Alert Notice #82
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
June 25, 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 Brian Hart, Wilma Leung, Mary Hubbard, Les Scott, Ross Woolford, Paul Ruess, Dawn Smith, Maureen McLaughlin, Sabine Just, Jessica Carter, Angelina Garcia, Sonja Winkelmann, Joey Fearn, George Pinch, Sharene Rekow, Fred Stitt, Zena Caul, Nancy Argyle, and Cynthia Trujillo 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

Canada’s Residential Construction Industry Outlook
Home Builder Canada displays the Conference Board of Canada's report Canada’s Residential Construction Industry Outlook Winter 2013. Highlights include mortgage rules, uncompleted work, and stable prices. It also includes a User Guide for the risk index, a leading indicator created by The Conference Board of Canada that provides an early indication of turning points in the industry’s performance. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Housing Market Update June 2013
BC Real Estate Association provides online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discussing the May 2013 statistics.

BC Economic Briefing
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing highlights include retail sales, consumer price index, population growth, MLS listings, and international tourism. (PDF)

BC Business Indicators May 2013
BC Stats provides a summary of key business indicators for the month of May 2013. (PDF)

Fraser Valley Baby Boomers More Likely To Downsize To Multi-Family Homes
Colliers International shows that Baby Boomers in Metro Vancouver's Fraser Valley region intend to sell single-family homes as they age. The poll found that 46.2 per cent of those surveyed have a preference for single-family-style homes, but 53.8 per cent are actually more likely to purchase a multi-family home when they do buy.

Bob Rennie's Speech To UDI 2013 AGM
Urban Development Institute online video off Bob Rennie's presentation to their 2013 AGM provides Bob's overview of the BC housing market.

Times Colonist: Victoria Homebuilders Strike Out On Their Own
Victoria Times Colonist says in a bid to ensure its financial future, the Victoria chapter of the Canadian Homebuilder’s Association is breaking from the national and provincial bodies and will go it alone.

Canadian Housing Market Trends & Affordability May 2013
RBC Economics Research report Housing Market Trends & Affordability May 2013 says Housing affordability in Canada stays in a holding pattern in the first quarter of 2013. (PDF)

Three-Pronged Path For Canadian Construction Material Costs
Journal of Commerce says CanaData extracts products that are most important in the construction process and weights them according to their roles in the three main sub-categories: residential construction, non-residential building work and engineering on-site activity.

Two Ways To Lower Home-Price-To-Average-Earnings Ratio
Reed Construction Data says there are two ways to lower the home-price-to-average-earnings ratio.

2. Business Management

How Builders Market Backward
Builder magazine explains why builders need to think of who, exactly, their buyer is before creating communities and product.

Selling To Foreign-Born Home Buyers
Builder magazine describes what you need to know when selling to foreign-born home buyers.

Canadian Construction Cost Guide 2013
Altus Group have prepared the 2013 Canadian Construction Cost Guide. It provides construction costs for a variety of property types on a national scale. Within these markets it offers current analysis, unit rates, measurement and application of cost per square foot for various building types. Free site registration required.

Government Charges Blamed For Record New Home Costs
Toronto Star online report says up to one-quarter of the cost of a new home built in the GTA is the direct result of government fees, especially municipal development charges that have skyrocketed in less than a decade. The growing list of fees being slapped on new home buyers now adds up to an average of $118,400.

Substance Abuse Tops Learning Forum Panel Discussion
Journal of Commerce says substance abuse in the workplace was a hot topic at the Vancouver Regional Construction Association's recent Construction Learning Forum.

Don’t Be A Victim Of Construction Fraud
Home Builder magazine describes the 10 most common fraud schemes in the construction industry.

Better Understanding Of Holdbacks Needed
Journal of Commerce says a better understanding of holdbacks reductions and the tools available to those in the construction chain to employ them is needed, according to a recent Canadian Construction Association forum.

Best Reply To Customer Who Wants Another Estimate
Fine Homebuilding discusses what a small contractor might do when told by the prospective customer that he wants to get a second bid.

Creating A Good Org Manual For Remodelers
Remodeling magazine part one of a two-part blog describes the process of creating an organizational manual, which can often seem overwhelming to a Remodeling business owner who has never done anything like this.

3. Building Design & Trends

2013 AIA Housing Awards Winners
American Institute of Architects displays their 2013 Housing Award winners in the categories of Custom Residences, Multifamily, and Specialized Housing.

Call for Entries For 2013 Annual BC Georgie Awards
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC has released the Call for Entries for the 2013 Georgie Awards, which honour the province's home building, renovation and marketing community.

Four Plans For Upscale Empty Nests
Builder magazine describes four one-story plans (good for aging-in-place) that are filled with thoughtful details like big islands in the kitchen, gorgeous stone siding, and great outdoor spaces.

Top 15 Design Trends In Single-Family Living
Custom Home Online provides their new list of lifestyle and design trends that detail what consumers want in a home now and in years to come.

Larger Homes With More Outdoor Amenities Are Squeezing Into Smaller Lots
American Institute of Architects first-quarter 2013 Home Design Trends Survey shows larger homes with more outdoor amenities are squeezing into smaller lots.

Millennials Want High-Tech Options & Multigen Spaces
Builder magazine says low interest rates and shared payments are allowing young adults to buy their first homes with multiple upgrades.

Kitchen Island Design Ideas
HGTV Remodels provides pictures of more than 69 design ideas for kitchen islands.

Patio Placement & Layout
Concrete Network online video describes the most important considerations for patio placement and layout, including exposure to sun and shade, proximity to the house, and outdoor views. It suggests ways to break up patios to create various outdoor rooms, rather than installing one large patio adjacent to the house.

Favorite Universal Design Features
Remodeling magazine online article provides a CAPS-certified remodeler's list of his favorite universal design features.

Luxury Magazine Editor Talks About Upscale Remodeling Trends
Remodeling magazine interview with the editor of The Robb Report, a luxury magazine, discusses about upscale trends in the high-end remodeling market.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Robert Bean, publisher of the Journal of Indoor Environmental Quality says: “BC Building Info gets a gold for online resources. It's on our Favourites tab and we use it frequently in our research efforts.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

2012 BC Building Code Errata
BC Government summarizes the 2012 BC Building Code errata as of June 18th., suggesting that these changes should be made to print and offline copies of the codes. (PDF)

Update On Challenges & Solutions For NAFS & 2012 BC Building Code
Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentation describes challenges and proposed solutions for inclusion of NAFS in the 2012 BC Building Code. It covers Part 9 implementation delay, code clarifications for side hinged doors, proposed resources for building officials, and suggestion of addressing NAFS compliance at plan review stage. (PDF)

BC Archaeological Bureaucracy A Threat To Private Property Rights
Fraser Institute article suggests that BC's rogue archaeological bureaucracy is a threat to private property rights.

Changes To BC OHS Regulation Effective May 1
WorkSafe BC describes policies that have been added or revised effective May 1, 2013 including employer's duty towards other workers, occupational health and safety warning letters, occupational exposure limits.

Proposed Deletion Of BC Inspections Of Concrete Formwork & Falsework
WorkSafe BC discussion paper covers the proposed deletion of Policy R20.26-1 regarding inspections of concrete formwork and falsework. Deletion is being proposed because it addresses the practice of professional engineering and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia says it conflicts with their regulation of the Engineers and Geoscientists Act. Your feedback on the discussion paper and proposed new policies will be accepted until July 31st.

Log Home Construction & New Canadian Building Code
Canadian National Model Construction Codes site provides FAQs on how new requirements to the National Building Code of Canada 2010 affect the construction of log homes.

Online Videos On Changes To 2012 Canadian Electrical Code
BC Safety Authority online videos Electrical Tech Talks describe key changes to the 2012 Canadian Electrical Code. The videos range from two to thirteen minutes in length, each covering key changes to specific sections of the 2012 code.

Canadian BIM Standards Development Information
Canadian chapter of buildingSMART International has been established to provide the appropriate body and home for Canadian BIM Standards Development through participation in the development of international BIM standards as the voice of the Canadian marketplace and to promote the awareness of buildingSMART International (bSI) within Canada.

CO Alarms Required & Default Leakage Rate Removed In New Residential IAQ Standard
The newly published 2013 version of ASHRAE’s residential indoor air quality standard removes the default leakage rate assumption and also requires carbon monoxide alarms.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Types Of Residential Insulation
US Department of Energy describes features, benefits, and considerations for various types of residential insulation.

Defining Habitable Temperatures
Green Building Advisor discusses how hot is too hot and how cold is too cold if buildings lose power or heating fuel.

Overview Of Latent Heat
Energy Vanguard explains latent heat, one of the most interesting concepts in heating and cooling.

Supplemental Dehumidification For Humid Climates
Building Science online slide show presentations describes considerations for supplemental dehumidification for humid climates. (PDF)

Capillary Break Beneath Slab
US Department of Energy online guide Capillary Break Beneath Slab, Polyethylene Sheeting or Rigid Insulation Over Aggregate describes considerations for using either: 6-mil polyethylene sheeting lapped 6-12 inches, or 1-inch extruded polystyrene insulation with taped joints.

Interior Insulation Of Mass Masonry Walls: Joist Monitoring, Salt Effects
Building Science research report Interior Insulation of Mass Masonry Walls: Joist Monitoring, Material Test Optimization, Salt Effects describes how adding insulation to the interior side of walls of such masonry buildings in cold climates may cause performance and durability problems. (PDF)

Variable Refrigerant Flow Technology For Air Conditioners
Fine Homebuilding says air conditioners are sized for the hottest day of the year, resulting in rather uncomfortable AC about 70% of the time, as well as electric bills that are needlessly high. Variable Refrigerant Flow Technology allows your AC to run at any capacity from 15% up to 100%.

Excavationless Exterior Foundation Insulation Exploratory Study
US Department of Energy report Excavationless Exterior Foundation Insulation Exploratory Study investigated the feasibility of the development or adoption of technologies that would enable a large percentage of existing homes in cold climates to apply a combination excavationless soil removal process with appropriate insulation and water management on the exterior of existing foundations at a low cost. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Analysis & Comparison Of HardiePlank Walls In Pacific Northwest Climate
Building Science report Vancouver Field Exposure Facility, Analysis and Comparison of HardiePlank Walls analyzes performance of walls clad with HardiePlank fiber cement siding compared to some traditional stucco assemblies. The analysis includes results from two conditions: performance under normal operating conditions (i.e. without intentionally adding water) in a high-stress exterior moisture environment that is typical of the Pacific Northwest climate, and performance under intentional controlled wettings to the interior and exterior of the wood-based sheathing. (PDF)

Ignore Range Hood Pressure Differentials At Your Peril
HPAC magazine describes the unintended consequences of monster-size range hoods.

Unintended Ventilation Consequences Suck
Building Science describes causes and issues with excessively high exhaust flow in a tight enclosure.

Can Wind Short-Circuit a Ridge Vent?
Journal of Light Construction Q & A says without an external baffle, either a single or a double-sided roof vent can allow outside air to come in and short-circuit the venting process. Free site registration required. (PDF)

Moisture Research For Optimizing Wall Assemblies
US Department of Energy report Moisture Research: Optimizing Wall Assemblies evaluated several different configurations of wall assemblies to determine the accuracy of moisture modeling and make recommendations to ensure durable, efficient assemblies. WUFI1 and THERM2 were used to model the hygrothermal and heat transfer characteristics of these walls. (PDF)

Thermal Bridging Of Masonry Veneer Claddings & Energy Code Compliance
RDH Building Engineering paper Thermal Bridging of Masonry Veneer Claddings & Energy Code Compliance presents typical exterior insulation reduction factors and effective R-values to support these values for masonry walls with various tie types applied to concrete, steel stud frame, and wood-stud frame backup walls. (PDF)

Hygrothermal Analysis Of Wood-Frame Wall Assemblies In Mixed-Humid Climate
US Forest Products report Laboratory Hygrothermal Analysis of Wood-Frame Wall Assemblies in a Mixed-Humid Climate uses a one-dimensional hygrothermal model to investigate the moisture performance of 10 residential wood-frame wall assemblies in a representative mixed-humid climate location of Baltimore, Maryland. (PDF)

Basics Of Vertical Movement In Wood Platform Frame Structures
Canadian Wood Council online Basics Of Vertical Movement In Wood Platform Frame Structures document illustrates the causes and other basic information related to vertical movement in wood platform frame buildings and recommendations on material handling and construction sequencing to protect wood from rain and reduce the vertical movement. (PDF)

Floodproofing Non-Residential Structures
US Federal Emergency Management Agency guide Floodproofing for Non-Residential Structures provides technical information for building owners, designers and contractors on wet and dry floodproofing techniques.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Why Single-Family Green Homes Are Slow to Catch On
Green Building Advisor describes discussions with single-family builders that left him feeling less than enthusiastic about the prospects for green single-family housing.

Top 10 Mistakes I Made In Building A Green Home
Allison Bailes describe the top 10 mistakes he made 10 years ago when building his green home.

Net Zero & Net Zero Ready Certification
Earth Advantage Institute offers energy model-based net zero and net zero ready green home certifications. The EA Net Zero certification is designed to create a standard for homes that wish to achieve a higher standard of energy performance while still maintaining a sustainable approach to building. The EA Net Zero Ready certification is similar but allows a builder to enter the net zero market at a lower cost.

Environmental Technology Verification Program
Canada's Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV) has been designed to provide objective and quality-assured performance data on environmental technologies so that users, developers, regulators, and other parties can make informed decisions about purchasing, applying and regulating these technologies.

