Newsletter #146
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
June 6, 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


My thanks to Brian Hart, Kira DeVries, Joey Fearn, Jon Violette, Ryan Coleman, Jandy Rowell, Terry Adamson, Hannah Wood, Elizabeth Wolf, Glenn Duxbury, Christine Cunnick, Jordan Fisher, Bryan Clark and Amanda Sturgeon 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

Inward Drive & Outward Drying of Cladding
Building Science describes why reservoir claddings are not easy, especially with sun and air conditioning where it rains.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Industry Voices Uncertainty About BC Political Climate
Journal Of Commerce says the BC construction industry is reacting to the latest shifts in the political landscape with a mix of concern and hope for the future.

Unlocking Supply: BC Housing Affordability & Missing Middle
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade report Unlocking Supply: Housing Affordability and the Missing Middle identifies seven steps local governments can take to help unlock housing supply and improve affordability for residents.

BC State of the Market Report Q1-2017
UDI/Urban Analytics State of the Market Report for Q1 2017 has been released with plenty of stats and graphs showing price escalations, supply contraction, and differences in market sectors (building types and regional sub-markets). (PDF)

BC Economic Briefing June 2017
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing says exports were strong in April, and NDP-Green have created a confidence and supply agreement. (PDF)

BC Developers Market Intelligence Report March, 2017
UDI online Developers Market Intelligence Report for March, 2017 provides market statistics from throughout the Lower Mainland. (PDF)

Western Provinces to Lead Economic Growth In 2017
Conference Board of Canada says Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to emerge out of recession and lead the provinces in economic growth this year. British Columbia is forecast to see growth ease this year, but the province will still tie with Saskatchewan for second place.

Strong Evidence of Overall Problematic Housing Market Conditions
CMHC reports strong overall evidence of problematic housing market conditions nationally due to moderate evidence of overvaluation and price acceleration. This assessment largely reflects market conditions in Vancouver and Toronto and their neighbouring centres such as Victoria and Hamilton.

Is Remodeling Frenzy Changing the Industry?
Remodeling magazine says consumer home improvement sources like Houzz and HGTV are more popular than ever. For pros, is that a blessing or a curse?

2. Business Management

Builders Mine Customer Relationship Management Tools for Buyer Insights
Builder Magazine says CRM software comes to the forefront as firms mine online and offline resources for data to anticipate buyer behavior.

Top Tips to Help You Close the Sale
Plumbing and Mechanical says there are three parts of a sales visit: the presentation, the proposal and the close. The presentation sets up the others and vastly improves your closing ratio, but it’s at the close that even great presenters get jittery.

Profit Margin: The Final Frontier
Fine Homebuilding says margin is not markup, and not to use these words interchangeably. Doing so will cost you money.

VRCA 2017 Construction Salary Guide
VRCA & Hays 2017 Salary Guide provides a cross section of average salaries, with a minimum-typical-maximum range for construction management professionals as well as an overview of some of the trends from the industry. Free registration required. (PDF)

Marijuana Legalization & Construction
Journal of Commerce online video says it is imperative for organizations to have a plan in place to address substance use before marijuana becomes legal in 2018. Both the employer and workers have responsibilities regarding substance use and safety in the workplace.

With Great Expectations Comes Greater Legal Responsibility
Kuhn LLP article With Great Expectations Comes Greater Responsibility discusses how a general contractor learned the importance of due diligence and paying heed to its clients' concerns and high expectations.

Four Steps to Defusing Customer Service Battles
Builder Magazine says sometimes difficult customers require extreme tactics.

The Cost of Travel
Plumbing & Hydronic Contractor News describes how contractors can properly assess and plan for vehicular expenses.

3. Building Design & Trends

Using Color & Design Trends to Your Advantage
Builder Magazine says when home buyers see move-in ready color, builders often see a bigger bottom line.

2017 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence
Canadian Home Builders Association has announced the 2017 winners for its National Awards for Housing Excellence.

Top Showroom Trends
Builder Magazine describes some hot styles that are showing up in design centers across the country.

Five Modern Laundry Room Must-Haves
Remodeling design experts weigh in on some of the most popular features of the modern utility room.

Thoughtful Home Design Anticipates Multigenerational Human Behavior
Builder Magazine article features the makers of the Meritage reNEWable Living Home sharing the process of creating a functional multigenerational home.

Preferences for Remodeling A Kitchen
Realtor says National Kitchen & Bath Association survey shows almost half of what people spent on kitchen remodeling projects went toward new cabinets and appliances.

Key Strategies for Family-Friendly Home Renovations
Remodeling Magazine says when working on projects for clients with young children, safety and functionality should be top of mind.

7 Reasons the Benefit of BIM Is Now
Multifamily Executive Magazine says building information modeling offers a new world of design and construction efficiencies now, and in the future.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Wilma Leung, Senior Manager of Technical Research & Education, BC Housing, says: “Thanks for another issue of top drawer reading! And thanks for keeping the industry informed.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Recent BC Building Code Appeal Board Decisions
BC Building Code Appeal Board lists their recent BC Building Code interpretation appeal decisions, from March 2016 to present.

Recent BC Building Code Interpretations
Building Officials Association of BC has updated it's site with more of the recent BC Building Code interpretations. These are at the bottom of the list and include Dimensional requirements for service stairs, Mezzanines and means of egress, Anchorage of building frames, Limiting distances for houses in areas with delayed fire department response, Potable water supply, and Radon gas termination.

April 2017 Update to BC Code Letters of Assurance
On April 7, 2017, Letters of Assurance for the BC Building Code were updated as part of Revision 11 of the BCBC, adding the Energy Step Code. This bulletin provides an overview of changes and how the updated Letters of Assurance are intended to be applied. (PDF)

Updated Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos
WorkSafe BC has updated their online booklet Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos. It now includes Regulatory changes in effect on May 1, 2017, reflecting: regulation requirements, who is qualified to deal with asbestos, asbestos inventory, inspection and testing of equipment, record keeping, notice of project for asbestos, and monitoring the work environment.

Vancouver Makes CO Alarms Mandatory
Mechanical Business says Vancouver has become the third jurisdiction in Canada to make carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in residential buildings with fuel-burning appliances or an attached garage.

Energy Efficiency Requirements in Vancouver Electrical By-law
City of Vancouver Electrical By-law has been amended to add a new Section, Energy Efficiency. This new section requires new electrical installations in existing large buildings subjected to renovation to comply with the energy efficiency provisions in Part 10 of the Vancouver Building By-law, as they pertain to the electrical scope of work. (PDF)

Architect Guide to Using NAFS in Canada
RDH Building Science online Architect's Guide to NAFS: Using the North American Fenestration Standard in Canada, clarifies the intended use of NAFS for the products within its scope, and provides building designers with a rational methodology for specifying the structural-air-water properties of fenestration products in Canada. (PDF)

NAFS Labeling & Part 5 Compliance for Commercial Glazing Products
Fenestration BC has published an informational resource guide for architects with regards to NAFS labeling and Part 5 compliance path for commercial glazing products. (PDF)

5. Building Science & Technology

Reducing Condensation Potential in Wall Assemblies
Construction Instruction online animation shows conversion of water from the vapor state to a liquid initiated by a reduction in temperature of the vapor.

Building Smart with Safe & Durable Wall Assemblies
BC Housing online Building Smart seminar video describes issues and considerations for building safe and durable wall assemblies.

Duct Design, Basic Principles
Energy Vanguard describes what you do in the HVAC design process before you get to the duct design phase as well as the physics of air flow when it's constrained by ducts.

Duct Design, Available Static Pressure
Energy Vanguard describes how to choose a blower that will give the total air flow needed, and how to design a duct system that will deliver the proper amount of air to each room. To do that, you need to take the concept of pressure drops and apply it to blowers and ducts.

Building Science online slide show presentation describes design and installation issues and considerations for foundations. (PDF)

Installing Basement Waterproofing from Negative Side
Green Building Advisor describes the difficult issue of waterproofing a basement from the inside, or what is called negative side waterproofing.

Building Science of Skylights & Sloped Glazing Systems
RCI online slide show presentation by RDH describes what skylights are, critical barriers, and an illustrative case study. (PDF)

Key to Your Building's Success in Passing Air Leakage Test
Morrison Hershfield says standards and codes across North America are becoming more stringent with regards to accepted air leakage rates in completed construction. As a result, air leakage testing is increasingly becoming a code requirement.

6. Building Performance Issues

What is Proper Insulation Installation?
Insulation Institute explores the different definitions and terminology related to insulation installation, what code says about it (and what it doesn’t) and why all this matters for home construction, whether it’s code built homes or those meeting more stringent high performance targets.

Compressed Fiberglass Insulation Is Not Really So Bad
Energy Vanguard says compression of batts is fine (resulting in a higher R/inch due to the higher density) as long as the cavity is completely filled.

Industry Challenges Increased Slab Insulation Requirements in Alberta
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating says the most recent National Model Energy Code for Buildings includes significant insulation requirements for buildings with a heated slab, common to hydronic heating systems (in some cases up to 4"). These over-regulated insulation requirements are making it difficult for hydronic heating to compete in the marketplace due to the additional upfront costs.

Combustion Safety Test Procedure for Vented Appliances
Building Performance Institute reference standard Combustion Safety Test Procedure for Vented Appliances describes methods for testing base pressure, worst case, spillage, and ambient CO. (PDF)

More Volume Does Not Mean More Heating & Cooling Load
Energy Vanguard says it's the extra surface area and the insulation levels that affect the loads, not the volume.

Vancouver Requirements for Construction Fire Safety Plans
City of Vancouver says contractors are required by the Vancouver Building and Fire By-laws to have both a Construction Safety Plan and a Construction Fire Safety Plan prior to the start of construction. (PDF)

Low-Cost & No-Cost Home Modifications for Accessibility
CMHC describes some low- and no-cost modifications you can make to a home to make it safer, more comfortable and more accessible for everyone. (PDF)

Tenets of Reliable Roofing
RCI says the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction recently issued CIB Report No. 405, titled Improving Roof Reliability. Based on reviews of published reports, advisory papers, and experience of its members, they recommended these 12 tenets of reliable roofing.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Building Change, Towards Sustainable Communities in BC
Real Estate Foundation of BC report Building Change, Towards Sustainable Communities in BC presents a case for sustainable built environments, along with six priorities for action. (PDF)

How Small Businesses Are Working Toward Greener Future
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses report, Green Growth: How SMEs are working toward a greener future, reveals that a majority of small business owners have already been implementing environmentally friendly measures such as introducing or expanding recycling, reducing their electricity usage or using more environmentally friendly products in their business. (PDF)

Seminar on Designing & Constructing an Airtight Building
Canadian Green Building Council luncheon seminar Designing and Constructing an Airtight Building will be presented in Vancouver on June 14th. The City of Vancouver and step code airtightness testing requirements will be introduced, and you will then hear from experienced practitioners who are involved with the design, construction and testing of airtight buildings in Seattle.

Webinar on Energy Storage, A Homebuilder Introduction
CHBA webinar Energy Storage, A Homebuilder Introduction, will be presented on June 22nd. It provides an overview of this state-of-the-art technology, including how energy storage has been geared to residential applications, and key considerations for including it in your current and future projects.

Course On Introduction to Passive House Design & Construction
Passive House Canada course Introduction to Passive House Design & Construction will be held in Vancouver on July 7th. It 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.

Britco Construction Blends Modular & Passive Housing
BC Business says Britco Construction can construct passive homes, which use up to 90 per cent less energy than their traditional counterparts, much faster than rivals that work on-site.

Princess EnerPHit Passive House Retrofit in Vancouver
A Passive House Canada member has re-engineered a to-building code renovation in North Vancouver to meet the EnerPHit energy standard. Done Right Renos plans to apply for certification from the Passive House Institute in Germany.

Zero Carbon Building Standard
Canada Green Building Council new Zero Carbon Building Standard is Canada’s first green building program to make carbon emissions the key indicator. It champions the move to lower-carbon commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Recalls of Carrier & Bryant Heat Pumps
Health Canada says Carrier is recalling 2, 3, 4 and 5 ton sizes of certain Carrier Greenspeed and Bryant Evolution Extreme brand name residential variable speed heat pump units. The units are used for cooling and heating of residential homes, and capacitors in the control board may stop working causing the unit to overheat, posing a fire hazard.

Top Tile Trends for 2017
Custom Home Magazine says tile manufacturers are developing new products with looks that match the year's top home design trends.

Six Projects Master Use of Stone & Tile
Builder Magazine describes some winning residential projects in the Coverings Installation & Design Awards that recognized outstanding tile design at the Coverings 2017 show.

NBC Code Tool for Above Grade Walls
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation describes the NBC code tool for above grade walls. (PDF)

Top 10 Favorite Tools
Tools of the Trade online video features experienced tradesman Scott Wadsworth using his four criteria to choose the 10 tools that make his list of favourites.

Smart Windows Gain Even More Intelligence Than Before
BuiltWorlds says the market for smart windows, meaning glazing systems that leverage voltage, light or heat to regulate solar heat gain and optics, are demonstrating significant growth. Among them, electrochromic systems are seriously shaking up the market.

Design Simple but Sophisticated Hydronic Systems
HPAC magazine says as the North American hydronics industry has grown, so has the complexity of its systems.

How Installers Select & Explain Domestic Heating Controls
Taylor & Francis discusses how installers might influence the use, and subsequent energy consumed by domestic central heating systems through the selection and explanation of controls.

9. Installation Procedures

How to Spot Improper Window Flashing
Energy Vanguard says house wrap has to be flashed properly to keep the water moving down and out, not down and in. That means you want the upper layers to come down over the top of the lower layers. Where builders often get this wrong is at the top of a window.

Cutting Curves with a Circular Saw
Fine Homebuilding online video shows three typical applications to make different cuts. First is a radius for a door jamb, then a plunge cut in the center of a sheet of plywood to accommodate a pipe fitting, and last is a drop-cuts of a board under a staircase.

Installing Kitchen Exhaust
US Department of Energy describes issues and considerations for installing an exhaust fan in the kitchen to exhaust steam and cooking odors to the outdoors.

Continuous Circulation in Floor Heating Circuits
Plumbing and Mechanical says a way to improve the ability of a high mass slab heating system to survive many cold winter days without heat input is to design the system for constant circulation.

Combined Space & Water Heating Installation & Optimization
US Department of Energy online Measure Guideline: Combined Space and Water Heating Installation and Optimization describes installation and operation of residential systems that have forced-air heating and domestic hot water functionalities. (PDF)

Moving an Opening in a Brick Wall
Fine Homebuilding online video shows the process of rebuilding brick veneer using basic masonry skills.

Proper Batt Installation, Why Builders Should Care
Insulation Institute online guide Proper Batt Installation, Why Builders Should Care covers the business case for builders on why insulation installation matters, costs of different insulation installation approaches, and a quality management checklist to help builders, raters and insulation contractors collaborate to deliver proper, Grade I installations. (PDF)

Insulating & Air Sealing Existing Non-ICAT Recessed Lights
US Department of Energy describes how to air seal non-insulation contact (IC) rated recessed can lights by covering the can light with a protective covering to prevent conditioned air from escaping into the attic and to keep insulation from touching the recessed can light.

