Newsletter #169
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
February 19, 2019


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 Mark Sakai, Brian Hart, Denisa Ionescu, Christine Gibson, Andrew Pape-Salmon, Sarah Vanderlee, Joey Fearn, Corey Breed, Sabine Just, Melissa Broadus, Malamarie Sinha, Mindy Tulsi, Megan McElwain, Glenn Duxbury, Bryan Orr, Louise Dunne, Mei Yi Loo, Karen Frank and Lisa Hatina 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

Building Enclosure Design Fundamentals, Components, Assemblies
Woodworks online slide show presentation by RDH explores design considerations associated with wood-frame building enclosures and the role of control layers. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Lower Mainland Municipal Real Estate Trends in 2018
Real Estate Weekly online infographics show highlights of the Lower Mainland municipal real estate trends in 2018.

2018 Was a Year of Change in Canada's New Housing Industry
RENX says it wasn't a smooth year for new home markets in Canada in 2018, though Altus Group's outlook remains generally positive for the housing sector. Its New Home Outlook 2019 cites mortgage regulations, interest rates, taxes and development charges as key challenges.

Is BC Losing Its Edge?
BC Business says our province is an economic powerhouse and a great place to do business. We could live up to that reputation by making a few changes—attracting more head offices, for one.

Recipe for Housing Crisis? Just Add Government
Canadian Contractor article takes aim at taxes, slow processes, and regulations for causing Canada's housing affordability problem.

Townhouses Not a Magic Bullet for GTA Ground-Related Housing Affordability
Centre for Urban Research and Land Development paper Townhouses Not a Magic Bullet for GTA Ground-Related Housing Affordability examines townhouses as an option for affordable ground-related housing in the Greater Toronto Area. It finds that while new townhouses are less expensive than new single-detached houses, they remain out of reach for many prospective buyers. This is largely because the cost of serviced land for townhouse development is inordinately high. (PDF)

Why Most Homeowners Prefer to Renovate Than Buy a New Home
GenPop says across America, people would rather stay and upgrade their current home than move, according to a new Ipsos survey on behalf of Zillow. More than three-fourths of Americans in 20 metros would use their money to update their home instead of as a down payment on a new home.

Home Trade-In Program
Builder Magazine describes how builder partnerships will allow customers to sell their old home when buying a new one.

Airbnb Will Sell Houses In 2019
Airbnb wants to get into the housing business in a big way.

2. Business Management

Career Advice for BC Workers in Age of Automation
In a new report, the Business Council of BC examines the potential impact of automation across all occupations in the provincial labour market.

What’s Up with US Construction Costs?
Build Zoom says after falling or remaining flat for three decades, real US construction costs have increased sharply since the mid-2000s. The rise was driven by both material and labour costs.

Estimating from the Ground Up
Remodeling magazine says understanding how to accurately estimate by the stick is the starting point to any effective estimating system.

Oracle Opens Construction Tech Test Site
PHCP Pros says the new Oracle facility plans to drive digital transformation in the construction and engineering markets.

Elon Musk & His Tesla Namesake
Builder Magazine discusses why this story about the cost and value of innovation matters in housing right now.

Canadian Construction Labour Markets Stable Over Coming Decade
BuildForce Canada Report says Canadian construction labour markets look to be stable over the coming decade, though provinces tell individual stories.

The Why Behind the Lies
HVAC School looks into why many in their trade become amazing liars and (hopefully) how to prevent it.

Restoration Contracts Seen as Booming Trend
Home Builder Canada magazine says the litany of natural disasters seen this year has spurred demand for residential restoration work.

3. Building Design & Trends

2019 Okanagan Housing Awards of Excellence Winners
CHBA Central Okanagan lists winners of their 2019 Okanagan Housing Awards of Excellence winners.

2018 Residential Architect Design Awards Winners
Residential Architect Magazine displays their 2018 Residential Architect Design Awards winners, that showcase the very best in residential design.

2019 Best Of 55+ Housing Awards Finalists
US National Association of Home Builders lists the finalists of their 55+ Housing Awards program, with links to their projects. The awards program honors excellence in building, design and marketing of housing for boomers and beyond. (PDF)

Interior Design Trends to Watch in 2019
Builder Magazine says from colours, to lighting, and tech, here are top trends to watch in the year ahead.

5 Trends in Exterior Colors That Give Homes Outer Beauty
Realtor says homeowners today are stepping away from the traditional and choosing less common modern palettes, like cheery teal or moody charcoal gray.

Five Macro Consumer Trends for 2019
Builder magazine describes five macro consumer trends for 2019, and what they mean to builders.

Luxury Homes Abandon the Microwave
Remodeling magazine says designers are replacing this kitchen staple with steam and speed ovens, or hiding microwaves behind doors or in drawers.

Landscape Trends of 2019
Builder Magazine says in 2019, the National Association of Landscape Professionals predicts these five trends to influence outdoor spaces.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Denisa Ionescu, Senior Manager Technical Research & Education, BC Housing says: “Your newsletter is a great info resource for us. Thanks for your hard work”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Introducing the New BC Professional Governance Act
Architectural Institute of BC says the Professional Governance Act received royal assent on November 27 and is now law. The new legislation applies to five sector professions, and will eventually replace existing governing Acts.

BCCSA Safety Advisors Handle Safety Inquiries at No Cost to Contractors
Journal of Commerce says the BC Construction Safety Alliance has been working to promote the services of its six Regional Safety Advisors who will assist contractors at no cost to develop a company occupational health and safety manual, among other services.

Pilot of BC Sub-Contractor Management System & Small Employer Health & Safety Toolkit
BC Construction Safety Association Prime Contractor’s Technical Advisory Committee recently developed two resources that they want to test out. They are seeking prime contractors and their sub-contractors to pilot a Sub-Contractor Management System & Small Employer Health and Safety Toolkit. (PDF)

2019-2021 Business Plan
Technical Safety BC has released its 2019-2021 business plan which directs the organization on how to continue delivering on its 10-Year Strategy.

Overview of Energy Star Standards For Windows & Doors
Natural Resources Canada describes Energy Star requirements for windows and doors.

US DOE Considers New Furnace Test Procedure
PHCP Pros says the US Department of Energy has published and is taking comments on a petition asking them to develop a new, unified test procedure for residential furnaces.

Reno Tax Credit Needed in BC
Victoria Residential Builders Association says the BC govt generates billions of dollars from the Property Transfer Tax and should launch a renovation tax credit addressing a wide range of housing issues.

Blokable Means to Disrupt Home Builders
Builder Magazine describes how standardizing, and ultimately productizing housing may remap both business and operations models, and solve for more attainable homes for more people.

5. Building Science & Technology

With Buildings, You Need to Sweat Small Stuff
Energy Vanguard says whether you're designing them, specifying materials, putting them together, or fixing them later, buildings have tons of small stuff. And if you don't get those things right, the consequences can be expensive, time-consuming, or even deadly.

Air Sealing is King
Canadian Contractor says building durability and indoor air quality requires increased focus on air leakage.

Do Buildings Need to Breathe?
Canadian Contractor says interior building envelope ventilation should occur via a controlled system, not by random chance.

Dehumidification in Humid & Hot-Humid Climates
Home Innovation Research Labs online tech note Humidity Control: Supplemental Dehumidification in Hot-Humid Climates, provides an overview of strategies for improving humidity control in hot-humid climates (applicable as well in other humid climates). (PDF)

Friction Rate Chart & What it Means
HVAC School says a lot of proper duct design comes down to a understanding of available static pressure and friction rate. Here they focus on this ACCA chart specifically.

Ductless Heating & Cooling
Natural Resources Canada provides information and resources on ductless mini split heat pump systems.

Furnaces of 19th & 20th Centuries
Builder Magazine describes technological advancements in heating systems from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s.

Significance of the Fire
Heating Helps says stores are selling backyard fire pits, and more and more of them these days. You know why this is? It's because we know in our hearts that, good as it is, something is missing from central heating. We long for the turf fire, for the talk that goes with it, and for the life that the fire represents. It's primal.

6. Building Performance Issues

Does Fiberglass Attic Insulation Really Lose R-Value?
Energy Vanguard provides updated information about an old study that apparently proved fiberglass insulation loses half its R-value because of convection within the insulation.

Researchers Raise Questions About Rigid Foam Flame Retardant
Green Building Advisor says a flame retardant used in polystyrene insulation can break down into other components whose environmental risks are unknown, researchers say.

Mitigating Sound Inside Today’s Homes
Canadian Contractor says fashionable hard flooring proves a challenge for quiet and privacy.

Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Moisture Problem
Green Building Advisor describes how an attic moisture problem originating in the basement has an interesting history.

Heat Exchanger Crack Diagnosis
HVAC School says heat exchanger cracks are worth finding but they aren't the most dangerous issue for your customers in most cases.

Technology Primer on Energy Efficient Windows
NRCan describes the factors affecting energy efficiency of windows.

