Newsletter #154
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
January 3, 2018


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 Denisa Ionescu, John Maus, Brian Hart, John Hawthorne, Ted Sheldon, Rick Fearn, Wilma Leung, Ed Hudson, Rick Vlahos, Sabine Just, Ryan Coleman, Karen Podolski, Kevin Holland, Bob Joseph, Joey Fearn, Karen Tam Wu, Chris Steube, Andy Schweiz, Glenn Duxbury, Kira De Vries, Julie Domvile, and Jenn Miller 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

Public Review of 2018 BC Building, Plumbing, Fire Codes
BC Government invites you to participate in an online survey to provide feedback on proposed changes to the next edition of the British Columbia Building, Plumbing, and Fire Codes.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC State of the Market Report Q3-2017
UDI online State of the Market Report for Q3 2017 provides stats and graphs showing price escalations, supply contraction, and differences in market sectors (building types and regional sub-markets). (PDF)

BC Housing Forecast Update, 2017-2019
Central 1 report BC Housing Forecast Update, 2017-2019 says housing market sales had robust levels above 102,000 units in 2017 and will ease 3.5 per cent in 2018 and two per cent in 2019. (PDF)

Mortgage Rate Forecast
BC Real Estate Association online Mortgage Rate Forecast of December 2017 says Canadian mortgage rates rose substantially in 2017 and are forecast to rise further in 2018. (PDF)

BC Economic Briefing
Central 1 Credit Union online BC Economic Briefing says 2017 housing starts remain high, but expected to slow in 2018 due to eroding affordability and tighter market conditions. (PDF)

Home Is Where The Heart Is...If You Can Afford It
Business Council of BC says the latest census data highlights significant shifts in some key housing indicators over the last decade and touches on the implications these trends may have on the Canadian economy, such as the rise of renters versus home owners, the move to living in apartments versus single-detached homes, more young adults living with parents, and the growing share of households living in shelter that’s considered unaffordable.

2018 Macro Trends for Builders
Builder Magazine describes 18 areas of sea change they see as most relevant in the year ahead.

BC Associations Audited in Professional Reliance Review
Engineers & Geoscientists of BC says on October 3, the provincial government announced it would be undertaking a review of the Province’s professional reliance model. The review began with an audit of five professional associations, including Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the associations governing agrology, applied science technology, applied biology, and professional forestry.

2. Business Management

How to Market to Millennials
High Performance Building Exchange summarizes research into how to market to millennials as they enter prime home buying years. They cover insights into who millennials are, scenarios for success, and what the best practices are that builders can put into action.

Selling Points for the Home Improvement Professional
Qualified Remodeler says salespeople must focus on the welfare of potential customers and control the conversation to help influence homeowner decisions.

Simple Task of Selling
Plumbing and Mechanical says a good salesperson builds a relationship that benefits both parties in the long term.

Seven Secrets to Exceptional Customer Service
Builder Magazine summarizes what top builders shared as the customer service strategies underlying their success.

Construction Pricing Strategy, Developing A Base Rate
Fine Homebuilding says accurately and efficiently determining what to charge is an issue that cause many construction business owners to lose the battle for profitability.

Hays Salary Guide Warns of Potential 2018 Workforce Crisis
Daily Commercial News says employers are facing a potential perfect storm scenario when it comes to staffing in 2018. The Hays Canada Salary Guide shows while Canadian employers had a successful year, nominal raises, soft hiring plans and growing discontent among employees could mean a potential workforce crisis in 2018.

BC Labour Market Outlook 2017-2027
BC Construction Association says WorkBC has released the 2017 edition of British Columbia's Labour Market Outlook. The report provides up-to-date information on the types of jobs and skills that will be in demand in B.C. between now and 2027.

Key Takeaways from Canadian Construction Innovations Conference
Canadian Construction Association says once the inaugural Canadian Construction Innovations conference wrapped up, one thing became abundantly clear: not only is the industry on the precipice of massive change, but much of that change and evolution is already well underway.

3. Building Design & Trends

New Design Trends to Captivate Buyers in 2018
Builder Magazine offers top tips to attract new home buyers next year.

