauty and functionality.

How To Remodel A Bath For Accessibility
Fine Homebuilding article by an architect Duncan MacPherson explains how he plans to remodel a bathroom so that it is accessible.

2012 People's Picks For Best Kitchen & Bath Designs
HGTV Remodels and the National Kitchen and Bath Association describe the 2012 People's Pick winners for best kitchen and bath design.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Bob MacKie, Vice President Sales, AssociCom says: "Your newsletter is a well-researched, well-written and nicely laid out information source for builders. It's a pleasure to see it in my inbox."

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Legislates End To Over Compensation For Apprentices By WorkSafe BC
Journal of Commerce says the issue of the over-compensation of apprentices has been resolved with the passing of new legislation that provides for a fair and balanced approach to compensation. The Council of Construction Associations has been lobbying for a change to the Workers’ Compensation Act to remove the over-compensation of apprentices, saying that the WorkSafeBC average earnings for apprentices should be calculated on the basis of their actual apprentice earnings.

BC Propane Cylinder Filling Requirements
BC Safety Authority information bulletin Propane Cylinder Filling Requirements covers propane cylinder filling practices.

Regulation of District Energy Systems
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions paper Regulation of District Energy Systems examines nine diverse systems, four under BCUC jurisdiction and five regulated by municipalities, to elicit the type and level of economic regulation that can encourage financial sustainability while providing customers with reasonably priced energy services. (PDF)

Review Of Canadian National Building Code Requirements For Stairs
Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes is reviewing the National Building Code requirements for stairs, ramps, handrails and guards.

Air Leakage Testing/Standards
Adhesives article describes air barrier codes and standards that have been created, along with related specific test methods.

ASTM Creates Section For Structural Insulated Panels
American Society for Testing and Materials has authorized the Subcommittee on Lumber and Engineered Wood Products to establish a new Section on Structural Insulated Panels.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Airflow Control
Building Science online slide show presentation provides descriptions of issues and considerations for airflow control. (PDF)

Overview Of Thermal Comfort
Wikipedia describes issues and considerations for thermal comfort.

Heat, Air, Moisture
Building Science online slide show presentation describes the physics of heat, air, and moisture. (PDF)

Underslab Insulation
Healthy Heating says you get one chance to insulate under a slab, and provides information and resources to do a thorough analysis to ensure the best decision is made before the concrete is placed.

Slabs For Colder Climates
Buildipedia series of articles covers issues and considerations for constructing slabs in colder climates.

Impact Of Cold Climate On Basement Temperatures
National Research Council of Canada research report Assessing the Impact of Cold Climate on Basement Temperatures developed correlations between outdoor temperature and interior foundation wall surface temperature, and identifies conditions leading to the potential for condensation on the interior surface of the concrete foundation wall. (PDF)

Dr. Joe Lstiburek Discusses Basement Insulation & Vapor Retarders
Green Building Advisor summarizes some recent recommendations from Dr. Joe Lstiburek on basement insulation and vapor retarders, plus some quotable opinions and conclusions.

6. Building Performance Issues

Insulation & Thermal Bridges
Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for insulation and thermal bridges. (PDF)

How To Build A Healthy House
Fine Homebuilding online video describes how a healthy house was built.

Rehab Of Roofs
Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for energy efficient rehab of roof systems. (PDF)

Energy Performance Of Two Gas Combo Units
CMHC report Assessment of the Energy Performance of Two Gas Combo-Heating Systems says calculated efficiencies for the two combo systems during heavy space-heating demands were well in line with the combined annual efficiency claimed by the manufacturers, and demonstrated that Combo systems can meet real-life demands for combination space and water-heating loads in a dwelling. (PDF)

Evaluating Duct Cleaning In Commercial Office Buildings
National Research Council Canada report Testing Effectiveness of Duct Cleaning and Its Impact on Airborne Particles, Mold and Biocide Levels in Commercial Office Buildings is a guide which will allow building operators or facility managers to assess whether duct cleaning work was successfully and appropriately performed in terms of cleanliness of the air ducts as well as meeting expectations concerning the quality of the resulting supply air. (PDF)

Emergency Communication Strategies For Buildings
US National Institute of Standards and Technology report Developing Emergency Communication Strategies for Buildings answers three major questions regarding emergency communication systems: 1) What technology exists or is proposed for use in emergency notification? 2) What approaches are currently being used to disseminate messages? 3) How does the public respond to different types of information and information sources? (PDF)

Spring 2012 CMHC Social, Economic & Technical Research Projects
CMHC summarizes their social, economic and technical research projects as of spring 2012. (PDF)

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

2011 Built Green Single Family Checklist Extension
Built Green Canada Board of Directors, upon consideration of petitions from Built Green members, has extended the deadline date for use of the 2011 Single Family Checklist to December 31, 2012.

Canadian Electrical Code 2012 Addresses Renewable Energy Applications
Canadian Standards Association describes how the new Canadian Electrical Code 2012 impacts the renewable energy sector. (PDF)

Solar Ready Guidelines
NRCan online Solar Ready Guidelines specify a number of design considerations and modifications builders can make to new attached and detached homes in preparation for the installation of a future solar thermal system or solar photovoltaic system. (PDF)

Performance Improvements Considered For Next Canadian Energy Code
National Research Council Canada gives description of the work that is underway to identify performance improvements that could be implemented in the next edition of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings.

Detail Drawings For Deep Energy Retrofits
Green Building Advisor provides detail drawings for upgrading windows, walls, roofs, and basements with spray foam, rigid foam, blown-in cellulose, and other insulation types.

Green Affordable Housing Policy Toolkit
Enterprise Green Communities online Green Affordable Housing Policy Toolkit provides several examples of how public policies can transform the affordable housing sector and improve green building practices. (PDF)

Impact Of Canadian Environmental Regulatory Regimes On Business Competitiveness
Business Council of BC report Impact of Canadian Environmental Regulatory and Approval Regimes on Business Competitiveness says within the realm of managing costs, the province needs a predictable and competitive regulatory regime around project development. (PDF)

Plug In BC Incentives For Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
E3 Fleet describes a new $2.7 million provincial Community Charging Infrastructure Fund that offers two incentives to help build a BC-wide network of up to 570 electric vehicle charging stations for use by members of the public or fleets.

Course On LEED Canada For New Construction 2009
UBC course Building Green with LEED: LEED Canada for New Construction 2009 provides an in-depth review of the LEED Canada for New Construction Rating System. It helps building professionals develop their technical proficiency in this latest standard, supporting those planning to write the LEED Professional Accreditation Exam with the Building Design + Construction Specialty.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Notice Of Coleman Furnace Failures
BC Safety Authority bulletin advises that a number of Coleman furnace failures have been recently reported. These situations, if left unresolved, could lead to significant property damage, personal injury or death. (PDF)

Favorite 50 Products of 2011
Builder Magazine displays the 50 products that their readers choose as favorites for 2011.

Cost Of Heating With A Geoexchange System
Canadian GeoExchange Coalition online calculator estimates the cost of heating your home and hot water with a geoexchange heating system.

New Mechanical Design Service For BC Builders, Architects, Contractors
Ecolighten, a BC company, is now offering builders, architects, contractors and homeowners a unique, integrated mechanical design service that incorporates heat load calculations, system designs, equipment solutions, quality control and more.

Introduction To LED Lighting
Natural Resources Canada provides informaion on what LEDS are and how they work.

New Kitchen & Bath Products To Make Life Easier
Builder Magazine describes a number of new products from the recent Kitchen and Bath Show that are focusing on helping make homeowners' lives easier.

How To Choose A Sealant That Works
Green Spec provides brief tips on sealants and how to use them.

In Situ Measurement Of Compression Set In Sealants During Outdoor Aging
ASTM study shows short term accelerated weathering or outdoor aging approaches that are not long enough in duration to induce compression set or do not allow for in situ measurement of compression set and its effect on apparent modulus may miss or underestimate this important factor in service life prediction. (PDF)

Reports On Radiant Barriers & Reflective Insulation
Healthy Heating provides links to reports on radiant barriers and reflective insulation that recommend caution when selecting products for specific applications.

Architect's Toolkit For Wood
Architect’s Toolkit is a resource site for British Columbia wood products, providing information about innovations in green building, and 11 different species of British Columbia wood, cross-laminated timber, OSB, and plywood. The site hosts a variety of technical, product and species-specific information on building with wood along with case studies and information on accessing technical experts for all wood-related questions.

9. Installation Procedures

Studs At 24-Inch Spacing
Builder Magazine says studs at 24-inch spacing will save money and resources, and are safe. With 2x6s, it’s a no-brainer for most residential construction, and with 2x4 studs you can also get by with 24-inch spacing, but walls should be 9 feet tall or less and the loads modest.

Creating Crown Molding Trim For Stairs
Remodeling TV online video shows how to properly size and cut crown molding trim for stairs.

