Newsletter #143
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
March 21, 2017


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


My thanks to Brian Hart, Denis Thiery, Sabine Just, Mark Sakai, Jasmine Dyoco, Joey Fearn, Jenifer Christenson, Louise Dunne, Julie Domvile, Murray Bond, Glenn Duxbury, Paul Middleton, George Pinch, Marcel Auston, Chris Dorsi, Tiffany MacAdams, and Chris Hinton 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 Newsletters 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


Ken's Top Pick

Getting Enclosures Right in Zero Energy Ready Homes
US Department of Energy online Zero Energy Ready Home video delivered by Joe Lstiburek describes best practices for High-R assemblies including specific recommendations for ensuring the four critical building science control layers minimize risk of moisture problems and maximize performance.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Budget Has Tax Savings for First-Time Buyers & Small Businesses
CHBA-BC says there are some positive announcements for the residential construction industry and small businesses in the 2017 BC Budget.(PDF)

BC Economy Charges Forward While World Wavers
Journal Of Commerce says the BC economy is pulling ahead of the rest of Canada and construction is leading the charge.

BC 2016 Job Performance Within Canada
Business Council of BC says the BC labour market is clipping along at a healthy rate and we have been leading the country in employment growth for the past two years or so. In 2016, employment growth in BC tripled that in Ontario and Quebec and was nearly four times greater than the Canadian average.

BC 2016 Regional Job Performance
Business Council of British Columbia summarizes the 2016 BC labour market and sheds some light on the regional dimensions.

BC Economic Analysis of BC 2017-2019
Central 1 online Economic Analysis of BC 2017-2019 says GDP growth decelerates to 2.3 per cent this year after blockbuster 2016, and growth remains moderate at 2.7 per cent in 2018 and 2019. (PDF)

Multi-Family Housing Shortage Still a Major BC Issue
Bob Rennie says only eight new townhome units were completed and available for purchase across the entire lower mainland region at the end of December.

2017 Canadian Home Builders Association Forum for Growth Report
Canadian Home Builders Association Forum for Growth brings together Members of Parliament and home building industry leaders from across Canada for a day on Parliament Hill to discuss housing, Canadians and communities. The 2017 Forum for Growth took place on March 7, and you can read a summary report, Continuing the Conversation about Homes, Communities and Canadians, here. (PDF)

Unaffordability Is a Problem but Sprawl is Terrible Solution
Planetizen says many households spend more than they can afford on housing and transportation, but the latest International Housing Affordability Survey is wrong to recommend sprawl as the best solution. Real solutions must reduce both housing and transport costs.

2. Business Management

Good Neighbour Construction Guide
Coquitlam is sending notice to builders and developers that they need to pay more attention to the City's Good Neighbour Construction Guide. By being aware and respectful of neighbours, communicating with them effectively and following good development and construction practices, potential problems or disruptions, disturbances and delays can be avoided.

17 New Trends in Business of Home Building
Builder Magazine describes the latest industry trends builders should know about in finance, operations, marketing, design, and products.

Markup, The One Number That Rules Them All
Fine Homebuilding says one markup controls the revenue for your construction business. This one markup rules all other markups you might have developed.

Don’t Work for Free, Get Paid for Extra Work
Kuhn LLP says disputes between homeowners and contractors can often be avoided by the use of a written building contract. However, a written contract is of limited benefit if its terms are unclear, or the actual work performed deviates significantly from the scope set out in the contract. (PDF)

Options For Resolving Residential Construction Disputes
BC Homeowner Protection Office online Options for Resolving Residential Construction Disputes guide covers: general information on negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation; information on the Notice to Mediate (Residential Construction) Regulation (for any party of a residential construction dispute); mandatory mediation of warranty insurance disputes between homeowners and warranty insurance providers; list of resources for more information on any of these topics. (PDF)

Tax Tips for Self-Employed Contractors
Canadian Contractor offers tips to self-employed contractors on how to get the most from your income tax and benefit return.

5 Reasons Millennials Are Great for Construction Industry
Building Design & Construction says millennials often are unfairly saddled with the dubious reputation for being entitled, disloyal, and self-centered, but it turns out that they are actually not that different from their older work colleagues.

Guide to Five Stages of Remodeling Growth
Remodeling magazine says going from a one-man show to a thriving enterprise can be tough, and offers some tips to ease your company's growing pains.

3. Building Design & Trends

2017 Winners of BC Georgie Awards
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC provides a list and project information for this year's Georgie Awards winners. Their new home and home renovation projects highlight just some of the quality, skill, professionalism and excellence in BC's residential construction industry.

Builders Satisfy Demand for Open Floor Plans
NAHB says open floor plans are popular among home buyers, and the design of new single-family homes tends to be, if anything, even more open.

What Homeowners Want
Remodeling magazine describes eight trends today’s homeowners are looking for, from statement kitchens to bold finishing touches.

Colorful Choices for Interiors
Kitchen & Bath Design News says while the gray trend continues to expand and evolve, new hot colors are coming into play, including healthy greens, soft blues, deep violets and shades of taupe.

Eight Trends in Kitchens & Baths
Fine Homebuilding online slide show looks at traffic flow, storage, natural colors, and daylight for kitchens and baths.

Top Design Trends from an Industry Pro
Custom Home Magazine describes how to evoke emotions with interesting design and have sales soar.

Thoughtful Designs Can Differentiate Any Home
US National Association of Home Builders says homes that truly appeal to new-home buyers are those that infuse elements of the unexpected.

Recipe for Zero Development
Victoria Residential Builders Association says a low density, affordable housing project, green space and mature trees close to downtown Victoria is not financially viable. It is a recipe for zero development or bankruptcy.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Dan Bradley, Energy Utilization Manager, FortisBC says: “I received your recent building info newsletter, which I always look forward to. Amazing accumulation of information.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

New Requirements for BC Building Officials
Building Officials Association of BC outlines the new provincial qualification requirements for building and plumbing officials that are now established in the Building Act and came into force February 28, 2017.

BC Building Act Update on New Unrestricted Matters For Codes
Province of BC has amended the Building Act General Regulation to add additional items to the unrestricted matters list. Unrestricted matters are matters regulated in the BC Building Code (or other provincial building regulations) for which local governments will retain authority to set their own technical building requirements in bylaws. Under section 5 of the Building Act, if a matter is regulated in a provincial building regulation, any requirements for that matter established in local government bylaws will be of no legal force after a two-year transition period ending December 15, 2017, unless the requirements concern unrestricted matters.

New BC Sprinkler Requirements for Four-Storey Wood-Frame Buildings
BC Government online BC Building Code 2012 Revision 10 describes new sprinkler requirements for four-storey wood-frame buildings. This change will effectively require fire sprinklers to be installed on the balconies of all new four-storey wood-frame residential buildings. The new sprinkler requirements apply to building permits applied for on or after July 20, 2017. This transition period is to allow time for existing developments in final stages of construction to be aligned with the previous standard. Building codes and fire sprinkler standards apply at the time of construction of new buildings, or the alteration, repair or demolition of existing buildings, and do not apply retroactively to require owners to upgrade existing buildings. (PDF)

Richmond Mobile App Will Enhance Building Inspection Efficiency
PR Web says Richmond has launched a new mobile app to make inspections more efficient. The app will allow on-line, real time notification of inspection pass/fail, avoiding the intermediate step of handwriting inspections that then need to be uploaded by office staff.

New Codes & Tighter Homes Change Mechanical Landscape
HPAC magazine says the HVAC and plumbing industry in Canada is in for some profound changes with the coming wave of new building codes, policies and regulations. All levels of government–federal, provincial and municipal–are pushing hard to go green and reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Updates to CSA B214 Installation Code for Hydronic Heating Systems
HPAC Magazine says the 2016 edition of B214 Installation Code for Hydronic Heating Systems has been updated for improved clarity, including reorganization of several sections. Several new requirements, written in specific and enforceable language, have been added.

Specifications For 3-Coat & 2-Coat Stucco
Stucco Manufacturers Association offers two specifications: SMA Guide Specification for 3-coat Portland Cement Plaster (Stucco) applied to Framed Walls (2017), and SMA Guide Specification for 2-coat Portland Cement Plaster (Stucco) applied to Concrete or Masonry Walls (2017).

Alberta Explores Homebuilder Licensing Requirements
Journal of Commerce says the Government of Alberta has begun a process to potentially require homebuilders to have a license. Officials have started meeting with stakeholders, homebuilders and have also started a survey to explore the issue further.

5. Building Science & Technology

Using a Moisture Meter on Wood Flooring
Fine Homebuilding online video demonstrates the two types of moisture meters you can use to determine the moisture level of wood flooring before you install it.

Sensible Heat Ratio
Passive Buildings Canada online video provides an explanation of the relationship between sensible heat to latent heat.

Residential DHW Recirculation
Plumbing & HVAC says domestic hot water recirculation systems have evolved to the point where they can, in some cases, be installed in less than an hour. There are now a number of different systems that can offer instant, or almost instant, hot water at the tap.

No Need to Flush Old Radiators
Heating Help says you don't need to flush old hot water radiators because they operate within a closed\ system where there’s little or no corrosion taking place. Flushing these radiators will only cause you to add more water to the system, which will create more corrosion, and so on, and on.

Portable Appliance & Fan Equipment Effects on Buildings
BC Safety Authority is advising homeowners/occupants that portable air conditioning units, clothes driers or circulating fans continuously exhausting warm inside air to the outside without sufficient fresh air being brought in to replace it, may create conditions leading to carbon monoxide accumulation inside a building.

Renovations & The House As A System
CMHC says when a renovation project is undertaken, significant changes can be made to one or more systems in a house, which could have a positive, neutral or negative impact on the performance of the home. While some impacts may be easily predictable, others may not be so apparent and could seriously affect how the house operates after the renovation has been completed.

Ventilation Guidance for High Performance Multifamily
US Department of Energy online Measure Guideline Ventilation Guidance For Residential High Performance Multifamily New Construction provides ventilation guidance that incorporates the requirements of the ASHRAE 62.2 2016 standard. The guideline focus is on the decision criteria for weighing cost and performance of various ventilation systems.

Commercial Building Enclosure Commissioning
Green Building Advisor summarizes some key learnings from a University of Wisconsin course called Commissioning Building Enclosure Assemblies and Systems.

6. Building Performance Issues

Annual Servicing Recommended for Gas Appliances
BC Safety Authority advises homeowners that all gas fired appliances require regular maintenance to operate efficiently and safely.

Taming a Basement from Hell
Green Building Advisor describes the lower level of the 1950s house that was one of its most unappealing features. With some planning and elbow grease, however, the space would be turned into a dry, comfortable living space.

Corrosion & How Water Behaves
HPAC Magazine says designers of modern hydronic systems strive for two important objectives: a reliable system and an energy efficient system. Achieving these requires proper equipment selection as well as attention to water quality. Unfortunately, the latter is often overlooked, or left to the discretion of the installer, who may or may not appreciate its importance.

Mixing Hydronic Heating Water with Potable Water
HPAC Magazine says installers should be aware that building a combined hydronic and potable system, whereby the potable water contacts hydronic heating components such as pipes, fan coils, valves, expansion tanks and manifolds, could create potential health and safety issues.

When There Are Too Many Insulation Options
Green Building Advisor discusses how a homeowner in Michigan sorts through the choices for a new house, weighing wall thickness as well as insulation type.

