Alert Notice #83
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
July 15, 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 Wilma Leung, George Pinch, Margo Longland, Nancy Argyle, Ian Johnson, Sabine Just, and Flora Stanley 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

Great Failures In Our Building Industry Past
Builder Magazine article describes a number of great failures in building products and technology within our industry.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

International Migration To Underpin Housing Demand Over Medium Term
Journal of Commerce says immigrants with pre-established wealth arriving in a country create a new source of housing demand for both single and multiple dwellings.

Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update July 2013
Canadian Home Builders Association online Canadian Housing Industry Economic Update for July 2013 says Canada’s new home builders and renovators face cautious customers and competitive markets through the rest of this year. (PDF)

Housing Market Outlook Canada, Second Quarter 2013
CMHC Fourth Quarter 2012 Housing Market Outlook Report says as expected, the moderation in fundamentals, including economic and employment growth, that began in the second half of 2012 continued in the first quarter of 2013. This has led to more modest housing demand and is expected to bring about a decline in total starts in 2013. (PDF)

Canadian Interest Rate Forecast June 2013
Central 1 Interest Rate Forecast report says markets are selling off on monetary policy uncertainty, economy is stuck in low gear, and forecasts higher long term yields and rates. (PDF)

Seniors Housing Report, Canada Highlights
CMHC online Seniors Housing Report, Canada Highlights provides a description and analysis of the seniors' housing market in Canada, including vacancy rates, rents, and universe data. (PDF)

Government-Imposed Costs Impact Housing Affordability
Canadian Home Builders Association report Government-Imposed Costs Impact Housing Affordability says deterioration in homeownership affordability over the past decade is due to significant increases in housing prices over the past several years. Price rises have been driven, in part, by inexorably rising government-imposed costs and more burdensome regulation. (PDF)

Disruptive Technologies: Advances That Will Transform Life, Business, Global Economy
McKinsey & Company report Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, identifies 12 technologies that could drive truly massive economic transformations and disruptions in the coming years.

2. Business Management

Find & Compare Condos In Vancouver
Condopedia, now with Vancouver listings, allows consumers to compare condominium buildings using many different factors.

SEO Tips For Local Contractors
Web Marketing Today offers some Search Engine Optimization tips on how local contractors can get their website to rank best for their area and type of business.

New Book Helps Businesses Take Their Social Media Presence To Next Level
NAHB says Social Media 3.0: It’s Easier Than You Think helps businesses rev up their social media program to take it to the next level. This popular resource, an imprint of the National Association of Home Builders, helps readers get the most from social media using tools such as Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Houzz and Foursquare to increase their visibility and improve their sales results.

HR Resources & Tools For Construction Industry
Canadian Construction Sector Council provides free books as human resources tools for the construction industry.

Kids' Book Touts What Amazing Builders Do
Engineering News Record says a new book, Those Amazing Builders, is aimed at high-school students thinking about what's possible for them in the construction industry. The publisher uses a plan that lets companies donate volumes to schools.

A Career In The Trades: Debunking The Myths
Online video A Career In The Trades: Debunking The Myths debunks several myths associated with a career in the trades and provides further insights into this diverse, rewarding, and growing field.

BC Seniors Home Renovation Tax Credit
BC seniors home renovation tax credit provides assistance to individuals 65 and over with the cost of certain permanent home renovations to improve accessibility or help a senior be more functional or mobile at home.

Top 10 Reasons To Buy Into Safety
Journal of Commerce describes 10 reasons why good safety means good business.

How Safety, Productivity & Quality Go Hand-in-Hand
Associated General Contractors of America article explores how one company’s approach to mitigate risk and improve safety has translated into increased productivity as well.

How Small Businesses Can Get A Better Deal At The Bank
Canadian Federation of Independent Business handout How to Get a Better Deal at the Bank features tips and advice on things a small business can do to ensure you are getting the biggest bang out of your bank. (PDF)

3. Building Design & Trends

Top 10 Features For Upscale US Homes
US NAHB study identified the top 10 features for an upscale new home.

Top Home Design Trends For 2013 Favor Simplicity
Pulte Homes says organic, natural colors, simple prints, rustic finishes and open spaces are proving to be the top home design trends of 2013.

2013 Gold Nugget Winners
PCBC Builders Show online booklet describes the winners of their 2013 Golden Nugget Awards for those it considers to be the best builders, developers and designers out there doing the best work.

Design For Aging Review: The State Of Senior Housing
American Institute of Architects report Design for Aging Review 11: Insights and Innovations: The State of Senior Housing provides a comprehensive look at statistics, patterns, and innovations impacting the senior living industry and design community. Summarized in this report, the study’s findings reflect the changing demands and emerging concepts that are re-shaping today’s senior living industry. (PDF)

Family-Centered Gourmet Kitchen
HGTV Remodels describes a family-centered gourmet kitchen that accommodates every member of a 3-generation family.

37 Ideas To Help Clients Prepare Their Homes For Their Future Selves
Remodeling Magazine describes project ideas that promote comfort, durability, accessibility, and safety to help prepare your current clients for their future selves.

5 Innovations In High-Rise Building Design & Construction
Building Design & Construction says KONE's carbon-fiber hoisting technology and the Broad Group's prefab construction process are among the breakthroughs named 2013 Innovation Award winners by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Tricky Ways to Pull Down A Skyscraper
Tokyo is a city with a lot of outdated buildings located close together. Because razing one building by conventional means is difficult without disturbing another, Japanese companies are perfecting what might be called “stealth demolition.” Japanese construction engineers have developed some interesting techniques for urban building deconstruction and recycling, prompted not only by safety concerns but also by changing energy costs, office infrastructure needs and environmental laws.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Rick Fearn, President of Fab-Form Industries says: “Keep up the great info-sourcing work”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Consultation On 2014 Proposed Amendments To OHS Regulation
WorkSafe BC is requesting consultation of five 2014 proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. These include Part 5, Chemical Agents and Biological Agents, Part 6, Substance Specific Requirements, Part 13, Ladders, Scaffolds and Temporary Work Platforms, Part 20, Construction, Excavation and Demolition, and Part 34, Rope Access.

Specifying Energy Performance Of Glazing Products In BC
Fenestration BC online guide Specifying the Energy Performance of Glazing Products in British Columbia clarifies intended compliance paths and describe the necessary steps to comply with the BC Energy Efficiency Act and building codes applicable in BC when specifying fenestration products. It covers aluminum-framed entrances and storefront, glazed aluminum curtain wall. combustible windows, roof windows and skylights, and glass and glazing. (PDF)

BC Ombudsperson Launches Investigation Into Administration Of Environmental Regulation Program
Vancouver Observer says the BC Ombudsperson has launched a systemic investigation into the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations administration of the Riparian Areas regulation in BC. If there are problems with the fair and reasonable administration of this process, the investigation may shed light on these gaps and any recommendations will be aimed at improving the administration of the Riparian Areas regulation.

Energy Efficiency Should Yield 10 Percent-Plus Return For Inclusion In Codes
US NAHB study presents evidence in support of the policy that a change in energy-related building codes should be classified as cost effective only if it returns at least 10% in savings the first year.

Canadian Standards For Nursery Stock
Canadian Nursery Landscape Association online Canadian Standards for Nursery Stock establishes a minimum standard of quality for the production of woody ornamentals and herbaceous perennials. Nursery stock specifiers, including landscape architects and designers, developers and municipalities and other government agencies, make reference to these standards in the development of tenders and contract specifications.

Building Science Corp Ventilation Standard To Compete Against ASHRAE 62.2
Green Building Advisor describes how Building Science Corporation is about to release their own residential ventilation standard to compete against ASHRAE 62.2 for new, code-compliant homes only.

New Standard For Smart-Grid-Ready Home Appliance
Greentech Media says a group of smart grid and consumer electronics heavyweights, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Electric Power Research Institute, announced a new standard that could, someday, make the term “smart appliance” obsolete, by making every appliance smart grid-ready.

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5. Building Science & Technology

How Much Fresh Air Does Your Home Need?
Green Building Advisor says the latest version of the ASHRAE 62.2 residential ventilation standard calls for bigger fans, and Joe Lstiburek is ticked off.

First Deal With The Manure And Then Don't Suck
Building Science describes ventilation issues and considerations with tight building enclosures where we end up with problems if we don’t deal with the obvious.

From Tyvek To Pro Clima, Evolution Of Weather-Resistive Barriers
Building Green describes how we’ve come a long way from the early Tyvek housewrap, and outlines their experience with the German Pro Clima Solitex weather-resistive barrier.

Energy & Moisture Performance Of Attic Assemblies
Oak Ridge National Laboratory report Energy & Moisture Performance Of Attic Assemblies describes how energy and moisture performance of attic assemblies can be varied by a large number of construction features that have been recently introduced into the marketplace. Specifically, the introduction of underlayments with highly variable water vapor permeances, the inclusion of a radiant barrier, a cool roof, the amount of ventilation area, and above-sheathing ventilation all can change how an attic performs hygrothermally. The recent use of sealed attics and the movement of the insulation from the attic floor to the rafters can also impact attic performance. (PDF)

Designing Houses That Keep Their Cool
Green Building Advisor describes some building design and construction strategies to reduce the need for air conditioning.

Energy Assessments For Cool Roofs
Oak Ridge National Laboratory study A Compilation of Home Energy Assessments for Cool Roofs, Above-Sheathing Ventilation, Radiant Barriers, and Other Attic Strategies documented the thermal performance of cool roofs in combination with other roof and attic strategies. (PDF)

Phase Changes & Building Science
Energy Vanguard explains phase changes, those transitions among solid, liquid, and gas that substances undergo.

Strategy Guideline: Compact Air Distribution Systems
US Department of Energy online Strategy Guideline: Compact Air Distribution Systems discusses the benefits and challenges of using a compact air distribution system to handle the reduced loads and reduced air volume needed to condition the space within an energy efficient home.

6. Building Performance Issues

Building Vented Roofs In Wildfire Zones
Building Science says roof ventilation is prohibited in many wildfire zones, but a solution is to construct a vented roof out of non-combustible materials.

Vertical Movement Predictions In Wood Platform Frame Structures
Canadian Wood Council online Vertical Movement Predictions In Wood Platform Frame Structures describes how to estimate the vertical movement to avoid structural, serviceability, and building envelope problems over the life of the structure. (PDF)

What Is Dry Rot?
Journal of Light Construction says we may call it dry rot, but fungus needs water to attack wood, grow, and spread.

Basics Of Managing Sound & Noise
Building Green says acoustic performance is crucial to occupant well-being, and smart design, not added cost, can make the difference.

Epidemic Of Duct Disease & Enclosure Problems
Green Building Advisor says most homes have problems that run deeper than the cause of the broken air conditioner.

Interesting Way To Freeze An Air Conditioner Coil
Energy Vanguard describes what happens if you put the air conditioner filter in improperly and then let it get too dirty.

Thermal Bridging Can Impact Energy Performance
Daily Commercial News explains why not understanding membrane continuity, control of moisture at building interface joints and overall thermal performance can lead to a situation no one wants to face.

Free Indoor Air Quality Guide
ASHRAE is making The Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning available for free download. The guide provides strategies to achieve good IAQ using proven technologies without significantly increasing costs. Free registration required.

AHRI White Paper On Avoiding Contaminated Refrigerants
Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute white paper Reports of R-134a Contaminated with R-40 and Other Refrigerants assists contractors and others in the industry in identifying and avoiding counterfeit refrigerants. Recently, batches of R-134a, R-22, R-404A, and R-410A have been found to be counterfeit, and in some instances badly contaminated with other refrigerants, such as R-40. This increases the risk of explosion. (PDF)

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

New Green Building Products
Green Building Advisor describes some intriguing new products to improve the energy performance of your home

KB Home Makes Energy Monitoring Standard
Builder Magazine article describes how KB Home is supplying its buyers with a new weapon in the war on high utility bills: energy-monitoring systems that will allow them to track their home’s consumption in real time.

Comparison Of Advanced Residential Water Heating Technologies In US
US Department of Energy online report Comparison of Advanced Residential Water Heating Technologies in the United States summarizes the study where gas storage, gas tankless, condensing, electric storage, heat pump, and solar water heaters were simulated in several different climates across the United States.

Wood & Green Building
WoodWorks bulletin Wood and Green Building says whether you’re designing a structure to achieve green building certification, adhere to new energy or climate change legislation, or simply set it apart as superior, wood can help to achieve your sustainability objectives. (PDF)

Getting Started In Home Performance Contracting
Home Energy Magazine describes thirteen steps to taking your home performance contracting services to the next level.

Impact Of Nebraska Energy Code Training On Energy Code Compliance
Institute for Market Transformation report Impact Evaluation of Nebraska Energy Code Training on Energy Code Compliance presents results of an impact evaluation of a building energy code training campaign on residential code compliance rates in the state of Nebraska. While the change in compliance rates cannot be exclusively attributed to the code training program, results suggest that building energy code trainings can be an effective tool in improving the efficiency gains from building energy codes.

Leveraging Energy Benchmarking To Accelerate Sustainability Projects
Sustainable Architecture and Building Magazine describes how energy benchmarking is an emerging organizational best practice that organizes and analyzes building performance data to accelerate sustainability projects deployment.

Distributed Generation Is A Big Idea
Green Energy Futures describes distributed generation as a big idea, and lists some sources for additional information.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

How To Get Good Ready Mixed Concrete In Hot Weather
Concrete Network says the objective is to get ready mixed concrete that is as cool as possible, and any concrete warmer than about 80° could be a problem.

New Lighting Laws Bring Incandescent Alternatives
Builder magazine takes a look at CFL, LED, and halogen incandescent bulbs.

Pre-Blended Portland Cement Plaster & Silos
Stucco Manufacturers Association online slide show presentation describes components, issues, procedures and resources for pre-blended Portland cement plaster and silos. (PDF)

Modular Tool Organizers
Tools of the Trade describes some modular tool organizers, which are boxes that share the same footprint, stack easily, and can be latched one-to-another for storage and transport.

Difference Between Aluminum, Vinyl, Steel, Copper Gutters
Fine Homebuilding describes the difference between aluminum, vinyl, steel, and copper gutters.

Get The Lead Out
Plumbing & HVAC magazine says reducing the lead content in plumbing products to meet new regulations expected in the New Year hasn’t been easy for manufacturers.

100 Most Popular Products For 2013
For Residential Pros lists the 100 most inquired-about products from the previous year based on their reader service cards and unique URLs.

Practical Application of Vacuum Insulation Panels
Home Builder magazine says retrofitting of an institutional building with vacuum insulated panels in the Yukon demonstrated the feasibility of using VIPs on a wall exterior.

Low-E Coated Glass For Older Residential High-Rise Apartment Buildings
CMHC research study Selection of Low-e Coated Glass for Older Residential High-Rise Apartment Buildings in Canada, although limited to one building, analyses types of low-e glazing in search for a solution to a specific problem. In older multi-unit residential buildings, residents often report discomfort in apartments with sunny exposures, arising from solar heat gain through windows and they may seek relief by opening exterior windows and doors, wasting both solar heat gain as well as space heating energy. (PDF)

9. Installation Procedures

Layout Tricks For Rough Openings
Journal of Light Construction describes some framing layout tricks for rough openings. (PDF) Free site registration required.

Pondering An Attic Conversion By Spray Foaming Underside Of Roof
Green Building Advisor describes how adding spray foam to the underside of the roof sheathing will turn a vented attic into a conditioned space.

Insulated Roofs & Shingle Temperatures
Green Building Advisor describes research from Florida that shows shingles don't get much hotter with spray foam insulation under the roof sheathing.

Re-Roofing Over Asphalt Shingles
Journal of Light Construction describes how, done right, a second layer of asphalt shingles offers like-new performance and long-term durability.

Self Assessment For Indoor Environments Expectations
Healthy Heating self assessment form can be used in each room, and throughout the year, while planning your new home or renovation. The data can be used to help define your indoor climate expectations with the design professionals, general contractor, suppliers and sub trades.

Whole-Building Delivered Ventilation
US Department of Energy describes considerations for planning, installation and quality assurance of whole-building delivered ventilation systems.

Controls For Optimizing Performance & Comfort In Residential Condensing Boilers
US Department of Energy Measure Guideline: Condensing Boilers, Control Strategies for Optimizing Performance and Comfort in Residential Applications is intended for designers and installers of hydronic heating systems interested in maximizing the overall system efficiency of condensing boilers when coupled with baseboard convectors. (PDF)

10. Information Sources

Terminology Used In HVAC & Building Industry
ASHRAEwiki contains terminology related to buildings, with a particular focus on mechanical, envelope, electrical, lighting, load calculations, design, water design & conservation, and energy use and measurement metrics. Each term has one or more primary definition(s) and an indication denoting in which standard(s) the term is used.

Video Series On Building A Closed Crawlspace
US NAHB provides online video series which describes various steps and considerations for building a closed crawlspace.

Technical Articles On Roofing
RCI provides technical articles on roofing, including Interface magazine articles, Building Envelope Symposium proceedings papers, and International Convention and Trade Show proceedings papers.

Online Forum For HVAC Industry
ASHRAExCHANGE provides online platform for its members and others in the HVAC&R industry allows for real-time discussion and information exchange for design, construction, operation and support of the built environment.

11. Conferences & Shows

Remodeling Industry Education & Trade Show
The Remodeling Show, held this year in Chicago from October 17-18, is the annual national trade show, educational conference and networking opportunity for professional remodelers. It features installation clinics, interactive workshops, exhibitor-led product presentations, Business Skills Boot Camps, and breakout seminars.

2013 Annual BC Engineers Conference
Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists 2013 Annual Conference will be held in Whistler, October 24-26. It will offer networking opportunities, professional development, trade exhibition, and social events.

12. Education & Training

Sales Skills Workshop
ICBA presents Sales Skills Workshop in Burnaby on August 27th. It will help everyone in your company grasp the strategies and tactics required to meet your best potential clients and close the sale. Participants will learn a new mind-set, skill-set and tool-set essential for achieving sales cycle success in the new economy. (PDF)

Online Courses & Webinars For Builders
US National Association of Home Builders offers online courses and webinars for the building industry. Courses include customer service, basics of building, effective marketing on a shoestring budget, and Certified New Home Sales Professional.

Career Resources For Students, Apprentices, Educators, Career Counsellors
Canadian Construction Sector Council offers free career resources for students, apprentices, educators and career counsellors. (PDF)

Centre For Skills & Post-Secondary Education
Conference Board of Canada is developing a Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education (SPSE). It will be a major five-year initiative that will examine the advanced skills and education challenges facing Canada today.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Pitch Gauge App For Roofs
Android app Roof Pitch 2.1 will instantly tell you the proper pitch of a roof.

5 VoIP Conferencing Apps For Your Business
IT Business describes 5 VoIP conferencing apps for your business.

Completely Waste Your Time
You can completely waste your time at the Useless Web where you can click time and time again to proceed to an utterly useless Web site.

Dittie For Today: On Expectations

Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold. - Maurice Setter

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© Copyright 2013              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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