Newsletter #152
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
November 7, 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 Sabina Just, Joey Fearn, Ryan Coleman, Wilma Leung, Brian Hart, Pat O'Toole, Kira de Vries, Denisa Ionescu, Glenn Duxbury, Tracy Wells, Karen Tam Wu, Andy Schweiz, Paul Springer, and Sarah Venderlee 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

Tech Notes on Best Practices for Home Builders
US National Association of Home Builders online Tech Notes help builders navigate some code requirements and implement best practices to avoid building performance issues related to interior humidity levels, condensation in wall and roof assemblies, and interior air quality.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Economic Briefing
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing says employment softened but unemployment rate in BC remains the lowest in the country, and the Lower Mainland home price surge in October could be a last hurrah. (PDF)

Mortgage Rate Forecast
BC Real Estate Association online Mortgage Rate Forecast of September 2017 says 5-year fixed mortgage rates hit three-year high, rapid economic growth but still no sign of inflation, and Bank of Canada is tightening, but how quickly. (PDF)

BC the Bright Light for Canada’s Economy
Journal of Commerce says economic indicators are looking good for British Columbia, Canada and the world. At a provincial level, the economy is in great shape.

Canada’s Banking Watchdog Sets Tougher Rules for Mortgage Lending
Financial Post says starting in January, new regulations will make it tougher for Canadians to qualify for uninsured loans, affecting consumers with down payments of 20% or more.

More Mortgage Red Tape Could Hurt Homebuyers
Fraser Institute says more mortgage red tape could hurt homebuyers in many ways, since uninsured mortgages already require a minimum of 20 per cent down of a property's value.

Briefing Paper on New OSFI Mortgage Rules
Rennie Marketing says as of January 1, 2018, the OSFI is introducing tighter restrictions for mortgage applicants with 20% (or more) down payments. This online Briefing Paper on New OSFI Mortgage Rules provides a primer on the OSFI, the upcoming rule change, and what implications it could have for households and the broader market. (PDF)

More Millennials Decline Home Ownership
Builder Magazine says the millennial generation is shaking up the future of the housing market.

Provinces Partner to Develop Apprenticeship Technology
Journal Of Commerce says Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces are partnering to develop a shared apprenticeship management system that will improve and modernize online services.

2. Business Management

Four Steps to A Five-Star Online Reputation
Fine Homebuilding says a contractor or builder needs a solid online reputation in this modern age. These four steps will help you with the process.

Most Important Page on the Internet for Contractors
Energy Circle says your search engine result page is most likely the single largest driver of traffic to your site, and depending on how your company looks on that page can have a big effect on how people interact with your website.

Vancouver Renovators Sell with Virtual Reality
Home Builder Canada says renovators with the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association are planning to use virtual reality to help clients see what there home could look like.

The Return Customer
IE3 discusses the situation where you lost a customer to a competitor, but now that customer is back and wants to work with you again. While that's almost certainly a positive development, there may be caveats to consider, among them, why your customer left your competitor.

How to Cut Overhead
Plumbing and Mechanical says you need to know what your overhead is costing you per year, and this sample overhead list will get you started.

Calculating Labor Budget in Your Construction Estimates
Fine Homebuilding says many construction companies ignore calculating the specific labor budget for a given job. If you do not clearly communicate the labor budget to your employees, then your employees are left without specific production goals. Profitability suffers without production goals.

Indemnification Dance
Journal of Light Construction says indemnification is both a sword and a shield; be sure the clause you agree on is one you also truly understand.

Labor & Skills Deficits in Construction Not Just at Jobsite Level
Home Innovation Research Labs focus group with a local chapter of ASHRAE found that poor coordination between construction disciplines is one of the biggest issues in the construction industry today.

3. Building Design & Trends

2017 Q2 Home Design Trends Survey on Home Features
American Institute of Architects online Home Design Trends Survey results for Q2 2017 describes emerging trends in home features.

2017 Remodeling Design Award Winners
Remodeling magazine presents their 2017 Remodeling Design Award winners.

Finalists of the 2018 NAHB Best of 55+ Housing Awards
US National Association of Home Builders lists the Finalists of their 2018 NAHB Best of 55+ Housing Awards, with links to the project and company websites. (PDF)

What Baby Boomers Really Want in Their Next Homes
Realtor says multicar garages, open decks or patios, eat-in kitchens, and private yards were among the top features boomers wanted for their next place.

Finalists for Apartment & Condo Awards
US National Association of Home Builders lists finalists for their Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards, which honor superior achievement in apartment and condominium development, design, marketing and management.

Eight Top Interior Design Trends for Fall
Custom Home Magazine interior designer predicts the top looks for the new season and into winter.

Kitchen & Bath Inspiration from Our K&B Issue 2017
Fine Homebuilding slide show provides 24 kitchen and bath photos from seven projects featured in our 2017 Kitchens & Baths issue.

Houzz Study Reveals Master Bathroom Trends
PHCP Pros says a survey of more than 1,200 US homeowners who are in the midst of, are planning, or recently completed a master bathroom project, found that of those upgrading their master shower (81 percent), more than half increase its size (55 percent). The demand for high-tech features like mood lighting or digital controls is also on the rise in master bathrooms compared to the year prior (12 percent in 2017 versus nine percent in 2016).


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Norm Williams, Architect & Building Consultant says: “I have received your Building Information over a reasonably long time and have found your publications helpful”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Overview of BC Energy Step Code
BC Building Envelope Council online slide show presentation describes background, content and next steps for the BC Energy Step Code. (PDF)

Victoria Presses Pause on Energy Step Code
Victoria Times Colonist says homebuilders are commending the Capital Regional District for taking a cautious approach with the province's Energy Step Code. The CRD, which surveyed the construction industry this year on behalf of the region's municipalities about the new regulations, has decided not to change its building bylaw to incorporate Step Code requirements until there is a better understanding of the impact the changes will have.

Airtightness Targets in Codes & Standards Across BC
BC Housing online appendix to the Illustrated Guide for Achieving Airtight Buildings is a handy reference and overview of whole-building airtightness performance targets in codes and standards across BC.

Vancouver Looks at Cracking Down on Wood-Burning Fireplaces
Global News says Metro Vancouver is looking at new regulations that would make many wood-burning fireplaces across the region illegal. Their air quality and climate change division said wood-burning stoves negatively affect the region's air quality.

WorkSafe BC Preliminary Assessment Rates for Construction
BC Council of Construction Associations says the preliminary assessment rates for 2018 have been announced by WorkSafe BC. Lower claims costs and strong investment returns have enabled assessment rate reductions overall, though individual rate groups are still subject to increased or decreased rates according to their performance.

Removing Barriers to Building Housing Faster
Ontario government says it is increasing access to rental and affordable housing by launching a new team to help streamline the development process and tackle some of the challenges that prevent housing projects from being built.

Warning Homeowners About Dangers of Asbestos
WorkSafeBC is urging owners of pre-1990s homes to talk to their contractor about asbestos before starting home renovations or a demolition.

Lead Paint & Old Clapboards
Green Building Advisor discusses ways to rescue lead-painted bevel siding on an 1860 house.

5. Building Science & Technology

Illustrated Guide on Achieving Airtight Buildings
BC Housing online Illustrated Guide, Achieving Airtight Buildings is an industry resource to design, build and test airtight buildings. It also consolidates information on achieving airtightness in buildings, with a focus on larger or more complex building types while ensuring building enclosure performance, including moisture management, thermal performance and durability.

It's All Relative
Building Science describes how relative humidity matters to materials more than most of us appreciate.

Why Acoustic Matter: Demystifying Noise Control in Buildings
Engineered Wood Association online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for noise control in buildings. (PDF)

How Many Tons of Air Does HVAC System Move?
Energy Vanguard says you will have more respect for air if you know how much weight it carries.

Perfecting Hydronic System Design
HPAC magazine says system designers should imagine a building with heat loss characteristics such that the rate of heat loss always matched the rate of internal heat generation from sunlight, people, and equipment.

Energy Recovery Ventilation
Construction Instruction online animation shows how an energy recovery ventilation system works.

Crawlspace Ventilation for Cold Climate Homes
Cold Climate Housing Research Center describes alternatives for crawlspace ventilation strategies commonly used in Southcentral Alaska homes. (PDF)

Evolving Best Practices of Offsite Construction
Hive describes why innovation's next wave will matter in how the home building and residential design and development businesses work.

6. Building Performance Issues

Details & Tips for Moisture Resistant Homes
Engineered Wood Association provides construction details and tips for designing and building moisture resistant building envelopes, including foundations, walls, and roofs. Free site registration required.

Hybrid Roof & Wall Insulation Assemblies
Building Science describes roof and wall assemblies that use insulation materials from various manufacturers who figure out ways to work with each other.

4 Ways Moisture Enters a Vented Crawl Space
Energy Vanguard says if you have a vented crawl space, especially in a humid climate, it most likely has moisture problems.

Hazardous Vapors Can Seep into Your Basement
Green Building Advisor says the movement of underground contaminants into buildings is attracting increased scrutiny from health experts.

Removing Radon from Crawlspaces & Basements
Ecohome Removing describes different options for removing radon gas from existing basements and crawlspaces.

Performing Indoor Air Quality Assessment
Healthy Indoors Magazine says if you have an IAQ problem that needs solved, remember to use the scientific method of investigation and do not allow yourself to become fixated on one, single hypothesis when determining causation.