Buried AC Ducts Risk Condensation in Humid Climates
Energy Vanguard says water vapor from the air condenses on air conditioning ducts in humid climates, and you have to be careful about burying ducts in attic insulation in humid climates, especially in coastal areas.

Noise & Vibration Control in Wood Frame Multi-Family Buildings
WoodWorks online slide show presentation Noise & Vibration Control in Wood Frame Multi-Family Buildings covers designing high-performing, acoustically-rated assemblies, minimizing floor vibration and methods for meeting or exceeding energy-efficiency objectives. (PDF)

Changes Coming in 2017 to BC Contaminated Sites Regulation
Journal Of Commerce says many Lower Mainland developers and construction companies are unaware that the BC Ministry of Environment is bringing in changes to its Contaminated Sites Regulation in late 2017.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

BC Builder Workshop on Energy Star for New Homes
CHBA BC builder workshop on Energy Star for New Homes will be held In Burnaby on March 31. All builders will leave the workshop ready to get certified to build Energy Star homes, and will also earn 3.5 CPD credits (Group A) from BC Housing.

Climate Data To Be Revamped For Future Canadian Codes
REMI Network says historical climate data is losing relevance in Canada’s model national building, energy, fire and plumbing codes as severe storms, drought and intense heat waves become more frequent. Researchers with the National Research Council have embarked on a new initiative to evaluate and account for weather-related forces that buildings and infrastructure will need to endure into the future.

Vancouver Makes Attaining Passive House Certification Easier
Ecohome says as a part of their Greenest City Action Plan, Vancouver is helping builders get homes certified under the Passive House Standard.

Prince George Show Home Is Higher Performance Housing
BC Hydro online video describes the Spruce Kings Lottery show home for the annual fundraiser in Prince George. It describes the building process for this Energy Star rated home, which was built by a CHBA BC Northern builder member and tested by a certified energy advisor.

BC Programs for Energy-Efficient New Homes
BC Hydro describes some of the most common energy efficient home building standards you’ll see in BC, and what you can expect from each of them.

Top 8 Smart Net Zero Buildings from Around the World
Comfy describes eight smart buildings from around the world that have gone net zero and beyond.

Energy Efficient Design for Wood Frame Buildings
WoodWorks online slide show presentation High Performance, Energy Efficient Design for Wood Frame Buildings provides practical information for designing wood-frame multi-family and mixed-use buildings that meet or exceed energy-efficiency objectives, and avoid common comfort-related pitfalls. (PDF)

Home Energy Performance Will Become Key to Real Estate Success
Rocky Mountain Institute says real estate professionals should enhance their home energy performance capabilities in today’s evolving residential market, or risk falling behind those who do.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Coleman Furnace Failures
BC Safety Authority is advising homeowners that failures with Coleman furnaces have been reported. Overheating of the furnace can lead to heat exchanger failures. These situations, if left unresolved, can lead to significant property damage, personal injury or death.

BC High Performance Window Certification Program
Fenestration Association of BC has announced the High Performance Window Certification Program, that makes up to $80,000 available to participating manufacturers. The costs associated with creating new product lines that exceed current BC energy efficiency requirements, including lab testing and certification, are a barrier to the introduction of high performance windows into the market. The High Performance Window Certification Program aims to address this market barrier and stimulate BC manufacturers to develop new designs and manufacturing processes that will lead to cost-effective, marketable, high performance windows being built in BC.

Manufacturers Prohibit Use of Furnaces for Construction Heat
HPAC magazine says Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute released a position paper stating that their gas furnace manufacturers adopted a position to prohibit the use of their furnaces by homebuilders for heating during the construction process prior to occupancy.

Smart Locks Pros & Cons
Curbed says although smart locks have some definite perks, you should only install them after grasping their potential drawbacks.

Circular Saw Blades
Fine Homebuilding describes circular sawblade parts and how they contribute to the cleanness of a cut and the smoothness of a saw’s operation, as well as the different types of tooth grind, clearance angles and hook angles. (PDF)

Build Your Own Portable Sawmill
Tools of the Trade describes how to turn your circular saw into a log-slicing, slab-making workhorse.

Overview of Certi-Label Cedar Shakes & Shingles
Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau bulletin Certi-label Cedar Shakes & Shingles describes specifications and considerations for cedar shingles, handsplit and resawn shakes, and tapersawn shakes. (PDF)

Construction Details for Stucco Installation
Stucco Manufacturers Association online construction details for stucco include: Sill Pan Flashing for a Nail Flange Window; Concealed Barrier Assembly; Weep Screed for Stucco; Wall to Roof/Deck Flashing; Flashing a Nail-Flange Window; Control Joint at Floor Line.

9. Installation Procedures

Installing Split-Jamb Doors
Fine Homebuilding describes a style that works well for remodeling applications where one side of the opening has a different thickness wallboard than the other.

Exterior Insulation with Thermal & Moisture Control Layers
Green Building Advisor describes some tips and tricks to choosing the continuous exterior insulation that fits the needs of the job.

Blown Insulation for Cavities of Existing Exterior Walls
Building America Solution Center describes issues and considerations for installing blown insulation into exterior wall cavities of existing homes with minimal disruption to occupants.

Easy Siding & Trim Attachment to OSB & Plywood
Engineered Wood Association online video explains how OSB and plywood sheathing can be used as a sturdy, code-compliant nail base for siding and trim.

Avoiding Accidents on Tablesaw
Fine Homebuilding describes the safest techniques for using a portable tablesaw. Features include a discussion of kickback, keeping your hands out of the danger zone, making a riving knife for safer cuts, and using featherboards and push sticks. (PDF)

What HVAC Load Calculation Does Not Tell You
Energy Vanguard says to get the right amount of heating and cooling to each room in your home, you need a load calculation. But if you do a load calculation, the result isn't the size of air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, or boiler you need. It's only the first step to sizing your system.

How to Balance a Residential HVAC System
Contracting Business says that balancing is the single-most important step that can be taken to assure your HVAC systems produce comfort and operate efficiently.

Custom Floor Medallion Centerpiece
Fine Homebuilding online video demonstrates how leftover wood can be turned into an extraordinary focal point.

10. Information Sources

BC Housing Data & Statistics Sources
Urban Development Institute online Housing Data & Statistics Cheat Sheet provides links to some excellent sources of key housing market data.

Household Growth Projections for Millennial Generation
CMHC report says the share of Millennial generation households is projected to increase continually to about 2031 and then stabilize. Slightly above one-third of all households are projected to be Millennial generation households by 2036. (PDF)

Canadian Construction Record Podcast
After almost 200 years of covering construction in Canada, the Daily Commercial News and Journal of Commerce are evolving into a new medium, a podcast.

Construction Productivity Resources
BuildForce Canada provides information and reports on productivity in the construction industry and businesses.

Purchasable Architectural Sheet Metal Quality Assurance Guide
SMACNA sells Architectural Sheet Metal Quality Assurance Guide, a manual for evaluating exterior sheet metal building components—roofing systems, exterior walls, flashing, copings, etc.—during initial construction and for ongoing condition assessments and maintenance.

Resources on Northern Cold Climate Housing
CMHC offers information on northern, cold climate building issues and techniques, programs & initiatives, fact sheets, and more.

Online Videos on Bullying and Harassment in Construction
WorkSafe BC online videos cover a range of topics on bullying and harassment in construction.

New Edition of Homebuying Step by Step
CMHC now has an updated version of Homebuying Step by Step. The new design and streamlined instructions make it even easier to follow the steps of buying a home. There’s also new information to help first-time buyers learn more about their responsibilities as homeowners.

11. Conferences & Shows

HVAC Trade Ally Network 2017 Trade Shows Around BC
FortisBC is holding regional Trade Ally Network Trade Shows around BC. They feature guest speakers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers.

Vancouver International Home Show
Vancouver International Home Show will be held April 26-30. Held at the PNE grounds, it features over 450 exhibits, 2 wine tasting areas and 3 seminar stages.

2017 BC Architects Conference
Architectural Institute of BC 2017 conference will be held in Vancouver, May 8-10. Integration has become integral to the practice of architecture, a profession increasingly geared towards collaboration with diverse experts and governing bodies. The 2017 AIBC Annual Conference will unite members of the design community to interpret integration as manifested in industry trends, technological advances and collaboration best practice.

Conference & Trade Show For Canadian Stone, Ceramic, Tile Industry
Stonex Canada, held May 16-18 in Toronto, will be Canada’s first dedicated trade show and educational program to the stone, ceramic and tile industries.

12. Education & Training

Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings
Passive House Canada course Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings will be presented in Vancouver on March 24th. This seminar will provide an in-depth overview of new and innovative high-performance building enclosures that are being designed and constructed for buildings across North America, ranging from single-family homes to large commercial buildings, with a focus on walls, roofs, and window systems.

Communications Skills Course
Construction Industry Training Network describes the Communications Skills course being held in Langley, March 27-28. This Gold Seal Certified Course is designed to improve skills in communication for supervisors and management in the office and in the field.

Fire Performance & Alternative Solutions for Wood Structures
WoodWorks workshop Fire Performance and Alternative Solutions for Wood Structures will be held in Surrey, March 27-28. It covers current building code fire safety strategies, examples of current design and construction practices, and insight into proposed legislation pertaining to upcoming code changes.

Introduction to Passive House Design & Construction
Passive House Canada course Introduction to Passive House Design & Construction will be held in Vancouver on March 31st. This foundation course will provide you with a fundamental understanding of the elements of the Passive House design, which leads to cost effective, low energy buildings with increased occupant comfort and reduced mechanical systems.

PST Issues for Construction Industry
ICBA breakfast seminar, PST Issues for Construction Industry, will be presented in Burnaby on April 5th. It will help home builders, renovators and trade contractors understand how PST applies to their business.

Rennie Market Intelligence
UDI luncheon speaker on April 20th will be Andrew Ramlo, Vice-President of Market Intelligence of the Rennie Group and Executive Director of the Urban Futures Institute. With a focus on the dimensions of change (demographic, societal, economic and environmental) he will share predictions on the global landscape and impacts on the real estate industry.

Fundamentals of Lighting
FortisBC and the Vancouver Section of the Illuminating Engineering Society is offering the Fundamentals of Lighting Course in Kelowna April 21 and May 6. Topics to be covered are: Light Vision & Colour; Lighting Design Guide; Light Sources & Ballasts; Luminaires & Controls; Lighting Metrics, Photometry, Calculations & Rendering; Lighting for Interiors; Lighting for Exterior and; Energy Management.

Spring Building Science Training Camp 2017
Spring Building Science Training Camp 2017 will be held in Huntsville, Ontario, April 23-25. It gives you cause to rethink housing and housing conferences. An event where the format, venue, and informal setting all come together to enhance the sharing of knowledge and deepen the experience between participants and speakers.

13. Computer, Internet & Fun

Alternatives to Manage Your Passwords
Make Use Of describes five of the best LastPass alternatives to manage your passwords.

24 Construction Apps At Work On Job Site
Construction Dive says safety, personnel and project management apps promise productivity gains as the last of the paper holdouts are assimilated into a mobile-first work environment.

Most Dangerous Construction Site Failures
Tools of the Trade online video shows some serious accidents across a wide range of construction sites, many of which entail heavy equipment. While most of these scenes will make you cringe, several will also make you chuckle.


Dittie For Today: On Government

If the State wishes to spend more it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay -- that 'someone else' is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers' money. - Margaret Thatcher


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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