Controlling Moisture Content Of Wood Flooring
Journal of Light Construction describes the proper procedure for acclimating wood flooring to the moisture content of a building before installation.

How To Perform A Heat-Loss Calculation
Green Building Advisor discusses outdoor design temperatures and the many ways that heat can escape from a house.

Principles For Calculating Cooling Loads
Green Building Advisor describes the principles behind cooling-load calculations used to size air-conditioning equipment.

Rehab Of HVAC Systems
Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for rehab of HVAC systems. (PDF)

Hybrid Foundation Insulation Retrofits
US Department of Energy measure guideline Hybrid Foundation Insulation Retrofits describes a variety of recommended designs and variations for retrofit hybrid assemblies, including closed cell spray foam with membrane waterproofing or air gap membrane drainage layers, rigid board foam insulation at flat walls (cast concrete or CMU block), a partial drainage detail making use of the bulk water drainage that occurs through the field of a rubble stone wall, and non-drained spray foam assemblies (including slab insulation). (PDF)

10. Information Sources

Downloadable CAD & REVIT Construction Details
Woodworks provides free downloadable CAD & REVIT construction details for architectural and structural components.

Links To Reports On Programmable Thermostats
Healthy Heating provides list of scientific papers on setback thermostats, many which have studied how people actually use these devices with success and how they often end up using more energy than what they were intended to save.

Resources On Mid-Rise Wood Construction
Woodworks provides information and resources on mid-rise wood construction.

Museum Features Architecture, Engineering, Design
National Building Museum in Washington D.C. explores all methods of modern architectural design and construction, especially the continuing investigation of green engineering. A place ideally suited for students contemplating a career in commercial construction, the museum is considered a building about buildings, and provides an inspiring overview of what it takes to become a builder in a world of diminishing natural resources.

Top 100 DIY Sites
Construction Management Degree lists their 100 top DIY websites, organized by area of the home including; General Remodeling, Interior Decorating, Kitchen and Bathroom, Office and Workspaces, Landscaping and Exterior, Basement, Storage, and Closets.

Resource Site On Canadian Hydropower
Canadian Hydropower Association provides information and resources on hydropower.

11. Conferences & Shows

BC Building Envelope One-Day Conference In Vancouver
BC Building Envelope Council one-day conference in Vancouver on September 26th will explore current elements in building enclosures design. It will focus on integrated energy efficient wall solutions, window systems and related regulatory issues. Local experts will discuss themes such as energy efficiency requirements, ventilation guidelines in residential construction, energy rating of windows, lateral load requirements for houses and design consideration for mid-rise wood-frame buildings.

2012 National Home Inspector Conference In Halifax
Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors 2012 National Conference will be held in Halifax, October 11-13.

Window & Door Industry Trade Show In Toronto
Canadian Window & Door Manufacturers Association presents Win-door North America, the annual trade show for the fenestration and door industry, in Toronto November 6-8.

12. Education & Training

Webinar On What's New In Kitchen & Bath Design
US National Association of Home Builders webinar What's New In Kitchen & Bath Design on June 27th covers how you can implement both left-brain functionality and right-brain creativity to make kitchens and bathrooms memorable and inviting.

CSA B214 & Hydronic Installation Inspection Webinar
Canadian Hydronics Council webinar CSA B214 and Hydronic Installation Inspection and Enforcement, held on June 29th, is designed to help installers, building and plumbing inspectors better understand the CSA B214 and the key challenges they may face during field inspections. (PDF)

Canadian Construction E-Learning Centre
Canadian Construction Sector Council E-Learning Centre provides online training for construction workers. It has courses in the areas of business, management, supervision, safety and innovation.

Canadian Tax & GST/HST Webinars For Small Business
Canada Revenue Agency presents free webinars on Tax and GST/HST for small business.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Cloud-Based Construction Management App
Threshold, a cloud-based construction management utility that streamlines photo uploading, organizing, and sharing, is providing a technology solution for small and medium sized construction firms. The interface allows managers, team members, and clients to easily access plans for multiple projects, each embedded with photos from the construction site that can be updated throughout the building process, improving communication and productivity.

Smart Technology For Builders
Journal of Light Construction online video discusses the latest in mobile phones, tablets, and apps for construction pros.

Take a break and play a game of golf on a rather unusual course.

Dittie For Today: On Responsibility

Let everyone sweep in front of their own door and the whole world will be clean. - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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© Copyright 2012               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada