Alert Notice #92
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
January 21, 2014


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 Richard Kadulski, Rob Dumont, Denisa Ionescu, Wilma Leung, Sabine Just, Brian Hart, George Pinch, Adam Collinge, Zena Caul, Colton Ashton. Connie Howe, john Davies, and Garry Lowney 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

Expert Discussions On Vapor Barriers
Building Science says the building science community has long known that interior vapor barriers are unnecessary and even harmful in some assemblies, but some codes still require them. In this expert conversation they discuss sections of the Canadian building code and how its requirements are influencing US practices.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Housing Market Update January 2014
BC Real Estate Association online video with Chief Economist Cameron Muir discusses the December 2013 statistics.

State Of Metro Vancouver Market For Third Quarter 2013
Urban Development Institute report State of the Market Quarterly Publication for the third quarter of 2013 provides a comprehensive analysis of key macro-economic and market indicators with specific relevance to the Metro Vancouver housing market. (PDF)

BC Economic Briefing January 2014
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing of January 13 says housing market conditions are stable heading into 2014 as province-wide MLS sales rose four per cent from November, annual sales activity rose nearly 8 per cent from 2012 but remained within the low post-recession range, and average MLS prices shifted higher in recent months. (PDF)

Top 10 Economic Questions For BC In 2014 & Business Council's Predictions
Business Council of British Columbia blog discusses ten key economic questions for 2014, along with their predictions.

Canadian Home Sales Moderate Further In December
Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales activity posted its third consecutive month-over-month decline in December 2013.

Canadian Interest Rate Forecast
Central 1 Interest Rate Forecast report for December 2013 says Canada’s economic growth posts solid start to Q4, but likely moderated. (PDF)

10-Year Building Canada Plan Top 2013 Story
Daily Commercial News says the new 10-year Building Canada Plan, introduced in this year’s federal budget, is one of the big national construction stories of 2013 since it recognizes the importance of infrastructure to the Canadian economy.

Calgary Mayor Blasts Builder & Developer Groups
Mayor Naheed Nenshi has little time for Calgary’s key developer and builder groups, after a year marked by friction with both associations over suburban issues. In a year-end interview, Nenshi says he feels that members of Calgary branches of Urban Development Institute and Canadian Home Builder Association have been very poorly served by their industry associations over the last little while.

2. Business Management

Five Sales & Marketing Resolutions For Home Builders In 2014
Builder Magazine offers five New Year's resolutions your home building business should seriously consider. from sales and marketing guru Meredith Oliver.

Questionnaire To Help Remodelers Screen Sales Candidates
Remodeling Magazine article describes a questionnaire that helps determine whether a sales candidate is viable.

Top 10 E-Mail Marketing Articles Of 2013
Marketing Sherpa provides free access to their top 10 articles of 2013, that offer case studies and how-to articles describing the best marketing efforts of this past year.

If I Sell You, I Have a Job. If I Serve You, I Create a Career!
Mike Gorman's recent book If I Sell You, I Have a Job. If I Serve You, I Create a Career! has filled a void in sales training for contractors who sell to homeowners.

10 Ways To Ensure A Construction Claim
Construction Business describes 10 ways in which an owner can almost guarantee that it will incur claims and delays, and some suggestions to avoid those adverse impacts.

Legislation Changes For Prompt Payment Plans
Journal of Commerce says legislation is under review in Ontario which would mandate timely payments to contractors. This proposed Ontario law is renewing interest in late payment legislation in jurisdictions across Canada.

Costs Of Handling HVAC Warranty Issues
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor describes two HVAC service call situations that show the costs and challenges of handling warranty calls and credits.

Cost Of Constructing A Single Family Home In US In 2013
US National Association of Home Builders has recently published its latest construction cost survey, which shows that the average home was built on 14,359 square feet of land, had 2,607 square feet of finished area, and sold for $399,532.

3. Building Design & Trends

Soft Modern Trends To Drive Home Design In 2014 Says Pulte
Cool, soft colors, open spaces with natural lighting and modern, angular details are the top home design trends of 2014, according to newly released information by Pulte Homes, a national brand of homebuilder PulteGroup, Inc.

Study Finds Tub-Less Bathrooms Trending
The Winter Houzz Bathroom Remodeling Survey found master baths top most homeowners' lists and four in ten will be skipping the tub.

20 Cozy Outdoor Fireplaces
HGTV Remodels shows 20 outdoor fireplaces that create a glowing focal point and add year-round enjoyment to your deck, patio or porch.

