Newsletter #173
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
June 11, 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, Joey Fearn, Sarah Vanderlee, Karen Frank, Mark Sakai, Sabine Just, Mindy Tulsi, Bryan Orr, Karen Podolski, Glenn Duxbury, Ed Hudson, 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

Planning Guide for Natural Gas Mechanical Systems
NRCan online Master Planning & Decision Guide for Natural Gas Mechanical Systems helps builders, mechanical designers and contractors define the type of mechanical system required for a new home or a new subdivision of homes. (PDF)

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC State of the Market Report Q1-2019
UDI online State of the Market Report for Q1-2019 provides stats and graphs showing price escalations, supply contraction, and differences in market sectors (building types and regional sub-markets). (PDF)

More Weakness Ahead for Vancouver Metro Market
Central 1 Economic Commentary says a price correction is underway in Metro Vancouver homeownership market which should come as little surprise to anyone following the headlines. (PDF)

One in Five Proposed Vancouver Housing Units Shelved
Western Investor says one in five proposed Vancouver housing units has been shelved. New home sales fell seven per cent last year, on top of a 31 per cent decline in 2017, causing developers to abandon projects.

BC Resale Housing Market Outlook 2019-2021
BC’s annual median house price will decline for the first time since 2012 and ongoing sluggishness will leave sellers sour until 2021, according to Central 1 Credit Union’s latest BC Resale Housing Market Outlook 2019 – 2021.

British Columbians Demand More Housing Options
Urban Development Institute says a new public opinion polls finds the majority of British Columbians believe home prices and rents remain high because there are too few housing options, with 75 per cent wanting municipalities to approve more housing options within single-family neighbourhoods. (PDF)

Prompt Payment Is More Red Tape for Residential Construction in BC
Canadian Home Builders Association of BC is opposed to prompt payment legislation in BC. There was no consultation with the residential construction industry before the Prompt Payment (Builders Lien Act) was introduced in the Legislature as a private member's bill.

BC Minimum Wage Increases June 1st
BC Government says BC’s general hourly minimum wage will increase to $13.85 from $12.65, effective June 1, 2019.

BC Job Market Leads to Wage Gains
Business Council of BC says B.C.'s tight labour market conditions and minimum wage increases fuelled average hourly wage growth in 2018. However, the upswing already appears to be moderating.

2. Business Management

You Need a Meet the Owner Page on Your Website
Fine Homebuilding describes how to use your website to make a great and personal first impression.

Four Keys to Success for Contractors
Plumbing & HVAC says contractors should get these ducks in a row to stay ahead of competitors.

Opioid Crisis is Painful Reality
Qualified Remodeler says the opioid epidemic hit construction harder than any other industry. They describe how to protect your business and workers.

Unapologetically a Technician
HVAC School says it’s been 20 years in the trade now and almost 15 in business before he came to a conclusion. He prefers working with technicians.

Engineering Lessons
Fine Homebuilding article features a restoration carpenter recalling instances of working with a structural engineer, and how an engineer's plans can clarify or confuse a project.

What About Your Profit?
Qualified Remodeler asks if your company is earning the profit to which you are entitled. Research indicates more than 65 percent do not.

Growing a Remodeling Business
Remodeling magazine says the decisions you make to grow your business will vary, depending on where your business is at. Not every business is the same, but there are clear patterns to every business that provide a roadmap to successful growth.

Slow Approval Processes Continue to Hamper New Development in Ontario
REMI Networks says current approval processes are hampering the development of safe and affordable housing in Ontario, according to a new research paper published by the Ontario Building Officials Association.

3. Building Design & Trends

2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence
Canadian Home Builders Association has announced the 2019 winners for its National Awards for Housing Excellence.

2019 Gold Nugget Awards Winners
Pacific Coast Builders Conference announced the Gold Nugget Awards winners, celebrating some of the industry’s top innovators in design, planning, and development.

Top 5 Homes of the Week
Dwell says these impressive homes embody thoughtful modern design.

Recipients of 2019 Architectural Awards of Excellence
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada presents the eight projects and individuals that received 2019 RAIC Awards of Excellence. They reflect outstanding achievement in architecture through innovation, green building, allied arts, advocacy, and journalism.

Concrete Evidence, Trends in Luxury Homes
Home Innovation Labs says concrete homes are more often found in the Luxury segment. Based on their Annual Builder Practices Reports and a long history of industry experience they summarize some things form over the past few decades, and what is on the horizon.

7 Sensational Kitchen Design Trends
NAHB Best In American Living describes Kay Green Design choices for her favorite kitchen design trends for 2019 that inspire the heart of a home’s style and atmosphere.

