Alert Notice #97
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
May 6, 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 Brian Hart, Wilma Leung, Sabina Just, Arthur Lo, Tom Hackney, Kimberly Hurley, Louise Dunne, Ian Hoffman, Bob MacKie, Joey Fearn, Monica Flintoff, Melissa Broadus, Rick Vlahos, Christine Cunnick, Tara Ninmann, Charles Goldman, Connie Howe, Bob Joseph, Dave Kyle, Jessica Carter, Quentin Veillon, and Zena Caul 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

BC Building Code Proposed Section 9.36 Energy Efficiency
BC Codes displays Section 9.36. Energy Efficiency for information purposes only. It does not form the requirements of the BC Building Code until the effective date, December 19, 2014. Revisions to this content are possible, and Code users should monitor any changes on the Errata and Revisions tab of the BC Codes website. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

1st Quarter 2014 Licensing & New Home Enrollments In BC
Homeowner Protection Office provides statistics on the number of licences and new home enrollments in BC during the 1st quarter of 2014.

BC Leads Canada In Home Renos
BC Business says nearly half of British Columbia homeowners plan to renovate, and the province leads the country in the amount they plan to put into their homes.

BC Region Housing Market Update
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation by Carol Frketich, CMHC BC Market Analysis Centre, provides a housing market update for the BC Region. (PDF)

BC Economic Forecast 2014-2018
Central 1 BC Economic Forecast 2014-2018 says BC’s economy will expand at a modest pace this year before shifting sharply higher after 2015 as export-led growth is followed by gains in non-residential investment. (PDF)

Housing Market Outlook Canada, 1st Quarter 2014
CMHC First Quarter 2014 Housing Market Outlook Report says while housing demand will be supported by an improvement in fundamentals, total housing starts will remain more or less stable over the forecast horizon. With a relatively high number of units under construction in some local markets, builders are expected to adjust the pace of new activity in order to manage their inventory levels. (PDF)

Holes In Canadian Housing Market Data Worries Economists
Globe & Mail says CIBC economist Benjamin Tal says Canada lacks detailed information and statistics about Canada's housing market, and that poses a danger to the country in the long run.

2013 First-Time Homebuyers Survey
CMHC 2013 First-Time Homebuyers Survey provides a profile of first-time homebuyers and how they go about purchasing their first home and getting a mortgage, and their experience with lenders and brokers. (PDF)

Housing, Land-Use Regulation & The Back Door Wealth Transfer
C2C Journal says consistent economic research shows that the anecdotes about land-use regulation are true; it is the reason for increased Canadian home prices. Since there is little difference in the actual cost of constructing a home in different areas, a lack of a supply of land is the only reason economists can find for the difference in home prices between metropolitan areas. Moreover, in a country as vast as Canada, that supply is artificially, not naturally, constrained.

Developer Survey On Residential Land-Use Regulation
Fraser Institute is conducting a survey on the impact of residential land-use regulation in Canadian municipalities, and is asking new home builders and developers to participate.

2. Business Management

Preventing Cancellations
Builder Magazine says to switch is human; so, to keep a customer on board, sales needs to go well beyond the order.

Why Real Online Reviews Matter
Home Builder Canada says the power of online reviews is incredible and increasing every year. Neilsen Ratings found that consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of advertising, now placing online reviews second only to actual recommendations from friends and family.

Handling Complaints Before Coffee
Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency says dreaded morning customer complaint calls can knock you off your game all day, and offers tips on how to prepare for these calls so you delight your customers while keeping your sanity.

Tablet Cases For Contractors On The Go
Builder Magazine provides a rundown on protective cases for tablets on the jobsite.

Wireless Access At Jobsite
Constructech magazine says being able to access project data anywhere, anytime is essential in the construction industry, and requires a wireless network. For one company in particular, it recently deployed a new wireless network, which is a key in terms of providing drawings, detail, and design communications to field workers.

New Caps For Federal Skilled Worker & Skilled Trades Programs
Canadian government describes new caps for Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades Programs, and Canadian Experience Class

Definitions To Builder & Substantial Renovation Revised In Excise Tax Act
Department of Finance Canada describes how definitions of builder and substantial renovation in the Excise Tax Act have been revised relating to the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST).

Some Increases In Canadian Construction Material Costs
Journal of Commerce describes some spine tingling increases in Canadian construction material costs.

BC Releases Guide To Community Amenity Contributions
Urban Development Institute says the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development has released two publications on Community Amenity Contributions. The CAC guides encourage local governments that are considering CACs to take an approach that is legally sound, follows good planning practices, and avoids increasing housing costs.

3. Building Design & Trends

Creative Condos In BC
UDI article in Westcoast Home Design magazine describes how imaginative new condo developments are improving housing affordability and livability for Metro Vancouverites. (PDF)

Gen Y Is Trading Space For Location
Globe St. says at the recent Urban Land Institute conference in Vancouver, one of the morning's concurrent panels discussed which demographic trends have successfully informed and increased the value of the panelist's business strategies. According to one panelist walkability and access to mass transit is everything.

Most Popular Features Found In New US Homes
US National Association of Home Builders describes the most popular features in new single-family homes in 2014. Builders from across the country were surveyed on what features they were most likely to include in a typical single-family home this year, revealing that convenience, livability and energy efficiency are top priorities.

Ten Residential Projects Take 2014 AIA Housing Awards
EcoBuilding article says from passive and resilient design strategies to interactive, high-performance facades, each of the 10 residential projects honored in the 2014 AIA Housing Awards tout high-performance features.

4th Quarter 2013 US Home Design Trends Survey Report
American Institute of Architects 4th Quarter 2013 Home Design Trends Survey Report says the last to drop off during a recession and the first to come back when it’s over, kitchens and baths are getting upmarket upgrades.

2014 Home Buyer & Seller Generational Trends
2014 National Association of Realtors online Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report summarizes characteristics and trends from a real estate perspective.

Top Kitchen Remodeling Trends In 2014
US National Association of the Remodeling Industry says lighting, mixed use of cabinetry, and wine storage are the top kitchen trends in 2014.

Bathroom Trends 2014
US National Association of Home Builders says clean, uncluttered lines, energy- and water-efficient features, the open and accessible aesthetics of universal design, materials and colors drawn from nature, and a spa-like feel of comfort and relaxation inspire the bathroom trends for 2014.

New Housing Options For Seniors In Canada
Canadian Apartment magazine says baby boomers are demanding residences that cater to their wants and needs.

What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Craig East, CFO at Primex Manufacturing says: “Thanks for continuing to blast out good stuff”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Recent BC Building Code Interpretations
Building Officials Association of BC provides access to recent BC Building Code interpretations.

Top 30 Electrical Code & Regulatory Violations In BC
BC Safety Authority lists the top 30 most common electrical code and regulatory violations that their safety officers find most frequently.

Ask A BC Electrical Safety Officer
BC Safety Authority lists answers to various questions asked of their electrical safety officers.

Be Aware Of BC Asbestos Enforcement Initiative
From March 17 to December 31, 2014, WorkSafeBC prevention officers will conduct planned inspections of single-family demolition worksites to ensure homeowners, prime contractors, hazardous material survey contractors, asbestos abatement contractors, and consultants are informed and equipped to safely remove asbestos containing materials and are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Working With Plastic Venting Systems
BC Safety Authority says to be aware that there are several considerations to keep in mind when doing work with gas appliances that use plastic materials in their venting systems.

Vancouver Building Bylaw Postponed Until July
Construction Business says implementation of the Vancouver Building Bylaw has been postponed to July 1st. It will feature some of Canada's most stringent energy requirements.

Miscellaneous Bill Addresses BC Land Use Planning & Development Matters
Union of British Columbia Municipalities says Bill 17, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, was introduced on March 10, 2014. It includes amendments to remove the requirement for Ministerial approvals on two types of bylaws; replace outdated land use contracts; and address development cost charges (DCCs).

Builders Need To Tell NRC About Foundation & Roof Performance
Canadian Home Builders Association says the National Building Code process is examining requests for more stringent and expensive requirements for foundation concrete and for roof structures. They are looking to builders to learn if there really are such problems, so please let them know. (PDF)

Consultation On Sound Residential Mortgage Insurance Underwriting
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has released for consultation Draft Guideline B-21 Residential Mortgage Insurance Underwriting Practices and Procedures. It sets out principles that promote and support sound residential mortgage insurance underwriting. The consultation period is open until May 23rd.

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5. Building Science & Technology

Great Moments In Building Science
Building Science says we often learn more from failure than we learn from success. We don't always know why something works when it works. Maybe we got lucky. Maybe we don't understand what is really going on? With a failure, if we examine it carefully, we can learn and hopefully avoid the failure the next time.

What Happens When You Put A Plastic Vapor Barrier In Your Wall
Energy Vanguard blog article explains what happens in a wall cavity with and without a plastic vapor barrier installed.

Moisture Performance Of Energy-Efficient & Conventional Wood Wall Systems
Home Innovation Research Labs report Characterization of the Moisture Performance of Energy-Efficient and Conventional Light-Frame Wood Wall Systems summarizes monitoring of the moisture performance of various wall assemblies with specific design characteristics.

