Alert Notice #79
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
 April 23, 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 Mark Gauvin, Neil Ziola, Brian Hart, Graham Finch, Steve Riley, Ryan Dalgleish, Garry Lowney, Sabine Just, Maureen McLaughlin, Glenn Duxbury, Vanessa Joehl, Alec Caldwell, Ed Thomas, Andrea Bellamy, Jack Ahearne, Susan Scott, Steve Moores, Joanne de Vries, Merrian Borgeson, and Paul Finley 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

    Guide For Designing Energy-Efficient Building Enclosures For Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
    FP Innovations online Guide for Designing Energy-Efficient Building Enclosures for Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Residential Buildings in Marine to Cold Climate Zones in North America serves two major objectives. First, to assist architects, engineers, designers and builders in improving the thermal performance of building enclosures of wood multi-unit residential buildings. Second, to advance MURB design practices, construction practices, and material use based on best knowledge, in order to ensure the durable performance of wood-frame building enclosures that are insulated to higher levels than traditional wood-frame construction. (PDF)

    1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

    Legal Opinion Says Canada Post Mailbox Set Up Fee Is Unlawful
    Canadian Home Builders Association of BC has learned that a legal opinion has found a Canada Post initiative to charge a one-time fee of $200 per address for the set up of community mailboxes, is unlawful. (PDF)

    BC Mortgage Rate Forecast March 2013
    BC Real Estate Association mortgage rate forecast of March 2013 says with growth and inflation remaining relatively subdued and the Bank of Canada on the sidelines for all of 2013, the unprecedented low volatility in Canadian mortgage rates is likely to continue for much of the year. (PDF)

    BC Economic Briefing
    Central 1 Credit Union says Housing starts in the province’s urban areas still rose to a seasonally-adjusted annualized pace of nearly 24,400 units, marking a 13 per cent gain from February and 17 per cent gain from same-month 2012. (PDF)

    BC 2013 Construction Labour Market Information
    Construction Sector Council report 2013 Construction Looking Forward provides labour market information for British Columbia, offering a nine-year scenario of workforce supply and demand by trade. Free registration required.

    Spring 2013 Canadian Economic & Construction Outlooks
    Journal of Commerce says the tone for the nation’s construction outlook was recently set by Statistics Canada’s Private and Public Investment, Intentions 2013 report.

    Canada’s Residential Construction Industry Outlook Winter 2013
    Conference Board of Canada report Canada’s Residential Construction Industry Outlook Winter 2013, examines the short-and medium-term economic and profitability outlook for Canada’s Residential Construction Industry. Free site registration required.

    Online Videos Of Recent CMHC Housing Outlook Conferences Across Canada
    CMHC provides online videos of recent Housing Outlook Conferences held across Canada. They include timely, reliable and unbiased housing market information and forecasts.

    2012 Canada-Wide Development Process Survey Report
    REALpac report 2012 Canada-Wide Development Process Survey Report provides summary of its survey of 10 major Canadian cities, comparing development application fees and processing times, infrastructure charges, parkland dedication, and density bonusing and density transfers. Aside from the comparative insights, the survey reveals a number of best practices that may be transferrable between jurisdictions. (PDF)

    2. Business Management

    Canadian Home Builders Go Digital with New Online Listing Standard
    Market Wired press release says Canadian homebuilders are adopting a new standard for placing their home data online. BXS (Buzz XML Standard) was created to overcome difficulties in sharing and distributing new home information.

    Builders Who Offer Downloadable Brochures & Advertise Benefits Get Business
    US National Association of Home Builders says builders who offer downloadable brochures and advertise benefits of new homes get more business from their web sites.

    BC PST Specialist Will Review Business Accounting & Reporting Systems
    The BC government PST Outreach program allows BC business owners to sign up to have a government PST specialist review their accounting and reporting systems to ensure their systems are properly set up to comply with provincial sales tax laws.

    What’s Taxable Under BC PST & What’s Not
    BC Government provides general information on which goods and services will be taxable under the Provincial Sales Tax Act and which will not (either because of a specific exemption or because the goods or services are not included in the tax base), subject to the approval of the legislature and the passage of regulations. (PDF)

    Builders & Electronic Filing Requirements For GST & HST
    Canada Revenue Agency describes four electronic filing methods for GST/HST returns. Some builders may have to use one method because of their particular circumstances.

    GST/HST Information For New Small Business
    Canada Revenue Agency online videos provide GST/HST Information for a new small business.

