Newsletter #179
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
December 10, 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 Denisa Ionescu, Brian Hart, Andrew Pape-Salmon, Chanel Studebaker, Mark Sakai, Deanna Seale, Karen Frank, Sabine Just, Niels Veldhuis, Joey Fearn, Carolyn Campbell, and Malamarie Sinha 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

Canadian Housing Statistics
Statistics Canada has launched a new Housing Statistics Portal that allows users to easily access all data and products related to housing in one convenient location.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

Vancouver Real Estate Market Flash Report 2019
Altus Group has released their Vancouver Real Estate Market Flash Report 2019, with key findings from their annual review of real estate markets. Registration required.

BC’s Biggest Economic & Business Stories of 2019
Business Council of BC reflects on the major economic and business stories of the year that’s about to end.

BC Housing Market in Recovery
Central 1 says the BC housing market is in recovery, with growing population, lower borrowing costs and pent-up demand driving higher prices and sales.

BC Labour market, Exports, Lower Mainland Home Sales
Central 1 BC Economic Briefing for December 6 summarizes the labour market, exports and Lower Mainland home sales. (PDF)

Canada Economy Not Keeping Up
Business Council of BC says Canadians have seen a substantial deterioration in living standards relative to peer countries since 2007, according to OECD data. This is primarily because other countries have increased their productivity by more than Canada.

Homebuyer Incentive Kicks In
Home Builder Canada says Canada’s First Time Home Buyer Incentive program kicked in September 2 and while some say it is not generous enough to affect new homebuyers in high-priced markets like Toronto and Vancouver, it should benefit those in most regions of the country.

12 Predictions for Home Building's Next Decade
Builder Magazine provides a quick take on where we are and a deep dive into where residential construction is headed next.

Workers in Construction Occupations are Aging
Council of Construction Associations says in 2016, approximately 20% of the workers in the 20 major construction occupations were 55 years or older compared to 11.7% in 1996.

2. Business Management

Engaging the Modern-Day Buyer
Avid Ratings says buying a home is a bit different today than it was 30 years ago. And with a whole new generation of homebuyers, how can builders engage with them?

Customer-Satisfaction Selling
Qualified Remodeler describes how to present your product or service in a manner that meets the needs of your customers.

Canadian Small Business Barometer, November 2019
CFIB says small business confidence took a noticeable hit in November, as their Business Barometer Index dropped almost 4 points to 56.1, sending it back to the depressed levels seen early in the year.

Find & Keep Skilled Workers a Critical Focus of BC Associations
Council of Construction Associations says finding, keeping and motivating a skilled and enthusiastic workforce is at the top of the of most BC construction contractors’ to-do lists.

Slow Death of the Honest Technician
HVAC School says communication skills are key in a residential tech. A tech who understands IAQ like the back of his hand will naturally sell more IAQ products, a tech who understands airflow and duct design will sell more duct upgrades and the tech who understands complete system performance will make more needed repairs. This is a long road and there are no shortcuts.

Working Safely & Comfortably at Heights
Journal of Light Construction describes some products and procedures for working safely and comfortably at heights.

8 Ways Connected Construction Equipment Generates Value
Builder magazine says having smarter equipment on the jobsite offers a number of real advantages.

Building Relationships, One Construction Project at a Time
Construct Connect says strong relationships between general contractors and subcontractors are an important component of a successful project. Putting in the work to build these relationships can be mutually beneficial to both parties and pay off for years to come.

3. Building Design & Trends

2019 Q3 Home Design Trends Survey on Home Features
American Institute of Architects online Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2019 describes emerging trends in home features.

Houzz Predicts Top Design Trends for 2020
Remodeling magazine says Houzz predicts that wood cabinets, tiled bathroom aprons, and softly colored kitchens are among styles to watch in 2020.

Finalists of 2020 NAHB Best of 55+ Housing Awards
US National Association of Home Builders lists the Finalists of their 2020 NAHB Best of 55+ Housing Awards, with links to the project and company websites. (PDF)

Finalists in 2019 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards
US National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) has announced the finalists for the 2019 Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards.

2019 National Deck Competition Award Winners
North American Deck and Railing Association list their 2019 Industry Awards winners, that recognize and promote excellence in the outdoor living & decking industry.

Finalists for 2020 BC Georgie Awards
CHBA BC lists the finalists for their 2020 Georgie Awards, highlighting excellence in home building and renovation in BC. (PDF)

Winners of 2019 American Landscape Architect Awards
American Society of Landscape Architects presents winners of their 2019 Awards of Excellence.

2020 Design Software Launches its Latest Version
US National Association of Remodeling Industry says 2020 Design is a kitchen and bathroom design software for professional designers in North America. It’s equipped with built-in manufacturer catalogs, lighting options, decor items, and advanced rendering capabilities.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Tammy Murray, Office Administrator, Menzies Metal Products, says: “Appreciate the updates and diverse content.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Understanding BC Health & Safety Requirements
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses describes obligations under the Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations of BC.

Advocates Call for BC to Regulate Asbestos Removal Industry
Council of Construction Associations says labour advocates are calling on the province to require asbestos removal companies to be licensed after a serial offender was sentenced to house arrest for exposing workers and residents to harmful materials.

Asbestos, Why Risk it?
Council of Construction Associations says employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, and that includes protecting them from asbestos exposure.

What Happens After You Hit a Natural Gas Line?
Fortis BC describes what happens when contractors accidentally damage a natural gas line.

Licensing Recruiters to Protect Foreign Workers
Council of Construction Associations says foreign workers who help fill labour shortages in a wide range of BC sectors will be better protected under a new government licensing requirement for recruiters.

Roof Code Changes That Could Save Costs
Canadian Contractor says when it comes to roofs, the Code needs to be more prescriptive.

IAQ Standards Dissect Freshness of Outdoor Air
REMI says there are new qualifiers for natural ventilation in commercial and multi-residential buildings.

Design Details for Modular Wood-Frame for Multi-Family
WoodWorks online slide show presentation Modular Wood-Frame for Multi-Family: Design, Details & Why it Makes Sense examines unique design considerations, detailing and sourcing techniques, and advantages and challenges of the design/delivery process. (PDF)

5. Building Science & Technology

Drain Rain, On Drainage Plane
Building Science Corporation says housewrap products, and water control layers in general, with holes in them do not always leak. They say that with a good drainage metric they don’t think we need much of a material metric for water control layers.

Drainable Housewrap Fire Risk Depends on Gap Size
Fine Homebuilding discusses whether or not the tiny air gap in water-resistive barriers is large enough to feed a flame.

Condensation, The Misunderstood Problem
Construction Specifier says condensation has confused and frustrated the construction industry for decades. It can occur on visible surfaces or within concealed assemblies, such as wall or roof cavities, and on just about any type of building material.

How to Look at a House Using Thermal Imaging
Building Science takes a nuanced look at thermal imaging and how it can shed light on much more than heat loss.

Making the Most of Minisplit Heat Pumps
Fine Homebuilding online video discusses pros and cons of high-performance electric heat pumps and how to install systems that work well in today's well-insulated homes.

Why Do Furnace ECM Motors Trip a GFCI?
HVAC School describes what happens when firing off a furnace in a new build with a temporary power pole outside with gfci outlets installed trips the gfci on blower motor startup.

Working with Wood Gutters
Fine Homebuilding recounts cleaning and rebuilding wood gutters, including the advantages to wood gutters and the key to wood-gutter longevity.

Old-School Turbine Vents
Green Building Advisor discusses whether rotating roof vents are driven by wind, stack effect, or exhaust fans.

6. Building Performance Issues

Updated Building Envelope Thermal Bridging Guide
BC Housing online updated Building Envelope Thermal Bridging Guide looks at current obstacles and opportunities to improve building envelope thermal performance. Version 1.2 expands the thermal performance catalogue with additional data for many newly analyzed assemblies and details. This includes more cladding attachment systems, window interfaces, precast concrete interfaces, wood-frame and brick veneer walls, and other thermal mitigation systems. Version 1.3 adds 99 new details and 363 new scenarios that includes generic and proprietary details and assemblies.

Study Finds Fungal Growth Degrading Gypsum Board
REMI says research shows fungal growth significantly affected the physical (weight loss) and mechanical (tensile strength) properties of moisture-exposed gypsum board samples. In some cases, tensile strength and weight of some boards decreased by more than 80 percent.

Combustion Air for Furnaces
HVAC School says different parts of the country provide combustion air in different ways, but you MUST have some method of providing unlimited fresh air to a furnace or to the room in which the furnace is located.

An Air Duct Cleaning & HVAC Hygiene Primer
Healthy Indoors says duct cleaning refers to the cleaning of heating, ventilation and cooling systems, including their associated air ducts and components.

Spray Foam Insulation at Roof Edge
Energy Vanguard describes what can happen when the insulation installer sprays the foam into the eaves.

How to Fix a Dangerous Deck
Green Building Advisor describes some serious reservations about an attached deck built over a steep embankment.

When Building Materials Don't Like Each Other
Fine Homebuilding says you should be sure to research compatibility before mixing construction materials, because seemingly innocent pairings of different materials can lead to problems.

High Performance Homes & Resistance, Resilience, Recovery
US DOE online slide show presentation Residential High Performance and Resistance, Resilience, and Recovery describes construction techniques to make homes both energy efficient and disaster resistant. (PDF)

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

State of Sustainability in Single-Family Home Building
Custom Home Magazine says research indicates that the market share of sustainable single-family residential construction is continuing to grow.

