Newsletter #170
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
March 20, 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 Brian Hart, Denisa Ionescu, Chris Dorsi, Sabine Just, David Hill, Damion Taylor, Wilma Leung, Kira DeVries, Mark Sakai, Malamarie Sinha, Renee Auer, Justin Havre and Megan McElwain 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

Keeping Water Out of Basements
Building Science Corporation describes issues and considerations for keeping water out of basements.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Canada & BC Governments Launch Expert Panel on Future of Housing Supply
The Expert Panel will examine housing trends for rental and homeownership, exploring what could be done so British Columbians can have further access to housing that they need and can afford. It will be comprised of leaders and specialists in a range of fields with relevant expertise who will be jointly selected by Canada and British Columbia in the coming months.

BC Economic Briefing March 2019
Central 1 Credit Union says BC home sales declined 4.6 per cent in February. and manufacturing sales climbed for the first time since June. (PDF)

BC Economic Outlook 2019-2021
Central 1 report BC Economic Outlook 2019-2021 says BC economy will face weak economic growth for the next three years due to the ripple effect of the housing market downturn.

Uneven Economic Outlook for Canadian Provinces in 2019
Conference Board of Canada says weakened growth is expected in Central Canada, Manitoba and Alberta while Atlantic Canada, BC and Saskatchewan will see increases.

Updated Canadian Resale Housing Market Forecast
Canadian Real Estate Association has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations in 2019 and extended its outlook to include 2020. National home sales are projected to ease by 1.6% to 450,400 units in 2019, marking the weakest annual sales since 2010 and the lowest per capita sales activity in nearly two decades.

Feds Should Not Get More Involved in Housing Markets
Fraser Institute says Ottawa should resist the temptation to further involve itself in housing markets (election year notwithstanding). Its involvement so far has largely ignored the critically important supply side of the equation and the very different needs of individual cities and towns across this vast country.

Challenges, Progress, Opportunities for Sustainable Land Use in BC
Real Estate Foundation report, Beyond the Horizon, says climate adaptation, cumulative effects, and ecosystem degradation are major challenges for land managers, especially in rural areas. In many parts of the province, Indigenous communities are leading the way on land use planning, governance, and conservation initiatives.

BC Worksite Conduct Standards to Improve Worker Retention
Province of BC and BC Construction Association have launched the Builders Code, a program that aims to address skilled labour shortage by reducing harassment, bullying and hazing on construction worksites. The Builders Code defines an Acceptable Worksite and provides employers with tools, training and resources to improve and promote safe and productive worksite behavior.

2. Business Management

Home Builders Reach 2019's Fork in Road: Volume or Value?
Builder Magazine says for some, driving prices down with discounts, incentives, and upgrades puts them on offense in market-share maneuvering. For the rest, it's about survival.

Business Benchmarking, Price Crunch
Qualified Remodeler talks to four remodelers to discuss how they deal with uncertainty surrounding job costs-specifically rising material prices and the ongoing labor shortage-and still earn an adequate profit on their projects.

Nine Ways Builders Can Improve Their Social Engagement
Builder Magazine says with the right strategy, social media can lead to more home sales.

Are You Speaking the Same Language as Your Customers?
Energy Circle says jargon and technical terms are a part of everyday life in the home performance, solar and HVAC industries. But is that how you should talk to your customers, too?

Technician Head Trash
HVAC School says blame and complaining is popular…even comfortable, but its completely unproductive.

The First Meeting with Clients
Protractor describes how preparing for the first meeting involves a bit of research and preparation.

How To Talk Me Out of It
Plumbing and Mechanical says if you want to sell extended warranties, wait a year or so.

Trades At Any Age, Teaching Through Reading
Canadian Metalworking provides a new colouring book that aims to educate kids about rewarding career opportunities in the trades.

3. Building Design & Trends

2019 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)

2019 Vancouver Ovation Awards Finalists
Home Builders Association of Vancouver lists finalists for their 2019 Ovation Awards. The awards honour excellence in the design and construction of new single-family and multi-family homes as well as the renovation of existing homes.

