Alert Notice #73
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 December 4, 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 Mark Gauvin, John Nicol, Sabine Just, Joanne Spurrell, Montgomery Wood, Ryan Coleman, Glenn Duxbury, George Pinch, Fred Stitt, Wilma Leung, Brian Hart, Louise Dunne, Mark Reid, Maureen McLaughlin, Joey Fearn, and Jill Clayton 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

Exterior Insulation Analysis At Vancouver Field Exposure Facility
Building Science report Vancouver Field Exposure Facility: Phase III Exterior Insulation Analysis report compares the moisture related performance of an exterior insulated wall to the performance of two other common construction methods, side-by-side. There were no measured or observed moisture related durability concerns of the wood structural sheathing when 1.5” of exterior insulation was installed. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Decade By Decade Review of BC Economic Performance
Business Council of British Columbia online Decade by Decade Review of British Columbia's Economic Performance is an analysis of key economic indicators in BC over the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s and provides more data to gain greater insights into longer-term trends. It examines per-capita measures of economic activity, which take account of changes in population, and compares BC’s economic record to that of Canada as a whole.

BC Housing Forecast Update 4th Quarter October 2012
BC Real Estate Association report Housing Forecast Update 4th Quarter October 2012 says strong full-time job growth, persistently low mortgage interest rates and an expanding population base are expected to underpin some additional housing demand in the months to come. (PDF)

British Columbia Mid-Year Update 2012
CIBC provincial fiscal update covers British Columbia Mid-Year Update 2012, as of November 29. (PDF)

Should We Worry About A US-Style Housing Meltdown?
CIBC says house prices in Canada will probably fall in the coming year or two, but any comparison to the American market of 2006 reflects deep misunderstanding of the credit landscapes of the pre-crash environment in the US and today’s Canadian market. (PDF)

Canadian Housing Market Trends & Affordability November 2012
RBC Economics Research report Housing Market Trends & Affordability November August 2012 says housing affordability extended a directionless trend in Canada in the third quarter of 2012. (PDF)

Interactive Local Data Tables On Housing Statistics
CMHC online interactive local housing market data tables provide statistics on housing starts and completions, rental market, and existing housing stock.

2. Business Management

Transitioning Back To GST/PST For BC Home Builders
KPMG describes new disclosure requirements that builders of newly constructed or substantially renovated housing must provide to purchasers of such housing on the taxes and rebates applicable to their purchase, relative to BC’s transition from the HST back to the GST and a new PST.

New BC Housing Tax Transition & Rebate Regulation
BC Government online document describes the new housing tax transition and rebate regulation. (PDF)

Canadian Construction Material Costs Splinter Based On Market Segment
Journal of Commerce says the October year-over-year results for CanaData’s indices stayed mostly quiet. Residential construction increased the most, +4.5%. The non-residential building index was down 2.8% and engineering was +1.5%. The overall construction materials cost index was +1.6%.

Guide To Cost Predictability In Construction
Canadian Construction Association online Guide to Cost Predictability in Construction: An Analysis of Issues Affecting the Accuracy of Construction Cost Estimates provides eight practical recommendations that cover the time before, during and after the bid. Also included in the guide is a list of recommended design and development documents for different classes of estimates. (PDF)

Information & Resources On Occupational Diseases
WorkSafe BC provides contact information for questions about occupational disease claims, describes when a worker may be entitled to compensation for an occupational disease, gives an outline of the ways they recognize occupational diseases, and provides information on asbestos-related diseases.

Contractor's Warranty Triggered By Defect Arising From Owner's Specifications
Clark Wilson construction law bulletin describes a recent decision that serves as a warning to contractors about the risks taken when they commit to follow design specifications while also providing an unqualified warranty against design defects.

11 Renovation Business Tips From RenoSummit
Canadian Contractor and Remodelers Advantage recently teamed up in Vancouver to present a full day of essential business training to renovators and builders. Here are some of the tips that were shared by the presenters.

3. Building Design & Trends

2012 Georgie Awards Finalists & Their Projects
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC provides a list and project information for this year's Georgie Awards finalists, whose new home and home renovation projects highlight just some of the quality, skill, professionalism and excellence in B.C.'s residential construction industry.

2012 Builders Choice Award Winners
Builder Magazine presents, including pictures and descriptions, the winners of their 2012 Builders Choice Awards.

KB Home Introduces 'Simply Living' Design Options
Building Online describes how KB Home, one of the US's largest and most recognized homebuilders, created a collaboration with AARP to offer the Simply Living collection of home design options. Simply Living options reflect the principles of universal design, and are intended to make homeowners' lives easier, safer and less stressful--in a word, simpler.

Design For Aging Review Explores Senior Housing Best Practices
Multi-Housing News says Perkins Eastman Research Collaborative explores the best practices and emerging ideas in senior housing design in its recently released Insight and Innovations: The State of Senior Housing.

Considerations For Kitchen Islands
Fine Homebuilding says an island can be a great addition to a kitchen, but it's important to be thoughtful about design and location.

10 Kitchen Storage Styles & Trends
HGTV Remodels online slide show describes 10 kitchen storage styles and trends that can help make the most of your existing space.

Residential Best Practices Criteria
Building Science lists some basic characteristics that should be met in all high performance homes for energy performance, durability, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality.

Online Thermal Comfort Tool For ASHRAE-55
Center for the Built Environment at University of California Berkeley online tool can be used for thermal comfort prediction according to ASHRAE Standard-55. It includes models for conventional building systems (predicted mean vote) and also for comfort using the adaptive comfort model, and with increased air speeds (for example, when using fans for cooling). It also provides new features such as visualization of comfort boundaries within the psychrometric chart.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Ryan Coleman, Founder & CEO of Ecolighten Energy Solutions says: "This is a terrific resource newsletter that you circulate."

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Overview Of Changes In 2012 BC Building Code
Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentations describe the changes in the 2012 BC Building Code including code administration, Part 3, windows, plumbing, lateral loads Part 9, and Part 9.

Bulletin On BC Gas Venting Certificate Of Qualification
Safety Authority of BC bulletin provides an update on their Gas Venting Certificate of Qualification scope of authorized work. (PDF)

Three Recent BC Electrical Code Information Bulletins
Safety Authority of BC recently issued three electrical code information bulletins including IB-EL 2012-03 service and service equipment, IB-EL 2012-04 conductors, and IB-EL 2012-05 general rules.

IAQ Benefits & Cost Considerations Of ASHRAE 62.2 Ventilation Standard
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory study Assessment of Indoor Air Quality Benefits and Energy Costs of Mechanical Ventilation determines the health burden for a subset of pollutants in indoor air and the costs and benefits of ASHRAE's mechanical ventilation standard (62.2) for new California homes. Results indicate that, on a population basis, the health benefits of new home mechanical ventilation justify the energy costs. (PDF)

BC Toolbox Meeting Guides For Fall Protection
WorkSafe BC provides Toolbox Meeting guides for fall protection that can be used to provide information and training to your personnel.

Mental Disorders Regulations & Coverage
WorkSafe BC describes regulations and coverage for mental disorders caused by work.

Product Safety Information For Direct Sellers Of Consumer Products
Health Canada administers the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act to protect the public by addressing or preventing dangers to human health or safety that are posed by consumer products in Canada. This fact sheet is directed at those who sell consumer products, particularly small operators, where inventory typically comes from a single supplier and where sales primarily occur in private homes rather than retail stores.

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5. Building Science & Technology

The Vancouver Test Hut Project
Building Science provides information and reports on the Vancouver Test Hut Project that was initiated in 2005 to gain a deeper understanding of how different wall assemblies perform in the coastal BC climate. Results from this project help to explain why the leaky condo crisis occurred and also suggest best practices for the future.

Thermal Comfort Is A Condition Of Mind
Healthy Heating provides an overview on thermal comfort and anatomy and physiology.

Thermal Comfort Indices
Australia government describes how air temperature is only one factor in the assessment of thermal stress. In climates where other important factors, principally humidity, can vary widely from day to day, we need more than just the temperature for a more realistic assessment of comfort. The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) and the Apparent Temperature are indices which attempt to condense all the extra effects into a single number and use it in a similar way to the way we used the temperature.

Footing Fundamentals
Journal of Light Construction gives descriptions of workable footing methods for usual, and unusual, situations. (PDF)

Combinations Forced-Air Space & Tankless DHW Systems
Building Science Measure Guideline: Combinations Forced-Air Space and Tankless Domestic Hot Water Heating Systems pertains to design and application guidance for combination space and tankless domestic hot water heating systems used in residential buildings. (PDF)

Submetering Of Integrated Hydronic Heating System
Plumbing Engineer magazine describes an apartment building where the size of the 72 suites did not exceed 750 square feet. Because of the small suite sizes, the condominium community installed a central high efficiency hydronic heating plant of three modulating, condensing wall-hung boilers, cascading with a staging controller for submetering.

Difference Between Paper & Fiberglass Mesh Drywall Tape
Fine Homebuilding says although various specialty tapes exist, the choice of tape in most drywall installations comes down to two products: paper or fiberglass mesh. Most joints can be taped with either one, but before you start mixing compound, you need to know the important differences between the two.

Tower Renewal Guidelines
University of Toronto online Tower Renewal Guidelines cover challenges, principles of renewal, anatomy of a tower retrofit, tower typology and service condition, building condition assessment, site strategies, retrofit strategies with a systems approach, costs and benefits, contract documents and administration, commissioning and facilities management, overcladding design and detailing, and tower renewal visions.

6. Building Performance Issues

All About Wall Rot
Green Building Advisor says if your wall sheathing is rotten, the first thing you need to figure out is where the moisture came from.

BC Universal Design Housing Pilot Research Project
HPO research project will gather data on the costs and benefits of incorporating universal design features into residential buildings. The project encourages developers of low-rise, multi-storey housing units to adopt universal design standards to create homes that are safe, comfortable, convenient, and meet the changing lifestyle needs of homeowners. (PDF)

Flame Retardants In Foam Insulation Not Needed & Harm Environment
Science Daily says researchers in the United States are calling for a change to the US building codes, following a study showing that the mandatory flame retardants routinely added to foam insulation are not only harmful to human health and the environment, but also make no difference to the prevention of fire in buildings where a fire-safe thermal barrier already exists.

Concrete Durability In ACI 318 Code Changes
Portland Cement Association describes the durability criteria changes in the ACI 318 Building Code.

US Guidelines For Evaluation & Control Of Lead-based Paint In Housing
US Department of Housing and Urban Development online Guidelines For Evaluation & Control Of Lead-based Paint In Housing can be used by those who are required to identify and control lead paint hazards, as well as property owners, landlords, and child-care center operators. They offer helpful advice on renovations in older housing, lead-based paint inspections and risk assessments, and where to go for help.

Industry Leaders Form Get the Lead Out Plumbing Consortium
Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Associations says a consortium of plumbing manufacturers and industry trade associations are developing strategies to alert and prepare industry constituents for upcoming changes in the allowable level of lead in plumbing products.

Controlling Scale In Water Systems Helps Prevent Legionella
Plumbing Engineer magazine says the risks from Legionella in water systems requires a holistic approach and a suite of control measures underpinned by a suitable and sufficient risk assessment specific to the risk system in question. In hard water areas, scale formation can be a problem unless properly managed and can increase the likelihood of Legionella persisting.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

How To Prove Your Construction Company Is Building Green
Green Biz describes how the construction sector is behind average in reporting what it is doing to support sustainability and green building, and provides some best practices to consider for those looking to initiate a sustainability reporting process.

BC Communities Get Funding For Wood Stove Exchange
BC government is providing a total of over $192,000 grant funding to 14 communities/regional districts to encourage residents to replace their old wood stoves with cleaner burning models that will improve personal health and air quality.

Rainwater Harvesting Best Practices Guidebook
Regional District of Nanaimo online Rainwater Harvesting Best Practices Guidebook is a resource to help residents and professional practitioners better understand the different types of rainwater harvesting systems, how they are put together, how they function, and the effort required to maintain them. (PDF)

Top 10 Green Products for 2013
Building Green, publisher of the GreenSpec Directory and Environmental Building News displays their picks for the Top 10 Green Building Products of 2013.

Heating System Design For Solar Combi Systems
PM Engineer magazine describes how to create your heating distribution systems so the supply water temperature under design load conditions doesn’t exceed 120ºF, ideal for solar systems integration.

List Of Certified Solar Hot Water System Installers In Canada
Canadian Solar Industries Association lists their members that have successfully completed Level 1 of their Installer Certification Program for Residential Solar Hot Water Systems.

Value Of Canadian Environmental Markets 2012
Sustainable Prosperity report Environmental Markets 2012 tracks the value of Canada’s environmental markets. It analyses the state of development of Canadian environmental markets, and makes recommendations to help further the development of well-functioning markets, to contribute to environmental quality and economic prosperity. Markets addressing biodiversity and habitat conservation, water quality, water quantity, climate change, and air quality can provide environmental benefits inexpensively if they are well-designed markets.

Link between Global Warming & Drought Questioned
New Scientist says the world has been suffering more droughts in recent decades, and climate change will bring many more, according to received wisdom. Now it is being challenged by an analysis that questions a key index on which it is based.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

15 Fabulous Finds In Italian Tile
Custom Home Magazine says this year’s Cersaie, the Italian ceramic tile show, offered a glimpse of the cutting edge in tile trends and products.

Get Ready For Heat-Pump Water Heaters
Green Building Advisor describes heat-pump water heaters that produce over twice as much hot water for each unit of electricity consumed as any other type of electric water heater (storage or tankless).

Decorative Concrete Flooring Costs
Concrete Network provides an overview of average costs for installing basic to high-end decorative concrete floors, and some factors that can influence final costs.

Review Of 18-Volt Cordless Circular Saws
Tools Of The Trade review of 18-volt cordless circular saws says the best models have good runtime and cut dense material without slowing down.

Selecting Radiant Barriers For Energy Performance
Eco Home provides information on how to determine if radiant barriers can help you reach your energy performance goals.

Online Payback Calculator For Insulation Upgrade
Fine Homebuilding online payback calculator for wall and ceiling insulation upgrade calculates how long it will take to payback your investment based on savings in energy costs.

Who Influences Decisions On Buying Building Products?
NAHB survey results show who is most often responsible for choosing products that go into a new home or home renovation, and where they are generally purchased.

Free Computer Program To Design Pipe Insulation
North American Insulation Manufacturers Association offers the free 3E Plus computer program that calculates heat loss/gain on hot or cold piping and equipment, and determines economic thickness of industrial insulation, providing payback and savings data as well as CO2 emission reduction data.

9. Installation Procedures

12 Commandments Of Comfort For Hydronic Heating
Comfortable Heat describes 12 commandments of comfort when designing and installing hydronic heating systems. (PDF)

Control Valve & Balancing Theory
Healthy Heating describes 20 points every engineer and contractor should know about control valve and balancing theory.

Rethinking Duct Design Practices
Mechanical Business says with recent changes to the CSA F280 Standard, Determining the Required Capacity of Residential Space Heating and Cooling Appliances, we are going to see the use of smaller furnaces and air conditioners in homes, and the rethinking of appliance sizing should also lead to a rethink of duct sizing as well.

How To Prep Doors For Knobs & Dead Bolts
Fine Homebuilding describes how to prepare doors for knobs and dead bolts.

Installing Drywall Over Rigid Foam
Journal of Light Construction forum moderator describes working details for installing interior wallboard directly over rigid foam insulation.

Cut Miter Angles Without Using Measuring Tools
Fine Homebuilding online video describes how to cut miter angles without using measuring tools.

Ground Penetrating Radar For Pre-Construction
Planting Acorns describes how ground-penetrating radar, long used in some waste-site assessments, can generate two or three dimensional information about what lies beneath a planned construction site.

Specifier Guide For Pervious Concrete Pavement Design
Colorado Ready Mixed Concrete Association online Specifier’s Guide for Pervious Concrete Pavement Design guide will assist designers specifying design, placement, and curing of the pervious concrete component of a stormwater management system located in an arid environment with the potential of freezing and thawing. (PDF)

10. Information Sources

Bibliography On Accessibility & Universal Design
BC Ministry of Housing offers listing and descriptions of books on accessibility, accessible housing, and accessible public spaces.

Free Interactive eBooks On Safety Issues
WorkSafe BC provides free interactive eBooks on safety issues. They can be downloaded to your iPad and viewed anywhere, even without an internet connection.

E-book Provides Access To Safety Information On Mobile Devices
Association of Equipment Manufacturers has published its first safety manual e-book that enables equipment operators to conveniently access safety information wherever they carry their mobile devices. This first e-book is an electronic version of AEM’s popular Hydraulic Excavator Safety Manual.

Online Presentations From Ground Source Heat Pump Conferences
International Ground Source Heat Pump Association provides online presentations from conferences held in the past.

Technical Documents & Resources On Sprayed Polyurethane Foam
Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association publishes a number of technical documents to assist design professionals and building owners on a wide variety of issues related to the use of sprayed polyurethane foam in buildings.

Snow Melting Systems
Healthy Heating provides information on snow melting systems including introduction, manual controls, and controls and system performance, area free ratio and frequency percentile, as well as storm data and loads.

11. Conferences & Shows

International Builders Show In Las Vegas
US National Association of Home Builders presents The International Builder's Show in Las Vegas, January 22-24. The largest such show in North America, it features educational sessions and exhibitors of building industry products, innovations, and demonstrations.

Home Inspector Conference & Trade Show
Inspection World will be held in Las Vegas, January 13-16. It is the annual US conference and trade show for the home inspection industry, presented by the American Society of Home Inspectors.

Aboriginal Business Match 2013
Aboriginal Business Match 2013 will be held in Penticton from February 18 to 21. It will bring leaders from well over half of First Nations in BC in contact with the broader business community to develop economic opportunities. It employs a trade show format of pre-scheduled appointments to discuss business opportunities between pre-qualified business matches.

Indoor Environment & Energy Expo
IE3, The Indoor Environment & Energy Expo will be held in Orlando, February 26 to March 2. Created for the indoor environmental and energy services contracting industry, it is co-presented by ACCA, the Indoor Air Quality Association, and RESNET, each of which will be hosting their own annual conference in conjunction with the Expo.

Annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show
National Kitchen & Bath Association presents an annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show & Conference in New Orleans, April 19-21. It is the world’s largest international trade event focused exclusively on all aspects of kitchens and baths specifically serving kitchen and bath dealers, designers, architects, remodelers, wholesalers and custom builders.

12. Education & Training

Seminar On Return To PST
Vancouver Regional Construction Association workshop Return to the PST will be held in Vancouver on December 12th. It will cover the technical aspects of the process such as how to register, manage the PST process and reporting returns.

Supervisors Bootcamp, Practical Leadership Tools for Front Line Supervisors
ICBA course Supervisors Bootcamp, Practical Leadership Tools for Front Line Supervisors will be held in Burnaby on December 14. It is designed specifically for front-line supervisors in all industries, and participants will be given a leadership tool kit comprised of the simplest but most effective leadership concepts, from which they can effectively build and develop their own leadership style, specific to themselves and their environment. (PDF)

Taking The Pulse Of The Construction Industry
BC Construction Roundtable breakfast session Taking The Pulse Of The Construction Industry, held in Vancouver on January 17, will cover the impact of shifting global economies on human resources and how it will impact on the construction industry, and the economic health of the construction industry in BC and Canada, and where it is headed in 2013.

Introduction To Basic Electricity
BC Electrical Association course Introduction To Basic Electricity will run over four evenings from January 22 to 31.

Limited Scope BC Electrical Work Practitioners Certification
Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC members are eligible to seek certification through the Association to perform regulated electrical work within a limited scope.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Construction IT Managers Eying Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet
Engineering News Record says getting from tablet computers at job sites back to Windows-based applications on a company's office network will be much easier when enterprise-grade Microsoft tablets, to be called Surface Pro, hit the market, probably early next year.

Image Sizing Chart For Social Media Sites
Planner Wire infographic describes the image size dimensions required by various social media sites.

Be Careful With This Power Drill
Looks like some power drills may require extra caution on the job site!

Dittie For Today: On Happiness

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. - James Oppenheim

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© Copyright 2012               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada