Newsletter #176
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
September 4, 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 Rick Fearn, Mark Sakai, Kira de Vries, Zachary May, Megan McElwain, Joey Fearn, Brian Hart, Malamarie Sinha, Patrick O'Toole, Karen Frank, Glenn Duxbury, Sabine Just, Ross Spark, Bryan Orr, Zana Gordon, Peter Koning, Mike Grebis, Rachel Gold, and Karen Tam Wu 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

BC Codes Now Online at No Charge
The Province of BC is now offering the BC Building, Plumbing and Fire Codes online at no charge.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC New Homes Registry Report for July 2019
BC Housing report shows that so far in 2019, total home registrations are down 5.3% from the same period in 2018. While registrations for multi-unit homes increased 1.3%, registrations for single detached homes decreased 23.0%. (PDF)

10-Year Strategy of Technical Safety BC
Technical Safety BC 10-year strategy is designed to drive the growth of innovation, influence, knowledge, and confidence in their organization and in the safety system.

It's Becoming More Costly to Do Business in BC
Business Council of BC says $5B annually has been added onto the cost of doing business in BC since 2013 because of higher taxes and mounting regulatory processes.

BC Economy Affected by Fragile Global Economy
Central 1 Credit Union recent BC Economic Outlook 2019–2022 says the BC economy proves it is not immune to the fragile state of the global economy as it suffers the flow-on effects of weakening trade, growth expectations and investment.

Canada’s Economy Has Not Grown
Business Council of BC says Canada’s economy has not grown in per capita terms for almost two years.

Governments Should Target Housing Supply
Fraser Institute says after three years of squeezing demand, governments should target housing supply.

Ontario Makes Encouraging Housing Moves
Fraser Institute says the Ford government recently announced the broad strokes of its housing supply action plan aimed at getting a greater number and variety of much-needed homes built in Ontario’s least affordable communities, especially Toronto.

How Developer Became Such a Dirty Word
New York Times says developers are a demonized group, yet there are few solutions for the housing shortage that don’t at least partly involve more development.

2. Business Management

Canadian Building Construction Price Indexes, Second Quarter 2019
Stats Canada says prices for construction of residential buildings increased 0.6% in the second quarter of 2019, while the cost of construction of non-residential buildings was up 0.4%.

Fast, Accurate Techniques for Estimating Construction Costs
Fine Homebuilding says in order to quickly produce accurate construction estimates, you need to develop a unit-cost method for estimating your construction projects.

Markup & Margin, Where Renovation Companies Go to Die
Canadian Contractor says the difference between markup and margin is so important – in fact, it’s critical – that if you don’t get it, you will always have trouble growing your company.

Book on Marketing Your Construction Company
Building Design & Construction says a new eBook, Marketing Your Construction Company, breaks down the various platforms, from Traditional Marketing, Website Development, Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing, Social Media and Digital Marketing.

Create a Scope of Work
Fine Homebuilding says a sufficiently detailed scope of work ensures that you, your subcontractors and your client are all on the same page. It can also help to make sure prospective clients are comparing apples to apples when deciding on a contractor.

Getting Change Orders Right
Journal of Light Construction offers three perspectives on how to make sure you get paid for client changes.

Incorporation vs. Sole Proprietorship
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses says there are many forms of business organization open to you, but two of the most common are the sole proprietorship and the incorporated business. Both can apply to small business; and choosing the one that is best for you depends on your personal situation and the growth-stage of your business.

Industry Publications on Recruitment
BuildForce Canada offers a wide range of free industry publications on various topics relating to recruitment.

3. Building Design & Trends

Back to Nature Is Behr's 2020 Color of Year
Builder Magazine says the organic shade of green is meant to purify and promote balance at home.

Top 10 Features Millennials Want, and Don't Want
US National Association of Home Builders says at least four out of five millennial buyers prefer laundry rooms, hardwood front exteriors, patios and garage storage. Conversely, they give a thumbs down to elevators, wine cellars and laminate countertops.

Top Landscape Trends for Fall
Builder Magazine says to expect a challenge to classic fall plantings with an increasing number of textured plantings and jewel-toned hues debuting in backyards.

New Report on Federal Government Role in Housing Affordability
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade released a new report exploring how the federal government can help improve housing affordability and availability in our region. The report, entitled More Homes, More Choices, makes several key recommendations to the Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability, which was announced earlier this year by the provincial and federal governments.

7000 Construction Robotics Deployed by 2025
Business Wire says a market intelligence firm forecasts that by 2025 more than 7,000 construction robots will be deployed to address a variety of construction and demolition tasks.

Changing Construction Market Challenges Project Managers to Evolve
Engineering News-Record says construction companies face the same challenges as technology companies and must be willing to embrace new technology to do their work.

US Prices Paid for Building Materials Increase in July
US National Association of Home Builders says prices paid for goods used in residential construction increased by 0.7% in July (not seasonally adjusted) according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2019 US Cost vs. Value Report
Remodeling magazine online 2019 US Cost vs. Value Report compares average costs for 22 remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 136 US markets.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Mark Estrada, Marketing Manager at Centra Windows Inc says: “I really like the articles that you provide in the newsletter and find it to be a great resource on trends.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

New BC Code Requirement for Carbon Monoxide Detectors & Alarms
BC Government describes proposed new requirements for carbon monoxide detectors and alarms in assembly, business and personal services, and mercantile occupancies. (PDF)

BC Business Groups Cry Bias, Pull Out of Workers’ Compensation Review
Council of Construction Associations says the business community has resigned en masse from a review of B.C.’s workers’ compensation system, saying the government-appointed reviewer is regurgitating recommendations made a decade ago for the B.C. Federation of Labour.

Help Craft Updated Hydronic Heating System Codes
Mechanical Business says the CSA Group is seeking input from industry professionals as it works on an update to the CSA B214-16: Installation Code for Hydronic Heating Systems, due to be published in 2021. Anyone who works in the industry is invited to answer a five-minute online survey which will be used to shape the next set of hydronic codes.

Minimum Insulation Thickness for EIFS S716 Standards
EIFS Council of Canada bulletin describes the increased minimum insulation thickness now prescribed in the EIFS S716 Standards. (PDF)

Guide to Near Net Zero Residential Buildings
RDH Building Science Guide to Near Net Zero Residential Buildings is published by NAIMA Canada. This guide consolidates information on how builders and designers may achieve the near net zero energy efficiency targets in current and upcoming codes, including the British Columbia Energy Step Code. This guide is intended to be an industry resource for designing and constructing low energy use buildings using mineral fibre insulation without compromising other aspects of building performance including moisture management, airtightness, and durability. This guide is limited to Part 9, wood frame construction, with a focus on British Columbia, though the principles in this guide may be applied throughout Canada. (PDF)

Rising Cost of Public Services Outpaces Inflation in Private Sector
Business in Vancouver says reviewing trends in inflation can provide useful insights into the evolution of the larger economy.

Homebuilders Fear Stress Test Hurting Industry
Journal of Commerce says the mortgage stress test and other government policies are hurting the homebuilding industry, a crucial part of the BC economy.

Worried About EI Rates?
Canadian Federation of Independent Business says as a business owner, unlike other payroll taxes that are split 50:50 between the employer and employees, you actually pay 1.4 times the EI rate that an employee does, meaning that any hike hits you even harder. Payroll taxes are the most difficult for your business to cope with since you have to pay them regardless of whether you make any money or not.

5. Building Science & Technology

How Moisture Moves
HVAC School looks at some of the ways that water moves that impact building comfort and integrity.

Compartmentalization, Distribution, Balance
Building Science Corporation describes how compartmentalization, and distributed ventilation systems coupled with balanced ventilation is the solution to indoor pollution in multistory residential buildings.

Wall Protection with Rainscreen, Cladding, Flashing, Windows
Construction Instruction online videos and articles describe products and installation procedures for rainscreen, cladding, flashing, and windows.