Best In American Living Award Winners
US National Home Builders Association presents the winners of their Best In American Living Awards.

IBS 2019 Design Center Tips to Wow Boomer Buyers
Builder Magazine says you can impress the 55+ crowd with a personalized, service-driven product selection experience.

11 Most Influential Architecture Trends of 2019
Dwell describes 11 cutting-edge trends that show how modern architecture stands to impact our everyday lives and society at large.

Laundry Rooms Top List of Most Wanted Home Features
Builder Magazine says almost all home buyers, 91%, want a laundry room included in their home, more than any other home feature.

10 Multi-Family Projects Recognized for Their Unique Amenities
Multifamily Executive Magazine says these multifamily developments were designed with one-of-a-kind features, such as rooftop pools, specialty workshops, food areas, and more.

MURB Design Guide
University of Toronto online MURB Design Guide, Enhancing the Liveability and Resilience of Multi-Unit Residential Buildings, covers the design of multi-unit residential buildings in a Canadian climate, specifically mid-rise and high-rise housing typologies. (PDF)


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Craig East, CFO at Primex Manufacturing says: “Thanks for continuing to blast out good stuff”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Changes to CPD for Licensed Residential Builders in BC
BC Housing describes the recent updates to the Continuing Professional Development requirements for Licensed Residential Builders in BC.

BC Contractor Installation Permit Value Amendment Criteria
Technical Safety BC is reminding contractors that an installation permit for the known scope and value of work must be obtained prior to performing regulated work. If the scope or value of work changes, a permit amendment must be submitted.

Industry Concerns Over NRCan HVAC Efficiency Regulations
HPAC magazine says NRCan published new proposed energy efficiency regulations for heating equipment in the Canada Gazette Part 1. These introduce new or increased efficiency requirements to a range of products including commercial water heaters, household and commercial boilers, mobile home furnaces and gas fireplaces. The proposed regulations are controversial, with several of them being opposed by heating industry associations, including Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating, Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute and Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute.

Comments on Energy Efficiency Regulations for Heating & Ventilation
Efficiency Canada commends the Government of Canada’s renewed efforts to improve and expand the minimum energy performance standards for ventilation and heating product categories. (PDF)

Publish New Binational Rainwater Harvesting Systems Standard
PHCP Pros says International Code Council and CSA Group published the CSA B805/ICC 805 Rainwater Harvesting System standard for use in the United States and Canada. This new standard addresses the design, materials, installation and operation of residential and commercial rainwater harvesting systems for potable and non-potable water uses.

Certification Marks for Gas Appliances
Technical Safety BC specifies the gas appliance certification/approval marks that are acceptable in BC.

BC First to Allow 12-Storey Mass Timber Builds
REMI Network says BC will be first province in Canada to allow 12-storey mass timber buildings. The current building code allows only six-storey mass timber buildings, but the national building code is expected to be revised to increase height limits to 12 -storeys in 2020.

Mechanical Engineering Services for Building Projects
APEG BC online guidelines Mechanical Engineering Services for Building Projects apply to the practice of Mechanical Engineering for buildings governed by Part 3 and related Part 4 of the British Columbia Building Code and the City of Vancouver Building By-law. (PDF)

Rent Control's False Promise
Builder Magazine says regulatory and policy overreach are challenges that both multifamily and single-family market players face.

5. Building Science & Technology

Water-Resistive Barriers
Fine Homebuilding describes options for this water-impermeable layer beneath the siding that protects walls from rain and snow, and often functions as a building's air barrier.

Laws of Energy & Matter
HVAC School says it’s always good to reaffirm some of the basics of energy, work and matter and these five rules are some of the most basic and important.

What Type of HVAC system is Best for You?
Advanced Energy table highlights and compares common features of different HVAC systems.

How to Choose the Right-Size Heating & Cooling System
Fine Homebuilding says accurate calculations of heating and cooling loads are the key to installing HVAC equipment that fits your home and your budget.

3 Types of Heat from Heat Pumps
Energy Vanguard says more people are using heat pumps these days, even in cold climates. They spell out the three different types of heat that conventional heat pumps provide.

HVAC/R Refrigerant Cycle Basics
HVAC School provides a basic overview of the refrigeration circuit and how it works. It is designed to assist a new technician or HVAC/R apprentice in understanding the fundamentals.

Refrigerant Basics
HVAC School says a refrigerant is anything we use to move heat from one place to another using the compression refrigeration circuit, however, the history of refrigerants and the different kinds is quite diverse and interesting.

Understanding Your Thermostat
Edmonton Real Estate online guide is designed to help you become more familiar with the various types of thermostats available. It covers the difference between manual, programmable and smart thermostats and how to best choose and utilize each for the greatest efficiency.

6. Building Performance Issues

BC Fire & Flood Restoration Program Technical Advisory Committee
140 BC fire and flood restoration contractors have found a voice as members of the BC Construction Safety Alliance’s new Fire & Flood Restoration Program Technical Advisory Committee.

Canadian Code Update on Materials Containing Asbestos
Government of Canada says changes to the 2015 editions of the National Building Code and the National Plumbing Code were submitted for public review in fall 2017. The respective standing committees reviewed the comments received and recommended to remove all references to asbestos-containing materials as an acceptable solution in code requirements and appendices.

Guidance on Specifying Healthier Insulation
Energy Efficiency for All online report Guidance for Specifying Healthier Insulation and Air Sealing Materials provides information that can be used to evaluate and select healthier products and write project specifications that incorporate healthier insulation and air-sealing materials for energy efficiency upgrade projects in multifamily housing. (PDF)

Controlling Humidity in Your Home in Winter
Energy Vanguard describes some issues and considerations for controlling humidity in your home in winter.

Where is Humidity Going?
Fine Homebuilding explains why homes dry out in winter, the right humidity level to target, and the best way to control both excess humidity in summer and decreased humidity in winter.

Why A/C Systems Freeze
HVAC School says the reason that frost/ice is inevitable in some A/C applications is just due to the laws of thermodynamics (moving heat).

Makeup Air for Tight Houses
Fine Homebuilding says as houses get tighter in order to save energy, makeup air for range hoods and woodstoves becomes a more pressing issue.

Manitoba Sticks to Optional New Home Warranty
REMI Network says third-party warranties against construction deficiencies will continue to be a market-driven feature of new home sales in Manitoba rather than a regulatory requirement.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

2019 BC Budget Supports Climate Action
Community Energy Association online CleanBC Backgrounder Table on the 2019 Budget provides a summary of funding that will support provincial climate change initiatives.

Historic BC Climate Action Spending Appears Modest
REMI Network says historic BC climate action spending appears modest, relative to new funding for incentives.

Healthy Indoors Magazine Issue Online
The online February issue of Healthy Indoors Magazine covers asbestos, mould, home performance, HVAC, air quality, news, events, and more.

Comparison of Electricity Prices in North America
Business Council of BC says whether it’s gasoline prices (Metro Vancouver has the highest prices in North America) or electricity rates, where BC has some of the lowest, many people feel that energy costs too much. At face value, one could argue this is not true for electricity in BC. But electricity is only one part of the larger energy picture.

Alberta New Solar Facilities Contracted at Lower Cost than Natural Gas
Canadian Solar Industries Association says the Government of Alberta operations have been powered 100 per cent with wind electricity since 2007. Upon the expiration of some of these contracts, they have been renewed to switch from wind to solar energy. The average contract pricing will be $0.048 per kilowatt hour, which is less than the average historical wholesale power pool price paid to natural gas-fired electricity in the province in years 2008 – 2018.

Why Renewables Can’t Save the Planet
Quillette says dealing with energy sources that are inherently unreliable, and require large amounts of land, comes at a high economic cost.