2014 Decorative Concrete Trends
Concrete Network describes what the hottest looks for decorative concrete will be in 2014.

Designer Home Theaters & Media Rooms
HGTV Remodels provides pictures of inspirational home theater and media room designs.

Apartment Resident Preferences
US National Multi Housing Council & Kingsley Associates summarizes their Survey of Apartment Resident Preferences which identified which features residents are most interested in, how residents search for their apartment, what residents think of their community's online communication, and how residents prefer to interact with the community office team. (PDF)

Life Cycle Costing Of Intelligent Buildings
Continental Automated Buildings Association report Life Cycle Costing of Intelligent Buildings identifies barriers to adopting life cycle costing and determines what issues need to be rectified in order to make life cycle cost processes more understandable. Free registration required.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Doug McNeil, President of Pride Home Improvements says: “BC Building Info is great. Every contractor should have it on their mobile”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

New 2013 BC Building Access Handbook Coming
BC Crown Publications says the Building Access Handbook (2013) is under review by the Office of the Housing Standards, Building Policy Branch. The illustrations and commentary in this Handbook will be prepared to assist users of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code to understand the diversity and complexity of the Building Requirements for Persons with Disabilities.

Online Videos On Changes In National Building Code
CHBA Technical Research Committee online videos discuss proposed changes to the National Building Codes, including changes to Part 9 and changes to Combustible Construction.

National Code Change Proposals & Research For 5 & 6 Storey Wood Buildings
Building Officials Association of BC online slide show presentation by Canadian Wood Council describes national code change proposals and research on 5 & 6 storey wood buildings. (PDF)

Building Code Considerations & References For Spray Foam
Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association provides information on building code considerations and references for spray foam insulation applications.

FAQ On New Canadian Standards For Light Bulbs
Natural Resources Canada provides answers to frequently asked questions about Canada's new standard for efficient light bulbs.

BC Labour Mobility Considerations
Industry Training Authority describes considerations and agreements between Canadian jurisdictions that facilitate labour mobility for certified tradespeople.

Resource Site On BC Water Sustainability Act
BC Government new site on the proposed Water Sustainability Act invites feedback on new water legislation. The purpose of the new Water Sustainability Act is to help ensure that the water stays healthy and secure for future generations.

Finish Carpentry Quality Standards
Journal of Light Construction explains how a custom remodeling company can use the Architectural Woodworking Institute's published quality standards to set and maintain agreed-upon expectations for finish carpentry work. Free site registration required.

Ventilate It Right With New ASHRAE 62.2 Ventilation Standard
IE3 article by energy modeler Corbett Lunsford takes the confusion out of ventilation by going over what is included in ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2013. This also includes a video at the end that explains how to do the calculations, the easy-peasy way.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Moisture Management For High R-Value Walls Summary
US Department of Energy brief Moisture Management For High R-Value Walls summarizes how eight high-R walls handle the three main sources of moisture, construction moisture, air leakage condensation, and bulk water leaks.

Overview Of Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation
Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association provides information on spray polyurethane foam insulation including features, foam facts, residential, commercial, industrial, and FAQ's.

Modified Truss To Put Ducts Inside Conditioned Space
Energy Vanguard describes how to use a modified roof truss so you can leave your ductwork above the ceiling plane in a home but also get it into conditioned space.

5 Things To Know About Whole-House Surge Protection
TecHome Builder tells you key things you need to know about a whole-house surge protective device (SPD) that protects a home from electrical surges that harm sensitive electronics.

Building System Water Meters Save Water & Money
Plumbing Engineer describes why metering is now an important part of holistic, sustainable plumbing system design, saving both water and money.

Advanced Envelope Research For Factory Built Housing
US Department of Energy project Advanced Envelope Research for Factory Built Housing will provide factory homebuilders with high performance, cost-effective alternative envelope designs. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Do Gas Furnaces Dry Out Air In A Home?
Energy Vanguard discusses when and how a certain type of furnace may dry out air in a home.

Residential Ventilation Energy Cost & Humidity Control
US Department of Energy report Impact of Residential Mechanical Ventilation on Energy Cost and Humidity Control is based on building energy modeling with an important focus on the energy and indoor humidity impacts of ventilation. (PDF)

Solving A Sinking Foundation
Journal of Light Construction describes three ways to approach an overloaded foundation in poor soil.

Open-Cell Spray Foam & Damp Roof Sheathing
Green Building Advisor says when open-cell spray foam insulation is installed on the underside of OSB roof sheathing, the sheathing sometimes gets damp.