Introduction To Heat Transfer
Healthy Heating online video provides an introduction to heat transfer theory. Links to additional animations on heat transfer are located at the bottom of the video screen.

Insulating Closed Crawlspace Walls With Rigid Foam Board
Building America Solution Center describes theory and procedures for insulating closed crawlspace walls with rigid foam board.

Gas Fireplaces As Emergency Backup Heat
Plumbing & HVAC says as long-term power outages caused by ice storms, floods and other extreme weather are becoming more common, gas fireplaces are also proving a valuable source of backup emergency heat.

Hydronic Radiant Ceiling Cooling For Smaller Buildings
Plumbing & Mechanical magazine describes some of the methods for providing hydronic radiant panel cooling that are well-suited for use with geothermal water-to-water heating pumps, and the growing number of air-to-water heat pumps.

Radiant Cooling Systems Design Calculation
Healthy Heating describes how radiant cooling systems require the designer and contractors to understand the interactions and connections between buildings, the indoor environment and various HVAC systems and controls.

6. Building Performance Issues

Mould On Framing Lumber
Journal of Light Construction says depending on the situation it might be a good idea either to not install mouldy lumber, or to clean any installed framing that has moulded before close-in.

Key Checkpoints for Inspecting Insulation Jobs
North American Insulation Manufacturers Association bulletin Key Checkpoints for Inspecting Insulation Jobs helps you determine if insulation is properly installed in walls, ceilings and floors and provides guidance on air sealing, insulating around combustible sources and more. (PDF)

How To Fix Spalling Concrete
Concrete Network provides expert tips on fixing spalled concrete.

Soundproofing Drainpipes
Journal of Light Construction describes how to dampen the sound of a PVC waste pipe.

Moisture Management Concepts
Whole Building Design Guide provides a brief overview of moisture related problems, consequences, and resources.

Conversation On Building Commissioning
The practice of building commissioning is changing with the new push to certify and license commissioning agents. In this Conversation, Joe Lstiburek and John Straube discuss what the impacts might be and why the building industry should pay attention

Fasteners & Self-Sealability Of Weather-Resistive Barriers
RCI technical advisory Fasteners & Self-Sealability Of Weather-Resistive Barriers says while lab tests demonstrate the ability of properly installed fasteners to seal to some extent where they penetrate air barriers, penetrations can become sources of water intrusion, depending on many variables. Use air barriers that are fully and independently qualified as water-resistive barriers to diminish the risk of water penetration through fasteners. (PDF)

ICF Wall Assembly Testing & Modeling
BC Homeowner Protection Office research report ICF Wall Testing and Modeling, Lab Testing Report provides the findings of lab testing and thermal performance modeling of six ICF wall assemblies. Phase 1 of this project identified that insulated concrete form ICF walls were found to be both water and airtight. However, conventional detailing of the window to wall interface was identified as a weak point in the system with respect to air and water tightness. (PDF)

Common EIFS Failures And How To Prevent Them
Building Design & Construction magazine says poor workmanship, impact damage, building movement, and incompatible or unsound substrate are among the major culprits of EIFS problems.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

2014 COTE Top Ten Green Projects
American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten 2014 examples of sustainable architecture and ecological design projects that protect and enhance the environment.

Vancouver Requests Province To Empower Benchmarking Tools For Building Energy Use
Light House displays a resolution from Vancouver Sustainability Group to Lower Mainland Local Government Association that requests the Province provide new powers to local governments to regulate the reporting of building energy benchmarking by owners and managers; and to enable the release of non-confidential data publicly.

Improving New Home Efficiency Comfort & Durability In Cold & Very Cold Climates
US Department of Energy online Builders and Buyers Handbook for Improving New Home Efficiency, Comfort, and Durability in the Cold and Very Cold Climates is a resource to help builders large and small build high-quality, energy-efficient homes that achieve 30% energy savings in space conditioning and water heating in the cold and very cold climates. (PDF)

Domestic Solar Hot Water Is Not Dead
Green Energy Futures says domestic solar hot water isn’t dead, and shows how, where and why it makes sense regardless of its competitors.

Advanced Engineering Concepts In Solid Wood Construction
Online video walks through advanced engineering concepts in solid wood construction. It explains how solid wood construction is a different building system compared to stick-frame construction, and highlights recent projects using solid wood construction.

Duct Sealing Using Injected Spray Sealant
US Department of Energy report Duct Sealing Using Injected Spray Sealant evaluated the use of injected foam sealant and found it to be an effective way to eliminate duct leakage when combined with manual sealing of other easily accessible areas. (PDF)

Guide To Whole-Building LCA In Green Building Programs
Athena online Guide to Whole-Building LCA in Green Building Programs summarizes and interprets various green program provisions, provides tips on how to incorporate LCA during the building design process, and presents Athena's supplementary best-practice recommendations for performing whole-building LCA in general. (PDF)

Mitigation Of Climate Change 2014
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change online The Working Group III contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGIII AR5) provides a comprehensive assessment of all relevant options for mitigating climate change through limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as activities that remove them from the atmosphere.

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8. Building Products & Suppliers

Recall Of White-Rodgers Thermostats
Health Canada recall involves four models of White-Rodgers digital thermostats because the alkaline batteries used in the thermostat can leak onto the circuit board posing a fire hazard.

Recall Of Kozy Heat, Ambiance, Stellar Hearth Gas Fireplaces & Inserts
Health Canada describes the recall of Hussong Manufacturing and American Flame recall gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts.

Tool Test Of 18-Volt Cordless Recip Saws
Tools Of Trade tool test of 18-Volt cordless recip saws shows advancements in motor and battery technology make some of the newer models capable of serious work. They're worth considering to add cordless convenience to your demolition and other recip-saw jobs.

LEDs For Pot Lights, Sconces, Vanities
A BC Hydro Power Smart lighting engineer offers updates on LED lighting for applications beyond the basic bulb.

New Types Of High-Tech Drywall
Journal of Light Construction online videos describe latest types of drywall and demonstrate some tips and tricks for working with them. Oversize, noise-reducing, and fire-rated panels are covered.

Stylish Kitchen & Bath Lighting Options
Kitchen & Bath Design News article describes some stylish lighting options that enhance functionality and safety.

2013 Canadian Builder Practices Survey Of New Home Materials Purchasing
US National Association of Home Builders Home Innovation Research Labs has conducted the Canadian Builder Practices Survey. Like the US version, this study quantifies builders’ detailed purchases of building materials for new homes.

PCBs Present In Sealants
RCI technical advisory PCBs Present In Sealants provides informative advisory regarding the potential for sealants located in exterior walls of buildings to contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels that warrant certain measures. (PDF)

9. Installation Procedures

Installing Hardwood Flooring Over Vinyl
Journal of Light Construction describes how to put wood flooring over old worn out vinyl.

Simple Recessed Medicine Cabinet Details
Matt Risinger Blog gives description of some simple recessed medicine cabinet details that are not super tricky but require a good team of craftsman to ensure this simple detail doesn't look sloppy when it's completed.

How Flow Rate Affects Heat Output
Plumbing & Mechanical magazine says one of hydronics nonproportional relationships is how the heat output and temperature drop across a heat emitter is affected by the flow rate through it.

Paint Over Water Damage Repair
Journal of Light Construction provides an overview of the basic painting techniques for repairing ceiling water damage.

Support At Intervals For Flex Ducts
Building America Solution Center says if ducts are to be installed in a vented, uninsulated attic or crawl space, hang the ducts with supporting straps or saddles of sufficient width and frequency to adequately support the ducts so that the ducts do not sag and are not pinched or compressed in a manner that would cause damage to the ducts, the duct insulation, or the duct air barrier covering.

Restoring Balcony Slabs & Railings
Canadian Apartment magazine describes a case study on how one Ottawa apartment repaired its damaged balconies.

Installing Watertight Replacement Windows
Journal of Light Construction describes details on how to help prevent replacement window leaks when working around the major types of siding.

Contractors Guide To Reassembly & Finishing Log Structures
BC Log & Timber Builders online Guide to Reassembly & Finishing Log Structures for US Contractors enable log building companies to have a document they can provide to their client which outlines the various steps of the process for pre-assembly, reassembling and finishing their log home. (PDF)

10. Information Sources

12 Resources For Learning & Teaching Building Science
Energy Vanguard article describes 12 of the top online building science training and information resources available.

References & Resources On Air Sealing
Building America online Solution Center provides references and resources on air sealing.

Past Seminar Presentations On Roofing
RCI Western Canada Chapter provides online slide show presentations from some of their past technical seminars, covering various topics on roofing systems and issues.

Online Book On BC Electrical Safety
WorkSafe BC online interactive web book Electrical Safety provides practical information on working around and on energized low-voltage equipment and near high-voltage conductors.

Online Videos On Trus Joist Floor Installation
Weyerhaeuser online Floor Framing Made Simple videos, companions to the Trus Joist Installation Guide for Floor and Roof Framing, offer a live-action, step-by-step accompaniment to each detail from the guide, making it easier to see and understand the installation techniques that make for structurally sound floor systems.