HRV/ERV Performance Issues in Northern Canada
CMHC report Survey of HRV/ERV Performance Issues in Canada’s Near North and Far North summarizes a study to assess potential performance issues with heat recovery ventilation (HRV) and enthalpy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems. (PDF)

History of Asbestos in BC
Speaking of Safety says asbestos is toxic but was once prized for its fire-proof properties. People used it to insulate pipes, flooring, drywall, and more. Kids even played in it.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Builders Brace for New Energy Rules
Business in Vancouver says the new BC Energy Step Code requires BC’s 162 municipalities to pass bylaws that tell local builders what’s expected of them – but few jurisdictions have taken action.

BC Energy Step Code Resources
BC Government provides links to resources on the new BC Energy Step Code. (PDF)

Slow Progress to Achieve BC Climate Change Goals
REMI Network says a report by the Real Estate Foundation of BC finds little progress has been made towards climate change goals as set out in the BC Climate Action Charter.

How to Choose Green Building Materials for Healthy Home
Builder Magazine provides tips to help builders choose materials that will give consumers a safe, chemical-free home.

Energy Audits Are Coming, What Builders Need to Know
Canadian Contractor discusses who these energy advisors are and what the energy ratings mean.

What Realtors Need to Know About EnerGuide Home Evaluation
Canadian Real Estate Association says if realtors are interested in helping their clients save on energy bills while also increasing home comfort, the EnerGuide energy performance rating and labeling program is a great place to start.

How to Talk About Home Energy Upgrades
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy report How to Talk about Home Energy Upgrades, delves into the art of message framing for home energy upgrades and includes several practical recommendations for assessors. Free site registration required.

New Board Members for Canadian Net Zero Energy Housing Council
CHBA announced the new Board and Committee members for their Net Zero Energy Housing Council.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Buyer's Guide to Rigid Foam Insulation
Fine Homebuilding describes types of rigid foam insulation that can be used on walls, roofs, and foundations, and it is suitable for retrofits and new construction.

CCMC Report for Spray Foam Radon Mitigation System
Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association published CCMC Report for their Radon Mitigation System summarizes how two foam systems have been proven to provide superior radon gas protection in sub slab applications.

Online Video on Nail Gun Safety
US National Association of Home Builders online video on nail gun safety offers tips to avoid serious injuries on the job.

Construction Personal Protective Equipment Tips & Tricks
Construct Connect offers some tips for ensuring proper use of personal protective equipment.

Dust Control, No Longer Just a Shop Vac
Home Builder Magazine describes how dust removal and vacuum systems are changing radically.

Exterior Trim Innovations
Qualified Remodeler says cellular PVC trim changed the game 20 years ago, and there’s been steady innovation in the category ever since.

Which Product Brands Remodelers Prefer
Remodeling magazine asked pros to name which brands in 54 product categories they had heard of, which they have used in the past two years, which they use most often, and which they regard as tops in quality.

RenoRun Launched in Ontario
Canadian Contractor says RenoRun is a Canadian start-up that delivers building materials on demand, through a smartphone application.

Build Direct Files for Creditor Protection Days After CEO Resigns
Business in Vancouver says BuildDirect has filed for creditor protection days after its CEO and founder resigned abruptly from the company known as the Amazon of homebuilding supplies.

9. Installation Procedures

Joist Flashing for Decks Before WRB
Construction Instruction online animation shows how to install joist flashing for decks before weather resistive barrier is applied.

Joist Flashing for Decks After WRB
Construction Instruction online animation shows how to install joist flashing for decks after weather resistive barrier is applied.

Tips for Using Reciprocating Saw
Tools of the Trade online video provides tips and techniques for using a recip saw on pipe, drywall, and demo work.

Fast & Accurate Hinge Mortises
Fine Homebuilding online video shows to custom-make a simple jig from plywood and 1x to fit your particular router, bit, and hinges. The jig clamps to the door and to the jamb, and its zero-clearance construction practically eliminates tear-out from the router bit.

5 Most Common Insulation Flaws
Insulation Institute describes the top 5 areas where insulation flaws can compromise energy performance.

Best Practices for Air Sealing & Insulation in Homes
Fraser Basin Council online video features Graham Finch from RDH Building Science discussing best practices and mistakes to watch out for in real examples of air sealing and insulation.

Furnace Retrofit System Optimization
Ecolighten article in Mechanical Business Magazine covers Optimizing Furnace Efficiency and Performance. It focuses on retrofit applications and the importance of proper sizing, installation and commissioning to ensure a new high-efficiency replacement furnace will operate to its designed intent.

Nailing Wide Shingles
Journal of Light Construction offers tips for nailing wide cedar shingles.

10. Information Sources

Presentations From 2017 Building Science Fundamentals
Building Science has now uploaded the various online slide show presentations from their recent Building Science Fundamentals sessions.

Video Gallery of Tools & Tips
Tools of the Trade online videos offer tips on various tools and related uses.

Residential Structural Design Guide
US HUD online Residential Structural Design Guide, A State-of-the-Art Engineering Resource for Light-Frame Homes, Apartments, and Townhouses, helps to document and improve the structural engineering issues related to housing design and performance. It complements current design practices and building code requirements with technical information and guidance. (PDF)

Presentations From 2017 Construction & Maintenance Summit
BuildForce Canada allows access to presentation materials from their 2nd National Construction & Maintenance Industry Strategy Summit. It served as a forum to share and inspire industry action to to address areas of safety, productivity and retention.

Architects & Construction Project Management
Buildings Canada describes how architects can manage their construction work phases more efficiently using construction project management tools & best-practices.

10 Provisions for Construction Contracts
Fine Homebuilding describes how designing a comprehensive construction contract is the best way to mitigate the risk to your construction business, protect yourself from legal disputes, and establish trust with your customers.

Asbestos & Health Issues
Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center provides information to raise awareness about asbestos, an environmental contaminant that has been known to cause illnesses such as asbestosis or mesothelioma cancer.

Information for Mesothelioma Cancer Patients & Families
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance provides information and resources for patients and families of those who may develop mesothelioma if he or she was exposed to asbestos in the workplace or at home.

11. Conferences & Shows

2017 Wood Solutions Conference in Vancouver
The 2017 Wood Solutions Conference will be held in Vancouver on November 17th. It is dedicated to design and construction with wood products and systems, including mass timber. This educational event will showcase wood uses in commercial, institutional, industrial and multi-unit residential construction through specifically designed seminar streams, new and current topics and an interactive trade show.

Building Officials Association of BC Fall Education Conference
The Fall Education Conference of the Building Officials Association of BC will be held in Richmond, November 22-24. It will feature workshops on a number of building topics. (PDF)

Career Education Society Annual Conference
Career Education Society will hold their annual conference in Richmond, November 20-21. This conference, for BC educators, is known as one of the best career education professional development conferences in the province.

Passive House Summit
Passive House Summit will be held as part of the IIDEX show in Toronto, on November 29th. It is comprised of four seminars that will explore policies, principles, case studies and future directions of high performance building.

12. Education & Training

Apply for BC Building Excellence Research & Education Grants
BC Housing is now accepting applications for the 2018 Building Excellence Research & Education Grants. This program supports initiatives that improve the quality of residential construction and strengthen consumer protection for buyers of new homes in BC.

UDI Luncheon Featuring Premier John Horgan & Minister Selina Robinson
UDI says the Honourable BC Premier John Horgan will join the Honourable Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Minister responsible for TransLink for an inaugural address to the development community on November 16th. Together, they will share an update on their first 100 days in government and future plans to address housing affordability and transit priorities.

Obscure World of Construction Insurance
British Columbia Construction Roundtable presents The Obscure World of Construction Insurance on November 16th in Vancouver. They will share experiences and practical tips for understanding, triggering and capitalizing on construction insurance.

Leadership for Safety Excellence
Vancouver Regional Construction Association course Leadership for Safety Excellence will be presented in New Westminster, November 16-17. It introduces the basic concepts of health and safety and the things participants will need to know so that their company can set up an excellent health and safety program and get the most from participation.

High Performance Homes: Energy Step Code Seminar
GVHBA seminar High Performance Homes: Energy Step Code Seminar will be held on November 23rd in Vancouver. This full-day session covers a review of the Step Code, performance vs prescriptive, best builder practices, how municipalities are adapting policy, navigating planning and permitting stages, marketing high performance home benefits, and how to apply a 4-part execution framework to achieve healthy, sustainable business growth.

Bringing Clarity to Low Lead Requirements for Plumbing in Canada
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating webinar on November 28th will offer key insights and clarity on what you need to do to comply and meet Low Lead plumbing requirements in Canada via standards and national model code.

Microsoft Project
Construction Industry Training Network says the course on Project Management will be presented in Victoria, November 28-29. It will introduce the commands, functions, and capabilities of Microsoft Project. It is designed for computer users who are new to Microsoft Project who want to gain a thorough understanding of it.

Ground Disturbance Seminars in Kelowna & Surrey
BC Common Ground Alliance is presenting Ground Disturbance Seminars in Surrey on November 21st and Kelowna on November 23rd. For companies who disturb the ground in any way, this BC Ground Disturbance Seminar is important.


Dittie For Today: On Character

The easy way out rarely is. The more your actions are driven by expediency, the less effective they will be. Rather than doing what is easy, do what is best. - Ralph Marston


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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