2018 Colors of the Year
Custom Home Magazine shows what paint companies picked as year-defining hues.

Finalists for 2018 Georgie Awards
CHBA BC lists the finalists for their 2018 Georgie Awards, highlighting excellence in home building and renovation in BC. (PDF)

2017 BC Landscape Awards of Excellence Winners
BC Landscape & Nursery Association presents winners of their BC Landscape Awards of Excellence that recognize and profile the high standard of landscaping excellence in BC.

Winners of 2017 American Landscape Architect Awards
American Society of Landscape Architects online videos describe the winners of their 2017 Awards.

Dwell’s Top 10 Renovations of 2017
Dwell describes their top 10 thoughtful renovations that respect the buildings' character while updating them for modern comfort and efficiency.

2017 Multi-Housing Excellence Award Winners
Multi-Housing News shows the 2017 MHN Excellence Award Winners that represent the multifamily sector’s most innovative and ingenious achievements.

Responsibilities of Architects for Design of Building Envelope
Architectural Institute of BC bulletin Building Envelope discusses fundamental responsibilities of architects for the design of the building envelope. The introduction of the BC Energy Step Code (April 2017) and the new building code energy conservation requirements triggered a review of the Bulletin and its subsequent council-approved update. (PDF)


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Steve Riley, Principal, S.P.Riley Residential Design Ltd. says: “Brilliant, timely information...keep up the good work!”

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.

Lower Mainland Municipalities That Opt-In to Step Code
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association lists all of the metro Vancouver municipalities that have signaled to the Provincial Government that they will be referencing the Energy Step Code. The date of notification, the proposed application of the Steps, the effective date, and links to staff reports (where available) are shown.

New Formwork Safety Bulletins from WokSafe BC
Council of Construction Associations says two new WorkSafeBC construction safety bulletins have been created to alert workers and employers about the crucial differences between backshoring and reshoring.

Concerns to Changes to COR Certification Program
Over the past several weeks, WorkSafeBC has made a number of industry presentations on the status of its review of the Certificate of Recognition program. BC Construction Safety Alliance has put out a special bulletin on the changes outlining its concerns. (PDF)

Results of Technical Safety BC Fee Consultations 2018-2020
Technical Safety BC consulted on a number of proposed fee changes for 2018 - 2020. After considering all comments received they decided on these fee changes.

UK Building Codes Free, Easy to Use
Canadian Contractor says the National Building Code folks in Ottawa believe that contractors should have to pay to read their code. Building regulations are free for use in UK to make sure people don’t take shortcuts and do so safely. They are also far, far easier to understand than Canada’s National Building Code.

Alberta Insulation Rules Unfairly Target Hydronics
Plumbing & HVAC magazine says hydronic heating contractors in Alberta have seen their market share plummet after provincial inspectors began enforcing new insulation requirements for radiant floor heating slabs. Contractors asked what is the industry and government doing to overturn these requirements in the National Energy Code, as it singles out one industry and if four inches of under-slab insulation is needed, it should apply to all buildings regardless of the type of heating system.

Call for Urban Intensification
Building Design & Construction says rather than focus on urban densification perhaps we should consider urban intensification.

5. Building Science & Technology

Building Science & Laws of Thermodynamics
Energy Vanguard online 4-part series describes the four laws of thermodynamics.

How to Insulate a Wood Foundation
Green Building Advisor discusses whether exterior insulation is a good choice, and if so how it could be detailed on a log home.

Insulation Guide for Contractors to Share with Homeowners
US Department of Energy online Best Practices Series: Volume 17 Insulation: A Guide for Contractors to Share With Homeowners will help contractors and homeowners identify ways to make their homes more comfortable, more energy efficient, and healthier to live in. It also identifies the steps to take, with the help of a qualified home performance contractor, to increase their home’s insulation, ensure healthy levels of ventilation, and prevent moisture problems. (large PDF)

Site-Built Attic Ventilation Baffles
Green Building Advisor says site-made ventilation chutes made from OSB look like a better bet than commercially available baffles.

Understanding Difference Between HRVs & ERVs
Construction Instruction describes the Difference between HRVs and ERVs.

Liquid Membranes Suitability for Window Sill Pan Flashings
RDH paper Window Sill Pan Flashings: Are Liquid Membranes Suitable?, provides results of a series of novel test protocols to evaluate the performance of various liquid membranes in a window sill application. (PDF)

What's the Name of The Outdoor Part of a Heat Pump?
Energy Vanguard looks at the basic terminology of air conditioning and heat pump systems.

Geothermal Heating & Cooling
Heating Help infographic describes features and benefits of geothermal heating and cooling.

6. Building Performance Issues

Residential Gas Furnaces Not to Be Used to Heat Construction Projects
Technical Safety BC says some manufacturers of residential furnaces have changed their certified installation instructions to restrict gas-fired central furnaces from being used to heat buildings under construction.

How Frost Heave Works
Fine Homebuilding says it was once thought that frost heave happens because water expands as it freezes. But the process is actually more complicated, involving not only expansion due to freezing, but also the accumulation of additional layers of ice as liquid water is drawn up from below the frost line.

Use of Combustible Materials in Building Envelope
Architectural Institute of BC regulatory review The Use of Combustible Materials in the Building Envelope covers some of the issues coming out of the tragic Grenfell Tower Fire, and some of the duties and responsibilities of architects in the design of cladding systems, both for new buildings and for the rehabilitation of existing buildings.

Misconceptions of Wind Damage to Asphalt Composition Shingles
RCI says there are many misconceptions and a number of issues with asphalt shingles that are commonly incorrectly attributed to wind effects.

Water Tables & Basements
Green Building Advisor describes how to use geologic, soil, and historical maps to keep your basement dry.

Rebuilding Flood Damaged Homes
Building Science says the problem with flood damaged buildings is that the damage is done by dirty water. Everything imaginable and unimaginable is in flood water.

Universal Design Principles for Bathrooms
Building Design & Construction says the bathroom as the most dangerous room in the house, and architects can use principles of Universal Design to reduce these hazards.

Accessibility Features in Seniors Homes
CMHC research looked across socio-economic and demographic categories of Canadian seniors, and across building type and tenure, to assess to what degree accessible features have been incorporated into the homes of Canadian seniors.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Solar Self-Sufficiency Possible, But Not Feasible in Coastal BC
CBC says research from the University of Victoria suggests that in-home solar power may not be the most feasible way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in coastal BC.

Four Renewable Energy Trends to Follow in 2018
Renewable Energy World says there are important trends to keep an eye on in 2018 where sustainable energy is concerned. Here are four trends to follow in the New Year.

Home of Tomorrow Demonstrates Energy Efficiency
Kelowna Capital News says the Home of Today and the Home of Tomorrow is a real-world study on sustainable homebuilding.

Purchasable 2017 National Energy Code for Buildings
Canadian National Research Council sells the 2017 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings. It provides minimum requirements for the design and construction of energy-efficient buildings and covers the building envelope, systems and equipment for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning, service water heating, lighting, and the provision of electrical power systems and motors. It applies to new buildings, as well as to substantial renovations in existing ones. It does not apply to farm buildings nor to housing and smaller buildings covered in Part 9 of the National Building Code of Canada. $260 Cdn

Most Efficient Energy Star Products 2018
Energy Star lists their 2018 Most Efficient products based on energy efficiency and innovation.

Microgrids Come into Their Own Following Events of 2017
Microgrid Knowledge says 2017 disasters spoke to the vulnerability of the electric grid and the need for microgrids to ensure power supply.

Passive House Tradesperson Course
BCIT presents the Passive House Tradesperson Course in Burnaby, January 8-12. This five-day course teaches practical Passive House building techniques alongside theory, and prepares participants for the Certified Passive House Tradesperson exam. It is delivered as a combination of in-class lectures and hands-on workshop experience, incorporating actual building of Passive House details relevant to the Canadian construction industry.

