Alert Notice #76
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 February 12, 2013


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 Rob Dumont, Mark Gauvin, Wilma Leung, Bill Gies, Brent Wilker, Ryan Coleman, George Pinch, Lorna Malone, John Chepil, Casey Kerkhoff, Bob Daley, Garry Lowney, Rick Fearn, Sabine Just, Glenn Duxbury, Jay Lewis, Louise Dunne and Susan Scott 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

    Resource Site On Building Science
    Building America Solution Center is an online resource providing easy access to expert building science information based on decades of Building America research.

    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    BC Poised For Small Bounce In Economic Growth In 2013
    Business Council of BC has upgraded its economic growth forecast for 2013 to 2.3%, projecting a stronger year than 2012 which is estimated to have grown at 1.9%.

    BC Housing Market Update January 2013
    BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the December 2012 statistics.

    BC Housing Forecast Update 1st Quarter January 2013
    BC Real Estate Association report Housing Forecast Update 1st Quarter January 2013 says MLS residential sales in British Columbia are forecast to increase 5.6 per cent to 71,450 units in 2013. While a modest increase in unit sales is expected, home sales this year will fall below both the five-year average of 74,600 units and the ten-year average of 86,800 units. (PDF)

    Housing Market Outlook Canada, Fourth Quarter 2012
    CMHC Fourth Quarter 2012 Housing Market Outlook Report says continued employment growth, higher net migration and low mortgage rates are expected to support the housing sector. However, the economic outlook has weakened slightly since the 2012 Third Quarter Housing Market Outlook, and the effect of pre-sales from late 2010 and early 2011 on the multiple unit segment is expected to wane in 2013. (PDF)

    2. Business Management

    15 Marketing Ideas For New-Home Sales
    Builder Magazine describes how to position your company to make the most of the recovery with these 15 tips, garnered from sales and marketing professionals at this year’s International Builders’ Show.

    Getting Social With Guerrilla Marketing
    Fine Homebuilding suggests get started with social media even if you're not interested. It's free, it's easy to learn, and it offers the best guerrilla-marketing opportunity in history.

    How To Develop A Social Media Strategy
    Builder Magazine gives description on how companies in the building industry can develop a social media strategy.

    Wooing, Wowing, Winning Women Home Buyers
    Builder Magazine summarizes strategies some experts offered offer on how to get women to commit to new homes.

    Mentorship Program Materials
    Canadian Construction Sector online Mentorship Program materials provide information and tools to help employers implement successful mentoring programs. They incorporate best practices for the construction industry and include information and resources on program planning, program preparation, training, support and monitoring, and evaluation and adjustment.

    2013 Cost Vs Value For Remodeling Projects
    Remodeling Online 2013 cost vs. value data describes relationship between remodeling costs and resale value for different remodeling projects in various markets across the US.

    Traits To Look For In Remodeling Company Estimator
    Remodeling magazine describes how to use the DISC personality assessment tool to find the right person for the job of estimating remodeling.

    Canadian Tax Savings For Tradespersons
    Canada Revenue Agency says if you were an employed tradesperson in 2012, you may be able to deduct up to $500 of the cost of eligible tools bought to earn your employment income.

    Concrete Walkway Cost
    Concrete Network provides an overview of concrete walkway costs and price ranges.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    21 Big Ideas For Home Design Today
    Builder Magazine describes some of trends we’ll be seeing in 2013 presented at the 2013 Trends presentation at the recent International Builders’ Show.

    2012 Winners Of Best In American Living Awards
    NAHB describes the 2012 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.

    Tips For Creating Great Outdoor Spaces
    Custom Home magazine shares insights on making every outdoor space special.

    Examples Of Luxury Bathroom Designs
    HGTV Remodels online pictures provide examples of luxury bathroom designs.

    Designing The Small House
    Buildipedia describes how to create a livable small home by using some basic design techniques.

    Create 3D Buildings Online
    The newest addition to Google Earth, the application Google Building Maker, will allow you to create a 3D model of a building online. It will then allow you to submit it to Google Earth as a reference picture when someone looks up that location.

    Local Leaders: Healthier Communities Through Design
    American Institute of Architects report Local Leaders: Healthier Communities Through Design, demonstrates the power of architecture to improve public health with policies that promote active living, accessibility, transit options, and better indoor air quality. It offers replicable best practices for communities of all sizes. (PDF)

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Graham Finch, Principal, and Building Science Research Engineer at RDH Building Engineering says: "Always appreciate some of the links and articles you dig up. Keep up the good work."

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    Proposed Changes To Energy Efficiency Requirements In BC Building Code
    Province of British Columbia describes proposed changes to the BC Building Code energy efficiency requirements including ventilation, housing, and large buildings.

    Amendments To OHSR, Part 11, Fall Protection
    WorkSafe BC describes amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) Part 11, Fall Protection. The new amendments will become effective on April 1, 2013.

    Imported Chinese Drywall Raises Health Concerns
    WorkSafe BC says concerns have been raised that some imported Chinese drywall, suspected of containing sulfur compounds, is emitting toxic gases. These gases can cause upper respiratory problems (in some cases severe) and corrosion of electrical, plumbing, and HVAC components.

    Wall & Ceiling Specification Standards Manual
    Association of Wall and Ceiling Contractors offers the Wall and Ceiling Specifications Standards Manual, which contains the latest standards, codes and industry practices. It is available in both online and print formats.

    Status Of Low Lead Requirements For Potable Plumbing Products In Canada
    Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating bulletin Status of Low Lead Requirements for Potable Plumbing Products in Canada says Canada has moved forward in mirroring the intent of the US regulation for low lead policies with an effective date of January 4, 2014. However, currently there are no regulations relating to lead content in plumbing products in Canada. (PDF)

    New Canadian Standard For Psychological Health & Safety In The Workplace
    CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2013, Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is a voluntary standard intended to provide systematic guidelines for Canadian employers that will help enable them to develop and continuously improve psychologically safe and healthy work environments for their employees.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Air Barrier Fundamentals & Design Considerations
    Air Barrier Association of America provides online presentation on Air Barrier Fundamentals and Design Considerations covering air barriers in relation to the building enclosure, what happens to buildings when we do not effectively control air leakage, performance requirements of air barrier materials, assemblies and systems, common design and installation issues, code requirements, market forces driving energy efficient buildings, and resources for design professionals. (PDF)

    Guide To Closing & Conditioning Ventilated Crawlspaces
    US Department of Energy report Guide To Closing & Conditioning Ventilated Crawlspaces explains issues and concerns with conventional ventilated crawlspaces and provides prescriptive measures for improvements that will create healthier and more durable spaces. The methods described are not the only acceptable ways to treat a crawlspace but represent a proven strategy that works in many areas of the United States. (PDF)

    Features & Benefits Of ICF Wall Construction
    Building Science describes features and benefits of ICF wall construction including thermal control, durability, buildability, cost, material use, and scoring compared to other wall systems.

    Overview Of Flash & Batt Insulation
    Green Building Advisor describes flash and batt insulation, and it's advantages and disadvantages.

    Radiant Walls
    Healthy Heating describes why radiant walls can be a good choice in retrofit applications.

    Supplemental Humidity Control Systems
    Building Science information sheet Supplemental Humidity Control Systems offers general recommendations on supplemental humidity control and outlines viable system configurations.

    Soil Material Properties
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory paper Hygrothermal Simulation of Foundations: Part 1 Soil Material Properties studies the existing knowledge of soil properties, converted to apply for simulation in building science. The soil properties are implemented in a transient hygrothermal simulation tool, studying the applicability for modeling soil temperature and moisture flow. The results are compared with measurement and followed by a discussion of further investigations and development needed. (PDF)

    Wood Combustion Basics
    US Environmental Protection Agency online slide show presentation on wood combustion basics covers wood composition, combustion process, moisture content and seasoning. (PDF)

    Advantages Of Wall Panelizing In Mid-Rise Wood Construction
    WoodWorks online slide show presentation on advantages of wall panelizing in mid-rise wood construction covers what panelizing is, benefits to utilizing wall panelizing, how BIM modeling plays a key role in its use, and how wall panelizing can be used on future projects. (PDF)

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Wind Pressure Performance For Wall Systems With Exterior Insulating Sheathing
    US Department of Energy report High-R Walls for New Construction Structural Performance: Wind Pressure Testing is focused primarily on laboratory testing that evaluates wind pressure performance characteristics for wall systems constructed with exterior insulating sheathing. It will help to facilitate the ongoing use of non-structural sheathing options and provide a more in-depth understanding of how wall system layers perform in response to high wind perturbations normal to the surface. (PDF)

    High-R Walls For New Construction Structural Performance, Integrated Rim Header Testing
    UD Department of Energy online report High-R Walls for New Construction Structural Performance: Integrated Rim Header Testing focuses primarily on laboratory testing that evaluates the structural performance of rim headers. This research and test activity will help to facilitate the designs of load-bearing wall systems that minimize or eliminate the use of traditional headers within the wall plane and considers dead and live loads as well as roof and floor loading. Overall goals are to develop framing system designs based on 2 × 6 framing members that simplify and limit cost increases when builders and remodelers switch from traditional 2 × 4 framing methodologies. (PDF)

    Drying Wet Framing Lumber
    Fine Homebuilding describes some techniques to dry houses prior to sheetrock.

    Evaluation Of Effective Moisture Penetration Depth Model For Estimating Moisture Buffering
    US National Renewable Energy Laboratory report Evaluation of the Effective Moisture Penetration Depth Model for Estimating Moisture Buffering in Buildings examines the effective moisture penetration depth (EMPD) model, and its suitability for building simulations. (PDF)

    Do I Need A Vapor Retarder?
    Green Building Advisor says if your wall doesn’t have a vapor retarder, there is no need to worry. Builders worry way too much about vapor diffusion and vapor retarders. It’s actually very rare for a building to have a problem caused by vapor diffusion.

    Humidifier Is Bandaid, Problem Is Infiltration
    Energy Vanguard says if your heating system has a humidifier attached to it, it's most likely there to treat a symptom while leaving the underlying cause of that symptom alone. The symptom is dry air in winter. Unless you're in an extremely dry or cold climate, the cause is not dry air. The real cause is lack of air-sealing.

    Does Lumber Grow Stronger With Age?
    Journal of Light Construction explains why old wood might be stronger, but probably is weaker, than the day it was first used to build a structure.

    Performance Of Residential Concrete Slabs Under Seismic Conditions
    New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering paper Performance of Residential Concrete Slabs under Seismic and Soil Liquefaction Conditions says many habitable houses with unreinforced cracked concrete floors are being written off unnecessarily, due to the wording of insurance policies and ignorance with respect to the reparability of such. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Energy Use & Greenhouse Gas Emission Performance In Canadian Homes
    Canadian Home Builders Association 2013 update report on the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions performance of the residential sector shows housing is leading the way when it comes to addressing energy efficiency and climate change, and the impact of retrofitting and equipment upgrades in the older stock has been considerable. (PDF)

    Sustainability In 2013 AIA Honor Awards
    EcoBuilding describes projects in architecture, interiors, and planning that showcased sustainability best, in the 2013 AIA Honor Awards.

    Window Installation Tips For Deep Energy Retrofit
    Green Building Advisor describes how to use Dudley boxes for a hassle-free way to install new windows in walls that are being retrofitted with exterior rigid foam.

    Energy Efficiency Building Envelope Retrofits For Your House
    CMHC describes energy efficiency building envelope retrofits for your house including airtightness, insulation and window/door replacement strategies. (PDF)

    Estimating Heat & Mass Transfer Processes In Green Roof Systems
    US National Renewable Energy Laboratory online presentation Estimating Heat and Mass Transfer Processes in Green Roof Systems: Current Modeling Capabilities and Limitations discusses current modeling capabilities and limitations for estimating heat and mass transfer processes in green roof systems. (PDF)

    Got Risk? New Tools For Communicating About Water, Climate & Future
    BC Water & Wastewater Association presents Got Risk? New Tools for Communicating about Water, Climate and the Future in Vancouver on March 15. It is a how-to workshop on tools and methods for communicating important messages about climate change.

    Deconstruction & Building Materials Reuse Conference
    Decon, the annual Building Materials Reuse Association conference on deconstruction, building materials reuse, and recycling will be held in Seattle, April 29 to May 1.

    Low-Carbon Energy Futures, Review Of National Scenarios
    Trottier Energy Futures Project report Low-Carbon Energy Futures: A Review of National Scenarios says Canada can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to a fraction of current levels while maintaining or improving living standards and quality of life. (PDF)

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    Warning Of Uncertified Gas Fireplaces Manufactured By Canadian Fire Hearth Manufacturing
    BC Safety Authority bulletin says any gas fireplace manufactured by Canadian Fire Hearth Manufacturing which does not bear the certification seal of a recognized testing agency, including without limitation the “Riveria 66” model fireplace must be immediately removed from operation and may not be sold, leased, rented, installed or other used for any purpose within British Columbia. (PDF)

    Warning That Mirrored Wall-Mount Electric Fireplaces Have Counterfeit CSA Certification Mark
    CSA is giving notice to consumers and retailers that certain brand Mirrored Wall-Mount Electric Fireplaces, such as Luxury Home Products brand bear counterfeit CSA Group US and Canadian certification marks.

    Warning Of Counterfeit UL Mark On Fire Sprinkler
    UL gives warning to distributors, contractors, fire departments, regulatory agencies, and authorities having jurisdiction that the fire sprinkler Model NX005 bears a counterfeit UL Mark for the United States and Canada.

    Best Of Show Product Winners At 2013 International Builders Show
    National Association of Home Builders displays the winners of its Best of IBS Awards from the 2013 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. Awards were given to exhibitors with a product or line that shows the best combination of design, functionality and innovation.

    New Products At 2013 International Builders Show
    Wall Street Journal describes some new innovations in home-building materials, appliances, fixtures and technologies that were displayed at the 2013 International Builders Show.

    Overview Of Cross Laminated Timber
    Engineered Wood Association provides an overview of cross laminated timber, and links to other information and resources.

    Information On Cross Laminated Timber
    WoodWorks provides information and resources on cross laminated timber including tools & support, publications, presentations & videos, and FAQs.

    Four Over-The-Top Shops
    Tools Of The Trade online videos describe four remarkable workshops.

    WeatherAPP For Phones Details Conditions For Concrete Pours
    Holcim weatherAPP is designed to help construction professionals determine the quality of conditions for placing concrete.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Faster Wall Framing
    Journal of Light Construction article on faster wall framing describes how breaking the work into simple tasks, three men get one job done as quickly as possible. (PDF)

    Hidden Doors & Hardware
    Fine Homebuilding describes some projects with hidden doors and hardware to accomplish these works of craftsmanship.

    Hanging A Door From Scratch
    Journal of Light Construction describes how, with a router, a hinge template, and a few other specialized tools, custom doors are almost as easy to fit as prehungs. (PDF)

    Beautiful Corner Detail Made From Plywood
    Builder Magazine describes how a beautiful corner detail was made from plywood.

    How To Design A Classic Fireplace Mantel
    Fine Homebuilding describes how to design a classic fireplace mantel.

    Frame-and-Panel Wainscot
    Journal of Light Construction article on frame-and-panel wainscot describes how a knowledge of historical precedent and a bit of common sense will help you achieve a pleasing layout, while some skill with story sticks and a scribing compass will make the installation go smoothly and precisely. (PDF)

    Glazing Installation: Structural vs. Building Envelope
    BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation Glazing Installation: Structural vs. Building Envelope, aids in the understanding of structural requirements of glazing systems and how they pertain to the building envelope. (PDF)

    Custom Deck Railings
    Professional Deck Builder discusses creative options that open up when you combine off-the-shelf deck rail components with custom elements. (PDF)

    Hiding Ducts In Conditioned Space
    Fine Homebuilding describes how to install and hide ducts in conditioned space.

    10. Information Sources

    US Building Research Information Knowledgebase
    American Institute of Architects and US National Institute of Building Sciences have developed the Building Research Information Knowledgebase, an interactive portal offering free online access to peer-reviewed research projects and case studies in all facets of the built environment, from pre-design through occupancy and reuse.

    Free CAD Construction Details For Wood Frame Construction
    Engineered Wood Association provides free online CAD details for wood-frame construction.

    Technical Information On Interlocking Concrete Pavers
    Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute provides resources on Interlocking Concrete Pavers design, construction, and maintenance. These include technical bulletins, guide construction specifications, detail drawings, design manuals and software.

    New E-Magazine Dedicated To Home & Community Design
    US National Association of Home Builders launched the premier issue of the e-magazine Best in American Living–Redefining Home and Community at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. The quarterly publication showcases the value and importance of good design through the connection between homes and community. $15 USD For non-members.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    BC Housing Affordability Symposium
    Canadian Home Builders Association BC is presenting its 3rd Housing Affordability Symposium in Richmond March 14-15. It offers an opportunity for participants from all across the province and all sectors to collaborate and participate in the solutions to make market housing within the means of all British Columbians.

    Western Wildfire Conference
    The 2013 Western Wildfire Conference will be held in Kelowna, April 10-13. It brings together delegates, exhibitors and sponsors from Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest to discuss and explore past fire catastrophes, lessons learned and strategies for the future.

    Canadian HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical & Lighting Expo
    MCEE, Eastern Canada's largest plumbing, HVACR, hydronic, electrical and lighting industry expo will be held in Montreal April 17-18.

    2013 Western Conference On Safety
    2013 Western Conference on Safety, held in Vancouver April 22-23, is aimed at everyone from the new safety committee member to the most experienced safety professional. It offers over 25 educational sessions, keynote presentations, and a 70+ booth tradeshow.

    Canadian Roofing Industry Conference & Trade Show
    Canadian Roofing Contractors Association annual Rooftech conference and trade show, held in Toronto April 23-24, provides industry with product displays and educational opportunities for architects, building inspectors, contractors, engineers, property managers, roofing consultants and specifiers.

    12. Education & Training

    Air Quality & Health Workshop
    BC Lung Association annual Air Quality and Health Workshop, held February 19-20 in Vancouver, provides understanding of the current state of knowledge on strategies to reduce residential radon exposure, including challenges and gaps.

    Large Wood Structures Symposium
    WoodWorks one-day Large Wood Structures Symposium, held in Vancouver on February 20, is designed to inspire and educate designers and builders about how new technologies have made way for traditional mass wood products to be used in non-traditional applications.

    The New 2012 BC Building Code
    ICBA course The New 2012 BC Building Code will be held March 4th in Burnaby. Presenters will highlight the changes that are anticipated to have the highest impact. This includes new provisions for radon mitigation, new Part 9 lateral load design requirements, new spatial separation requirements and the creation of a new B-3 residential care occupancy classification. A review of administrative edits and changes will also be presented.

    Numbers Behind Housing Development
    Urban Development Institute School of Development presents The Numbers Behind Housing Development, held in Vancouver March 8-9. Instructors will draw from their own experiences and case studies to teach you the basics of proforma development, land and project valuation, sensitivity analysis and financing criteria.

    Consultation On Coaching Supports For BC Apprentices
    Industry Training Authority of BC is talking to apprentices, sponsors and stakeholders throughout BC to gather input about the kinds of coaching supports that could improve continuation and completion rates for BC apprentices. Public meetings are being held around BC in February and March, and online surveys and webinars are available to share information with the public and gather feedback.

    Home Inspection Certificate
    Okanagan College offers a comprehensive Home Inspection certificate program that combines theoretical instruction with field training to provide participants with a complete foundation for pursuing a professional career in home inspection.

    Canadian Site For Careers In Forestry
    The Greenest Workforce site provides information on the direction of the Canadian forestry industry and career opportunities on offer across the country.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Free Visual Construction Calculator
    Fine Homebuilding describes how free Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp) program makes a great visual construction calculator.

    Collect For Later Reading & Use
    Put articles, videos or pretty much anything into Pocket. Save directly from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite.

    Bear Surprises Samsung Crew In Washing Machine Shoot At Manning Park
    On an advertising shoot for washing machines in Canada to show off the cold wash performance, the Samsung crew are surprised when a bear wanders into the shoot location.

    Dittie For Today: On Success

    To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions. - Benjamin Franklin

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    © Copyright 2013              Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada