Newsletter #149
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
August 8, 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 Pat Martin, Mark Sakai, Ryan Coleman, Sabine Just, Sarah Vanderlee, Glenn Duxbury, Marisa Miller, and Ryan Cuffee 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

Online Slide Show Presentations on Building Science
Building Science has quite a number of updated online slide show presentations from their recent Building Science Fundamentals courses including: Enclosures; Heat, Air and Moisture; Physics; Rain; Air Control; Pressures; Roofs; Foundations; HVAC; Mass Assemblies; Retrofits.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Vancouver Plan Ignores City Hall Red Tape
Fraser Institute says the City of Vancouver plan to boost housing supply ignores the most expedient way to boost supply: less red tape on new homebuilding.

Fraser Valley Home Sales Still Strong Despite Summer Slowdown
Fraser Valley Real Estate Board says sales activity remained strong in July, despite month-over-month decreases for each of the three major residential property types.

BC Housing Market Update July 2017
BC Real Estate Association online video with economist Brendon Ogmundson discusses BC market statistics.

Affordability Workshop Dispels Housing Myths
Victoria Residential Builders Association says looking at city council demands for amenities, rising permit fees and energy efficiency, and it’s no wonder there is a trend toward micro-units.

Ideas for Provincial Involvement in Rental Housing
UDI provides a list of approaches the Province can use to support rental housing development in British Columbia. (PDF)

Philip Hochstein Relives 1990s NDP
ICBA video features Philip Hochstein, retired president, who had battles with the NDP in the 1990s that are legendary. Seeing old NDP hands Horgan, Dix, Krog, Farnworth and Meggs getting the Bad Government Band back together has him worried.

Massive Effort to Create Database to Shed Light on Canadian Housing Market
Financial Post says StatsCan is gathering information on everything from prices to owner demographics on every property in the country to help shape future policy.

Cost of 2x4's Rise as Lumber Faces US Duties
Home Builder Canada magazine says prices of standard building lumber are inching higher as Canada and the US negotiate a revised Softwood Lumber Agreement, which expired in 2006.

2. Business Management

Social Media Can Benefit Construction Workplace
Journal of Commerce describe some ways social media can benefit the construction workplace.

Six Keys to a Successful Social Media Strategy
Remodelers Advantage describes how to create a successful social media strategy.

Finding Good Subcontractors for Your Construction Business
Fine Homebuilding says finding good subcontractors for your construction business can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

How to Resolve Client Disputes
Residential Pro says a problem on the job can cause homeowners to blow up. Use a proven process to help defuse and manage it.

Federal Tax Changes Add New Threats for Independent Business
Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the tax burden is one of the biggest challenges your business faces, and it could get worse with new changes proposed by the federal government.

Developing an Estimating Database
Fine Homebuilding describes how to create a subcontractor data-mining system to predict your subcontractor costs and speed up construction-estimate turnaround.

Job-Related Pain & Weed on Work Site
Canadian Contractor discusses body stress and strain in construction, how pain is being treated by medication and the associated risks, and preventive measures available to workers and employers.

How Digitizing Building Information Transforms Built Environment
Taylor & Francis says digitizing building information is reshaping the relationships that users have with the built environment, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the professionals who operate, maintain, design and deliver buildings and cities

3. Building Design & Trends

Why Design & Build Multigenerational?
Builder Magazine says as housing, medical, and education costs spiral, new single-family for-sale housing types will appeal as options.

How to Talk with Clients About Remodeling for Retirement
US National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers some tips about how to talk about aging when you are interviewing a new client about their remodeling project.

Optimizing Lot Square Footage
Builder Magazine says a lot--even an entry-level lot--may be both the buyer's and builder's best win-win opportunity to seize value from their investment.

Design-Build Evolution
Canadian Contractor describes how Men at Work brought design services in-house and never looked back.

Three Rustic Design Tips That Will Wow Clients
Remodeling magazine offers three tips for mastering rustic design.

Porches with Powerful Appeal
Builder Magazine says these porches evoke a whole lifestyle of leisure with striking designs.

Digital Future for Construction Industry
Balfour Beatty says by 2050, construction sites may be completely human-free. Robots will work in teams to build complex structures using dynamic new materials. Elements of the build will self-assemble. Drones flying overhead will scan the site constantly, inspecting the work and using the data collected to predict and solve problems before they arise, sending instructions to robotic cranes and diggers and automated builders with no need for human involvement.

Understanding BIM
Passive Buildings Canada gives a very brief introduction to Building Information Modeling (BIM).


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Mark Gauvin, President of Gauvin Construction says: “Your Alert Notices save me an awful lot of time. I find it impossible to regularly check in on various websites of interest, but scanning through your Alerts lets me quickly zero in on information of interest, as well as articles I have missed from my usual sources.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Online BC Safety Monetary Penalties & Penalty Calculator
BC Safety Authority says when they find safety hazards or individuals who are not making their work or equipment compliant, they take progressive enforcement action. They may issue a monetary penalty up to $100,000, depending on criteria provided in the Monetary Penalties Regulation. They now have a Monetary Penalty Calculator on their website.

Service Supply Ducts Installed Inside Building Wall
Residential home builders are frequently installing service conduits within building walls to improve the home's exterior appearance. In order to facilitate this practice, BC Hydro has recently harmonized its requirements for the concrete encasement of customer service conduits installed within building walls with the BC Electrical Code for underground residential supply services (120/240V up to 600A). (PDF)

Canadian Windows May Meet Passive House Window Requirements
Fenestration Educational Society of BC is providing Canadian window manufacturers with tools to derive Passive House window data from their existing NFRC-based simulation data. They say many Passive House projects could use high performance Canadian-made windows if they have the window performance data required by the Passive House Planning Package software.

Canadian Free Trade Agreement Now in Effect
Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the Canadian Free Trade Agreement came into effect on July 1, but there is a lot of work to be done before trade barriers actually fall.

Consulting Canadians on Renegotiation of NAFTA
Government of Canada is seeking views on renegotiating and modernizing NAFTA, and industry and stakeholders are invited to participate in the consultation process. You have until July 18th, 2017 to provide your input online or via email.

First Nations National Building Officers Association
First Nations National Building Officer's Association represents people in First Nation communities who provide residential, commercial and institutional construction and renovation technical services. This includes plans review, inspections, recommending repairs, technical advocacy and advisory services assisting on reserve construction.

New Plumbing & Mechanical Industry Advisory Council
CIPH Plumbing Industry Advisory Council has evolved over the years to incorporate more mechanical, heating and energy aspects along with plumbing issues as we address policy alignment, harmonization, timely automatic adoption of model codes, and North American Regulatory cooperation. The new name the Plumbing and Mechanical Advisory Council (PMAC) reflects a better scope of the Council’s work as it has evolved over the last decade to include plumbing, heating, hydronics, wastewater and mechanical systems particularly their interactions in policy, codes and regulations.

New Standards Proposed for Concrete Pumps & Booms
Journal of Commerce says a Canadian Standards Association group called CSA Z151 is drafting new standards for concrete pumps and placing booms, that has been made available for public review.

5. Building Science & Technology

Balloon-Framed Walls
Fine Homebuilding describes how balloon-framed walls help create a more energy-efficient thermal envelope and air barrier.

Stack Effect in Northern Homes
Cold Climate Housing Research Center online video explores how stack effect works and how it affects homes in the cold climate.

Attic Vents & Venting
Saturn Resource Management describes how attic vents and roof venting serve a variety of purposes, depending on roof design and climate.

Calculating Attic Passive Ventilation
US Department of Energy describes how to calculate the amount of attic passive ventilation needed.

Roof Venting Doesn’t Affect Cooling Loads
Fine Homebuilding says you cannot measure cooling energy savings that might be attributed to the existence of a ventilation channel.

Air Conditioning for Humid Climates
Journal of Light Construction describes how air-sealing, right-sizing, and smart controls are the keys when planning air conditioning for humid climates.

LED Colour Characteristics
US Department of Energy describes light and color basics and summarizes the most important color issues related to white-light LED systems. (PDF)

Looking Up to Radiant Cooling
PM Engineer says there are a range of radiant cooling options depending on budgets, zoning preferences and the equipment used for the heating portion of the system. One of the lesser-known possibilities, at least at present, is using a radiant panel as a heat absorber for sensible cooling.

6. Building Performance Issues

Information & Resources on Accessible Housing
CMHC provides information on accessible housing to help you plan or modify a home to accommodate people with disabilities or changing needs.

Could a Grenfell Tower Fire Happen Here?
Green Building Advisor article features a professor of fire protection engineering looking at the London tragedy.

Building Code Means Vancouver Highrises Avoid Grenfell Fate
Journal of Commerce says don't expect a repeat of the London highrise fire in Vancouver, thanks to strict building codes and fire protection standards.

Fire Tests for Cross-Laminated Timber
Green Building Advisor says a government research facility tries to burn test apartments and finds the timber assemblies resist the spread of flames.

Fire Burn Test for Cellulose & Fiberglass Insulation
Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association provides test results that show superior flame and smoke spread control of sprayed cellulose insulation and blown fiberglass insulation in building wall cavities.

Claims About Cellulose Insulation Spark War of Words
Canadian Contractor says a US advertising watchdog has ignited a fierce PR battle between cellulose and fiberglass insulation manufacturers.

Pets & IAQ Issues
Mechanical Business describes issues and considerations for indoor air quality challenges posed by pets.

Why You Need a Moisture Meter
Tools of the Trade describes why you need a moisture meter, especially if you work with framing lumber and drywall.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

New .eco Web Domain As Platform for Eco-Friendly Businesses
Business in Vancouver says a local company now offers a website domain branding opportunity to green-minded organizations.

When High-Performance Homes Don’t Sell
Green Building Advisor says despite the advantages, cutting edge housing doesn't always excite potential buyers.

Recent Revision to BC Energy Step Code
BC Government provides information on BCBC Revision 11 of the BC Energy Step Code regarding Letters of Assurance Schedules B, and C-A.

New Westminster Urban Solar Garden
Ecolighten describes the City of New Westminster’s Energy Save New West program project that is exploring the potential to develop an Urban Solar Garden. The Urban Solar Garden will be an accessible, less expensive alternative to individual rooftop installations, allowing local residents, businesses and non-profits long term access to solar energy “Made in New West for New West”.

Solar Energy Retrofits for Multi-Residential Buildings
CMHC says these solar energy applications represent a realistic opportunity in the multi-residential sector, since solar energy systems can be implemented as cost-effective energy and water efficiency retrofits in existing buildings.

Q2 2017 Built Green Canada Newsletter
Built Green Canada online Q2 2017 newsletter provides updates on the Built Green Canada program and related green building industry happenings. (PDF)

Invitation to Participate in BC Energy Management Product Trials
BC Hydro is looking for customers to take part in a variety of technology trials that they will be conducting in the coming months. Some of the types of the trials include: Efficiently managing energy use during busy times on the energy grid; Managing heat pumps (for customers who already have heat pumps); Trialing Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats; Managing electric vehicle charging.

Debating Our All-Renewable Energy Future
Green Building Advisor says in general, getting to a clean energy system, even if it’s 80% renewable, is a well agreed-upon goal and one that can be achieved; it’s that last 20%, and how to get there, that forms the main point of contention.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

New Survey Predicts Product Market Shifts
Builder Magazine says the 2017 Builder Practices Survey captures new trends and trend reversals in regard to building product categories.

What Do Home Buyers Buy After Moving?
NAHB says most of the demand for appliances, furnishings, and remodeling projects in a given year is generated by non-moving home owners, because they outnumber home buyers by such a wide margin.

Lumber Cost Hurting? Think Advanced Framing
Insulation Institute says while material cost increases are commonplace for builders, so is the desire to maintain profitability. Is it time then for builders who have spurned advanced framing in the past to implement it now? Here are three compelling reasons to revisit the practice.

The Next Big Thing: Going Beyond Home Automation
Tech Home Builder says LUX tech has become about way more than home automation. At the 2016 TecHome Builder Summit, professionals delved into the demand of this new trend and how luxury living is becoming synonymous with indoor air quality, smart water, energy generation and storage and even net zero.

Ways to Talk to Your Customers about Smart Home Technology
Remodeling magazine says the smart home market has seen general interest, but also a lot of confusion. Here's what to keep in mind.

Early History of Comfort Heating
Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News describes the early history of comfort heating.

2017 Heating Season Product Preview
Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Piping Pros describes some of the current strides in hydronic, radiant, geothermal and alternative technology.

Air-to-Water Heat Pumps in Complementary Hydronic Systems
HPAC magazine says electrically powered heat pumps, in many varieties, are destined to play an increasingly important role in heating and cooling buildings around the world. They convert vast amounts of otherwise unusable low temperature heat into heat at sufficient temperatures to warm buildings or heat domestic water.

9. Installation Procedures

Resurfacing Damaged Concrete
Fine Homebuilding online video describes how to prepare the existing surface, mix, apply, and finish a concrete patch.

Air Sealing Sill Plates
US Department of Energy describes how to air seal above-grade sill plates adjacent to conditioned space to minimize air leakage.

How to Ensure Clean Air During Home Renovations
Ecohome describes some ways to safeguard your air and health while renovation work is going on.

Passive Backdraft Dampers
Fine Homebuilding describes Cape backdraft dampers that can be used instead of mechanical/electrical dampers.

Drones, the Flying Superintendent
BuiltWorlds says drones are a new construction management tool that closely and frequently observes sites from above, tracking progress and enabling real-time checks against scheduled deadlines, particularly those involving time-sensitive, labor-intensive tasks.

Two New Types of Mass Timber Panels
Ecohome describes new types of mass timber panels that enable longer spans than the traditional CLT, while requiring less wood: Mass plywood panels that use wood veneers instead of solid wood; Dowel laminated timber that use no glues, resin or fasteners.

Mixing Concrete in a Wheelbarrow
Fine Homebuilding online video shows how to mix concrete in a wheelbarrow.

Boiler & DHW Maintenance Matters
PHCP Pros says there is a strong need to address water heater and boiler maintenance issues for improved efficiency.

10. Information Sources

Get Answers to Building Envelope Questions
RCI says the building envelope industry has a number of specialties, and with that comes a number of experts. They offer these directions to finding such members.

Links to Building Industry Resources
Architectural Institute of BC provides links to resources on various topics of interest to the building & construction industry.

Three High-Level Metrics to Gauge the Health of Your Construction Business
Fine Homebuilding says these measurements, based on total revenue, can help predict and project the health of your construction business.

Insulation Usage Patterns In US
US NAHB Home Innovation Research Labs says insulation usage patterns are linked to home type, pricepoint, geography, and builder size.

Agreement to Take Canadian RenoMark to Next Level
CHBA and BILD-GTA have committed to further collaboration to grow and strengthen the RenoMark brand across Canada, engaging the full capacity of Canadian Renovator Council and more than 60 CHBA local and provincial associations.

Product Suppliers Case for Collaboration
Builder Magazine describes how new and innovative products and house systems are as innovative as their least innovative component.

Resolving Strata Disputes Through CRT
REMI Network says the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal is designed to be accessible to individuals who need an affordable, quick, and practical way to resolve a strata dispute.

Owner Builder Study Guide
BC Housing online Owner Builder Study Guide will help you prepare for the Owner Builder Authorization Exam in British Columbia. It describes the competency areas covered and what you need to know to pass the exam. The guide answers commonly asked questions, explains how to schedule an exam, where you can take the exam, what you need to bring to the exam and more. It also provides resource information to help you study for the exam. (PDF)

11. Conferences & Shows

Fenestration West 2017: BC Windows Doors & Glazing Conference
Fenestration Association of BC presents the Fenestration West 2017 Conference on October 26th in Surrey. It offers educational, informative and networking opportunities for window and door manufacturers, commercial glaziers, installers, architects, engineers, designers, spec writers, commercial construction contractors and owners.

BC Business Summit 2017
Business Council of British Columbia hosts their annual BC Business Summit on November 1st. It will convene business, First Nations, academic and community leaders and decision makers from across the province to explore strategies for scaling up the size, talent, competitiveness and influence of British Columbia's firms.

Global Trade Shows, Conferences, Fairs, Business Event Venues
10 Times provides a listing of trade shows the world over. And while it doesn't always have the details on every event, it does provide links to their own websites.

12. Education & Training

Effective Management Skills
ICBA course on Effective Management Skills will be held in Burnaby on August 17th. This course is for all managers, supervisors, team leaders or anyone who is responsible for achieving results through people and who want to bring the best out in people. Participants will deepen their understanding of motivation, engagement, delegation/empowerment and practical feedback skills.

Incident Investigations
Construction Industry Training Network course Incident Investigations will be held in Burnaby and Victoria. It is designed to provide participants the required knowledge to understand the principle of incident investigations and the methods used to ensure an adequate investigation is completed.

Search Online for BC Licensed Residential Builder Education
BC Housing online Education Registry for Licensed Residential Builders allows you to search for courses and to see how many points are awarded for completing the course. You can search by the education provider name, area, course, workshop, seminar, etc.

Online Courses for Construction Industry
Construction Industry Training Network lists various online courses for the BC construction industry.


Dittie For Today: On Work:

Nothing will work unless you do. - Maya Angelou


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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