Controlling Dust During a Remodel
Fine Homebuilding online video shows a better way to hang plastic to control dust during a remodeling project.

Pool Heater Water Flow Issues
HVAC School covers pool circuit basics and common water flow issues that screw up heaters.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Request Airtightness Training Locally
Small Planet Supply is in the second half of their airtightness trainings and they want to keep going if there's enough interest. If you're interested in having an airtightness class in your community, you can go to this Airtightness Class request page.

2019 State of Green Business Report
GreenBiz says the 12th annual edition of State of Green Business looks at key trends and dozens of metrics assessing how, and how much, companies are moving the needle on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Free site registration required.

Building Enclosure Strategies for Passive House Performance
WoodWorks online slide show presentation from their recent Massive Passive House: Bringing Deep Energy Savings to Multi-Family Buildings workshop, describes building enclosure design strategies for achieving Passive House performance. (PDF)

Busting Window Film Myths
Home Energy Magazine separates myths from facts when it comes to window films.

2019 National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show
Home Performance Coalition presents the 2019 National Home Performance Conference and Trade Show in Chicago, April 1 - 4. Join over one thousand residential energy efficiency professionals for four days of educational sessions, networking, and inspiration.

2019 Vehicle Fuel Consumption Guide
NRCan online 2019 Fuel Consumption Guide gives information about the fuel consumption of 2019 model year light-duty vehicles. You can use this information to compare vehicles as you shop for the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your everyday needs.

Tax Savings for Industry for Using Clean Energy
NRCan says one of the ways the Canadian Government currently supports the transition to a cleaner economy is by providing an accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy equipment, such as solar energy, by providing business income tax incentives.

Phalanx Insulation
Online video describes Phalanx, a biomimicry inspired insulation grid meant to be applied to exterior walls of existing buildings. Intended to be used in urban coastal regions like Southern California, this system could drastically reduce interior temperatures of buildings passively without the need for electricity. It requires no electricity, has no moving parts, can be assembled on existing architecture, makes use of otherwise wasted water, and ultimately saves money while it cools.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Stanley Black & Decker Recalls Variable Speed Drills
Health Canada recall involves Dewalt DWD110 and DWD112 3/8-inch variable speed reversing drills.

Fiber-Cement Siding, Inherent Issues Affecting Performance
RCI technical advisory Fiber-Cement Siding, Inherent Issues Affecting Performance provides an informative advisory regarding performance issues that may be encountered with fiber-cement siding installed on a building. (PDF)

Home Automation Products Installed in US Homes
Home Innovation Research Labs provides statistics on types of home automation electronics systems installed in US homes in 2017.

Five Smart Home Trends We Expect to See At CES 2019
Digital Trends describes five smart home trends they expect to grace the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

9 Tech Trends to Track in 2019
Building Design + Construction says innovations in voice recognition, cognitive neuroscience, and biometrics are among the trending tech topics for 2019.

Hottest Floor Trends for 2019
Style flooring experts share the latest trends underfoot for the coming year.

Remodeling Finish Trends for Faucets
Home Innovation Research Labs says perennial leaders in bathroom and kitchen faucet finishes have some stiff competition.

Clearing Up Confusion on Drill/Driver Settings
Fine Homebuilding online video describes drill/driver settings.

9. Installation Procedures

For Great Tile Floors, Layout is Everything
Fine Homebuilding says take time to snap a few chalklines and find where the cuts are, and tiling becomes an easier task with better results.

Installing New Tile Over Old
Journal of Light Construction describes how to install new tile over old tile for a bathroom floor.

HVAC Design Strategies for High-Performance Homes
Zero Energy Project describes a few design concepts and strategies to help builders better understand HVAC design for high-performance homes.

Organizing the Mechanicals
Journal of Light Construction says without a clear plan, large-house systems can get out of hand.

Precision Window Trim
Fine Homebuilding describes how a systematic approach to cutting and assembling window casing ensures better joints and a faster installation.

Exterior Door Installation
US Department of Energy online video describes how to install an exterior door.

Trim Design for Gable-End Eave
Fine Homebuilding describes how to detail exterior trim with harmonious proportions on eaves that don't return onto the gable.

Quickening Pace in Transitioning to Off-Site Construction
Home Innovation Research Labs says a December survey of builders reveals a quickening pace in transitioning to off-site construction solutions.

10. Information Sources

Introduction to Sustainable Landscapes
American Society of Landscape Architects online animations are designed to be a basic introduction to sustainable design concepts.

2019 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report
Remodeling magazine online 2019 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares average cost for popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 136 US markets.

10 Things About Electric Baseboard Heaters
BC Hydro describes 10 things you might not know about your baseboard heaters.

Purchasable Book on Log Home Construction
BC Log and Timber Building Industry Association book The Illustrated Guide to Log Home Construction is a comprehensive catalog of log construction assemblies with detailed description. $50 CDN

Concrete Science Research Briefs
MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub allows access to their concrete science related research briefs.

Five Simple Checks for Top Website Performance
Fine Homebuilding says for many clients, their first impression of you is what they see online. Make sure your first impression is a good one by ensuring that your website is performing to the best of its ability. Here are five simple checks you can run to make sure your website is responsive, secure, and fast enough.

BC Needs 14,600 Additional Construction & Maintenance Workers
BuildForce Canada report 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward shows BC will need more than 14,600 additional construction and maintenance industry workers to meet peak labour demands by 2021.

Construction Industry Forecasts & Reports
BuildForce Canada sells construction industry forecasts that includes the complete provincial data series on key economic indicators, construction investment and labour market conditions, for years 2006-2028 plus a Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward, An Assessment of Construction Labour Markets from 2019–2028 PowerPoint presentation summarizing the labour market conditions as released January 2019.

11. Conferences & Shows

2019 FEN BC Technical Conference & AGM
The 2019 FENBC Technical Conference & AGM will be held in Surrey on February 28th. Topics covered will include vacuum Insulation Glass, Window Installation, Safety Glass, BC Energy Step Code & Window Selection, and FENBC AGM and Open Discussion.

Top 500 Live Conference for Home Improvement Industry
Qualified Remodeler present the Top 500 Live conference for the Home Improvement Industry in Las Vegas, March 13-15. It offers a combination of leading experts and consultants along with home improvement business owners and entrepreneurs.

Interior Design Show in Victoria
Interior Design Institute of BC presents the DesignEx industry show in Victoria on March 14th. It offers a number of professional development sessions, a table top show, and a chance to connect with manufacturers, suppliers, interior designers, architects and others from the building industry.

2019 BC Bettering Environmental Stewardship & Technology Conference
BC Environmental Industries Association annual Bettering Environmental Stewardship & Technology Conference will be held May 8-10, in Whistler. It includes programming with technical sessions and panel discussions.

12. Education & Training

Building Industry & Construction Forum 2019 In Nanaimo
CHBA Vancouver Island presents their annual Building Industry & Construction Forum on February 21-22. It will kick off with a dinner on February 21 featuring a year in review from the City of Nanaimo and an outlook summary for 2019. On February 22 the full day of education will be facilitated by Hamid Heidarali, Vancouver based Building Scientist, who will provide a holistic approach towards improving air tightness.

PST Issues for Construction Industry
ICBA breakfast seminar, PST Issues for Construction Industry, will be presented in Burnaby on February 22nd. It will help home builders, renovators and trade contractors understand how PST applies to their business.

Art of Hydronics Fundamentals
Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating presents the Art of Hydronics Fundamentals course in Vancouver, February 25-26. It covers hydronic system basics, including the concept of heat loss calculation. Relevant topics are covered so installers of all levels of experience will gain information to become more functional when practicing this craft.

Change Order Management
VRCA course Change Order Management will be presented in Vancouver on February 27th. This session will provide participants with best practices for successfully navigating this complex project management challenge.

BC Builders Super Week 2019
CHBA BC Builders' Super Week 2019 will be held March 6-8. Attendees can choose from a diverse lineup of seminars that are all approved for BC Housing Licensing and Consumer Services Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Attend all three days and earn up to 22.5 CPD points.

Optimizing Off-Site Fabrication Practices for High Performance Construction
WoodWorks education and networking event Optimizing Off-Site Fabrication Practices for High Performance Construction, will be held in Vancouver on March 14th. Including a stand-up reception-style dinner, this event brings together three experts – a manufacturer, a contractor and an architect/inventor – each of whom has delivered innovative and sustainable projects. The speakers will highlight how incorporating pre-fabricated elements can enhance speed, reduce cost and deliver improved building performance.

Trades & Skills Gap, A Manifesto
HVAC School says let’s get the skills gap filled by creating better paths for experienced people, improving education and being really excited about the opportunities in our trade for the next generation.


Dittie For Today: On Hiring

In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you. - Warren Edward Buffett


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© Copyright 2019     Ken Farrish     All Rights Reserved

ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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