Transforming Chambers of Commerce into Energy Efficiency Champions
Institute for Market Transformation says significant opportunity exists for chambers of commerce and small business associations to bridge the information gap and become the de facto connectors to today’s best-practice efficiency solutions.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Prohibited Installation or Uncertified Gas Fire Places
Technical Safety BC has released a new safety order, Prohibited Installation or use of Uncertified Gas Fire Places Manufactured by Canadian Fire Hearth Mfg. Inc. and Luxor Mfg. Inc.

Buyers Guide to Insulation
Fine Homebuilding says if you’re selecting insulation, you need to make sure that your chosen material is appropriate for its intended location, that it will perform well, that it won’t be prohibitively difficult to install, and that it won’t blow your budget.

2017 Tools Of The Trade Editors Choice Award Winners
Tools of the Trade describes their 14 most interesting and innovative products of the year.

9 Modern Ways to Use Marble in Your Bathroom
Dwell says though marble is widely known for its old-school glamour, it can also bring some simple, modern luxury to a more contemporary bathroom.

Combining Concrete & Natural Stone
Concrete Network describes a variety of ways to use concrete in conjunction with natural stone.

Tile Styles
Kitchen & Bath Design News says whether for bathrooms or kitchens, tile continues to be a popular way to personalize a space, appearing on everything from walls and floors to backsplashes, murals and more. Myriad color, size and shape options allow for a nearly endless array of design possibilities, with materials running the gamut from porcelain, slate, concrete and glass to marble, metal, reclaimed wood, solid surface and more.

Geothermal Features & Benefits
PHCP Pros says the benefits of geothermal systems far outweigh the costs associated with them. GHP systems are an efficient comfort system, not the most expensive, can be installed in almost any situation, and benefit everyone who is involved with them.

3D-Printed Steel touted as Future of BC Home Construction
Business in Vancouver says a Vancouver company is hoping to disrupt the local construction framing industry with new technology that can print steel beams and accelerate the building process.

9. Installation Procedures

12 Air Leakage Areas of Focus for High Performance Walls
Insulation Institute says getting high performance walls relies on proper air sealing before installing insulation, regardless of the insulation used. This can't be done without understanding where homes typically leak air to prevent and/or address the top air sealing trouble spots.

Tips for Making Gang Cuts
Tools of the Trade online video shows how to avoid blade deflection when making gang cuts.

Can Door Undercuts Work as Return Air Pathways?
Energy Vanguard says door undercuts are neither always adequate nor always inadequate. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don't. With low-load homes, the lower air flow required in bedrooms means half inch door undercuts might well be sufficient. The more air required for a bedroom, the more likely it is you'll need to put in an additional return air pathway.

Optimizing Furnace Installs
Mechanical Business Magazine provides some tips for optimizing furnace installs. (PDF)

Preventive Maintenance Checklist for HVAC Systems
HPAC magazine says winter can be hard on heaters of every type, but a step-by-step approach to preventive measures and maintenance of HVAC systems will help you to prepare for the harshest season of the year. From gas supply to air movers and condensate removal, this list hits the preventive and maintenance high points on a range of heating products.

Basics of Purging Hydronic Circuits
HPAC Magazine says nearly all modern hydronic systems rely on two methods to get air out and move water into the system. Together these methods can get the system up and running quickly and ensure that it remains essentially air-free over its full service life.

Stupid-Simple Router Joinery
Tools of the Trade says it turns out that mounting a large, thick, square piece of Plexiglass to the bottom of a plunge router makes quick work of mortise and tenon joinery.

Protect & Maintain Textured Concrete
Concrete Network says stamped concrete will provide decades of service when properly installed and maintained, even when exposed to harsh winter weather conditions.

10. Information Sources

New Book Chronicles Building Trades History in BC
Journal Of Commerce says the BC Building Trades recently marked its 50th anniversary with the release of We Build BC, History of the Building Trades.

Canadian Housing Statistics Program
Statistics Canada has undertaken a joint project with CMHC to develop a framework designed to address data gaps related to housing. This first release from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program provides a coherent and consistent structure to measure the ownership of Canadian residential real estate. This information will also demonstrate how Canada's housing stock changes over time.

Construction Schedule Templates
Fine Homebuilding says using a Gantt Chart for your overall company schedule and project schedules will ensure your construction business operates efficiently and your projects run smoothly.

