Alert Notice #95
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
March 20, 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 Rob Dumont, Wilma Leung, Lee Newell, Bruce Gray, Sabine Just, Maureen McLaughlin, Elliot Sloan, Ian Blake, Ben Sutton, Rick Vlahos, Darlene Nielson, Nancy Argyle, Glenn Duxbury, Paul Millar, Cindy Kralj, and Ryan Coleman 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

Does Proper Design Verify HVAC System Performance?
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1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Economic Briefing March 2014
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing of March 3rd says the value of building permits rose in January, and the housing market in the Lower Mainland was steady in February. (PDF)

Mortgage Rate Forecast March 2014
BC Real Estate Association Mortgage Rate Forecast March 2014 says history was made in the first quarter of 2014 as some chartered banks lowered their posted five-year mortgage rate (the qualifying rate for high-ratio mortgage approval) to 4.99 per cent, the first time the five-year posted fixed rate has ever been below 5 per cent. (PDF)

Canadian Interest Rate Forecast
Central 1 Interest Rate Forecast report for February 2014 says modest-to-moderate growth trend will continue in near term. (PDF)

How To Dissect A Housing Bubble
Will Dunning report How to Dissect a Housing Bubble says a housing bubble exists when fundamental factors do not seem to justify price increases, and the influence of investor activity is dominate in the rise of house prices. Canada's economic conditions and demographics have justified housing activity and price increases. (PDF)

Canadian Apartments Enjoy Perfect Storm Of Supply & Demand
Real Estate News Exchange says the past decade has seen a remarkable shift in the purpose-built rental apartment industry. Across Canada, vacancy rates are dropping, average rents are increasing, and cap rates on all buildings have dropped substantially. Canadian apartment buildings are selling for some of the highest prices in history, and new construction is ramping up in all markets.

Canadian Condominium Features & Statistics
CMHC section of the 2013 Canadian Housing Observer on condominiums describes features, pros & cons, and a wide range of statistics on types, occupancy, market share, and more. (PDF)

Municipalities Are Richer Than They Think
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses report Municipalities Are Richer Than They Think shows municipal governments are consistently misrepresenting how much tax money ends up in their coffers. (PDF)

2. Business Management

Canadian Tax Deductions For Employed Tradespersons
Canada Revenue Agency says you may be able to deduct the cost of eligible tools you bought in 2013 to earn employment income as a tradesperson. This cost includes any GST, and provincial sales tax (PST), or HST you paid.

Funding To Help Propel Women Into Construction Leadership
Canadian Association of Women in Construction says it has received funding from the Government of Canada to promote women into leadership roles within the Canadian construction industry. (PDF)

Transform Your Website Into A Sales Machine
Builder Magazine says to avoid the most common mistakes of poorly performing builder websites.

12 Compelling Real Estate Websites
Web Marketing Today describes 12 local real estate websites that are using a design strategy that will help them grow their portfolios and add more interested clients.

Small Business Marketing With Vine & Instagram Video
Small Business Computing describes how short-form Vine and Instagram videos let you connect with customers in ways other small business marketing tools can't.

Increase In CMHC Mortgage Insurance Premiums
Following the annual review of its insurance products and capital requirements, CMHC has announced it will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1–4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

Podcast On Lean Construction & Productivity
Sticher podcast discusses Lean Construction and Productivity providing a description of lean construction and how good logistics and planning can increase efficiency in building.

Check Your Vital Remodeling Benchmarks
Remodeling Magazine says these numbers, gleaned from industry experts working with many of the nation’s top remodeling companies, can be used as lagging indicators as well as leading indicators, guides from which you can create goals for your own company.

2014 Cost Vs Value For Remodeling Projects
Remodeling Online 2014 cost vs. value data compares average cost for 35 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 101 US cities.

3. Building Design & Trends

Best Colors For Master Bedrooms
HGTV Remodels describes how choosing the best colors for your master bedroom can be fun, if you know the rules.

Features Most Likely To Show Up In Typical US Home in 2014
US National Association of Home Builders notes the features most likely to show up in typical single-family home in 2014.

15 Hot Outdoor Design Trends
Builder Magazine article identifies the top three outdoor design elements, and five most popular features of each.

Archive Of Residential Modernist Architecture
North Carolina Modernist Houses displays their archive of Modernist houses by the most well-known Modernist architects in the world.

2014 BC Wood Design Award Winners
Canadian Wood Council provides a list of the winners of their 2014 BC Wood Design Awards that recognize leadership and innovation in wood use, and encourage continued excellence in the building and design community.

Online Wood Use Matrix
Wood Works online Wood Use Matrix is a tool that summarizes the current best practices in the use of wood building materials and systems for various building elements of a wide variety of building types.

Tackling Shortage Of Development Land
Home Builder magazine says there’s risk involved, but with the right location and solid planning, infill projects can generate profits for discerning developers.

Changing Needs Of Suburban Development
Canadian Property Management says originally designed to be an extension of the city, today’s suburbs have become more like cities in their own right. But instead of being centered around a core, they exist as regional hubs, often without a distinct downtown.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Marshall Leslie, owner of M. Leslie Inc. and chair of Consumer Council of Canada Housing & Energy Committee says: “I enjoy receiving your monthly building alerts”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Understanding BC Home Warranty Insurance
BC Homeowner Protection Office provides tips to help new home buyers and owners of new homes understand the basics of home warranty insurance and their rights and responsibilities. (PDF)

The humble doorknob? Worst. Ban. Ever.
Ottawa Sun says One of the most bizarre bans ever is gaining traction in cities across the country. A ban on doorknobs.

Implementation & Enforcement Of Low-lead Potable Plumbing Products In Canada
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating bulletin says the Standing Committee on Building and Plumbing Services have approved to reference the ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1 and CSA B125.3 Standards into the 2010 National Plumbing Code Interim Changes. This will allow the Provinces and Territories the process to begin a mechanism to implement and enforce the new low-lead requirements. Only products intended for cooking & drinking fall under the scope of the these standards at this time.

FAQs On US Reduction Of Lead In Drinking Water Act
US Environmental Protection Agency online FAQs on the revised federal Safe Drinking Water Act going into effect in January 2014 cover the definition of lead free, the effective date, calculating lead content, 3rd party certification, product labeling, repair and replacement parts, and exemptions.

Residential Comfort System Installation Standards Manual
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association sells the Residential Comfort System Installation Standards Manual. It covers installation standards for residential heating and cooling systems including load calculations, duct design, duct construction, insulation, vents, air terminals, control applications, system specifications and industry equipment and methods for residential systems. Also covered are forced air heating, heat pumps, automatic control thermostats, flues and sound and vibration. Includes soft metrics.

US Codes & Standards Development
Whole Building Design Guide describes participants, procedures and resources that are part of the development of US codes and standards.

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5. Building Science & Technology

6 Ways To Ventilate A Home
Building Green describes six ways to ventilate a home, and considerations for each one.

Air Flow Problems & Design Of Air Barrier Systems
Whole Building Design Guide article on air barrier systems, including drawings, focuses on large buildings, but is relevant to houses also. It covers air infiltration & exfiltration, problems, air pressures, and design suggestions.

Understanding The Coanda Effect
David R Blog describes the Coanda Effect that occurs when airflow is closely projected to a parallel surface, such as a ceiling, or the walls of a duct system. When this occurs, the airflow is affected by the parallel surface it is flowing with. In simpler terms, air clings to surfaces as it moves.

Fan Efficiency Grades
ASHRAE BC online slide show presentation Fan Efficiency Grades covers fan basics, fan efficiency grade (FEG) overview, what’s new in Standard 90.1-2013, FEG examples, fan curves, examples, and best practices for fan selection. (PDF)

High Interior Humidity Buildings
Building Science experts discuss the issues and considerations for art galleries, museums, indoor pools and other specialized buildings that require high interior humidity.

Stud Walls With Continuous Exterior Insulation For Factory Built Housing
US Department of Energy report Technology Solutions Case Study: Stud Walls with Continuous Exterior Insulation for Factory Built Housing describes design development and variations on the use of exterior foam insulation. It includes material selection, manufacturing and cost analysis, and prototyping and testing.