Building Enclosure & Energy Performance Of Log & Timber Homes
BC Log & Timber Building Association report Building Enclosure & Energy Performance Of Log & Timber Homes summarizes tests relating to three key aspects of performance and compliance with the building code: Water Penetration Control, Air Tightness; Energy Performance. (PDF)

Can Green Buildings Promote Green Behaviour?
Design Build Source says a study by psychology students at the University of British Columbia suggests that green architecture and design can have ongoing environmental benefits the likes of which most might not presume. The study of recycling habits in cafeterias at two UBC campus buildings compares a sustainably-designed building and an outdated concrete building built in the 1960s.

What Is A Carbon Neutral Building?
Light House paper What is a Carbon Neutral Building? discusses some of the key international definitions of carbon neutrality worldwide and what you should consider when referring to carbon neutral buildings. (PDF)

Free Web-Based Energy Benchmarking Tool For Non-Residential Buildings
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory free Energy IQ program is a web-based action-oriented benchmarking tool for non-residential buildings.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

7 Tile Trends For 2013
Building Design & Construction says high-tech has reached tile and affects what is trending this year. Some tile has a touch-sensitive glaze available that can integrate with high-tech home systems, and nano-technology is being incorporated to control tile temperature. Another design trend is giving tiles depth and movement rather than using them just as flat surfaces.

Fabulous Faucets For The Home
Builder magazine article with slide-show displays the latest kitchen faucet models that offer affordable high style and ease of use.

IMAX Launches Home Theater System For $2 Million
Wall Street Journal says IMAX, the company that changed movie watching with giant, curved screens and computer controlled sound. is offering home installations for about $2 million.

Joint Statement By Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Industry in Canada
A Joint Statement by the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Industry in Canada includes Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating, Canadian Oil Heat Association, Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, and the Thermal Environmental Comfort Association of British Columbia. It suggests Canadians purchasing newly built homes are strongly encouraged to use this statement in seeking out written evidence from the appropriate authority that the HVAC system has indeed been designed and installed by certified professionals and inspected by qualified representatives of the authorities having jurisdiction before taking possession of the home. (PDF)

2013 Market Outlook For Wood Products
Engineered Wood Association 2013 Market Outlook says growth in wood production, including a 17 percent boost in I-joist manufacturing, is expected as economy and housing continue to improve.

Hazardous Materials In Construction
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation Hazardous Materials In Construction describes risks posed by hazardous building materials (Hazmats) to the public, contractors and building professionals. It covers key hazmats of concern, hazardous materials legislation, and when hazmats become an issue. (PDF)

Tubing Options For Hydronic Heating
HPAC magazine provides an overview of tubing options for Hydronic heating, and says to look for polymer tubing to soon dominate the market worldwide.

Overview Of Fiber Reinforced Concrete
Washington University online slide show presentation describes feature, benefits and design considerations for fiber reinforced concrete. (PDF)

Review Of Laser Distance Meters
Tools of the Trade evaluated 13 state-of-the-art models of laser distance meters that cost about $115 to $280 and are accurate to within 1/16 inch or better.

9. Installation Procedures

Installing Weathertight Windows In Wet Canadian Coastal Climate
Journal of Light Construction describes how a Vancouver Island wet-climate builder details the window installation layers to keep out the rain.

Rooftop Decks For Coastal Homes
Journal of Light Construction describes the framing, roofing, and deck construction techniques used to construct an attractive and weatherly deck above occupied space. Free site registration required.

Ventilation Air Inlet Locations
Building America Solution Center online guide describes ventilation air inlet locations.

How To Insulate A Flat Roof
Green Building Advisor describes how an architect looked for the best way to insulate a flat roof on a contemporary house, at a price his clients can accept.

High Heel Roof-To-Wall Connection Testing
US National Association of Home Builders Home Innovation Research Labs report High Heel Roof-to-Wall Connection Testing Phase III of a test program that responds to the new requirements for roof-to-wall connections in 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) and expands upon the previous phases that evaluated innovative roof-to-wall connection systems. Free registration required.

Are Birds Mouth Cuts Really Needed Anymore?
Journal of Light Construction forum discusses whether a bird's-mouth seat cut where a rafter sits on a wall plate is really such a good idea.

Selecting Climate-Specific Air Conditioners
Green Building Advisor says if you live in a humid climate, you need an air conditioner that does a good job of dehumidification. But if you live in a dry climate, dehumidification is almost irrelevant, because the outdoor air is so dry.

Grouting Ceramic Tile
Journal of Light Construction describes how to select, mix, and apply grout for a long-lasting and attractive tile job. Free site registration required. (PDF)

Shower Pan On A Slab
Journal of Light Construction describes how to repair the curb and detail the shower pan in an existing shower built directly atop a concrete slab. Free site registration required. (PDF)

10. Information Sources

Builder Tips On Engineered Wood
Engineered Wood Association offers online Builder Tips which address a single common topic or challenge relating to engineered wood products.

Technical Papers On Stucco
Stucco Manufacturers Association has technical information on stucco benefits, products, problems and procedures, plus links to members, events, and other organizations.

Online Videos On Wall Framing Strategies
Journal of Light Construction online videos demonstrate effective wall framing strategies including basic wall layout, building a storypole, production cutting, corners and framing, and installing sheathing.

White Papers On Adhesives & Sealants
Adhesives provides online white papers on research, products, applications and issues for adhesives and sealants.

Concrete Construction Troubleshooting Tips
Ready Mixed Concrete Association of Ontario online Concrete Construction Troubleshooting Tips defines problems and solutions, and offers a conversion table and concrete quick specifications. (PDF)

Purchasable Book On Understanding Geothermal Systems
Refrigeration Service Engineers Society sells Understanding Geothermal Systems, a comprehensive study and resource manual that serves as a best practices guide for the design, installation, and maintenance of geothermal systems. $55 USD

Canadian Statistics For Residential Construction
Statistics Canada provides a wide range of statistics on residential construction.

11. Conferences & Shows

Planning Institute Of BC Annual Conference
Planning Canadian Institute of Planners and Planning Institute of BC annual conference Infuse Vancouver 2013 will be held Vancouver, July 6-9. It takes the pulse of the planning profession, and offers knowledge, practical skills and perspectives you can immediately use.

Interior Design Show West: Consumer & Trade Show In Vancouver
Interior Design Show West, held in Vancouver September 19-22, is the West Coast consumer and trade show for contemporary residential design. It showcases local, Canadian, and international furnishings, fixtures and accessories for the design of a home.

BC Building Envelope One-Day Conference
BC Building Envelope Council one-day conference Lessons From The Past & Roadmap For The Future, will be held in Vancouver on September 25th. It will look at the evolution of building envelope technologies and advanced practices, building science fundamentals, sustainability, and processes for optimizing building performance.

Canadian National Design-Build Conference
Canadian Design-Build Institute presents their 2013 CDBI National Design-Build Conference, October 16-18 in Saskatoon.

12. Education & Training

ABCs of BIM: Building Information Modeling & Residential Construction
US National Association of Home Builders webinar ABCs of BIM: Building Information Modeling & Residential Construction, held July 17th is an introduction to BIM, highlighting what it is, what it isn’t and why builders, remodelers, vendors and contractors need to pay attention to this ever-growing and influential trend.

Introduction To Cool Training For Warming World
Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition webinar Cool Training For A Warming World, held on July 18th, features Blue House Energy describing its on-line certification training in building science and energy efficiency for trades, renovators, contractors and energy efficiency professionals.

Occupational First Aid Level 1
ICBA presents Occupational First Aid Level 1, a one-day course held in Burnaby on September 14. It is designed to cover all medical techniques considered to be within the responsibility of the Occupational First Aid Level 1 Attendant as required by the Workers' Compensation Board of BC. (PDF)

Canadian Radon Education & Training For New Home Builders & Renovators
CHBA document Radon Education and Training for New Home Builders and Renovators, CHBA Recommendations was produced for the benefit of those developing radon education and training courses for new home builders and renovators. It describes suggested issues and potential sources of information. (PDF)

New Business Management Training For Trades
Atlantic Trades Business Seal Program is a new trade certification program that helps enterprising tradespeople in Atlantic Canada obtain the tools they need to succeed in business. It will provide tradespeople with the opportunity to supplement their trade certification with business credentials to help them start and expand their businesses, or move into managerial roles within an existing company.

Online Career Courses For Kitchen & Bath Industry
National Kitchen & Bath Association online courses help you enhance your design or business skills or add to your credentials through NKBA certification.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

New Fiber-Reinforced Wood, Concrete Ink For 3D printing
Emerging Objects has developed a concrete ink for 3D printers, as well as a fiber-reinforced cement polymer that can create objects tougher than those made from standard concrete.

10 Android Apps For Skilled Trades
IT Business describes 10 apps for Android to simplify the jobs of carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other tradespeople.

How To Get To Mars
Very Cool! 'Nuff said!

Dittie For Today: On Conscience

Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends. - Henry Louis [H.L.] Mencken

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© Copyright 2013              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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