Study Pinpoints Kitchen Design Trends
Kitchen & Bath Design News says kitchen designers surveyed by the National Kitchen & Bath Association tend to increase the size of kitchens they are remodeling and expect technology innovation demand to increase. The study finds that L-shaped kitchens between 150 and 350 square feet featuring medium-to-large islands were the most popular kitchen remodeling projects in 2018.

Where to Start & Stop Your Backsplash
Houzz suggests you consider these backsplash tips and tricks to work around cabinets, windows, and more for a finished kitchen look.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Wilma Leung, Senior Manager of Technical Research & Education, BC Housing, says: “Thanks Ken. Quite a few good topics here that I would have missed if not for your diligence in keeping us informed”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

WorkSafe BC Rate Consultation Sessions Around BC
WorkSafe BC invites you to learn more about the proposed 2020 rates for your industry, injury trends in British Columbia, and what you can do to reduce injuries, claim costs, and your insurance rate. Attendance is free.

What New BC Employment & Labour Laws Mean for Your Business
Canadian Federation of Independent Business describes what the new BC employment and labour laws mean for your business.

BC Government Acknowledges Land-Use Regulations Help Determine Home Prices
Fraser Institute says the Government of BC recently released a report about the extent and effects of money laundering in the province’s real estate sector. It produces some interesting findings while reminding British Columbians of the importance of land constraints (both natural and manmade) in determining home prices.

Code Changes Could Save Thousands but Won't Get Done
Canadian Contractor says it’s a small wonder that many manufacturers of innovative products privately feel they are held hostage to the approval agencies perpetuating their existence along with numerous fees, delays and other impediments to innovation.

CSA Guideline on Basement Flood Protection and Risk Reduction
CSA standard Z800-18, Guideline on Basement Flood Protection and Risk Reduction provides guidance on making homes safer and more resilient against flood-related events.

Canadian Standard for Flood Resilient Communities
University of Waterloo online Weathering the Storm, Canadian Standard for Flood Resilient Communities provides guidelines for improving the flood resilience of existing communities. (PDF)

Canadian Drinking Water Standards Updated
Plumbing & HVAC magazine says the American National Standards for health effects of drinking water treatment chemicals (NSF/ANSI 60) and plumbing system components (NSF/ANSI 61) has been updated with Canadian regulatory requirements and published as National Standards of Canada.

What's Wrong with Housing in America?
Builder Magazine discusses why housing is so expensive.

5. Building Science & Technology

Impact of Adding or Removing Water from Air
HVAC School says we often add water to the air (humidify) and remove water from the air (dehumidify) as part of our work. they take a different look at what happens when we do that.

The Water Molecule
Building Science online slide show presentation describes the science of the water molecule. (PDF)

Relative Humidity, Dry Bulb, Wet Bulb
HVAC School explains condensation terms, including relative humidity, dry bulb, and wet bulb.

Understanding Permeability
Passive Buildings Canada online video Understanding Permeability describes an important yet often misunderstood aspect of a building materials and assemblies.

Airflow Basics
Air Conditioning Contractors of America describes the three basic components of airflow: volume, velocity and pressure.

Cold Climate Air-to-Water Heat Pumps
Plumbing & Mechanical says it is possible to deliver the substantial performance gains of modern air-source heat pumps without compromising comfort. The machine at the heart of the solution is a cold climate air-to-water heat pump.

Sensible Heat Ratio
HVAC School says the BTUs that go towards changing the temperature of the air are called sensible and the ones that go toward removing water from the air are called latent.

Heat Recovery
Small Planet Supply online video explains the principles and application of Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) and Waste Water Heat Recovery (WWHR), and how these simple yet highly effective technologies are instrumental in boosting overall building energy efficiency and occupant comfort.

6. Building Performance Issues

Jobsite Recycling Has Many Challenges
Builder Magazine says the sad truth is that it often costs more to recycle construction waste than to take it to the dump.

How Often Should You Change the HVAC Filter?
Energy Vanguard discusses issues and considerations for deciding how often you should change the HVAC filter.

What the Term Resilience Really Means
Green Building Advisor says as resilience moves from technical term to buzzword, there's value to be had in clarifying exactly what we’re talking about.

Resilient Construction with Concrete
Portland Cement Association describes how concrete can be incorporated in several key aspects to make projects more durable and disaster resistant. For example, concrete wall, floor and roof systems offer structural strength and wind resistance while hardened exterior finishes for walls and roofs of a home or business provide strength and security.

Skin Flakes in Your Air Conditioner
Energy Vanguard says household dust, it turns out, isn't made up largely of skin flakes.

Retrofitting Solid Masonry Residential Buildings
CMHC report Retrofitting Solid Masonry Residential Buildings Interior discusses whether or not insulation in solid masonry walls leads to the deterioration by moisture damage and freeze-thaw cycles. (PDF)

Mineral Wool, A Solution to Thermal Bridging
Insulation Institute says while there are many different continuous insulation products and applications, mineral wool is gaining in popularity as an effective solution in minimizing thermal bridging.

Standard of Practice for Registered Fire Protection Technicians
Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC online Standard of Practice has been approved for use by ASTTBC Registered Fire Protection Technicians. (PDF)

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

How Builder & Buyer Views of Sustainability Diverge
Professional Builder says builders and buyers differ in how they define and value green homes. Here’s what’s real, what’s assumed and imagined, and how to bridge those gaps.

Messy Mathematics of Clean BC Plan
Business Council of BC says architects of the CleanBC plan have underestimated the difficulty of sharply lowering greenhouse gas emissions, particularly against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding population. Among other things, policy-makers have paid little attention to the marginal abatement cost of curbing emissions.

CaGBC Honours Canada’s Green Building Leaders
Canadian Design and Construction says Canada’s green building projects and innovators were honoured on May 29 at the Canada Green Building Council Leadership Awards Gala Dinner. The awards recognize individuals and organizations that demonstrate outstanding industry leadership and who have made significant contributions to the CaGBC’s mission and goals in advancing green building in Canada.

Q1 2019 Built Green Canada Newsletter
Built Green Canada online Q1 2019 newsletter provides updates on the Built Green Canada program and related green building industry happenings. (PDF)

High Performance Energy Retrofits for Existing Buildings
BC Building Envelope Council seminar High Performance Energy Retrofits for Existing Buildings will be held in Vancouver on June 20th There will be speakers from New York City, City of Vancouver and RDH speaking on the future of existing building retrofits and methods to achieve High Performance.

Introduction to Passive House High Performance Buildings
Passive House Canada course An Introduction to the Passive House High Performance Buildings will be presented in Vancouver on July 5th. It provides an overview of the core principles of Passive House design and building energy efficiency regulations in Canada. The course also covers the history of energy efficient buildings, energy consumption data and environmental impact, case studies and the economics of creating high performance buildings.

Climate Change & Intensifying Severe Weather
Southface Institute says scientific data shows not only intensifying severe weather events and changing weather patterns but also accelerating atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, dying coral reefs, rising seas and vanishing glaciers. The pace of change continues to sound alarm bells in the scientific community and with the common citizen, businesses and governments as well.

Something is Extreme, But it’s Not the Weather
Fraser Institute says Prime Minister Trudeau said the federal carbon tax will help protect Canadians from extreme weather. He said “Extreme weather events are extraordinarily expensive for Canadians, our communities and our economy," citing the recent tornadoes in Ottawa and wildfires in Western Canada. However, the evidence paints a different story.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

New 2019 Paints & Coatings
Qualified Remodeler says fast-drying, better-hiding as well as flatter, richer colors are among the new coating options in 2019.

Hybrid Mechanical Systems, Here Comes the Future
HPAC Magazine describes a hybrid HVAC system as one that uses one or more sources of heat (or cooling) to provide independent space comfort conditioning and can be combined with accessory heating capabilities.

Next Gen Wi-Fi for Crowded Home Networks
NAHB says Wi-Fi 6 is the latest version of Wi-Fi and offers improved speed, capacity and battery consumption.

Floor Coverings Are Much More Challenging Than You Think
Canadian Design and Construction says there are several problems that add to difficulties in the floor covering sector, which includes various carpet, vinyl, rubber, hardwood, laminate and bamboo floor coverings. Terrazzo, ceramic tile and stone floor installers are covered by a separate set of standards and have their own association.

Parquet Flooring Gives A Retro Look
Realtor says decorative parquet, with its geometric, herringbone, and mosaic patterns made from inlaid wooden pieces, is climbing out of the dustbin of history. The reason is a desire for natural materials, combined with old-world craftsmanship.

Alt Decking Targets Wood's Market Share
Qualified Remodeler says the rising price for wood products may lift all boats in the alternative decking category.

New Systems Products
Builder Magazine provides a rundown of new systems to simplify modern living.

Steam Heating Primer
HVAC School article, written by Dan Holohan, is one of the most comprehensive descriptions of steam heating you will find anywhere.

9. Installation Procedures

Why Selecting HVAC Equipment is Important & Hard
HVAC School says system selection is important because if you don’t match the proper equipment to the BTU load or if you fail to consider the factors you can easily end up with a system that is undersized or that does not deal with the humidity load of the space.

Big Drywall, Small Lifts
Fine Homebuilding says these simple site-built jigs make hanging 12-foot-long sheets of wallboard easy, even when working alone.

Air Sealing and Insulation
Green Building Advisor describes how to air seal leaks in the air barrier, conduct a blower door test, and install cellulose insulation.

Blowing Fiberglass Insulation into Attics
Construction Instruction online video shows how to install blown fiberglass insulation into an attic.

Think Before You Drill
HVAC School says you should be concerned in attics where the engineered roofing or other load-bearing structures have been cut to accommodate equipment, wires, ducts and pipes.

How to Install Stone-Veneer Siding Panels
Fine Homebuilding says the stone-veneer modular masonry siding is easily fastened with screws or nails, and doesn't require any adhesives or mortar.

Stamped Concrete Sealers
Concrete Network describes the final step in the installation of stamped concrete, applying a concrete sealer suitable for exterior exposure conditions.

Building Envelope Commissioning Process
Morrison Hershfield describes building envelope commissioning and how it helps to achieve both sustainable rating system credits and performance goals.

10. Information Sources

Glossary of Building Science Terms
Construction Instruction online glossary describes various building science terms.

BC Natural Disaster Protocol for Gas & Electrical Equipment Safety
Technical Safety BC bulletin describes procedures for re-commissioning gas & electrical equipment after a natural disaster has occurred.

BC Building Envelope Council Spring Issue of Online Magazine
BC Building Envelope Council spring & summer issue of their Elements magazine provides information and resources on building envelope technology, issues, products and procedures.

Guides on Foundations & Basements
Ecohome online guides describe theory, benefits, issues and considerations for foundations and basements. They cover the basics on foundation, basement and slab design, insulation, site selection and preparation, excavation, drainage. and radon gas prevention and mitigation.

Humidifier Facts
HVAC School says humidifiers are a big part of HVAC systems in dry locations, especially in the winter.

Branding Trends for Remodeling Pros
Woodworking Network describes some branding trends that remodeling pros can use to engage consumers.

Designed for Community
Fine Homebuilding explains the benefits and opportunities inherent in pocket neighborhoods.

11. Conferences & Shows

Better Buildings Summit
Better Buildings Summit will be held in Arlington, July 10-11. This annual event for Better Buildings, Better Plants Partners and other key stakeholders provides the opportunity for professionals to explore emerging technologies and share innovative strategies in energy and water efficiency.

Community Solar Power Summit
Community Solar Power Summit will be held in Philadelphia, July 18-19. It brings together leading community solar businesses, utilities, non-profits, and policymakers for in-depth conversations with national community solar thought leaders from CCSA, SEIA, SEPA, and other industry experts.

12. Education & Training

Overview & Comparison of Green Building Rating Systems
Vancouver Regional Construction Association full day workshop on June 17th will walk you through the most prominent green building rating systems, including BuiltGreen, Passive House, WELL Building Standard, the latest version of LEED (v4.1) and an introduction to the Living Building Standard.

Builders Lien Act 101
HAVAN seminar Builders Lien Act 101 will be presented in Burnaby on June 18th. It will focus on how to make the Builders Lien Act work for you and teach you how to get paid, and how to protect yourself and your company.

Managing Risk & Disputes in Construction Projects
ICBA breakfast session Managing Risk & Disputes in Construction Projects will be held in Burnaby, June 19th. It covers an overview of the most frequently encountered construction claims/disputes, tips for avoiding claims before they happen, tips for keeping the situation from escalating too far, ways to minimize exposure if claims are made, and a discussion of alternative dispute resolution methods.

Construction Estimating
VRCA course Construction Estimating will be presented in Vancouver, June 20-21. Participants will acquire knowledge how to prepare a successful bid and learn construction estimating skills. Course topics will include project analysis, risk analysis, bid strategies and processes, Construction Division Codes, bonding and insurance.

Municipal Map Reading & Utility Safety Workshop
ICBA seminar Municipal Map Reading and Utility Safety Workshop will be presented in several cities around BC. To gain an understanding on how to interpret and read documentation that relates to the municipal infrastructure, you can attend this course in Burnaby May 9 or August 7, Prince George on May 31, and Victoria on August 30.

Electrical & Gas Tech Talks Around BC
Technical Safety BC has announced its next round of Tech Talks around BC, covering various topics of interest to the trades.

First BC Trades Training for People with Brain Injuries
BC Industry Training Authority describes the first of its kind in BC trades training pilot program gives new opportunities to people living with brain injuries. (PDF)

Skills in the Toolbag
HVAC School says if you keep adding tools to your skills toolbox, it will make your work more enjoyable, you will be more equipped to help others and you will increase your earning potential and your ability to fix those really tough issues that has everyone else scratching their heads.


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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