6. Building Performance Issues

Radon In Homes & Other Dwellings
Health Link BC describes issues and consideration for radon in homes, as well as provides information and resources for radon testing and additional information.

Mechanical Contractors Role In Radon In Homes
Healthy Heating discusses why the Health Canada release of their radon guide reaffirms mechanical professionals' leading role in the health and well-being of Canadians.

Exhaust-Only Ventilation Systems And Radon
Green Building Advisor article describes how, in many homes, the stack effect has more of a depressurizing effect than the typical exhaust fan. According to the best available data, the net effect of operating an exhaust-only ventilation system is, in most cases, a reduction rather than an increase in indoor radon levels.

HVAC Contractor As First Line Of Defense Against CO Poisoning
David R Blog post says that the HVAC industry should be the first line of defense against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Protecting Boilers Against Flue Gas Condensation
Heating Plumbing & Air Conditioning magazine describes myths and methods for protecting boilers against flue gas condensation.

Performance Of Residential Dehumidifiers Under Cyclic Operation
US Department of Energy report Measured Performance of Residential Dehumidifiers Under Cyclic Operation summarizes tests on the part load performance of four residential dehumidifiers. (PDF)

Sustainability Of Small Water Systems
BC Water & Waste Association position on sustainability of small water systems is that it advocates that small water, wastewater and stormwater systems should only be created in situations where there is sufficient education or knowledge about the conditions required for sustainability. (PDF)

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

What Buyers Want & Don't Want In A Green Home
Builder Magazine says many builders make big mistakes when talking about the sustainable features of their homes. Here’s how to avoid them.

Four “Do’s” Of Selling High-Performance Homes
EcoBuilding says the high-performance home market is booming, with green homes currently accounting for 23 percent of the U.S. market. So why do some builders still report that home buyers will not pay more for high-performance home features?

Community & Site Planning For Green Residential Design
Whole Building Design Guide outlines the principles and process for effective community and site planning for green residential design.

Transpired Collectors As Solar Preheaters For Outdoor Ventilation Air
US Department of Energy describes how transpired collectors use solar energy to preheat ventilation (outdoor) air as it is drawn into a building. The technology is ideally suited to building applications in which large volumes of space are heated or where high ventilation rates are required. (PDF)

EMFs & Human Health
Green Building Advisor discusses whether or not exposure to electric fields or magnetic fields can make you sick.

Time-Of-Use Rates Bring High Levels Of Satisfaction
Utility Dive says homes with time-of-use rates are more satisfied with their electric service.

Westbank Projects Purchases Vancouver Central Heat System
Westbank Projects has taken control of a low-carbon energy program for downtown Vancouver with the purchase of Central Heat.

BC Webinar On Municipal Best Practices for Building Retrofit Strategies
Light House webinar Municipal Best Practices for Building Retrofit Strategies, held on April 8th, explores some key strategies to improve building performance in Canadian municipalities. Attendees will hear about lessons learned from other cities and learn about the real barriers and opportunities related to improving existing building performance with a focus on energy efficiency.

US Weatherization Conference In San Diego
Washington State University annual Energy Outwest Conference, held this year in San Diego, April 14-18, features seminars and trade show for the weatherization industry.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

5 Game-Changing Smart Home Options
TecHome Builder says consumer demand for smart home and connected home technologies can be met with affordable options that enable remote connectivity, security, and energy savings.

Smartphone Sensors Can Change Plumbing Design
Plumbing Engineer article describes how smartphone sensors reading real-time activity can change plumbing design.

Ventilation Occupancy Sensors Could Slash Building Energy Demand
Building Design & Construction says researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory conclude that significant energy savings (18%) can be achieved by varying ventilation levels based on the number of people in a given space.

13 Energy Opportunities for Homebuilders
TecHome Builder Energy Advantage Survey shows builders rapidly implementing new energy technologies to differentiate, compete and increase revenues.

Driveway Design Ideas For New Driveways
Concrete Network provides ideas of all of the types of decorative concrete applications that can be applied to a newly poured concrete driveway.