Q4 2018 Built Green Canada Newsletter
Built Green Canada online Q4 2019 newsletter provides updates on the Built Green Canada program and related green building industry happenings. (PDF)

Living Future 19
Living Future 19 will be held in Seattle, April 30 - May 3. It attracts decision makers from some of the world's most respected architecture, engineering and contracting firms in continuing to raise the caliber of success for a human experience that is in harmony with the natural world.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Wood-Finish Flooring Flourishing
US Home Innovation Research Labs says wood-finish flooring options top all others in main living areas of new homes.

Reduce Costs with This Sprinkler Alternative
Insulation Institute says builders may be able to cut their overall costs for sprinklers by using fiberglass and mineral wool insulation as an effective, affordable passive fire protection solution in concealed spaces and ceiling cavities in low-rise buildings and one and two-family dwellings.

How Concrete is Made
Portland Cement Association describes how concrete is made.

Heat Pump Water Heater Market Growing
Plumbing & HVAC says in the HVAC business heat pumps are making significant inroads and, perhaps surprisingly, heat pump water heaters are also starting to show some growth.

Types of Radiant Heating
US Department of Energy describes various types of radiant heating.

The Case for Electrical Radiant Floor Heating
Canadian Contractor says occupant comfort, energy savings and customized heating zones are compelling arguments for using electrical radiant floor heating.

Super Thin Energy Window Launched
Home Builder Canada says the largest window manufacturer in North America is working with researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories on a super window said to be at least twice as insulating as 99 percent of the windows for sale today.

Diverting Light Bulbs that Contain Mercury
BOMA Canada says light bulbs containing mercury require special disposal to keep them out of landfills, and they list different options available to dispose of these bulbs depending on where you live.

9. Installation Procedures

Garbage-Bag Dust Collector for Tablesaw
Fine Homebuilding describes a simple trick for collecting tablesaw discharge dust, and it makes job-site cleanup a quick and easy task.

Installation of Common Insulation Types
Home Innovation Research Labs online tech note Installation of Common Insulation Types: Wood-Frame Walls and Attics, provides practical information for the installation of three types of insulation in various applications: fiberglass, cellulose, and spray polyurethane foam. (PDF)

Well-Proportioned Interior Trim
Fine Homebuilding says getting interior trim proportions right doesn't take the keen eye of an experienced designer. All it takes is consideration and use of a few time-tested rules.

Concrete Driveway Construction Basics
Concrete Network says to ensure a concrete driveway will look good for many years to come, there are important steps a contractor should follow during installation.

Crawlspace Encapsulation
Home Energy Pros online video describes how to encapsulate the vented crawlspace of a one-story ranch home in Atlanta.

How to Stain Pine
Fine Homebuilding says the key to an even finish with pine is to start with a coat of polyurethane to seal the surface.

Condensate Drainage in High Efficiency Gas Furnace
HVAC School describes how to plan and install condensate drainage in a high efficiency gas furnace.

Installing an ERV
Green Building Advisor describes installation of a Zehnder ComfoAir 350 energy recovery ventilator in a high-performance home.

10. Information Sources

16 Top Productivity Apps from IBS 2019
Builder Magazine says for the builder on the go, these mobile gizmos help save time and money.

Vintage Architecture Trade Catalogs for Old House Lovers
Brownstoner says there's an abundant amount of information online for the historic house lover. But when looking to understand just what kind of fixtures and finishes might have been popular at a particular point in time, there's nothing quite as exciting as dipping into vintage trade catalogs.

Why Would My House Need a Blower-Door Test?
Fine Homebuilding says few metrics are as important in high-performance building as air tightness, and a blower door is how you measure it.

Low Cost Peel-and-Stick Wireless Sensors
US Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a package of low-cost, peel-and-stick wireless sensors. Testing of the manufactured sensors began this past fall by two different partners at their test facilities and in real, occupied buildings.

Use of Off-Site Construction Technologies by US Builders
Home Innovation Research Labs data reveals that off-site construction technologies are not equally spread across geographic areas, builder types, housing types, and home price-points.

Electric Furnaces
Furnace Compare describes components of an electric furnace, costs, tips on buying a new one, and an overview of the installation process.

Evaluation of Plug & Play Duct System
US Department of Energy report A Plug-and-Play Duct System Evaluation describes an air distribution system composed of a series of uniformly-sized ducts that terminate in rooms throughout the home and return to a central manifold, similar in fashion to a “home-run” cross-linked polyethylene plumbing system. (PDF)

Guide to Cladding Attachment Solutions for Exterior-Insulated Commercials Walls
RDH says as energy code requirements become more stringent, greater attention is being paid to the design of thermally efficient cladding attachment solutions. The Guide to Cladding Attachment Solutions for Exterior-Insulated Commercial Walls allow readers to determine which cladding attachment systems best suit the needs of their project.

11. Conferences & Shows

ASHRAE Vancouver Island Trade Show in Victoria
ASHRAE Vancouver Island Chapter presents their tradeshow for HVAC technology and innovations, on April 12th at the University of Victoria.

BC Land Summit 2019
The 2019 BC Land Summit, held in Vancouver May 8-10, provides a unique inter-professional opportunity to learn, share ideas, collaborate and network with others working in diverse land-related fields.

12. Education & Training

R30+ Effective Roofs in Residential Construction in BC
BCBEC luncheon seminar on March 21st covers R30+ Effective Roofs in Residential Construction in BC. It will provide an overview of potentially applicable assemblies to meet the bylaw performance targets for compact (non-attic) roofs on low-rise wood-frame detached and semi-detached homes and townhouses.

Challenges with Shoring Design
ICBA breakfast session on March 28th covers Challenges with Shoring Design. Their presenter, from Stantec Consulting, will walk you through various earth shoring techniques for building construction including aspects of design and safety.

Community Housing for Resilient Communities
BC Housing presents Community Housing for Resilient Communities in Victoria on April 1st. It features nine speakers from the community housing sectors of BC and Quebec. They will share stories about how they are acting to increase local control of urban land development to ensure our communities remain inclusive, diverse and resilient through development of housing as community-owned assets.

Key Considerations for High Performance Walls
BC Housing webinar Building Smart, Key Considerations for High Performance Walls will be presented on April 4th. It will cover how high-rise residential buildings can meet the next generation of net-zero or net-zero ready standards that are applicable to all climate zones in Canada, and will illustrate solutions for higher levels of performance in Part 3 buildings, as required by Passive House, BC Energy Step Code, and the City of Vancouver's Zero Emissions Building Plan.

UDI Luncheon, Rennie Market Intelligence
UDI luncheon speaker on April 18th will be Andrew Ramlo, Vice-President of Intelligence of the Rennie Group. He will recap the year that was and the year that will be, explore the why behind recent changes in the market, and the things that you should be considering in regard to the future of the region's real estate market.

Basic Concrete Technology Workshop
Concrete BC presents their Basic Concrete Technology Workshop in Aldergrove, April 23-24. This course presents an introduction to the properties of concrete as needed in concrete construction, including strength and durability. Students receive a copy of Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures, relevant industry handouts, as well as copies of each presentation.

Certified Fenestration Canada Installer Program
Fenestration Canada has launched their Certified Fenestration Canada Installer program. Passing the C-177-002 Fenestration Canada Installer Certification Examination will indicate that the candidate possesses the knowledge, skills and decision-making abilities necessary to install, service and replace factory assembled windows, exterior doors and skylights that are intended for installation in low-rise buildings and buildings used primarily for residential occupancy up to three stories.

Certified HVAC Designer
ASHRAE says their Certified HVAC Designer certification validates competency of the HVAC Designer, working under the responsible charge of an engineer, to do the following: Design HVAC systems to meet building/project requirements, including load calculations, equipment selection and sizing, mechanical equipment room design, duct and piping design and layout for the development of HVAC plans for permit and construction.


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Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable. - Mark Twain


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