When It Comes To Ice Dams, You Can Fix Stupid
Energy Vanguard blog article says when it comes to ice dams, we know how to fix what is the most common cause.

Truss Uplift Solutions
Journal of Light Construction says if gaps form between non-bearing walls and the ceiling below a truss roof, truss uplift is probably the culprit.

Disaster-Resilient Buildings
Building Science Consulting online TEDx talk video features a Canada Research Chair describing the damage wrought by storms and arguing for positive impact of simple design choices.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Six Green Interior Products For 2014
EcoBuilding article describes six surfaces, lighting, and energy-management wares to help you in eco-friendly designing.

10 Sustainable Energy Trends That Shook Up Business In 2013
Green Biz describes the 10 major sustainable energy trends in business from the past year.

Google & Nest: What $3.2 Billion Deal Says About Energy Efficiency Markets
Energy Efficiency Markets says this is the first marquee deal to emerge since tech ventures began grasping for the new prize in energy: the home efficiency market. The game has been to figure out how to get enough homeowners to save energy so that the kilowatts add up to megawatts and truly influence energy markets. Nest, with its Learning Thermostat, thinks it has the answer. And Google apparently agrees.

Four Solar Trends To Watch In 2014
Utility Dive describes four solar trends to watch in 2014 including financial innovation, residential solar, storage-backed solar, and utilities investing in solar.

BC Solar Power Technology & Design Seminar
APEG BC presents Solar Power Technology & Design Seminar in Burnaby on February 24th. It will cover technologies for converting solar energy to other useful forms of energy, solar potential in BC & Canada, solar irradiance and measurement techniques, relevant calculations for system design, and effects on CO2 emission reduction.

Online Videos Of Net Zero Home Building Techniques
Zero Net Energy Homes provides online videos which are designed to give builders and designers a quick, practical, over-view of some of the simple, cost-effective design/building techniques used in many zero energy homes.

Cut Energy Costs With Time-Based Electricity Rates
US Residential Energy Services Network says a lot of people don’t know that many utility companies are trying to help their customers cut energy costs by offering them time-based electricity rates.

Overview Of Advanced Power Strips
US National Renewable Energy Laboratory describes how replacing your conventional power strips with advanced power strips can help reduce the electricity wasted when electronics are idle, without your having to change the way you normally use your devices. (PDF)

Policy Perspective On BC Low Carbon Fuel Standard
Business Council of BC report Policy Perspectives on BC’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard British Columbia provides an overview of BC’s regulatory framework, mechanics of its credit scheme, and an update on the state of California’s program. It also highlights some of the issues that need to be addressed in order to optimize the use of the LCFS on the road to achieving meaningful emission reductions. (PDF)

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Top 12 Technology Products Homeowners Want In 2014
TecHome Builder article describes the top 12 technology products that consumers want in their homes for 2014.

Hardwood Kitchen Countertops
Journal of Light Construction says wood makes for an attractive and durable food prep surface in a kitchen. The key to success is proper allowance for expansion and contraction, the right finishes, and educating your client about proper maintenance.

How Laminated Veneer Lumber & Parallel Strand Lumber Is Made
Online video by Architect Magazine shows how lumber is harvested and made into various laminated wood products such as laminated veneer and parallel strand lumber.

Glued Laminated Timber
WoodWorks online video of a webinar describes how glulam has evolved over 100 years of use and how continued advances have given it unparalleled performance.

FAQs On Concrete Floors
Concrete Network provides answers to common questions on concrete floors.

9 Concrete Innovations
Building Design and Construction describes nine new products and case studies that represent the latest breakthroughs in concrete technology.

Tyvek Therma Wrap: R5.0 Weather Barrier
DuPont Tyvek ThermaWrap R5.0 offers air and water management benefits of weather barriers with an R-value of 5.0. The unique structure of ThermaWrap allows any moisture that may get inside the wall to dry and escape to the outside, helping to prevent the accumulation of water in the wall reducing the chance for water damage and mold.

9. Installation Procedures

Wood Finishing Tips
Journal of Light Construction offers some tips on clear finishes for wood.

How To Run Wire Through Walls
Plan It DIY online video illustrates how to run wires through walls.

Install Windows With Sloped Sill
Green Building Advisor says even top-quality windows need a sloped, waterproof sill pan in order to prevent water damage.

Cleaning & Sealing Exterior Decorative Concrete
Concrete Network describes how to maintain and care for exterior decorative concrete of all types.

Shingle Siding Layout
Journal of Light Construction provides description on how to lay out shingle siding so the courses break evenly above and below windows, and the best way to secure the row of shingles below a window so the nails aren’t exposed.

Free Canadian Spray Foam Application Guide
Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association offers the free Canadian Spray Foam Application Guide that was produced to clarify the correct usage of both two pound closed cell and half pound open cell spray foam products. It is available at no charge from CUFCA, and is an excellent companion document for all Building Officials in order to determine correct application of each product in all climatic regions across Canada.

Making Custom Doors From Stock Slabs
Journal of Light Construction describes how, with a little ingenuity and applied moldings, stock solid-core doors can be used to create stunning frame-and-panel, glazed, and segmented-arch doors.

10. Information Sources

Introduction To Canadian Construction Documents
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation Introduction to Canadian Construction Documents Committee and CCDC Documents explains the Committee, its mandate and its process to obtain consensus based contracts. It gives an overview of current and proposed contracts and their respective characteristics, and discusses myths about the documents and the use of supplementary general conditions. (PDF)

Resource Site On Spray Foam Insulation
Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association provides information and resources on spray polyurethane foam insulation.

New Mentorship Resource For BC Small Business Owners
Small Business BC describes MentorshipBC, a new online resource that connects entrepreneurs with mentorship programs across the province.

Online Video On ABCs Of BIM For Residential Construction
US National Association of Home Builders online video ABCs of BIM: Building Information Modeling & Residential Construction, provides an introduction to BIM, highlighting what it is, what it isn’t, and why builders and remodelers, as well as vendors and contractors, need to pay attention to this ever-growing and influential trend. $45 USD

11. Conferences & Shows

Surfaces: Conference For Flooring, Stone & Tile Professionals
Surfaces conference combines industry shows for the flooring, stone and tile professionals. It features newest products, hands-on demos, inspiring trends, key manufacturers, industry suppliers, along with unmatched education and networking. It takes place January 28-30, in Las Vegas.

Canadian HVAC & Plumbing Industry Show
CMPX, Canadian Mechanical & Plumbing Exposition will be held in Toronto, March 19-21. It is the national trade show for the heating, air conditioning, ventilation, hearth, plumbing, piping, refrigeration and emerging technologies industries.

International Housing & Home Warranty Conference: Call For Papers & Abstracts
Canadian Home Warranty Council is hosting the International Housing and Home Warranty Conference in Vancouver from September 7-10, 2014. The goal of this conference is to promote the benefits of construction guarantees and warranties at an international level. They are looking for presenters for this event and invite industry members to submit papers/abstracts.

12. Education & Training

Introduction to Construction Blueprint Reading
Vancouver Regional Construction Association course Introduction to Construction Blueprint Reading (Gold Seal Certified) will be held in Abbotsford on February 7th. Participants will learn how to read a set construction blueprints and specifications, and using both residential and commercial samples of blueprints they will gain experience and practical knowledge for their regular day-to-day work in construction companies.

New Energy Efficiency Requirements In BC Part 9 Code
ICBA presents New Energy Efficiency Requirements in BC, in Burnaby on February 24th. Zachary May, Codes Administrator with the Building and Safety Standards Branch, will discuss new energy efficiency requirements for houses and other small Part 9 buildings that will be effective for all permits applied for after December 19, 2014.

Concrete & Cement Education Courses & Resources
Portland Cement Association provides cement and concrete education courses and resources including education foundation, professors' workshop, online courses, cement industry courses, concrete industry courses, customized training, and general information.

Fundamentals Of Adhesives & Sealants
Adhesive and Sealant Council is making its 14 different titles of fundamentals oriented training available to industry on demand.

Canadian Schools That Hold Career & Job Fairs
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating lists various schools across Canada that hold career and job fairs. (PDF)

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Favorite Apps Used By Building Industry
Journal of Light Construction discussion forum features contributors posting their favorite apps and why they like them.

Use Google Cloud Print To Print From Any Device
PC Tech Bytes describes how to make your printers accessible to your PC, smartphone and tablets using Google Cloud Print.

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World
Hopefully some of these maps will surprise you and you’ll learn something new. A few are important to know, some interpret and display data in a beautiful or creative way, and a few may even make you chuckle or shake your head.

Dittie For Today: On Advice

Until thy feet have trod the road, advise not wayside folk. - Joseph Rudyard Kipling

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© Copyright 2014              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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