Input into BC Climate Ready, Preparing Together
Province of BC is developing a climate preparedness and adaptation strategy to help ensure that communities can prepare for a changing climate. They want to hear from you about how the changing climate is affecting you and what you think needs to be done to prepare for climate change in your community and across the province.

Vancouver Seeks HVAC Industry Input on Retrofit Strategy
Home Performance Stakeholder Council says the City of Vancouver is currently consulting industry on their draft retrofit strategy that includes both support tools and also options for future regulation (e.g. zero emissions replacement mechanicals after 2025).

BC GHGs on Rise but Intensity is Getting Better
Business Council of BC says we are making headway on reducing per capita emissions, relative to both population and GDP. BC today is less energy intensive on a per capita basis by 25%.

Panel Discussion on Business of Being an Energy Advisor
Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors presents The Business of Being an Energy Advisor: A Panel Discussion on December 19th. A panel of experts from across Canada will discuss the business of being an energy advisor and share their recommendations and best practices.

Passive House Design & Construction Course
Passive House Design and Construction is a four-day course that will be held in Vancouver, January 16-19. 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.

BC Rebates for Renovations & New Homes
Clean BC site Better Homes helps British Columbians find rebates that save energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions, for both renovations and new homes.

BC Energy Connections 2019 Summary Report
BC Sustainable Energy Association online Energy Connections 2019 Summary Report includes a summary of the presentations, panel discussion and audience interactions that took place at the event. It investigated BC's current energy policies and practices and what this means for initiating the significant long-term emission reductions planned in CleanBC. (PDF)

8. Building Products & Suppliers

2019 IoT Integration Awards Winners
Security Sales & Integration says spanning AV solutions to security products, the 2019 IoT Integration Awards Winners are making life easier for both integrators and end users.

How to Choose the Right Exterior Door
Fine Homebuilding describes how to choose muntins, glazing, sidelites, and decorative patterns to match the style of your home when buying a new front door.

How to Choose a Water Heater
Jen Reviews describes how to choose a water heater, according to science.

Ventilation Product Trends
Qualified Remodeler says amid a growing concern for indoor air quality, manufacturers engineer bathroom ventilation to help create healthier homes.

Blockchain and Construction
Constructech says in the world of construction, two elements can benefit from blockchain: contracts and supply chains.

Concrete Still Outperforming in Sustainability Era
Construction Canada says as modern society shifts to a circular, carbon-neutral built environment, concrete continues to deliver best-in-class performance as a building material.

Smart Homes Becoming Necessity for Multi-Family Housing
Telecompetitor says multi-family smart home research suggests that smart technology is becoming more of a necessity than a nice-to-have option in the multi-family sector.

Manufactured Housing, a Green Alternative
Constructech says developers are increasingly meeting the demand for sustainable, cost-effective apartments by building on a factory floor. The prefab panel construction approach has been a growing market for a decade and, according to reports, will continue to impact the residential marketplace well into the next decade.

9. Installation Procedures

Flooring Over Plank Subfloor
Fine Homebuilding says whether or not you need plywood underlayment under engineered wood flooring depends on the condition of the original subfloor.

Subfloor Preparation to Receive Finish Flooring
Engineered Wood Association publication Subfloor Preparation to Receive Finish Flooring provides guidelines on installing wood structural panel subfloors for optimal performance of finished floors. Free site registration required.

Create the Perfect Caulk Joint
Fine Homebuilding says masking tape and solvents are the key to a clean bead of sealant.

Air Sealing & Insulating Opportunity on Fascia
Energy Vanguard describes some air sealing and insulating opportunities that may be possible if you are repairing soffit and fascia boards.

Temperature, Humidity, and HVAC Systems
Green Building Advisor describes how temperature and humidity meters are useful tools for building investigations, specifically to measure HVAC equipment performance.

Clocking a Gas Meter
HVAC School says clocking gas meters is easy to do.

Cleaning Condenser Coils Still Matters
HVAC School says those of us who have worked in the field know that coil cleaning matters because we have cleaned the coil and the system started working properly.

How to Wrap a Tangle-Free Extension Cord
Fine Homebuilding says a chain stitch is one way to keep power cords tidy and knot-free in your shop, truck, or on the job site.

10. Information Sources

2019 BCBEC Conference Presentations Available Online
BC Building Envelope Council now has their 2019 Conference & AGM presentations available online.

Online Presentations from Automated Buildings Association
Continental Automated Buildings Association has added some new online slide show presentations on various automated building topics.

Working with Steel in Residential Construction
Fine Homebuilding articles and videos show what you need to know about incorporating metal into an industry that has been historically dominated by wood-based building materials.

Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes
Home Performance Stakeholder Council has released their online Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes. It provides heat pump installation contractors with general information on best practices for installation of a heat pump system and useful information to help educate and communicate with homeowners. It provides an overview of the key steps involved in heat pump system design and installation, including job-site survey and pre-changeout, system design, installation, commissioning, and homeowner education and maintenance. (PDF)

Supplemental Resources for Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide
Home Performance Stakeholder Council has developed the online Supplemental Resources for their new Heat Pump Best Practices Installation Guide for Existing Homes. These resources include resources for homeowners and contractors. (PDF)

Structural Design of Modular Construction Demystified
WoodWorks online slide show presentation Structural Design of Modular Construction Demystified describes unique structural design considerations and constraints associated with modular projects, including load transfer, interfacing with manufacturers, construction sequence coordination, and third-party structural inspections. (PDF)

Building Enclosure Design for Modular Construction
WoodWorks online slide show presentation Building Enclosure Design For Modular Construction describes building enclosure functions of heat, air, and moisture control in wood-framed residential buildings, as applied to the realities of modular construction. (PDF)

Guidelines for Retaining Wall Design
Engineers and Geoscientists BC new Professional Practice Guidelines on the design of retaining walls are now available. These outline project roles and responsibilities, and provide advice about how to incorporate best practices and appropriate quality management procedures. The guidelines focus on the geotechnical aspects of retaining walls, but also include some regulatory and structural issues. (PDF)

11. Conferences & Shows

Kitchen and Bath Industry Show & Conference
National Kitchen & Bath Association presents an annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show & Conference in Las Vegas, January 21-23. It is the world’s largest international trade event focused exclusively on all aspects of kitchens and baths specifically serving kitchen and bath dealers, designers, architects, remodelers, wholesalers and custom builders.

Concrete & Masonry Industry Trade Show
World of Concrete, the annual international event dedicated to concrete and masonry construction industries, will be held in Las Vegas, February 4-7. It features indoor and outdoor exhibits with suppliers showcasing innovative products and technologies, demonstrations and competitions, and many education programs.

BC Building Industry Trade Show
Buildex Vancouver is Western Canada’s largest tradeshow and conference for the Construction, Renovation, Architecture, Interior Design and Property Management industries. It will be held February 12-13 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. With over 600 exhibits, and more than 80 educational seminars it attracts over 14,000 attendees annually.

12. Education & Training

Advanced Code Knowledge Course
Advanced Code Knowledge course is being offered jointly by the Architectural Institute of BC and Engineers and Geoscientists BC, starting on January 8, 2020. This course will consist of seven full-day seminars. It is intended for architects, engineers and other professionals with knowledge of Canadian building codes and experience in the building construction industry seeking to increase their depth of knowledge and expertise in these areas.

Webinar on Wood as a Sustainable Building Material
Engineered Wood Association free webinar Wood as a Sustainable Building Material will be presented on January 8th. For architects, engineers and other building design professions, it will outline what makes wood a green building material and clear up misconceptions on the environmental impacts of harvesting wood.

Basic Concrete Technology
Concrete BC course Basic Concrete Technology will be held in Vancouver, January 8-9. This 1.5 day 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 (8th edition), relevant industry handouts, as well as copies of each presentation.

Introduction to Blueprint Reading
ICBA course Introduction to Blueprint Reading will be presented in Abbotsford, January 15th. Participants will learn how to read a set of construction blueprints and specifications, using both residential and commercial samples. This course is ideal for those who have little or no background in blueprint reading.

Mental Health First Aid
VRCA Course Mental Health First Aid will be held in Vancouver, January 20-21. The 12-hour course provides general information about what is meant by mental health problems and illnesses, how to identify signs of mental health problems in yourself and others, effective interventions and treatments, and how to support an individual and help them find out about and access the professional help they may need.

PST Issues for Construction Industry
ICBA breakfast session on January 22nd in Burnaby features PST Issues for Construction Industry. This seminar helps home builders, renovators and trade contractors understand how PST applies to their business.

Seismic Requirements for Part 9 Buildings
BC Housing seminar Building Smart with Seismic Requirements for Part 9 Buildings will b presented online or in person on January 30th. It will cover BC Building Code 9.23.13 lateral provisions in detail; from braced wall bands, braced wall panels, anchorage to nailing provisions. Background information on the provisions will be described in depth, and you will get a glimpse of the upcoming WoodWorks software that’s designed to show how to comply with BCBC 9.23.13.

Hard & Soft Skill Training Critical to Building Up Foremen
Journal of Construction says VRCA Education is offering two one-day courses called, respectively, Planning for Foremen and Lead to Succeed.


Dittie For Today: A Smiley

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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