Newsletter #182
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
March 11, 2020


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, Zena Carson, Malamarie Sinha, Jon Violette, Mindy Tulsi, Maureen McLaughlin, Sarah Venderlee, Karen Frank, Mike Gerbis, Glenn Duxbury, Jennifer Christenson, Jo Miller, Sabine Just, Bryan Orr, and Karen Podolski 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

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

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC Business Alert, Buckle Up
Business Council of BC says turbulence at home and abroad prompts a downgrade to economic outlook.

State of BC Market Report Q4 2019
UDI online State of Market Report Q4 2019 provides market statistics from throughout the Lower Mainland. (PDF)

2020 BC Budget Has Limited Changes for Residential Construction
CHBA BC says the 2020 BC Budget presents limited changes for our residential construction industry. Residential construction businesses across the province will appreciate the focus on stability in Budget 2020 after many years of policy changes.

Six Industry Trends That Will Shape 2020 & New Decade
Builder Magazine article features builders, remodelers, manufacturers, and market watchers sharing their predictions for home building in the near future.

Canadian Home Sales Down in January
Canadian Real Estate Association statistics show national home sales declined between December 2019 and January 2020.

Disappointing Economic Growth in Fourth Quarter
Conference Board of Canada says growth in the Canadian economy slowed to a muted 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter. The sluggish performance was the result of a decline in business investment and exports, which were only partially offset by continued strength in consumer spending.

Housing Reforms Have Nothing to Do with More Government Spending
Fraser Institute says there is a mismatch between relatively stagnant housing supply and exploding demand in BC’s largest, most expensive urban area. It’s no wonder, therefore, that affordability remains a key source of anxiety for so many British Columbian families.

US Realtors Spot Generational Trends in Home Buying
Builder Magazine says surprisingly, younger millennials are replicating the buying desires of those in the silent generation.

2. Business Management

Coronavirus Business Impact, Evolving Perspective
McKinsey says the coronavirus outbreak is first and foremost a human tragedy, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. It is also having a growing impact on the global economy. This article is intended to provide business leaders with a perspective on the evolving situation and implications for their companies.

Minimizing Construction Disputes
REMI Network identifies some common causes of delays and disputes, and provides some tips about the tools and strategies available to secure the effective delivery of a construction project.

Navigating Skilled Labour Shortage
Vancouver Regional Construction Association offers some resources for navigating the skilled labour shortage.

Introverts Can Sell
HVAC School says when most people hear the word 'salesman' they imagine a flashy personality who will talk to you for hours in order to try to get you to buy something that you may awkwardly be trying to get away from. That's not the definition of a good salesman.

Old School Hack for Estimating Insulation Jobs
Insulation Institute talked with three building industry professionals about providing accurate estimates for batt and blown in insulation jobs and why it matters to get it right the first time.

Return on Investment of Kitchen Remodel
Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association says kitchen remodels have the potential to drastically increase a home’s resale value, and give the homeowner a great return on their investment.

Measuring Performance of HVAC Contractors
Plumbing & HVAC says each year since 1996 Ron Coleman has undertaken a financial analysis of contractor members of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada. In 1996, the average company was losing money. By 2005 the average was recording over five percent operating profit, after all expenses. Since then, it has ranged from five percent to a high of 8.2 percent this year.

Robotics in Architecture & Construction
Building Design & Construction says architects who embrace this intriguing and dynamic technology now will be better equipped to design the most efficient buildings of the future.

3. Building Design & Trends

Finalists for 2020 Vancouver Housing Awards of Excellence
Homebuilders Association of Vancouver presents the finalists for their Awards for Housing Excellence. Capturing the best new-home construction, renovation and design projects in Metro Vancouver, the awards showcase custom-built homes, kitchen and bathroom renovations, single and multi-family developments, and the latest in high-performance building technology and innovative housing choices.

2020 BC Central Interior Keystone Awards Winners
CHBA Central Interior presents winners of their 2020 Keystone Home Builders Awards.

Pulte Predicts 2020's Hottest Trends
Builder Magazine says the Pulte Group is using words like bold and risky, so don't expect a lot of mauve.

Boomers & Their Kitchens
Carpenter and longtime Fine Homebuilding contributor Scott McBride takes a look at the evolution of the American kitchen through the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Specialty Rooms Wanted by Millennial Home Buyers
NAHB says a laundry room is the most popular specialty room (anything other than a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen) among Millennial home buyers, with 86 percent of them reporting that it is a desirable (36 percent) or essential/must have (50 percent) room.

Automation Finds Home in Building Design
Financial Times says a company wants to reinvent home design for the digital age by using iterative design processes to create tailored 3D building plans.

Age of Independence Is Rising
Builder Magazine says the tipping point age at which more people lived independently than not remained steady at 23 from 1980 to 2000, but by 2007, it had risen to 25, and then to 26 in 2017.

Designing Showers for Small Bathrooms
Fine Homebuilding describes how shower designs for small spaces shouldn't mean limited water flow.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Denisa Ionescu, Senior Manager Technical Research & Education, BC Housing says: “This is a wonderful industry resource. Thanks for your work Ken!”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

Licensing of BC General Contractors
BC Housing bulletin Licensing of General Contractor provides information for when a general contractor needs to be licensed under the Homeowner Protection Act, and the possible consequences for building without a licence.

Aiding & Abetting Unlicensed BC Builders
BC Housing bulletin Aiding & Abetting Unlicensed Builders examines the consequences for doing so and how Licensed Residential Builders can avoid these pitfalls and report any suspected illegal activity.

Future Building Codes Challenge Window Manufacturing
Daily Commercial News says windows have traditionally represented up to 80 per cent of a building’s exterior cladding system. However, building codes across the country are evolving towards ever-higher levels of energy-efficiency performance. In order to meet their overall energy efficiency objectives, ratios on many buildings have already dropped to as low as 35 per cent in some locations.

Advocacy Update from BC Home Builders Association
CHBA BC Government Relations Committee provides an update on their recent advocacy and government relations activities.

No Fast Action on Major WorkSafe BC Review
The Tyee says there may be some changes this session, but major changes to make the WorkSafe BC system more worker centric are not coming soon.

BC Leaders Call on Government to Help with Looming Labour Crisis
Journal of Commerce says a recent forecast by BuildForce has construction leaders in BC concerned about how the province will weather the increasing labour crisis that is expected to grow in the coming decade.

Tall Wood Course of Construction Site Fire Safety
Canadian Wood Council says compared to the general course of construction fire safety provisions for all low-rise and conventional non-combustible buildings of any size, the 2015 National Fire Code (NFC) (Section 5.6.3) and the upcoming 2020 edition of the NFC (Section 5.6.4) outline additional special fire safety measures that are required for all construction sites involving taller mid-rise wood and Encapsulated Mass Timber buildings. (PDF)

Slow Permit Processes Undermine Canada’s Competitiveness
ICBA says Canada ranks 34 out of 35 OECD countries in the length of time it takes to get a general construction project approved. It’s a telling and embarrassing statistic for a G7 economy.

5. Building Science & Technology

Energy & Moisture in Sealed and Insulated Attics
Building Science online slide show presentation describes energy and moisture issues and considerations in sealed and insulated attics. (PDF)

Do You Know the R-Value of Your Wall?
Builder Magazine says whole-wall R values are often dramatically less than one might assume. Reducing thermal bridging with advanced wall assemblies can help to address this issue.

Mudsills, Where Framing Meets Foundation
Fine Homebuilding says even if the foundation is not square or level, getting the mudsills right will get you back on track.

Crawlspace Insulation
US Department of Energy fact sheet Crawlspace Insulation is for homeowners and contractors on how to manage moisture in the crawlspace, insulate crawlspace walls, insulate underflooring, handle ventilation, and manage radon. (PDF)

Why Doesn't Frost Form in the Carport?
Energy Vanguard describes why frost appeared only on the back part of a car, and the part of the car that was under the roof had no frost at all.

Belt Tensioning
HVAC School describes some factors related to belt tensioning.

Deck Design Elements
Fine Homebuilding describes some essential factors to consider when designing a new deck so it fits the site and meets your needs.

Mass Timber Enclosure Overview
RDH Building Science online slide show presentation covers mass timber materials and applications, wood and moisture, building enclosure design and mass timber, and lessons learned. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

Most Common Problems with Residential Counterflashing
International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants article highlights four of the most common problem areas associated with residential counterflashing installations and how to avoid trouble.

Up in Smoke, Indoor Particulates
Building Science Corporation says in the typical home we experience a 10-fold increase in the quantity of indoor microscopic particulates in the less than 10 micron range principally due to cooking, candle smoke and electric resistance heating elements.

Wind-Resistant Construction
ProTradeCraft podcast discusses how wind damage happens, why it matters so much, and how to reduce your risk.

Field Performance of Mini-Split Heat Pumps
Advanced Energy report Field Performance of Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Low-Load Homes summarizes real-world performance of nine low-load homes that contained mini-split heat pumps. The goals of the research were to understand the mini-splits' energy usage and evaluate how they affected comfort in the form of interior moisture.

When Block Foundations Go Bad
Fine Homebuilding says steel bracing and improved drainage give new life to cracked and wet concrete block walls.

Temperature Control in Domestic Hot Water Systems
Heating Help online video seminar Temperature Control in Domestic Hot Water Systems discusses potential dangers associated with domestic hot water and how to ensure that those dangers don't reach plumbing fixtures. It presents new technology for disinfecting domestic hot water delivery systems against Legionellosis, and shows how to combine these safety measures into systems that intelligently deliver domestic hot water throughout buildings.

Windows for a Northern Retrofit
Green Building Advisor sorts through the options for a window replacement or overhaul in New York City.

Moisture Management for Mass Timber Buildings
RDH Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for moisture management in mass timber buildings. (PDF)

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

2019 CleanBC Accountability Report
The CleanBC Climate Change Accountability Report details the progress toward meeting the 2030 emissions reductions target and CleanBC goals. (PDF)

Q4 2019 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.

UBC Leading the EV Charge
Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions says UBC's Urban Predictive Analytics Lab is helping ensure communities planning ZEV charging policies will get the biggest bang for their buck.

Climate Change Action Plan for BC Engineers
Engineers & Geoscientists of BC Climate Change Advisory Group is developing a Climate Change Action Plan that will give them an appropriate and methodical approach to addressing climate change issues related to the practice of professional engineering and geoscience.

Canadian Institute for Climate Choices
Canadian Institute for Climate Choices is a collaboration of experts from a diverse range of disciplines and organizations across the country. They undertake research, analysis and engagement on climate challenges and policy choices.

5 Promising Developments for Decarbonization
Insulation Institute describes five promising developments on the horizon for building decarbonization and greenhouse gas emission reductions in residential and commercial construction.

New ISO Standard for Optimizing Building Reusing & Recycling
Building Design & Construction says a new ISO standard has the goal of optimizing building use to realize a structure’s full potential throughout its life cycle.

Believe in Climate Science Without Supporting Every Policy
Fraser Institute says there’s an assumption out there that if you accept the science of climate change you are obliged to support drastic measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This is not true.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

Lennox Ductless Heat Pumps Recalled
Health Canada says Lennox ductless single-zone and multi-zone heat pumps have been recalled because the fan motor can fail and overheat, which may pose a fire hazard.

Making Smart Choice: Tank, Tankless, Combi Water Heaters
Heating Help online seminar video describes considerations for selecting either a tank, tankless or combi water heater for your client.

Today’s Heat Pump Water Heaters
Plumbing & HVAC says today’s highly efficient heat pump water heaters are a hybrid of a heat pump and an electric storage-tank water heater. They offer efficient operation most of the year on the heat pump, but when a boost is needed, the electric element kicks in.

Top 10 Tile Trends from National Tile Day
Builder Magazine says mixed color palettes, natural wood looks and precious-gemstone styles are among the strongest trends in tile.

18 Best Showerheads
Dwell describes their top recommendations for showerheads that will cultivate a soothing, spa-like experience at home.

Smarter Concrete Sensors Allow Remote Monitoring
Home Builder Canada says concrete sensors have been around for a while now, but new technology unveiled at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas this month has moved the dial on its acceptance and versatility.

Plastic Shingles Made from Recycled PVC Windows
Dezeen says a new range of facade cladding tiles made of recycled PVC construction waste has been used on a permanent building for the first time.

Rebar-Tying Robots
Engineering News-Record says rebar-tying robots drew crowds at the recent world of concrete show.

9. Installation Procedures

17 Steps to Better Duct Systems
Energy Vanguard offers a compendium of tips for duct design and installation.

Modular Construction for Energy Efficient, Affordable Housing in Canada
RDH Building Science technical bulletin outlines lessons learned from some early modular housing projects, describes three case studies of modular construction in Canada, and summarizes key takeaways for scaling up projects like these across Canada. (PDF)

Painting Stucco
Stucco Manufacturers Association says stucco may be painted when desired by a building owner. Caveats include material options, substrates and the environment. (PDF)

Tips for Easier Installation of Manufactured Stone Veneer
Journal of Light Construction describes five things that will help with a smooth and efficient exterior installation of manufactured stone veneer.

Garage Band Joist Air Barrier
US Department of Energy provides details for installing an air barrier at garage band joists. (PDF)

Structurally Insulated Panels and Stucco
Stucco Manufacturers Association says hard coat stucco requires to be securely attached to framing members. Since SIPS do not incorporate framing members, meeting this requirement is not possible. With a minor adjustment, cement stucco can easily be applied to SIPS.

Impacts of Decreasing Evaporator Air Flow
HVAC School says when you setup and commission comfort cooling and heating systems you need to pay more attention to airflow before worrying about the fancy controls or the refrigerant circuit.

Air-to-Water Heat Pump Retrofit
Green Building Advisor article by a mechanical engineer provides lessons learned after replacing his propane boiler with an air-to-water heat pump to heat his home.

10. Information Sources

Online Community for Home Performance Industry
Building Performance Community is a free industry service provided by the Building Performance Association. It is a unique digital community by and for those who work in the home energy performance arena.

Math, Measuring, Layout Tips for Home Building
Fine Homebuilding provides a collection of reader-submitted shortcuts for laying out framing, trim, cabinetry, fences, and more.

Framing Floors & Stairs with Larry Haun
Professional framer Larry Haun demonstrates how to efficiently cut and install mudsills, beams, joists, and stairs in the first of three classic Fine Homebuilding videos.

2019 Product Guide, Exteriors
Builder Magazine presents some stylish and resilient products that provide up-to-date options for roofing, siding, decking, and outdoor living spaces.

Oxyacetylene Torches, Tips & Operation
HVAC School describes the proper way to handle an oxyacetylene torch. Depending on which torch rig you use, the manufacturer’s manuals for operation may vary.

BC Regional Sub-Market Real Estate Data Now Available
BC Real Estate Association now provides local market data, in the form of at-a-glance charts.

Q4 Canada Construction & Infrastructure Survey Report
Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors survey offers insight into the impact of the economy and infrastructure workloads on our industry today and in the near future.

Updated Edition of CLT Handbook
The 2019 Edition of the CLT Handbook has been completely revised and improved based on new research performed by FPInnovations and partners to reflect changes made since the 2011 edition in recent Canadian codes and standards, including new guidance recently implemented in the CSA O86:19 standard.

11. Conferences & Shows

2020 Canadian Radon Conference
Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists 2020 Conference will be held in Victoria, April 19-21. It features presentations and opportunities for learning, networking and connecting with vendors.

2020 Annual US Conference for Remodelers
US National Association of the Remodeling Industry presents their 2020 Annual Conference in Florida, April 22-24. The nation’s best remodelers come together for two days of education, networking, and celebration.

2020 National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show
Building Performance Association presents the 2020 National Home Performance Conference and Trade Show in New Orleans, April 27-30. The conference agenda aims to provide meaningful, engaging education and dialogue for both the entry-level field staff and the seasoned professional in the residential energy efficiency, home performance, and weatherization industry.

2020 BC Architects Conference
Architectural Institute of BC 2020 conference will be held in Vancouver, May 4-6. It runs over three days, and offers stimulating keynotes, three tracks of engaging sessions, workshops, and evening gatherings.

Builder Summit: For High-Volume Builders
TecHome Builder Summit, held in Orlando May 4-6 is a hosted-style event that drives extraordinary progress on technology for the nation’s biggest and most progressive high-volume, multifamily and luxury homebuilders. The Summit will host 300+ leaders to work on expanding and refining their tech plays and identifying the vendors they’ll need to succeed in a rapidly growing market.

2020 BC Bettering Environmental Stewardship & Technology Conference
BC Environmental Industries Association annual Bettering Environmental Stewardship & Technology Conference will be held May 6-8, in Whistler. It includes programming with technical sessions and panel discussions.

12. Education & Training

Professional Practice Guidelines, Building Enclosure Engineering Services
BC Building Envelope Council luncheon seminar on March 19th presents Professional Practice Guidelines: Building Enclosure Engineering Services. It provides an overview of the guidelines covering appropriate use of various accountability documents such as Letters of Assurance, and the roles and responsibilities of the various project participants and stakeholders, including which professional assumes overall responsibility for the building enclosure design. The presentation is useful not only to industry professionals, but also to contractors, authorities having jurisdiction, manufacturers and other stakeholders in the building enclosure industry.

Communication Skills for Construction
VRCA course Communication Skills for Construction will be presented in Vancouver, March 23-24. Participants will learn how to improve their listening, speaking and writing skills. They will leave with a better understanding of how to communicate goals and strategies effectively, as well as lead collaborative decision making.

Builder Reputation, What it Means for Buyers & Builders
Avid Ratings webinar Builder Reputation: What it Means for Both Buyers & Builders will be presented on March 24th. Zillow Senior Director of New Construction Sales, and Chief Strategy Officer, from Avid Ratings, dig into the importance of builder reputation and what it means for both buyers and builders.

Employment Standards Act Refresher In Victoria
ICBA two-hour breakfast session seminar in Victoria on March 24th will give you a review of Employment Standards Act requirements that are particularly relevant to construction industry employers, including: Employment contracts; Who is a "manager"; Hours of work and overtime; Averaging agreements for hours of work; Termination of employment; Vacation and statutory holidays; Independent contractors vs. employees; Impact of the common law.

Construction Industry Training Network BC Ground Disturbance Level II
Construction Industry Training Network says the course BC Ground Disturbance Level II is designed for any party that is supervising a ground disturbance, independently performing a ground disturbance, or issuing and receiving ground disturbance permits in BC. Held in Burnaby on March 25th, the program ensures that Level II personnel are familiar with, and fully understand, all the regulations and variances involved when a ground disturbance takes place.

Building Smart Using Integrated Design Process
BC Housing webinar and seminar Building Smart Using Integrated Design Process will be presented on April 8th. Learn how an Integrated Design Process (IDP) can ensure greater project success. IDP is a collaborative design approach that is intended to optimize performance, cost, occupant comfort and resilience of a residential building.

April Luncheon Features Andrew Ramlo of Rennie Intelligence
UDI Luncheon session of April 15th features Andrew Ramlo, vice president of intelligence at rennie. He will recap the year that was and the year that will be. While many are talking about the what, Andrew will 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.

BC Budget Doesn’t Address Pressing Construction Workforce Needs
BC’s 2020 budget does not deliver solutions for small business tax needs or construction’s workforce future, says the BC Construction Association.


Dittie For Today: On Motivation

The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention. - John Burroughs


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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