Purchasable Concrete Design Handbook
Cement Association of Canada sells the Concrete Design Handbook that covers many aspects of the structural design of conventionally reinforced and prestressed concrete buildings. $230 CDN

Building HVAC Science Podcasts
Blue Collar Roots Media Network online podcasts cover various topics related to HVAC building science.

Training for HVAC Techs, By HVAC Techs
HVAC School provides online training for HVAC Techs, including podcasts, videos, quizzes, tech tips, partners and products.

Net Neutrality & Construction Industry
Construct Connect says regardless of where you stand on the issue of net neutrality, it is important to know what the potential impact on your construction business could be if the current net neutrality rules are repealed.

Calculator Estimates Time to Freezing for Water in Insulated Pipe
Whole Building Design Guide online calculator estimates the time for a long, water-filled pipe or tube (with no flow) to reach the freezing temperature.

11. Conferences & Shows

BC Log & Timber Building Industry Conference
BC Log & Timber Building Association annual Conference and AGM is being held February 22-24 in Chase BC.

BC Annual Water & Waste Conference & Trade Show
BC Water & Waste Association annual conference & trade show, held in Penticton May 13-15, features a trade show, technical and operator sessions, and networking opportunities.

12. Education & Training

Building a Foundation for Your Brand
Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association course Building a Foundation for Your Brand will be presented in Burnaby, January 17th and 24th. Presented in four modules, it walks you through the foundations of branding to create your builder story. This course will help you understand the various elements to the industry and how they come together to convey your story, the key to connecting with current and future clients.

Code Requirements for Fire Rating Assemblies in Building Envelope
BC Building Envelope Council Vancouver luncheon on January 18th presents Hot New Trends in Building Cladding: Code Requirements for Fire Rating Assemblies in Building Envelope. It covers code requirements in the US & Canada for combustible, non-combustible, rated, and unrated assemblies, case studies of fires in building envelope materials, and types of materials and related safety testing standards and reality.

Webinar on How We Communicate Radon Risk
Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists webinar How We Communicate Radon Risk will be presented on January 18th. It covers how the risk presented by radon is perceived by the public, how this affects the actions they take (or don't take), and how this research might affect our approach to radon awareness as an industry.

Higher Steps of the BC Energy Step Code for Multi-unit Residential Buildings
BC Housing seminar Building Smart with Higher Steps of the BC Energy Step Code for Multi-unit Residential Buildings will be presented in Burnaby on January 24th. It is designed to support designers, developers, builders, project managers, contractors, inspectors, and others involved in the planning, design and construction of MURBs to learn to build residential buildings to a very high energy efficiency standard using cost-effective, applied best practices.

Leading & Managing Organizational Change
ICBA seminar Leading and Managing Organizational Change will be presented in Burnaby on January 25th. It is focused on preparing you to manage organizational change and to lead and mentor others through change.

Breakfast Seminar on Building for Zero Emissions
UDI says as the City of Vancouver pushes towards low carbon emissions in new building construction, the rules of the landscape are shifting. On January 31st their local experts present an informative discussion over breakfast about the recently approved Low-Carbon Energy Systems Policy, Neighbourhood Energy Utility Connectivity requirements and how third-party thermal energy system ownership can help you make the most innovative decisions for your future project.

Building Smart with High Performance Concrete Envelopes
BC Building Envelope Council workshop Building Smart with High Performance Concrete Envelopes will be presented in Vancouver on February 27th. It will focus on concrete envelopes for Part 9 and Part 3 construction, and industry experts will discuss the latest research on how concrete envelopes can help deliver results as well as the most effective ways to meet the new BC Energy Step Code standards.

Certified Concrete Slab Moisture Tester Course
BC Floor Covering Association presents the Certified Concrete Slab Moisture Tester course in Surrey, March 12-13. Testing sub-floors properly and according to ASTM standards, is a requirement for most manufacturers product warranties. This two-day course offers industry recognized training and the chance to become a certified testing professional.


Dittie For Today: On Improvement

The man who comes up with a means for doing or producing almost anything better, faster or more economically has his future and his fortune at his fingertips. - Jean-Paul Getty


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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