    Fraser Valley Intermunicipal Business License Pilot Project
    Fraser Valley Intermunicipal Business License Pilot Project may allow you to be eligible to upgrade to an Intermunicipal Business License covering nine communities in the Fraser Valley, for only an additional $250. Eligible mobile businesses related to the construction industry may be licensed to operate in all of the municipalities listed here. (PDF)

    End May Be Near For Pay-When-Paid Contracts
    Construction Business says against the background of multiple causes of interrupted cash flow on projects and the various statutory and contractual dispute resolution mechanisms put in place to handle them, there remains one source of interrupted cash flow which begs for a similar solution. It is the “pay when paid” clauses which one often sees in trade contracts or subcontracts entered into by trade and material suppliers with a builder or another trade.

    3. Building Design & Trends

    2013 Kitchen & Bath Design Competition Finalists
    National Kitchen & Bath Association displays the finalists of their 2013 Design Competition Awards.

    Homeowners Prioritizing Kitchen & Bathroom Design
    American Institute of Architects survey shows kitchens have reclaimed their place as the true focal point of the home, with a growing emphasis on utilizing more technology, and there has also been renewed interest in integrating more household activities into this space.

    Updated Editions Of Kitchen & Bath Planning Books
    National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has released newly updated second editions of its authoritative Kitchen Planning and Bath Planning textbooks, first published in 2006. Available in both print and e-book formats, the second editions have been thoroughly revised with the latest information on topics such as sustainable and universal design, as well as metric measurement equivalents throughout for the benefit of professionals in Canada and elsewhere.

    US Home Buyers Value Storage Space, In-Law Suites
    US National Association of Realtors 2013 Profile of Buyers Home Feature Preferences examines features buyers prefer when it comes to purchasing a home, as well as differences in preferences when it comes to factors such as region, demographics and household composition.

    Mudrooms That Offer Functionality & Style
    Builder Magazine displays some projects that offer illustrations of what a mudroom can be, a useful and lovely welcome home.

    Examples Of Landscape Designs
    HGTV Remodels provides picture of various types of landscape designs.

    2013 BC Wood Design Award Winners
    WoodWorks describes the Award Winners from its 9th annual 2013 Wood WORKS! BC Wood Design Awards which recognize leadership and innovation in wood use while being an opportunity to publicly salute and celebrate continued excellence in the building and design community.

    Are You Ready For Building Information Modeling?
    Fine Homebuilding says unlike traditional building design, which relies on two-dimensional drawings, building information modeling (BIM) provides design information in five dimensions: width, height, depth, time, and cost.

    What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

    Steve Riley, President, S.P. Riley Residential Design says: "Another fantastic issue...always informative and relevant. Keep up the good work!"

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

    4. Codes Standards & Regulations

    New Amendments To BC Building Code Effective April 3, 2013
    BC Government gives description of the new amendments to the BC Building Code that are effective April 3, 2013. (PDF)

    Deadline Extension For New BC Fenestration Standard
    BC Government says the 2012 BC Building Code requires windows, doors and skylights to conform to AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-08 NAFS, North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors, and Skylights. They now permit windows, doors and skylights to conform to either the 2006 BC Building Code or NAFS until July 1, 2013. This temporary delay will allow industry some time to have products tested and manufactured to the new NAFS standard. (PDF)

    Clarification Of BC Codes Relating To Suites & Secondary Suites
    BC Government bulletin Suites and Secondary Suites clarifies confusion that arises because of the misunderstanding between suites and secondary suites, and lists relevant BC building code sections that govern each. (PDF)

    2013 Updated BC Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation
    BC Government new Update to Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation, effective June 21, 2013 includes adding 12 local governments to the regulation, and amending Section 4 to provide loading requirements for stick frame roofs and to clarify the requirement to address point loads for truss roofs. (PDF)

    Recent BC Code Interpretations
    Building Officials Association of BC lists interpretations they have made on the recent 2012 version of the BC Building Code.

    Approved Certification Marks For Electrical Products In BC
    The BC Electrical Safety Regulation says electrical equipment must bear evidence of either a mark or a label of a certification agency accredited by the Standards Council of Canada or an approval label issued by the British Columbia Safety Authority. This Bulletin specifies the certification/approval marks and labels that are acceptable in British Columbia. (PDF)

    BC Energy Code Comparison
    Stantec Consulting report BC Energy Code Comparison describes the difference in energy, emissions, and financial performance associated with the adoption of two different building codes relative to the current code (ASHRAE 90.1-2004) in BC. Alternatives analysed include the prescriptive compliance paths of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 and NECB-2011. (PDF)

    Water Use & Policy In BC
    Business Council of BC paper Water, Blue Gold is a primer on water and water management rather than a discussion of policy issues or options. It does touch briefly on their views on water policy in BC. (PDF)

    Professional Standards Manual For BC Realtors
    Real Estate Council of BC online Professional Standards Manual for realtors covers General Information, Trading Services, Rental Property Management Services, and Strata Management Services.

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    5. Building Science & Technology

    Vancouver Test Hut Phase IV Tests Of Wall Assemblies
    Building Science describes Phase IV of the Vancouver Test Hut Project, initiated in 2005 to gain a deeper understanding of how different wall assemblies perform in the coastal British Columbia climate. This stage of the study focuses on the performance of various exterior insulated residential wall assemblies in a high stress moisture environment.

    Top Innovations That Advance High Performance Homes
    Building America researchers have worked directly with more than 300 US production home builders and have boosted the performance of more than 42,000 new homes. They describe more than 30 game-changing building achievements from the years 1995 through 2012 as Building America Top Innovations.

    Stuck On You, Leaks Through Building Paper & Wraps
    Building Science says one of the dirty little secrets that never gets talked about is that water leaks through building papers, building wraps and housewraps and runs down between them and the sheathings that they cover. The good news is that the nail holes and staple holes don't leak too much and we know how to handle the incidental leakage.

    Guidance On Taped Insulating Sheathing Drainage Planes
    Building Science report Guidance on Taped Insulating Sheathing Drainage Planes recommends solutions that provide durable and long-term water management using exterior insulating sheathing as part of the water management system. It is possible to tape or seal the joints in insulating sheathing to create a drainage plane and even an air control layer. There exists the material durability component of the tape as well as the system durability component being the taped insulating sheathing as the drainage plane.

    Caution On Vented Crawl Spaces In Humid Climates
    Energy Vanguard says the argument about whether you should vent a crawl space in a humid climate is over. Advanced Energy's research project from 2002 proved that closed crawl spaces outperform vented crawl spaces. A quick look at the psychrometric chart shows that the argument should never have existed in the first place.

    What Is Thermal Bridging?
    Green Building Advisor says to understand thermal bridging, you need to understand your home’s wall assembly and the various materials used in its construction.

    7 Tips To Get More From Mini-Split Heat Pumps
    Building Green provides 7 tips to get more from mini-split heat pumps in colder climates.

    Pumps In HVAC Systems
    ASHRAE Vancouver online slide show presentation Pumps in HVAC Systems covers big vs small and flexible, control modes, mixing loop’s and hydraulic balance. (PDF)

    6. Building Performance Issues

    What About The Exterior Trim & Moisture?
    RCI says depending on installation details, exterior trim can be a critical element of the building envelope, particularly on single and multifamily residential construction. However, this critical component has virtually been ignored by the building code and code-referenced standards.

    Building Envelope Testing & Commissioning Best Practices
    Consulting Specifying Engineer magazine describes some building envelope testing and commissioning best practices.

    Testing For Water Leakage & Role For Sealants
    Adhesives describes an often employed test related to ASTM E331-00(2009) Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference.

    Efflorescence & Spalling
    Fine Homebuilding describes how efflorescence and spalling can contribute to results that can turn a promising project into a headache.

    Coping With Termites & Carpenter Ants In Rigid Foam Insulation
    Green Building Advisor discusses whether rigid foam insulation aids and abets destructive insects such as termites and carpenter ants.

    Balancing Hot Water Temperature For Scalding & Legionella Prevention
    Plumbing Engineer describes how to address two of the more important challenges of a domestic hot water system, by providing hot water for bathing and washing that will not cause scald injuries and hot water that is at a temperature high enough to prevent Legionella bacteria growth.

    Sampling For Asbestos In BC
    WorkSafe BC bulletin Sampling For Asbestos describes methods currently accepted for asbestos bulk sample analysis.

    Adapting Low-Rise Residential Buildings
    CMHC online guide Adapting Low-Rise Residential Buildings will help building owners and managers make barrier-free renovation decisions to walk-up apartment buildings. Accessibility barriers common to low-rise buildings are identified, together with recommended solutions. (PDF)

    7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

    EcoHome Design Award Winners
    EcoHome magazine describes past award-winning projects that explore the critical balance between beauty, sustainable materials, and high performance.

    First BC New Homes In Super Efficient New Construction
    Eight single-family residences which have been designed with some of the most advanced standards of energy efficiency ever achieved in the Okanagan Valley are near completion on the Penticton Indian Band reserve as part of the Super Efficient New Construction program, a $1 million initiative of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and co-managed by FortisBC.

    Existing Home Evaluation & Performance Improvement Standard
    Air Conditioning Contractors of America and RESNET online Existing Home Evaluation & Performance Improvement Standard establishes minimum criteria by which deficiencies in existing residential buildings are identified by audit, improvement opportunities are assessed, scopes of work are finalized, and work is performed in accordance with industry recognized procedures. (PDF)

    Standard Work Specifications For Home Energy Upgrades
    US Department of Energy online Standard Work Specifications for Single-Family Home Energy Upgrades define the outcomes of quality work within the home energy upgrade industry. They set uniform expectations that can be leveraged for energy audits, scopes of work, quality control efforts, and training. They reflect a whole-house approach to installing energy-efficiency measures and include ventilation, insulation, air sealing, and more. Safe work practices, relevant codes, and US EPA Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades are also included.

    Comparison Of Energy Labeling For Commercial Buildings In Canada
    Light House report Comparison of Energy Labeling for Commercial Buildings in Canada summarizes energy labeling programs and outlines available resources and tools to help building owners start labeling their buildings. (PDF)

    Building Component Library For Modeling Data
    US Department of Energy online Building Component Library is a searchable library of energy modeling building blocks and descriptive metadata. Users can use the freely available and uniquely identifiable components to create energy models and cite the sources of input data, which will increase the credibility and reproducibility of their simulations. It contains components which are the building blocks of an energy model. They can represent physical characteristics of the building such as roofs, walls, and windows, or can refer to related operational information such as occupancy and equipment schedules and weather information. Each component is identified through a set of attributes that are specific to its type, as well as other metadata such as provenance information and associated files.

    Ontario Green Energy Act Causing Energy Prices To Soar
    Fraser Institute report shows Ontario's Green Energy Act is causing energy prices to soar, and the plan is now 10 times costlier than an alternative that would have yielded the same environmental benefits.

    2013 Green Building Conference In Kimberley
    Kimberley 2013 Green Building Conference, held May 10-11, features experts in green and sustainable building covering the latest advancements in energy efficiency, greening of the building code, renewable energy, net zero homes and more.

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    8. Building Products & Suppliers

    How Much To Budget For HVAC
    Healthy Heating describes how to ball park your budget for indoor climate control.

    Thermal & Moisture Properties Of Common Building & Insulation Materials
    Free Library displays results of an ASHRAE research project conducted at National Research Canada that offers thermal and moisture property database for common building and insulation materials.

    Sizing A New Water Heater
    US Department of Energy describes how to find information about how to size DHW systems including tankless or demand-type, solar, storage, and heat pump (with tank).

    Resource Site On Electric Tankless Water Heaters
    Coalition for Energy Efficient Electric Tankless Water Heaters offers information and resources on electric tankless water heaters.

    2013 Listing Of Tankless Manufacturers & Products
    Plumbing Engineer magazine 2013 Tankless Report provides information on various manufacturers of tankless products. Information can be attributed to each company’s marketing department. (PDF)

    Heat Pump Water Heater Performance Evaluation
    Department of Energy report West Village Community: Quality Management Processes and Preliminary Heat Pump Water Heater Performance evaluates performance and efficiency of the central heat pump water heaters as a strategy to provide efficient electric water heating for net-zero all-electric buildings and where natural gas is not available on site. In addition, effectiveness of the quality assurance and quality control processes implemented to ensure proper system commissioning and to meet program participation requirements is evaluated. (PDF)

    Gas-Fired Tankless & Storage Water Heater Approaches To Combo Systems
    US Department of Energy report Laboratory Evaluation of Gas-Fired Tankless and Storage Water Heater Approaches to Combination Water and Space Heating highlights the attributes of combo technologies that use traditional storage water heaters and tankless water heaters as their thermal engines. (PDF)

    List Of Synthetic Decking Manufacturers
    Fine Homebuilding provides a list of synthetic decking manufacturers.

    9. Installation Procedures

    Sidewall Venting of Gas Appliances
    Homeowner Protection Office bulletin Sidewall Venting of Gas Appliances says. newer modern gas appliances used for space and water heating are increasingly being installed with sidewall venting as it is easier for builders and equipment installers to implement. Proper care and attention are required in the design and installation of the vents in order to ensure that the exhaust is dissipated away from the building and its occupants. (PDF)

    Installing Rock Masonry Veneer With Air Gap
    Fine Homebuilding describes how to install rock veneer with a vented air gap.