Information & Resources On Radiant Cooling
Healthy Heating provides information and resources on radiant cooling design and installation.

Resource Site On Mid-Rise Wood Construction
Canadian Wood Council online resource provides information related to safety, building codes, environmental impact and the economic benefits of building with Canadian wood products. It offers fact sheets, case studies and relevant reports on mid-rise construction.

11. Conferences & Shows

Construction Specifications Canada Conference 2014
Construction Specifications Canada annual conference will be held in Kitchener, May 21-25. It offers a wide range of educations opportunities, association meetings, and sponsor displays.

Building Officials Association Of BC Education Conference & AGM
The Annual General Meeting & Education Conference of the Building Officials Association of BC will be held in Richmond May 25-28. It will feature plenary sessions and workshops on a number of building topics. (PDF)

Housing Alternatives For An Aging Population
CMHC conference Housing Alternatives For An Aging Population will be held in Vancouver, May 28-29. It will provide information that will enable people aged 55+ to plan ahead and make informed choices, as well as a forum for developers to learn what such adults are looking for in the way of housing for their later years.

Canada BIM Vancouver Regional Session & Technology Exhibition
Canada BIM Vancouver Regional Session & Technology Exhibition on building information modelling will take place from June 4-5 in Vancouver.

Security Canada West Expo
Canadian Security Association presents Security Canada West in Richmond on June 25. It is an opportunity to view a variety of products first-hand, while networking with your peers, and getting advice from security experts.

ASHRAE 2014 Annual Conference
ASHRAE’s 2014 Annual Conference will be held in Seattle, June 28-July 2. The conference will address topics such as ground source heat pumps, operations and maintenance and indoor environmental quality, as well as the second annual ASHRAE research summit, social events, networking opportunities and technical tours.

12. Education & Training

Supervisory & Management Skills
Vancouver Regional Construction Association course Supervisory and Management Skills (Gold Seal Certified) will be held in Vancouver May 8-9. Participants will improve their skills in leadership, management and supervision of staff, and learn skills to enhance their ability to build a collaborative team culture with their staff and on job sites.

Electrical & Gas Tech Talks Around BC
BC Safety Authority frequently holds Tech Talks around BC, covering various topics of interest to the building trades.

Free Webinar On Building Performance, Thermal Comfort, IAQ
Robert Bean free webinar Relationship Between Building Performance, Thermal Comfort and Indoor Air Quality on May 13th explains how building performance has an influence on thermal comfort and indoor air quality as prescribed by ASHRAE Standard 55 and 62 and ASHRAE Guidelines 10 and 24.

Sales Skills Workshop
ICBA presents Sales Skills Workshop in Burnaby on May 30th. It will help everyone in your company grasp the strategies and tactics required to meet your best potential clients and close the sale.

Free Webinar On High Performance Building Enclosures For Existing Homes
Building America free webinar High Performance Building Enclosures, Existing Homes will be held on May 21st. It will focus on specific projects that have looked at technical solutions to retrofit building enclosures to improve energy and durability performance.

Safety By Design Symposium
Association of Canadian Ergonomists and WorkSafe BC presents the Safety By Design Symposium in Vancouver on May 22. International and local experts will share their knowledge, experience, challenges and successes on safety/prevention by design in construction, healthcare, utilities, forestry, and software development to support decision making.

2014 Review Of Industry Training Authority & Trades Training In BC
Online report Industry Training Authority and Trades Training in BC covers the role and function of the ITA, the Crown agency responsible for oversight of the industry training system for credentialed trades. It examines the current mandate of the ITA, including governance, roles and responsibilities, outcomes achieved to date, and relationships and interactions with its key system partners. It shares observations and provides recommendations that will lead to improved outcomes of the industry training system. (PDF)

Fenestration Educational Society of BC
Fenestration Society of BC, the educational arm of the Fenestration Association of BC, has a mandate of providing accessible, quality education for those in the fenestration industry.

BC Concrete Pump Operator Certification Being Developed
Journal of Commerce says a joint proposal for concrete pump operator certification is being developed by the BC Construction Safety Alliance and the BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

7 Best PC Help Channels On YouTube
PC Pitstop describes seven of the most reliable and well respected sources of computer help on YouTube.

Meetings Via Web-Based Cloud Service is an internet service that makes meetings more effective and measurable. You can organize meetings with people from different organizations and collaborate around material, notes, and agenda using web conferencing.

Wow, What Photography
Travel Alberta has produced three minutes of powerful and beautiful motion picture photography. Sit back and enjoy...It's very cool!

Dittie For Today: On Purpose

All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it. - Samuel Butler

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© Copyright 2014              Ken Farrish              All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada


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