Newsletter #157
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
March 27, 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 McManus, Brian Hart, Elisa Wood, Mark Sakai, John Maus, Wilma Leung, Laurel Butler, Ted Sheldon, Amy Golding, Joey Fearn, Louise Dunne, Sarah Vanderlee, Glenn Duxbury, Sabine Just, Amanda Lang, Mary Warren and Tim Kikot 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

Joints, Corners, Penetrations
Building Science Corporation insight Joints And Corners And Penetrations discusses how to address water control at joints, corners and penetrations.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC State of the Market Report Q4-2017
UDI online State of the Market Report for Q4 2017 provides stats and graphs showing price escalations, supply contraction, and differences in market sectors (building types and regional sub-markets). (PDF)

Vancouver & Abbotsford-Mission Sweep Top Spots in Economic Growth in 2018
The Conference Board of Canada online Metropolitan Outlook: Winter 2018 shows Vancouver and Abbotsford-Mission are forecast to be the fastest growing census metropolitan areas in Canada this year, and Victoria is also expected to rank in the top 10.

Interest Rate Forecast February 2018
Central 1 Interest Rate Forecast says global economy generates inflation concerns, trade war prospect takes centre stage, Canada’s economy shows cracks but sound, and Bank of Canada poised to normalize again. (PDF)

Mortgage Rate Forecast March 2018
BC Real Estate Association online Mortgage Rate Forecast of March 2018 says the Canadian economy slowed in the second half of 2017, and Bank of Canada will weigh impact of higher rates and mortgage rules before acting. (PDF)

Provincial Outlook
RBC online Provincial Outlook says Canada’s economic expansion is entering its 9th year and growth is becoming more balanced across the country. (PDF)

Canadian Renovator Outlook for 2018
Home Builder Canada asked busy top renovators for their take on challenges, changes and the outlook for 2018.

Making Modular More Than Temporary Homeless Fix
Business in Vancouver says modular housing has been gaining ground not only as a viable option to end homelessness, but also as a solution to multiple issues surrounding affordability.

New CMHC Study Sheds Light on Rising House Prices
CMHC study Examining Escalating House Prices in Large Canadian Metropolitan Centres looks into the causes of rapidly rising home prices in major metropolitan centers across Canada.

2. Business Management

Marketing to Millennial Homeowners
Fine Homebuilding says in the past, homeowners would heed more traditional forms of marketing. But millennials like to be in charge of the buying process by doing their research online first.

What’s Keeping You From Closing More Sales?
Plumbing and Mechanical describes the most personable and helpful way to get customers over the purchasing hump while using the genius of testimonials.

Tell People What You Expect of Them Right Away
PM Engineer says most things in life go easier when you tell people who are going to be working for you what you expect of them before you actually hire them.

Simple Script to Handle Customer Complaints
IE3 says while there isn't a one-solution-fits-all for dealing with customer complaints, there are some factors that must be considered in any situation where a customer complains.

What Software Are Builders Using, and Why?
Home Innovation Research Labs says the concept of integrated construction management software is obviously becoming very popular.

What Federal Budget 2018 Mean for Small Business
Canadian Federation of Independent Business says Federal budget 2018 does not focus on improving competitiveness or growth for small businesses.

Activist Governments Driving Up Cost of Doing Business
Business Council of BC says in isolation, government policy changes and reviews are often well founded. However, heaping on additional costs and uncertainty for businesses is problematic. Policy-makers need to understand that business leaders increasingly are taking stock of cumulative impacts, with a growing number deciding that the best course is to postpone, scale back or redirect new capital spending.

Construction Wages to Increase Nearly 10% in Next Two Years
ICBA 2018 Wage and Benefits Survey shows BC construction workers should see pay raises of nearly 10 per cent over the next two years.

3. Building Design & Trends

2018 Winners of BC Georgie Awards
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC provides a list and project information for this year's Georgie Awards winners. Their new home and home renovation projects highlight just some of the quality, skill, professionalism and excellence in BC's residential construction industry. (PDF)

2018 Gold Winners of Tommie Awards
CHBA Central Okanagan lists the 2018 Tommie Awards Gold Winners.

2018 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence
Canadian Home Builders Association has announced the 2018 winners for its National Awards for Housing Excellence.

Vancouver Program Encourages Kids to Become Designers, Builders
Journal of Commerce says Design Build Research, a Vancouver-based not-for-profit institute, is geared towards enabling young and would-be designers to put their ideas into action.

2017 Q4 Home Design Trends Survey on Kitchen & Bath Features
American Institute of Architects online Home Design Trends Survey results for Q4 2017 describes emerging trends in kitchen and bath features.

The Top Kitchen & Bath Design Trends
Remodeling magazine lists hottest designs according to an NKBA survey.

9 Home Features Your Buyers Don’t Know They Need
Builder Magazine says these features can be top selling points—and upgrade opportunities—but customers won’t know it until you show it.

Home Features Buyers Consider Essential
US National Association of Home Builders summarizes a recent poll that asked prospective first-time and second-time home buyers which features they considered essential in their next home.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Sean Moss, President, Sean Moss Home & Mold Inspection Services says: “I really appreciate all of the information you provide in the alerts that you send out. It is a great resource.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Ask A Question About BC Building Code
BC Building Codes & Standards has an online database of commonly asked questions about the BC Building Code. You can also submit a question of your own. See the section at the bottom of the page titled Ask a Code Question.

Recent BC Building Code Appeal Board Decisions
BC Building Code Appeal Board lists their recent BC Building Code interpretation appeal decisions, including access to mechanical systems from a secondary suite, and requirements for sprinklers.

Latest North American Fenestration Standard Published
REMI Network says the 2017 edition of the North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for windows, doors, and skylights is now available.

Concerns on BC Speculation Tax
CHBA BC submitted this paper to the BC Ministry of Finance, outlining industry concerns on the speculation tax.

Pros & Cons of NDP Housing Plan
Business Council of BC says in Budget 2018, the NDP government unveiled a 30-point housing plan intended to address concerns about housing affordability. They believe that housing policy should be driven by the needs of the local population but there are problems with the government's overall approach.

Vancouver Barking Up Wrong Tree with Empty Homes Tax
Fraser Institute says very few homes qualify for the new Empty Homes Tax, meaning city hall should consider other ways to address Vancouver’s housing shortage, namely by enabling the construction of more homes.

Updates on BC Municipal Activities
UDI March newsletter provides an update on various municipal policy and code activities. (PDF)

2018-2020 WorkSafe BC Policy & Regulation Workplans
WorkSafe BC has approved the 2018-2020 policy priorities workplans.

5. Building Science & Technology

Updated BC Best Practices for Air Sealing & Insulation Retrofit
BC Housing has updated their online BC Best Practices for Air Sealing and Insulation Retrofit that describes procedures and considerations for attics & roofs, below grade walls and basements, crawlspaces, exposed floors, and above grade walls.

Advanced Framing vs Traditional Framing
US Department of Energy online video describes traditional 2x4 16 inches on center framing versus advanced framing with 2x6 stud walls at 24 inches on center, insulated corners and headers, wall stud-ceiling joist alignment, etc. providing a strong wall with more room for insulation.

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter?
Cold Climate Housing Research Center says an arc fault circuit interrupter, or AFCI, is designed to detect dangerous electrical arcs and disconnect power to the circuit before a fire starts. They contain current and temperature sensors as well as a microprocessor that can distinguish arc faults caused by unintentional electrical hazards. (PDF)

Three Hydronic Radiant Heating Myths
Heating Help discusses three hydronic radiant heating myths.

Radiant Heating Using Pellet Boiler
PM Engineer describes design considerations for a system intended to supply space heating and domestic hot water to residential or light-commercial buildings using a pellet boiler as the renewable energy heat source, and radiant panels as the comfort delivery method.

Bath Fan Venting for Cold Climates
Fine Homebuilding says common solutions to a bath fan icing problem are to use a higher-powered fan, use a larger-diameter, shorter duct run, and wrap the pipe with better duct insulation.

Flashing Windows, Water Leaks, Kick-Out Flashings
US Department of Energy online video details the 2009 IECC residential requirements regarding water and moisture issues. flashing, windows, water leaks and kick out flashings.

Achieving Continuous Advantages with EIFS Insulation
Construction Canada describes issues and considerations for achieving continuous advantages with EIFS insulation.

6. Building Performance Issues

Online Construction Best Practices Manual
Hammer & Hand online Best Practices Manual describes field-tested construction details, many of which have been shaped by high performance building and Passive House building experience.

4 Steps to Prevent Excess Moisture in New Homes
Insulation Institute article by building scientist Joe Lstiburek talks about the four things builders can do to prevent excess moisture during construction.

Practical Sound Control
Journal of Light Construction says when you’re trying to limit sound transfer through a building assembly, the goal is to do two things: Limit vibration of building materials and limit air movement.

Combustion Gases in Your Home
NRCan describes things you should know about combustion spillage in a home. (PDF)

Combustion Equipment Safety
US Department of Energy bulletin Combustion Equipment Safety describes how to provide safe installation for combustion appliances. Careful installation and maintenance of each unit is required to ensure safe and efficient operation, especially in today’s energy-efficient, tightly sealed homes. (PDF)

Business Case for Health in Housing
Remodeling magazine online video provides ideas on how to marry health and value with housing.

Legionella and Water Supply Systems
Safe Plumbing describes how new kinds of plumbing systems and old infrastructure create additional challenges of legionella.

Burn Basics for Hot Water Return Systems
PHCP Pros says when designing a hot water return system, there are a number of things you need to be aware of if the system has a mixing valve and is recirculated. This article covers three basic system designs for hot water systems using mixing valves and recirculation pumps. Systems that do not follow this piping arrangement have been known to cause scald injuries and deaths to unsuspecting users.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Definition of Green Building
Fine Homebuilding describes ten factors that make for eco-friendly home design.

BC Circumvents National Code Diligence
Victoria Residential Builders Association says BC government has leaped ahead under the pretext tighter homes are required prior to the 2022 goal set by the National Code. By enabling 160 municipalities to set their own energy efficiency level, BC undermines its own building standard.

Vancouver Looks to Mandate Green Roofs on New Homes
Home Builder Canada says the City of Vancouver, which is aiming to become the world’s greenest city, is looking at mandating green roofs on new residential developments.

BC Energy Efficiency Standards Amendments for Products
BC Government has issued the regulatory bulletin Energy Efficiency Standards Regulation Amendment that includes new and updated standards for gas fireplaces, split-system heat pumps, fenestration, general services lighting, and consumer battery charging systems. (PDF)

2018 Most Efficient Energy Star Products
Energy Star lists their 2018 Most Efficient products in various Energy Star categories.

New Westminster Urban Solar Garden Update
Ecolighten, as part of their work supporting Energy Save New West, provides an update on the City of New Westminster Urban Solar Garden initiative.

Smart Charging Doesn’t Boost Adoption of Electric Vehicles
Climate Examiner says smart charging that is centrally controlled by a utility does not boost sales of electric vehicles, as the cost-savings turn out to be just too small.

Discussion with Climate Scientist Trevor Murdock
BC Advanced Conservation and Efficiency is holding a discussion forum with climate scientist Trevor Murdock in Vancouver, on April 13th. He will be presenting on climate projections for BC's future, showing climate change impact on temperature, precipitation, and related indices of extremes.

Seminar on Vancouver's Future in Passive House
UDI seminar Vancouver's Future in Passive House will be presented in Vancouver on April 24th. The North American panel discusses achieving energy efficiency and the Passive House standard in a form that is relevant to the Vancouver markets of multi-family residential and high-rise buildings.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Smoke Alarms Recalled
Consumer Products Safety Commission says Kidde has recalled dual-sensor (photoelectric and ionization) smoke alarms, models PI2010 and PI9010. A yellow cap left on during the manufacturing process can cover one of the two smoke sensors and compromise the smoke alarm’s ability to detect smoke, posing a risk of consumers not being alerted to a fire in their home.

2018 Fired-Clay Brick Trends Expand into Whites, Grays, Blacks, Painted
Builder Magazine says Brick Industry Association manufacturers report cool shades are trending among buyers at all price ranges.