10. Information Sources

Technical Fact Sheets on Wood
Canadian Wood Council offers a wide range of free technical fact sheets on wood properties, design, and application.

Purchasable Book on Finding Hidden Profits
US National Association of Home Builders sells Finding Hidden Profits: A Guide for Custom Builders, Remodelers, and Architects. It shows you step-by-step how to position your business to make more money. $30 USD

BC Construction Industry Podcast with Chris Gardner & Jordan Bateman
ICBA podcast features President Chris Gardner and Communications Director Jordan Bateman talking weekly about BC politics and its effect on construction, responsible resource development, business, and taxpayers.

Vancouver Housing Renovation Information Centre
City of Vancouver online Housing Renovation Centre helps you get a development or building permit for exterior renovations or additions, or major down-to-the-studs interior alterations.

Architects Want More Digital-Friendly Product Information
Residential Design says architects, including residential design professionals, are calling on manufacturers of building products and materials to advance their digital capabilities, as well as their ability to consult and advise customers in the many phases of construction projects.

Economic Impacts of Canadian Housing Industry
Canadian Home Builders Association provides statistics on the 2016 economic impact of the housing industry in various provinces and municipalities in Canada.

Design Options for Cathedral Ceilings
RDH provides a reading list that address a range of building science principles and performance issues for cathedral ceilings in different climate zones.

New GuildQuality Service Aims to Find Work For Trades
Remodeling magazine says Crew offers a new platform for individual laborers to market skills, give/receive endorsements, and find work.

11. Conferences & Shows

Green Developments, The New Era
Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors is hosting its first-ever sustainable development conference in Vancouver, July 24-26. Titled Green Developments: The New Era, it will bring together developers, lenders, consultants and contractors, government representatives, and members of the media and general public to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the construction industry going forward.

Building Systems Housing Summit
US National Association of Home Builders is hosting the Building Systems Housing Summit in Pennsylvania, October 8-10. It features networking, education and product displays for builders, manufacturers and suppliers of log, timber frame, modular, panelized and concrete homes.

12. Education & Training

Break Bread with Titans of BC Real Estate Marketing
UDI luncheon on June 8th features three top titans of real estate marketing dishing on the hot buttons of the industry today.

Writing Effective Letters, Scope Documents, and Reports
ICBA course Writing Effective Letters, Scope Documents, and Reports will be presented in Victoria on June 12th. You’ll learn to tailor your writing for your audience and purpose. You’ll apply the strategies required for effective scope documents, letters, and reports. In addition, you’ll also incorporate key principles for editing and revising your documents.

Supervising the Drug Safe Workplace
VRCA course Supervising the Drug Safe Workplace will be presented in Vancouver on June 16th. This session will help participants identify and discuss related performance problems with employees and, most important, show how to gain an employee’s commitment to correct the problem.

Air Tightness in Buildings
APEG BC seminar Air Tightness in Buildings will be presented in Vancouver on June 21st. This half-day seminar will take a holistic look at air barriers and air leakage.

Twenty-First Annual Westford Symposium on Building Science
Building Science Corporation presents the twenty-first Annual Westford Symposium on Building Science, July 31 - August 2. It features intensive discussions on building science in both a formal and informal setting, featuring numerous presenters/facilitators who are each one of the foremost practitioners in their subject area.

Apprentice to CEO, Entrepreneurial Skills for Trades
BCIT School of Construction and the Environment is now offering a new entrepreneurship course, Apprentice to CEO- Entrepreneurial Skills for the Trades. If you are a trades person or apprentice looking to the future, a journey person who is looking to start their own business, or a trades person looking to become more valuable to their employer, this will provide the skills and insights to help build and to maintain a successful trades business.

Canadian Residential Building Insulation & Air Sealing Training Program
NAIMA Canada is developing a training program that will create awareness of insulation and air sealing application options and best practice techniques along with the integration of those interventions within the building envelope.


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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© Copyright 2017     Ken Farrish     All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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