High-Performance HVAC
Fine Homebuilding says ductless minisplit heat pumps are becoming the go-to choice for heating and cooling in well-insulated, tight houses.

What Willis Understood About Air Conditioning
HVAC School says many of you know that in 1906 Willis Carrier patented what is now referred to as the "First Air Conditioning System" but do you know what it was that he actually invented?

Fan (Blower) Efficacy
HVAC School says fan efficacy is simply the CFM output of the system divided by the wattage used by the blower. It is only for the blower motor and has nothing to do with the other components when done properly.

Flash & Batt Insulation for Rafters
Journal of Light Construction explains that flash-and-batt systems are hybrids that use more than one type of insulation—an air-impermeable outer layer and then an inner layer.

The Ten Common Mistakes Made About Steam Heating
Heating Help online video features Dan Holohan delivering a talk that combines humor and practical technical advice about steam heating systems.

6. Building Performance Issues

Chimney Issue Causes Carbon Monoxide Close Call
Technical Safety BC investigation traced the source of CO to a dislodged furnace vent connector.

The Ten Duct Commandments, Plus a Few More
HVAC School describes some fundamentals for designing and installing duct systems, and also includes links to some great resources.

Third Worst Place to Put a Duct
Energy Vanguard says putting supply vents in exterior walls is bad for several reasons.

Short Cycling
HVAC School says short cycling is a condition where equipment goes on and off more than is optimal, each time it goes on and off is called a cycle and we try to keep run times long and cycles to a minimum. Sometimes short cycling occurs due to a system fault and sometimes it occurs due to a mismatch between system capacity and load (cooling or heating too quickly).

Reconsidering R-Value Recommendations
Fine Homebuilding discusses whether the dropping cost of solar PV systems means that it's more economical to just install more PV panels and skimp on insulation.

Avoiding a Flashing Failure
Remodeling magazine describes one pesky piece of flashing at roof-wall intersections that you don't want to ignore.

Ventilation Won’t Prevent Attic Mold Growth
Healthy Indoors says in a house with central A/C, there may be leaky ducts in a moldy attic, or an air handler with a filter holder that isn’t airtight. Then spores from attic mold growth can be entrained into the mechanical system. And occupants who use the attic for storage can disturb mold growth.

Resilience is the New Green
Green Building Advisor says attitudes are shifting from avoiding catastrophe to managing it with strategies including resilience and adaptation.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

Solar Energy Course
Engineers & Geoscientists of BC presents their course Solar Energy, in Vancouver on September 5th. It will introduce the fundamental knowledge required to design, engineer, and build solar photovoltaic projects in BC.

Clean Energy BC’s Electrification of BC
Pacific Energy Innovation Association breakfast seminar Clean Energy BC’s Electrification of BC will be presented on September 17th. It covers four areas where extensive electrification will be necessary for B.C. to meet its legislated GHG Reduction levels in 2030. (PDF)

Passive House Design & Construction Course
Passive House Design and Construction is a four-day course that will be held in Vancouver, October 3-6. It covers the technical, economic and policy elements of Passive House buildings. Participants will learn how to apply Passive House principles in the context of building physics, windows and mechanical systems.

Powering Sustainable Energy for the Future of the Okanagan
BC Sustainable Energy Association, Okanagan Chapter presents Powering Sustainable Energy for the Future of the Okanagan on October 5th. This event will discuss, educate, demonstrate, and form the Okanagan Sustainable Energy Task Force to follow up with the determined outcomes.

PV Ready Guidelines
Natural Resources Canada online Photovoltaic (PV) Ready Guidelines describe design considerations and specifies modifications builders can make to new attached and detached homes in preparation for the installation of a future photovoltaic system. (PDF)

How Solar Panels Work
Solar Advantage describes how solar panels work, along with information on various applications and calculating feasibility of installing them.

The Promise of AeroBarrier for Air Sealing Homes
Green Building Advisor says AeroBarrier West is using this air sealing system on existing and even occupied homes.

Reality Check, There’s No Climate Emergency in Vancouver
Fraser Institute says recently, city councils in North Vancouver and West Vancouver declared a climate emergency. In doing so they are the latest cities to jump on one of the most bizarre bandwagons of modern times.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Review of Residential Comfort Control Products & Opportunities
US Department of Energy research paper Review of Residential Comfort Control Products and Opportunities outlines residential HVAC advanced controls and sensors. It includes a technology review, applications, maintenance and commissioning, occupant behavior and a summary of the state-of-the-art technologies for advanced controls for residential HVAC. (PDF)

Corded vs Cordless Power Tools
Builder Magazine article features pros and manufacturers weighing in on power tools, noting an industry move toward the cordless jobsite.

Confusion Reigns as Refrigerants Phased Out
Plumbing & HVAC says as Canada implements a plan to meet our Global Warming Potential emission reductions, the phase-down of halo fluorocarbons (HFCs) is beginning. This means that several of the most common refrigerants are going to, at least partially, disappear over the next 20 years.

Refrigerants, Flammable & Toxic
HVAC School describes various types of refrigerants and their characteristics around flammability and toxicity.

Insulation Choices Revealed in New Study
Home Innovation Research Labs says based on the Builder Practices Survey results Fiberglass insulation remains solidly the most popular insulation material in new homes. Considering all areas of new single-family homes – floors, walls, and roofs – Fiberglass Batt insulation now comprises about 52 percent and Blown Fiberglass represents 19 percent of installations.

Wood-Fiber Insulation
Fine Homebuilding describes benefits, properties, and installation methods of wood fibre insulation.

Electric-Powered Windows Touted for Condos
Home Builder Canada says these windows remove the need for blinds or screen while providing security since the glass can be also be darkened with an app from a smartphone.

Netherlands is Home to First 3D-Printed Concrete Bridge
Digital Trends says intended for cyclists, this 26-foot-long bridge took three months to print out its approximately 800 layers of reinforced, pre-stressed concrete material.

9. Installation Procedures

9 Secrets to Effortless Drywall Install
Fine Homebuilding online video describes some straightforward steps that will make any drywall-hanging job easier.

Ceramic Tile Over Wood Structural Panel Floors
Engineered Wood Association technical bulletin Ceramic Tile Over Wood Structural Panel Floors from the Tile Council of North America provides specifications for wood structural panel floor systems used under ceramic tile finish flooring, tested in accordance with ASTM C627. Free site registration required.

How to Install Nail-Fin Windows in 5 Wall Types
Fine Homebuilding online videos demonstrate trusted window-flashing details for walls with the following water-resistive barriers: Zip System sheathing, exterior rigid-foam insulation, housewrap, peel-and-stick membrane, and fluid-applied WRB.

Sealing Duct Boxes, Boots, Cans
HVAC School says whenever you are installing duct boxes (also called boots or cans) in an aftermarket application, make sure to place a bead of sealant like mastic or silicone on the flange so that as it presses against the substrate it will seal against leaks to and from the unconditioned space.

Dealing with Products of Combustion
HPAC Magazine says dealing with the products of combustion from high efficiency equipment must be re-evaluated by everyone involved in the mechanical world.

Does Vent Hood Need Makeup Air?
Green Building Advisor discusses whether or not there is a need for makeup air for a kitchen hood when building a tight house.

Plugging Fastener Holes
Journal of Light Construction describes how to plug fastener holes with wood bungs.

Build a Fireplace, Brick by Brick
Fine Homebuilding online video provides an overview of the process of creating a traditional-style fireplace that burns well and meets current building codes.

10. Information Sources

Presentations From 2019 Westford Symposium on Building Science
Building Science has now uploaded the various online slide show presentations from their recent Westford Symposium on Building Science.

Insulation Products & Procedures
Construction Instruction online videos and articles describe insulation products and procedures for foundations, attics, and walls.

Roof Flashing Articles
Fine Homebuilding articles and videos will help you get your roof waterproofing details right and keep your home comfortable and dry.

Roofing Products & Installation
Construction Instruction online videos and documents provide information on roofing products and installation considerations.

2019 Colorado Masonry Systems Design Guide
RDH Building Science 2019 Colorado Masonry Systems Design Guide was developed with the purpose of educating installers and designers in the Rocky Mountain region on best practices and principles of high-performance enclosures and quality masonry installations.

Housing Industry Information & Statistics
Canadian Home Builders Association fact sheets reflect estimated economic impacts of residential activity for the past year based on Statistics Canada and CMHC data.

Radiant Heating Buyers Guide
PM Magazine displays the Radiant Comfort Report Buyers Guide that is a directory of manufacturers and suppliers of hydronic, electric, and system components for the radiant heating & cooling industry.

Old Books
HVAC School says when we open one of these old books, they talk about problems we still face today, with information that still applies.

11. Conferences & Shows

GlassBuild America
GlassBuild America will take place in Atlanta on September 17th. It is the largest glass, window and door trade show in the Western Hemisphere.

Canada’s first CondoExpo will be held in Vancouver on September 28th. People can take in breakout sessions by Vancouver's top industry professionals and experience a collection of the best condo projects in one place, for one day.

BC Window Industry Conference
Fenestration Association of BC 2019 Industry Conference will be held in Surrey on October 23rd. The speaker lineup will include: The Code Talkers; Mitigating Thermal Bridging; Cold Climate Window Installation; Passive House for Part 3 Buildings; and more.

2019 Wood Solutions Conference
The 2019 Wood Solutions Conference will be held in Vancouver on November 5th. It is dedicated to design and construction with wood products and systems, including mass timber. This educational event will showcase wood uses in commercial, institutional, industrial and multi-unit residential construction through specifically designed seminar streams, new and current topics and an interactive trade show.

2019 BC Building Envelope Conference in Vancouver
BC Building Envelope Council 2019 conference will be held in Vancouver on November 8th. Topics will include: Building envelope design and prefabricated construction; Façade access and structural attachments; Heritage restoration; Air barrier approaches and airtightness testing; Designing for resiliency and durability.

12. Education & Training

Construction Industry & Legalized Cannabis
VRCA seminar The Construction Industry and Legalized Cannabis will be presented in Vancouver on September 10th. It will cover the unique challenges faced by employers in the construction industry, and how they can be practically managed.

Driving Results to Finish 2019 Strong
ICBA free webinar Driving Results to Finish 2019 Strong, will be presented on September 19th. It covers how to identify your priorities for the last quarter and build a strategic plan around them, and how to break your plan down into weekly goals & actions that can get scheduled into your calendar.

How To Achieve High Performance Construction Economically
BCBEC luncheon seminar How To Achieve High Performance Construction Economically will be presented on September 19th. Rod Nadeau will discuss how to simplify high performance construction details so that any carpenter or tradesman can easily understand and install them properly.

Innovative Homeownership Programs for First-Time Home Buyers
UDI seminar Innovative Homeownership Programs for First-Time Home Buyers will be presented on September 24th. Helping first-time buyers enter the real estate market takes a unique approach from a variety of stakeholders within the community. The expert panel will discuss how local home builders are approaching this challenge.

Overcoming Fear of Raising Your Rates
Building Performance Institute webinar Overcoming Fear of Raising Your Rates will be presented on September 24th. During this, you will learn that when the costs of doing business increases, hourly rates MUST increase to maintain profitability.

Building Science Fundamentals Seminar
Building Science presents the Building Science Fundamentals seminar in Seattle, September 25-26. This two-day seminar teaches the basic knowledge needed to design and build durable, energy efficient, affordable and healthy buildings.

Designing Building Enclosures in Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Construction
BC Housing seminar Designing Building Enclosures in Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Construction will be presented on October 10th. You can learn about industry best practices for designing efficient, durable wood-frame building enclosures in new construction and explore the latest edition of the Building Enclosure Design Guide now available online.

ITA Expands Services for BC Trades Education
REMI says the BC Industry Training Authority announced trades apprentices and the trades education system in BC are receiving more support through expanded services and regional outreach.


Dittie For Today: On Leadership

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial or uninformed. - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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