Top Lighting Trends For 2018
Design Quarterly says interior lighting is often the finishing touch that entirely transforms a space, and this has never been truer than it is today.

Products for Canadian Winter
Home Builder Canada describes some products that work well for the Canadian winter.

2 Ways to Get the Best Insulation in A Home
Energy Vanguard describes two ways to make sure you get the most out of your insulation.

Pneumatic Nailer Tips & Techniques
Tools of the Trade online video provides some tips from a carpenter who's been using a nail gun for more than 30 years on how not to get shot with one and how to keep one functioning like new for decades.

Specifying the Right Plywood for Concrete Formwork
Construction Specifier says concrete formwork may represent close to half the cost of a concrete structure. For cost-effective building, contractors select forming panels that will stand up to the job and to multiple uses.

HVAC in Post-Carbon World
Passive Buildings Canada says HVAC designers and suppliers need to be nimble to meet the new challenges of ultra-low energy buildings. Energy modeling is essential, and space heating and cooling needs are significantly affected by location, orientation, envelope, and simplicity of design.

9. Installation Procedures

How to Demolish a Non-bearing Stud Wall
Fine Homebuilding online video shows a methodical approach and some basic tools to get the job done quickly and safely.

Squeak-Free, Site-Built Stairs
Journal of Light Construction describes how to build squeak-free, durable stairs.

Air Sealing Penetrations
Green Building Advisor says detailing the penetrations for exterior receptacles, a wood stove flue, and plumbing vents requires careful planning.

Tying into a Drain Line
Fine Homebuilding says rubber couplings are a popular code-approved option for tying into a drain line, but a permanent connection offers added stiffness and durability.

Corrosion-Resistant Condensate Drain Pan for Condensing HVAC
US Department of Energy describes issues and considerations for installing a corrosion-resistant drain pan under condensate-producing HVAC equipment.

8 Ways to Patch Drywall
Fine Homebuilding describes some variations on patching walls.

Fast & Efficient Saw Blade Cleaning
Tools of the Trade online video describes three steps for fast and efficient saw blade cleaning: Soak, scrub, and shine. It also illustrates four pro tips that make the process painless, including what blade cleaner to use, how to make an old toothbrush a more efficient scrub brush, and how and when to use saw dust.

Alternatives to Domestic Water Re-Piping
BC Housing bulletin Alternatives to Domestic Water Re-Piping compares two alternatives to residential multi-unit re-piping: epoxy pipe lining and water management systems.

10. Information Sources

2018 Canadian Construction Cost Guide
Altus Group online 2018 Canadian Construction Cost Guide provides costs for a variety of property types on a national scale. Within these markets it offers current analysis, unit rates, measurement and application of cost per square foot for various building types. (PDF)

Construction Wage Survey Released
Builder Magazine says the No. 1 top-earning construction job may surprise you. (It's not a plumber or an electrician.)

10-Year Scenario of Canadian Workforce Supply & Demand
BuildForce Canada online 2018 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecasts offer a 10-year scenario of workforce supply and demand by trade, province and region.

Free Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide
American Wood Council free DCA 6: The Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide, offers a trusted reference to understanding the 2012 International Residential Code.

Purchasable Book on Social Media Marketing for Your Business
US National Association of Home Builders sells Social Media Marketing for Your Business. From it, builders and residential construction professionals can learn a long-term approach to building and maintaining an effective marketing strategy with social media as a main component. $20 USD

8 Free Marketing Tools Every Service Business Needs
IE3 describes some marketing tools that can help your service business with marketing. Since these tools at least have a free level, you can start with a zero budget and work your way up from there.

New Findings on Prospective Buyers
CMHC has compiled and released the report, with infographics, entitled 2018 Prospective Home Buyers Survey.

Online Performance Benchmarking Self-Assessment Tool
BuildForce Canada online Performance Benchmarking Self-Assessment Tool is designed to assist construction and maintenance employers in measuring their organization in relation to a specific set of recognized best practices. You can compare your efforts against other construction and maintenance employers and be able to identify areas for continuous improvement. Free site registration required.

11. Conferences & Shows

2018 Understanding Risk BC
BC Construction Association presents Understanding Risk British Columbia 2018, in Victoria, April 16-17. It will focus on implementing strategies to reduce natural hazard risk, hazard mitigation, and increased resilience in the built environment in BC.

Indigenous Workplace Inclusion Event
Inclusion Works 2018, being held in Kelowna April 16-18, is a management learning forum focused on the theme of Indigenous/non-Indigenous partnership development. Leaders and managers from Indigenous organizations and companies will offer case study examples of their own partnership experiences and explain the strategies and practices which helped to build successful partnerships, for employment, business or social development.

Lean Construction Conference & Training Day
Lean Construction Institute of Canada is holding its 2018 conference in Vancouver, April 24–26. It will explore how Lean practices and principles can bring value throughout the entire construction supply chain from procurement to design, construction, handover and maintenance.

Building Officials Association of BC Spring Conference
The Spring Education Conference of the Building Officials Association of BC will be held in Kelowna, April 29 - May 2. (PDF)

2018 BC Architects Conference
Architectural Institute of BC 2018 conference will be held in Vancouver, May 7-9. It runs over three days, and conference offers stimulating plenary sessions, intimate seminars, panel discussions and evening gatherings.

2018 House & Property Inspection Spring Conference
Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC is holding their 2018 ASTTBC-PI Spring Conference and Education Day in Surrey on May 24th. They have assembled a group of professionals from different industries to give the latest information from their field of practice.

Window Industry Technical & Manufacturing Conference
US Window & Door Manufacturers Association is holding its Technical & Manufacturing Conference in Minneapolis, June 19-21. It is comprised of two and a half days of informative sessions, organized into two general tracks - one related to product performance, emerging product technologies and environmental compliance; and one focusing on manufacturing processes, plant safety, and workforce issues.

12. Education & Training

Building Smart with Fire Risk Mitigation in New Residential Construction
BC Housing seminar Building Smart with Fire Risk Mitigation in New Residential Construction will be presented in Vancouver on April 16th. It covers construction safety practices, industry research, and lessons learned from international exterior cladding fires. It focuses on managing and designing to address fire safety risk and discusses best practices in exterior wall finishes.

Rennie Market Intelligence
UDI luncheon speaker on April 19th will be Vice-President of Intelligence of the Rennie Group. He will be looking at projected dimensions of change relating to our housing market including foreign buyers, expanding home equity, the new speculation tax, housing supply and more.

How Silicon Valley & Vertical Integration are Disrupting the Way We Build
BC Construction Roundtable seminar Upending the Supply Chain: How Silicon Valley & Vertical Integration are Disrupting the Way We Build, will be presented in Vancouver on April 19th. It will cover a new level of efficiency and precision to projects through vertical integration, technology and a systems-based approach.

Introduction to Basic Electricity
BC Electrical Association course Introduction to Basic Electricity will be held in Burnaby, April 19-20. Topics to be covered include Introduction, Voltage Sources & Systems, Circuits, Electrical Diagrams, Test Equipment, Basic Electrical Products, Wire & Cable, and Lighting.

High Rise Passive House Workshops
City of Vancouver and Passive House Canada are organizing 2 workshops on April 25th to help Passive House professionals build Passive House high-rises. Workshop 1: Cost-Effective Passive House Engineering for Larger Buildings, is presented by Brandon Nicholson, NK Architects. Workshop 2: The Passive House High-Rise: How is it different, is presented by Lois Arena from Steven Winter Associates and Monte Paulsen from RDH.

Professional Selling
Construction Industry Training Network free breakfast session on Professional Selling will be presented in Burnaby on June 12th. It will teach you how to sell your product or service like the professional you are.

Building Smart with Site & Foundation Drainage
BC Housing workshop Building Smart with Site & Foundation Drainage will be held in Vancouver on May 2nd. It will cover: Drainage design considerations; Details and workmanship required for drainage elements; Design and installation of building enclosure systems; Maintenance of site and foundation drainage; Post-construction remedial measures.

Construction Foundation of BC Offers Industry Ways to Give Back
Council of Construction Associations says the Construction Foundation of BC is encouraging companies to help support students as they try to advance through to the national and global levels of competition.


Dittie For Today: On Quality

People forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well you did it. - Howard W. Newton


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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