9. Installation Procedures

Use Felt Rather Than Rosin Paper Under Strip Flooring
Journal of Light Construction says that felt is better than rosin paper under a strip floor.

4 Ways Bad Duct System Can Lead To Poor Indoor Air Quality
Energy Vanguard describes how a bad duct system can lead to poor indoor air quality.

How To Stain Concrete
Concrete Network provides a step-by-step overview of the concrete staining process.

How To Remove & Replace Section Of Vinyl Siding
Fine Homebuilding shows how all it takes is a few minutes and a few simple tools to get access for repairs or modifications to a wall covered in vinyl siding.

Online Check For Your BC Tradesperson's Certificate
Industry Training Authority online tool allows you to verify the ticket of a contractor or employee.

10. Information Sources

Housing For Older Canadians, Guide To Over-55 Market
CMHC online series Housing for Older Canadians, The Definitive Guide to the Over-55 Market is intended for those developing seniors' housing, including both for-profit developers and organizations interested in sponsoring housing projects for seniors. Sections include Understanding the Market, Responding to the Market, Planning the Project, Designing the Project, and Services and Amenities.

Technical Guide For Design & Construction Of Tall Wood Buildings In Canada
FP Innovations first draft of the Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada is now available online. It provides concepts, solutions and background information to questions that arise when designing wood-frame buildings beyond the height and area limits prescribed by the National Building Code of Canada. Free registration required.

Resource Site On Concrete Paving
Portland Cement Association provides information and resources on paving including concrete, soil-cement, roller-compacted concrete, legislative issues, sustainability, and technical resources.

11. Conferences & Shows

2014 Plumbing & Heating Annual Business Conference
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating Annual Business Conference will take place in Kelowna, June 22-24.

2014 World Conference On Timber Engineering
2014 World Conference on Timber Engineering will be held August 10-14 in Quebec City. It is an international event on timber engineering, engineered wood products and design of timber structures.

12. Education & Training

PST Issues For BC Construction Industry
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association seminar PST Issues for the Construction Industry will be held in Burnaby, March 24th. This half-day course will review the rules of particular interest to contractors including suppliers and service providers in the industry.

BC Seminars On New Energy Provisions In BC Building Code
BC Homeowner Protection Office presents Building Smart seminar #19, New Energy Provisions in the BC Building Code, at various locations around the province. It covers the prescriptive requirements for airtightness, how to calculate the thermal resistance of assemblies, prescriptive vs. trade-off paths, below-grade assembly requirements, calculation examples of ceiling, wall, fenestration and door areas, and HVAC requirements and mechanical ventilation best practices.

BC Seminars On New Code Requirements For Windows & Doors
Fenestration BC seminar What Builders & Architects Need To Know About New Code Requirements For Windows & Doors will be held in seven BC locations. (PDF)

Upper Island Safety Conference & Trade Show
Strathcona Regional District presents the Upper Island Safety Conference and Trade Show in Campbell River, May 26-29. (PDF)

Online Course On Building Science Basics
Blue House Energy online Building Science Basics is a self-directed online program designed for tradespeople, contractors, and builders who want to improve their knowledge of building science and energy efficiency.

Building Science Seminars Throughout US
Building Science Corp. presents two seminars in various US cities, Building Science Fundamentals, and Renovation & Rehabilitation are designed to provide high-quality, up-to-date building science information to all professionals in commercial, institutional and residential building sectors.

9 Sites For Free Online Courses And Open Courseware
Hongkiat describes nine sites that offer free online courses and open courseware.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

App To Communicate Deficiencies Quickly
Bridgit is a cloud-based smartphone application that lets site supervisors take photos of issues, share them with employees and track them to completion.

Get Live Help With Live Video
Google Helpouts is a new way to get and give help over live video.

Worst Real Estate Agent Photos
Australian News displays a collection inexplicably bad property photographs that includes everything from bloodstained floors to fertility windows that must make selling the home extremely tough.

Dittie For Today: On Responsibility

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. - Albert Einstein

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© Copyright 2014              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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