    Building Concrete Driveways
    BC Homeowner Protection Office bulletin Concrete Driveways describes common issues encountered with concrete driveways and provides information on how to select materials, build and maintain driveways. (PDF)

    Attaching Metal Roofing
    Journal of Light Construction describes the right fastener for metal roofing, and whether you should fasten through the ribs or in the flat of the panel.

    How To Repair Butchered Floor Joist
    Fine Homebuilding describes how to repair a butchered floor joist.

    Rot-Resistant Deck Details
    Journal of Light Construction describes construction details that can prolong a deck's useful life.

    Air Conditioner Diagnostics, Maintenance & Replacement
    US Department of Energy Measure Guideline: Air Conditioner Diagnostics, Maintenance, and Replacement describes efficient means of identifying, diagnosing, and repairing faults in air conditioning systems in existing homes that are undergoing energy upgrades. (PDF)

    Veneer Plaster Patching
    Journal of Light Construction forum provides discussion on how to make a well-blended patch in a veneer plaster ceiling.

    10. Information Sources

    Fenestration Association of BC
    Fenestration Association of BC (FEN-BC) is a nonprofit trade association representing the interests of businesses engaged in the fenestration industry in BC, and other interested parties. Formed by the merger of the Glazing Contractors Association of BC and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association of BC, FEN-BC represents all parties engaged in the commercial and residential sectors of the fenestration industry.

    Slide Show Presentations On Wood Products & Procedures
    WoodWorks provides online slide show presentations covering a wide range of wood products, applications and procedures.

    Online Guides For Quality Installation Of HVAC Components
    Building America Solutions Center provides online guides for quality installation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning system components.

    Online Guides For Quality Installation Of Thermal Enclosure Components
    Building America Solutions Center provides online guides for quality installation of thermal enclosure components of a home.

    Presentations From 2013 Canadian Construction Association Conference
    Canadian Construction Association offers access to some of the presentations made at the 2013 CCA Annual Conference.

    Canadian Labour Market Forecasts & Resources
    BuildForce Canada has replaced the Construction Sector Council to provide credible, well-respected labour market forecasting and other resources and services.

    11. Conferences & Shows

    2013 National Canadian GeoExchange Conference & Trade Show
    Canadian GeoExchange Coalition and GeoExchange BC are co-hosting the 2013 Canadian GeoExchange Conference and Trade Show in Burnaby, May 2-3.

    Pacific Coast Builders Show In San Diego
    Pacific Coast Builders Show held in San Diego June 5-6 offers trade show, educational programs, pre-conference intensives, executive-level programs, and more.

    12. Education & Training

    Risks & Liabilities Of Green Building
    Vancouver Regional Construction Association presents Risks & Liabilities Of Green Building in Vancouver on May 7th. The workshop offers practical hands-on solutions to legal, contractual, regulatory and technical issues specifically intended for the Canadian market.

    Blueprint Reading 101
    Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association is presenting Blueprint Reading 101, an interactive workshop designed to help attendees understand basic blueprint reading. This workshop is intended for people new to the industry, office staff and anyone wanting a basic introduction to blueprints. It will be held in Coquitlam on May 9th.

    Quality Floor Slab Construction
    ICBA seminar Quality Floor Slab Construction, held in Burnaby on May 10, will provide best practices for the construction of quality concrete floor slabs, as well as practical tips to minimize defects and deliver good quality workmanship. Topics covered: Slab on grade construction components; Suspended slab construction components; Types of finishes and procedures; Curing requirements and benefits; Common problems and defects; Troubleshooting; and Specialty slabs. (PDF)

    Listing Of BC Public & Private Training Providers
    BC Industry Training Authority lists colleges, universities and private institutions that provide technical training for British Columbia's apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

    Online Course On High Performance Building Assemblies
    Building Green 4-part online course Fundamentals of High Performance Building Assemblies provides methodologies for how best to design and manage building enclosure details and achieve superior hygrothermal (moisture and heat) performance.

    13. Computer, Internet & Fun

    Community Driven Collection Of Apps For AEC Industry
    AEC APPS is an online exchange where architectural, engineering and construction applications are saved and shared by users who have embraced digital work in their fields.

    Top 10 New Smartphones For Business
    IT Business online slideshow describes ten of the best smartphones for business available in Canada today, running on a variety of platforms, available from all the major carriers.

    Researchers Predict US Furnace Industry Is Doomed
    On "April 1st" Green Building Advisor described how electronic gadgets will soon meet all US needs for space heating.

    Dittie For Today: On Value

    Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. - Albert Einstein

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    © Copyright 2013              Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved

    ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada