Alert Notice #77
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 March 5, 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 Sabine Just, Nancy Argyle, Denisa Ionescu, Wilma Leung, Rachel Wille, Michelle Ripoli, Paul Price, Ralph Robinson, Laura Litchfield, and Matt Herbert 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

Dr. Joe's History Of His Building Science Mentors
Dr. Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corporation provides some history of his mentors and learning opportunities during his early years in the Canadian building industry.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Housing Outlook Phantom Bust?
UDI online slide show of a recent presentation by Peter Norman, Chief Economist at Altus Group, says moderating resales and resale prices and lower new home sales in some markets will lead to more modest housing starts in 2013. Perspective, however, is everything. It is still a pretty steady market. Modestly weaker housing demand is leading to a soft landing for housing starts but calls for a more massive housing market correction are premature. (PDF)

Housing Market Outlook BC Region First Quarter 2013
CMHC Housing Market Outlook BC Region First Quarter 2013 says housing starts are forecast to total 28,800 units in 2013, up from 27,465 units in 2012. In 2014, housing starts are forecast to total 30,100 units. (PDF)

Construction Expected To Lead Growth In BC
Journal of Commerce says the construction industry will expand faster than all other domestic-oriented industries in British Columbia over the next five years, while the overall economy will improve slowly and then shift to stronger growth.

BC Economic Forecast 2013-2017
Central 1 Credit Union BC Economic Forecast 2013-2017 says 2014 to 2017 will help lift BC’s economy to higher growth rates after 2013. Other key players in the global economy will also perform better during that time and provide a boost to the province’s exports and investment spending. (PDF)

2012 Year In Review From HPO
BC Homeowner Protection Office newsletter Building BC looks back at the highlights of 2012.

Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update March 2013
Canadian Home Builders Association online Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update for March 2013 says the Canadian economy faces increased uncertainty, and business risk is higher now for new home builders and renovators. Since the beginning of the year, the incoming economic indicators have been weaker than expected.(PDF)

2013 State Of Canadian Real Estate
Canadian Property Management online video featuring Philip Gillin, Senior Managing Director and Head of Canadian Property Investments at Sun Life Financial, offers insight on what lies ahead for the Canadian real estate industry in 2013.

2. Business Management

Study Reveals What Home Buyers Really Want
NAHB recently released What Home Buyers Really Want, a study which outlines home buyers’ preferences for home type and size, room layout and design, kitchen and baths, windows and doors, accessibility and outdoor features, electronics and technology in the home, energy efficiency and choosing a community.

Lessons From Good Old-School Selling
Avid Builder says customers want to buy from sales pros that lead, not follow.

Model Of A Modern Builder Website
Builder Magazine describes how Kent Homes’ newly redesigned website offers a text-book model for what website marketers say a home builder’s website should be and do.

Women in Construction Operations
Women in Construction Operations is a group geared towards mentoring women working in the operation side of construction.

Hiring & Managing Apprentices
Industry Training Authority of BC provides information on hiring and managing apprentices, tax credits for employers, and support & resources.

Concrete Retaining Wall Cost
Concrete Network explains factors that affect the price of a poured concrete wall.

Guidelines For Site Risk Control
Canadian Wood Council provides guidelines for site risk control for hazards on construction sites during course of construction. (PDF)

Protect Your Remodeling Business Against Fraud
Remodeling Magazine provides some tips to help you institute an effective security policy and safeguard your company against fraud.

Purchasable Book On 2012 Remodelers Cost of Doing Business
US National Association of Home Builders sells Remodelers’ Cost of Doing Business Study 2012. It provides key financial benchmarks which remodelers can use to compare their business with similar remodeling firms and with the industry as a whole. Use the data to pinpoint areas for improvement, increase efficiencies, and make informed decisions about profit and budget goals in the future. $90 USD

3. Building Design & Trends

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

2013 Kitchen & Bath Style Report
National Kitchen and Bath Association 2013 Kitchen & Bath Style Report says member-designers throughout North America identify gray color schemes, quartz surfaces and the move to transitional styles as the major trendsetters. (PDF)

Top Outdoor Living Trends For 2013
American Society of Landscape Architects survey Residential Landscape Architecture Trends shows American homeowners increasingly are drawn to adding outdoor rooms for entertaining and recreation on their properties.

Amazing Lighting Designs
HGTV Remodels online slide show shows how the right lighting can make or break a room.

Comparing New Urbanist & Conventional Suburban Neighbourhoods
CMHC study Comparing Canadian New Urbanist and Conventional Suburban Neighbourhoods explores travel and social behaviour differences between selected new urbanist and conventional suburban neighbourhoods in Canada. (PDF)

Best Practices Manual For Design Build
Canadian Design-Build Institute sells the Practice Manual that provides guidance and recommendations on the successful delivery of design-build.

Online Visualizer For Custom Room Renderings & Estimates
Upgrade Space online visualizer lets you see how rooms look with different combinations of flooring, cabinets, and backsplashes, and estimates what the materials will cost on a remodel.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Neil Ziola, President of Surelock Builders says: "Recent BC Building info interesting and informative as always."

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Lateral Load Information Required On Plans For BC Building Permits
Building Officials Association of BC describes lateral load information required on plans submitted for building permits. (PDF)

BC Needs House Inspection Regulation Review
Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC says homebuyers need improved protection from unqualified, unaccountable house inspectors. At present BC has four separate, independent standards for the certification of house inspectors and this does not represent best practices for professional regulation. (PDF)

Changes To Allow Six-Storey Wood Construction For Canadian National Codes
Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes is taking a closer look at requirements in the 2010 National Building and Fire Codes of Canada that currently limit the height of wood buildings to no more than four storeys. The initiative was undertaken as a result of code change requests from the Province of British Columbia and the Canadian Wood Council asking that the current height limits for combustible construction be increased. Doing so would move the National Model Construction Codes towards harmonization with various code development initiatives and market access policies being established in jurisdictions across the country.

Research For Proposed Canadian Code Changes To Address Airborne Sound Transmission
Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes has created a task group to consider the use of a new rating to address airborne sound transmission between dwelling units and a calculation tool as an additional performance-based option to determine compliance with the National Building Code. To help industry take advantage of these potential code changes, NRC is working with construction industry partners to develop an explanatory guide for the calculation method and to carry out research to obtain the required product data.

2013 Review Of Window Energy Rating Procedure In Canada
HPO study Review of Window Energy Rating Procedure in Canada seeks to determine if the Energy Rating (ER) in its current form is still appropriate for selecting energy efficient windows and doors for all areas within Canada. It found that the current ER formula works in most common house situations, in most locations, and therefore it is an appropriate metric for rating the relative energy performance of windows. (PDF)

Podcast On ASHRAE 62.2 Residential Ventilation Standard
Green Dream podcast with Don Stevens of Panasonic and ASHRAE discusses the history of ASHRAE 62.2 residential ventilation standard, and the upcoming changes in 62.2-2013.

Workplace Guide To Psychological Health & Safety
Guarding Minds At Work provides information and resources on emerging regulatory and legal standards and practices pertaining to workplace psychological health and safety.

Zoning No Longer Appropriate
Washington Post says land-use regulation is still needed, but zoning increasingly has become a conceptually inappropriate term, an obsolete characterization of how we plan and shape growth.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    All About Rainscreens
    Green Building Advisor provides answers to the most common questions about rainscreen gaps between siding and sheathing.

    Rain Control for Walls: Venting, Ventilation, Drainage
    Building Science online slide show presentation Rain Control for Walls: Venting, Ventilation, Drainage, covers rain control basics, role of ventilation and drainage, what makes them work, and when do we need them. (PDF)

    Choosing The Right Wall Assembly
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether to choose a double-stud wall filled with fluffy insulation, or a single wall wrapped in a layer of rigid foam insulation.

    Formulas For Success Using Mean Radiant Temperature
    HPAC magazine says if building codes dropped the reference to controlling air temperatures and switched the requirements to controlling mean radiant temperature, building performance specifications would have to change overnight and for the better.

    Insulating Exposed Floors On Concrete Piers
    Green Building Advisor discusses how a cottage built on a concrete piers can be as warm as one with a full foundation.

    Thermal Bridging Ignorance Is Not Bliss
    Journal of Building Enclosure Design article Thermal Bridging: Ignorance is not Bliss, maintains that If you want to achieve real energy savings and minimize costs, you should consider the impact of thermal bridges from transitional components. The authors propose methods for accounting for the effect of thermal bridges. (PDF)

    Thermal Bridging For High-Performance Buildings
    Journal of Building Enclosure Design article Thermal Bridging Can Be Done Better explores how to identify thermal bridges and employ off-the-shelf, manufactured structural thermal breaks (MSTBs) as a solution. (PDF)

    Connection Solutions For Modern Timber Structures
    WoodWorks online recorded seminar Connection Solutions for Modern Timber Structures provides a brief overview of innovative connection systems and other catalytic changes which helped cause this shift, and highlights innovative project examples in the US, Canada and elsewhere. (mp4)

    6. Building Performance Issues

    Fire Statistics & Smoke Alarms In BC 1988-2007
    Building Officials Association of BC provides fire statistics in BC from 1988-2007, along with information on the absence of smoke alarms and the number that were not functioning. (PDF)

    Retrofitting Residential Envelopes Without Creating Moisture Issues
    US Department of Energy report Retrofitting Residential Envelopes Without Creating Moisture Issues researched whether exterior retrofit of frame assemblies can be risky when impermeable insulating sheathings of relatively low thermal resistance are used. It found that there is virtually no moisture durability risk to the sheathing when water is drained repeatedly in the drainage gap between the exterior insulation and the sheathing membrane, provided there are no other moisture-related issues unrelated to the drainage cavity such as air leakage condensation, or bulk rain water leakage. (PDF)

    Life Expectancy Of Galvanized Fasteners
    Journal of Light Construction explains the difference between hot-dipped, mechanically galvanized, and electroplated nails, and discusses their performance implications. (PDF)

    Repair, Replace Or Renew Windows
    RDH Building Engineering article describes a number of factors to consider when deciding the fate of aging windows, including comfort, energy utilization, acoustics, aesthetics and function. (PDF)

    Patterns Of Use Of Different Toilet Grab Bars
    CMHC study Patterns Of Use Of Different Toilet Grab Bars evaluates patterns of use, as well as the perceived usefulness and perceived safety of different toilet grab bar configurations for seniors. (PDF)

    Building With Steel Framing
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether there is a place for thermally conductive steel framing material in high-performance buildings.

    Combustion Appliance Safety & Efficiency Testing Procedures
    US Department of Energy technical brief Combustion Appliance Safety & Efficiency Testing summarizes the inspection and testing of combustion appliances taught during the 2006 Florida whole-house weatherization training. (PDF)

    Free Mobile App For Combustion Safety Testing
    This free application is meant to serve as a guide to help ensure a proper combustion safety testing sequence is followed. It is structured around a combustion safety testing sequence created by Advanced Energy.

    Making Healthier, Greener Foam Insulation
    Building Green describes how a proposed change to the residential building code (International Residential Code) would eliminate the need for halogenated flame retardants in many applications.

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    Environmental Professional Networking Event In Vancouver
    ECO Canada presents an Environmental Professionals Networking Event in Vancouver on March 26, bringing together Vancouver business and environmental professionals to share ideas and gain insight on trends that are shaping the environmental sector.

    Today's Homes Much More Energy Efficient Than In The Past
    Canadian Home Builders Association describes how today’s homes are far more energy efficient than older homes. (PDF)

    Corporations Recognizing Profitability & Environmental Stewardship Are Compatible
    Greensource magazine says all it took to make sustainability a corporate value was for companies to see that doing good was good for the bottom line, and that understanding is spreading rapidly.

    Lessons Learned From Passive House In BC
    BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation by Bernhardt Contracting describes design and construction details of a passive house built in BC. (PDF)

    2013 Amendment 13 to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations
    NRCan Amendment 13 to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations describes increases in stringency of MEPS, updated reporting and compliance requirements, and new labelling requirements for a number of products.

    2013 Amendment 14 to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations
    NRCan Amendment 14 to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations describes increases in stringency of MEPS and/or update reporting and compliance requirements for 9 currently regulated products, and introduces new MEPS and associated reporting and compliance requirements for 9 products.

    Ventilation Requirements For Weatherized Homes
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether or not the ASHRAE 62.2 ventilation standard is too complex and expensive for weatherized homes.

    Low-Flow Fixtures And Drainline Blockages
    Plumbing Engineer says low-flow plumbing fixtures can contribute to drainline blockages, depending on the flush volume. But the results of a recent study show that other issues, including toilet paper tensile strength and drainline slope, can also cause blockages in drainlines.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    BC Rebate On EnerChoice Gas Fireplaces
    Fortis BC is offering $300 rebate on EnerChoice natural gas fireplaces if you purchase and install one by May 31, 2013.

    Hot New Tools For 2013
    Tools of the Trade describes hot new tools they found at the 2013 Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association convention.

    Easy-Care Countertops & Creative Designs Trending
    For Residential Pros says countertops continue to play a critical role in the kitchen, serving as both a multifunctional work space and a key design element. While designers are seeing more interest in durable, easy-care surfaces, there’s also a growing interest in creative applications such as layering of colors, materials and thicknesses to add visual pizzazz.

    How Much Does Indoor Environmental Quality Cost
    Healthy Heating explores what an HVAC budget based on the typical 5% to 7% of construction cost gets you in comparison to the 12% to 15% budget for a Total Comfort System.

    How To Choose The Right Mechanical System
    Green Building Advisor describes the many variables that influence the decision to choose one particular mechanical system over another: climate, house size, cost, local availability and cost of fuels and materials, and the lifestyle and preferences of the occupants.

    Energy-Efficient Window Performance & Selection
    US Department of Energy online Measure Guideline: Energy-Efficient Window Performance and Selection helps builders, homeowners, and designers select energy efficient windows in new and existing residential construction in all U.S. climate zones. It includes information about window products, attributes, and performance. It provides cost/benefit information about window energy savings and about non-energy benefits such as thermal comfort and reduced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning demands. The guideline also provides information about the energy impacts of design decisions such as window orientation, total glazing area, shading conditions, and about proper window installation. (PDF)

    Beginner's Guide To LED Bulb Bases
    Fixya provides an overview of the most relevant and useful LED bulb base types for home use.

    Home Theater Planning Guide
    HGTV Remodels provides information and resources on home theaters including the basics, how to set goals, inspiration and design ideas, choosing the right audio/visual equipment, wiring, and furnishings.

    Smart Buildings Predictions For 2013
    Automated Buildings provides smart buildings predictions for 2013 including the coming of indoor positioning systems, smart becomes the new green, eye-tracking, community microgrids, cross training for IT and FM, and pilot projects for direct current infrastructure in buildings.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Laying Out Irregular Valley Rafter
    Journal of Light Construction says if you know the system, you can cut an irregular roof right the first time. (PDF)

    Deck Stair Layout 101
    Fine Homebuilding tutorial describes how to layout a basic set of deck stairs.

    Installing Hardwood Flooring
    Buildipedia online video and article describe how to install hardwood flooring.

    Preventing Tile Failures
    Journal of Light Construction gives description on how most tile failures are caused by a failure to follow directions. (PDF)

    Hybrid Insulation Of Advanced Framed House
    Fine Homebuilding online videos describe how they insulated an advanced framed house using three types of insulation, including rigid foam outsulation, Owens Corning Energy Complete, and open cell spray foam.

    Tips For Pumping Concrete In Cold Weather
    For Construction Pros describes how to prevent or deal with concrete freezing in the concrete pump, which can stop the flow of concrete through the pipeline.

    How To Install Flex Duct Properly
    Energy Vanguard describes how to install flex duct properly, based on information from the Air Diffussion Council flexible duct performance & installation standards.

    Placing Concrete In ICF Foundation Walls
    Green Building Advisor says to keep ICF walls plumb, don't skimp on the bracing.

    Don't Just Go With The Flow When Scheduling Radiant Heating
    HPAC magazine article says creating hydronic radiant equipment schedules is the key to successful radiant projects.

    Glazing Instructional Animations
    Tremco online 3D glazing instructional animations help show how each of the glazing materials make contact with one another and the need for system compatibility.

    10. Information Sources

    Free Tip Of The Day Newsletter
    Fine Homebuilding offers a free, daily, tip of the day for industry pros.

    Resource Library On Lath, Plaster, Stucco
    Minnesota Lath & Plaster Bureau online reference library has information and resources on stucco, EIFS, veneer plaster, gypsum plaster, venetian plaster, fireproofing, lath, and specialty items.

    Publications & Resources On Log Building
    International Log Builders Association sells various books on log buildings and construction.

    2013 Solid-State Lighting R&D Workshop Presentations & Materials
    US Department of Energy provides links to the presentations and materials from the 2013 Solid-State Lighting R&D Workshop.

    Storage Water Heaters
    US Department of Energy describes how storage water heaters work, selection, installation & maintenance, and improving energy efficiency.

    Resource Site On Health Issues Of Asbestos
    Mesothelioma Center provides services and resources for patients and families affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers.

    Smart Buildings Institute
    Smart Building Institute is a non-profit corporation organized to facilitate the growth and education of smarter building and smarter building operations.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    Tile & Terrazzo Courses & Trade Show
    Terrazzo, Tile & Marble Association of Canada presents its Tech Expo in Vancouver on April 8th. Seminars will include innovations in grout, ventilated facades, ceramic tile as eco-logical choice, moisture management, deciphering design & trends, porcelain veneer tile, and specification guide 2012/2014. (PDF)

    Building Officials Association Of BC Conference
    The Annual General Meeting & Conference of the Building Officials Association of BC will be held in Kimberley May 5-8. It will plenary sessions and workshops on a number of building topics.

    Construction Specifications Canada Conference 2013
    Construction Specifications Canada annual conference will be held in Calgary, May 22-26. It offers a wide range of educations opportunities, association meetings, and sponsor displays.

    Upper Island Safety Conference & Trade Show
    The Strathcona Regional District is hosting their annual Upper Island Safety Conference and Trade Show in Campbell River, May 27-28. It features educational sessions, trade show, and networking opportunities. (PDF)

    15 Tips From Conference Commando
    Keith Ferrazzi says a conference is a huge opportunity to build relationships with extraordinary people, people who might have significant impact on your professional or personal success. To make sure that you maximize the return on your (and your organization’s) investment of time and money to attend, you can’t afford to be a conference commoner. You have to be a Conference Commando. (PDF)

    12. Education & Training

    BC Building & Energy Code Changes
    Greater Vancouver Home Builder's Association seminar on building and energy code changes will be held in Vancouver on March 26th. It covers high performance walls, windows and doors, ventilation, moisture mitigation, energy modelling, and opportunities and risks.

    Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers
    ICBA course Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers will be held in Burnaby on April 5th. It covers Service Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program, how it works, requirements, recent changes to the program, and the newly developed Web Service.

    BC Career, Education & Recruitment Fair
    The Career/Education & Recruitment Fair will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre May 14-15. They anticipate over 8,000 eager and well trained career seekers.

    Building Envelope Laboratory Course
    BCIT course BLDC 3060, Building Envelope Laboratory, is intended to provide a practical approach to the application of building enclosure detailing through hands-on construction and instruction. The course is suitable for contractors, home builders, architects, engineers, technologists, handymen and those interested in building construction.

    Symposium On Zen & Art Of Building Enclosure Design
    Seattle Building Enclosure Council, in conjunction with the Portland BEC and BC BEC, invites professional colleagues to Zen and the Art of Building Enclosure Design, an all-day symposium on May 21, 2013 in Seattle.

    VRCA Construction Learning Forum
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association 2013 Construction Learning Forum will be held in Whistler May 31 to June 1. The theme is Leadership in a Changing Market with sessions on Productivity, Business Development and Safety. This is an interactive event where attendees exchange innovative and inspiring ideas, and learn about new industry trends and best practices, and engage in stimulating panel discussions.

    Centre For Advanced Wood Processing
    UBC Centre for Advanced Wood Processing is Canada's national centre for education and training related to wood products processing and advanced wood products manufacturing. It offers a wide range of short courses, e-learning programs, in-plant training, product development, and manufacturing improvement services.

    ITA BC 2013/14-2015/16 Service Plan
    BC Industry Training Authority 2013/14-2015/16 Service Plan is built around meeting two broad goals. The first is to ensure that credentials they issue are both valued by diverse industries and individuals, and aligned with BC’s economic needs. And the second is to ensure that apprenticeship training is a viable, efficient and effective means of earning credentials. (PDF)

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    50 Best Free iPhone Apps Of 2013
    PC Magazine lists 50 apps, across a number of genres, that they think have shown outstanding performance, have been well received by a variety of technology users, and are truly free.

    8 Hidden But Powerful Google Tools For Business
    Inc. says Google is far more than a search engine, and if you know where to look, you can find a treasure trove of free or practically free tools to help grow your business.

    Strongest Girl In The World
    This little girl managed to get so many donations that nobody can even lift the buckets full of coins...except her because she's the strongest girl in the world!

    Dittie For Today: On Change

    The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.
    - George Bernard Shaw

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    © Copyright 2013              Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada