Newsletter #164
Latest Industry News, Events, Issues, Products, And Resources
October 2, 2018


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, Elisa Wood, Denisa Ionescu, Melissa Broadus, Zana Gordon, Bryan Orr, Joey Fearn, Wilma Leung, Sabine Just, Mike Rogers, Mark Sakai, Kira De Vries, 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

Podcasts on 7 Minutes of BS (Building Science)
ProTradeCraft provides access to their 7 Minutes of BS podcasts. These include interviews on building science topics with a lot of the top building science minds in the US and Canada.

1. Industry Issues, Forecasts & Trends

BC State of the Market Report Q2-2018
UDI online State of the Market Report for Q2 2018 provides stats and graphs showing price escalations, supply contraction, and differences in market sectors (building types and regional sub-markets). (PDF)

Interest Rate Forecast September 2018
Central 1 Interest Rate Forecast says trade tensions are mounting, oil prices are climbing, there are higher US rates, and a Bank of Canada rate increase is coming. (PDF)

Mortgage Rate Forecast September 2018
BC Real Estate Association online Mortgage Rate Forecast of September 2018 says the Canadian mortgage market is undergoing significant tightening with the availability of credit falling and interest rates rising. (PDF)

7 Major Trends That Will Impact the Construction Industry
Construct Connect describes seven major trends that will impact the construction industry over the next year.

Reflections on Canadian House Price Boom
Business Council of BC says it is hard to imagine that Canadian house prices will continue to rise significantly faster than overall inflation and incomes. An extended period of weaker real Canadian house prices seems probable.

Why Our National Housing Market is a Myth
Financial Post says the varying pronouncements about Canada's housing markets in mid-July suggest that there isn't per se a single housing market, but instead a collection of local markets where prices and sale volumes adjust to local variations in housing demand and supply, sometimes in response to institutional interventions.

Stay-Home Seniors Skew Retirement Home Outlook
Home Builder Canada says stubborn seniors are skewing the outlook for the retirement residences market in Canada by opting to stay in their own homes when they retire. But the trend could prove a boon to the home renovation sector.

What's Wrong with Housing in America?
Builder Magazine, in Part one of a four-part series dissecting the housing market, says housing in America is broken. They simply no longer build enough units to meet demand and keep prices affordable for most Americans.

2. Business Management

3 Ways to Rank Higher in Google
Fine Homebuilding explains the three sections of Google search results - Google Ads, Google Maps, and Google Organic - and how to optimize your ranking in each one to help your business be found online and in your local region.

Four Tips for Builders to Own Digital Marketing
Insulation Institute article by a mid-level US production builder with a superior quality reputation offers guidance on four things builders can do better to connect with buyers they hope to attract.

BC Industry Gets Ready for Legal Marijuana
Journal of Commerce says with only a few weeks to go, the construction industry is getting ready for the legalization of marijuana.

Growing Tax Burden Hurts BC Business Competitiveness
Business Council of BC says if we tabulate all the tax measures adopted by the province, next year businesses will face about $5 billion in extra government-mandated tax costs, compared to what they were paying at the start of 2013. This growing tax burden is one chapter in the larger story of the province’s eroding competitiveness.

Forecast Construction Revenue
Fine Homebuilding says the longer your construction company takes to produce work, the less efficiently it profits. Once you are able to look at your production schedule and see the work in terms of its weekly production value, you'll be able to adjust the activities that maximize your weekly revenue.

4 Myths Holding Your Remodelling Business Back
Qualified Remodeler says myths have sadly become truths for too many remodelers. Believing in these myths is unfortunately holding many back from being able to grow their businesses.

Remodeling or Renovation Project Unrealistic Price Expectations
Markup & Profit says don't be in a hurry to write off someone with an unrealistic expectation on price. If they called you, doesn't that mean they need or want the room addition? Take the time to gather information before you decide they aren't worth your time and energy.

Invest in Your Employees
Plumbing and Mechanical article by industry veteran Dan Holohan provides some insights into why it may be valuable for a small service business to invest in employees.

3. Building Design & Trends

2018 Builders Choice Award Winners
Builder Online describes winners of their 2018 Builders Choice & Custom Home Design Awards. These are the projects that transform our cities, enhance our communities, and most importantly, help redefine our notion of home.

2018 Q1 Home Design Trends Survey on Home & Property Design
American Institute of Architects online Home Design Trends Survey results for Q1 2018 describes emerging trends in home and property design.

2018 Q2 Home Design Trends Survey on Home Features
American Institute of Architects online Home Design Trends Survey results for Q2 2018 describes emerging trends in home features.

2018 BC Shine Award Winners for Interior Design
Interior Designers Institute of BC displays their 2018 Awards of Excellence winners that showcase the talent, skills and innovation of Professional Interior Designers.

Interior Design Trends for Fall 2018
Forbes takes a look at the biggest trends in the interior design world for fall 2018, from curved sofas to black accents in the kitchen to a rising global nomadic style.

2018 Master Design Award Winners
Qualified Remodeler presents the 40th annual Master Design Award winners that showcase creative solutions in the construction of extraordinary projects.

Outdoor Living Creates Dramatic Swing in Builder Choice of Surface Materials
Home Innovation Research Labs says data from their 2018 Annual Builder Practices Survey shows more new homes are getting side & rear porches and decks than in past years, but fewer are getting on-grade patios.

How to Create Outdoor Amenity Space Residents Will Love
Multifamily Executive Magazine says from courtyards to rooftop terraces to intimate gathering spots, the right outdoor areas—in the right locations—can separate your properties from the competition.


What Are Industry Members Saying About BC Building Info?

Graham Finch, Principal, and Building Science Research Engineer at RDH Building Science says: “Thanks Ken. Always informative and thanks for the links.”

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

4. Codes Standards & Regulations

BC Energy Step Code Changes Endorsed by Council
At its September 19, 2018 meeting, the members of the Energy Step Code Council endorsed the following changes to the BC Energy Step Code metrics, for consideration by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Online Versions of 2018 BC Codes Now Available for Purchase
BC Government says online products of the 2018 BC Building and Plumbing Code are now available to purchase. At this time they do not have any confirmed release dates on the printed products. The 2018 BC Codes come into effect December 10, 2018.

2018 Public Hearings on Proposed WorkSafe BC Regulatory Amendments
WorkSafe BC is holding public hearings for these proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Clarification on BC Engineer Field Reviews & Construction Deficiencies, Safety
Engineers and Geoscientists BC has produced its Member Advisory: 2018-04 - Field Reviews, Construction Deficiencies and Safety. It provides clarification on field reviews as they are defined in the BC Building Code, differing from inspections performed by authorities having jurisdiction to confirm compliance with code or bylaw requirements. It is in response to concerns from members about misinterpretation by project participants regarding how the engineer of record’s field review relates to addressing construction deficiencies, and the role of the engineer in relation to construction safety.

NAFS & Wind Speed-up Over Hills
RDH Building Science says the Canadian Supplement to NAFS excludes buildings on hills, escarpments, and on slopes steeper than 10 degrees, from its simplified calculation methods. Same goes for the online Canadian NAFS Performance Grade calculators.

Maintenance and Use of Gas Appliance Records
Technical Safety BC new information bulletin, Maintenance and Use of Gas Appliance Records, details the regulatory requirements for dealers to maintain records involving the sale of gas regulated products. (PDF)

Comments from 2018 Canadian Electrical Code Review Consultation
Technical Safety BC lists all comments from consultations with stakeholders about the 2018 Canadian Electrical Code meant to identify important impacts and issues that are specific to BC.

Canadian Cities Should Eliminate Minimum Parking Requirements
Fraser Institute says eliminating mandatory minimum parking requirements not only gives people more say over how they live their lives (and use their property) but it’s also an important step towards improving housing affordability.

5. Building Science & Technology

Professor John Straube on Moisture Physics
Energy Vanguard summarizes key information on moisture physics, as presented by Professor John Straube at the 22nd annual Westford Symposium on Building Science.

Tackling Tankless
Mechanical Business says with a long history of use in Europe and Asia, tankless water heaters have been making significant inroads in North America over the past several years. As more and more plumbers are installing this technology, the need for proper installation guidelines is becoming greater than ever.

Does Radiant Floor Cooling Make Sense?
Green Building Advisor discusses whether a radiant floor system also can cool the house.

How to Talk Like a Building Scientist
Energy Vanguard discusses how you can enhance your future in building science by learning how to talk like a building scientist...almost.

Allison Bailes Does Science on 7 Minutes of BS
Energy Vanguard's Allison Bailes was interviewed on the Podcast site, 7 Minutes of BS. Here he discusses the scientific method, evolutionary psychology, peeling paint on the walls of insulated houses, hygrothermal modeling, and climate change.

Enigma of Air Vapour Barriers
Canadian Property Management says considerations for a building’s air vapour barrier performance today can prevent significant headaches down the road. (PDF)

Introduction to Wood Science
WoodWorks online presentation provides an introductory review of wood science, including cell structure and moisture interaction properties, and a detailed look at wood shrinkage. It covers the role of moisture in the amount of shrinkage, methods for calculating shrinkage, and the impact of grain orientation on shrinkage magnitudes. (PDF)

Mass Timber & Tall Wood Buildings
Building Science online slide show presentation covers: What is Mass Timber; Why Tall Wood; Building Enclosures; Prefabrication Considerations; Lessons Learned. (PDF)

6. Building Performance Issues

The 2 Main Problems with Kitchen Ventilation
Energy Vanguard discusses indoor air quality, specifically as it relates to kitchens and ventilation systems.

How to Align Expectations of Radiant Systems with Reality
HPAC magazine says the more common complaints consumers have are, more often than not, about comfort and speed of performance.

4 Warning Signs of an Unsafe Deck
Journal of Light Construction says more than 20 million decks may be at risk due to age and subpar construction.

Residential HVAC Installation Practices: Review of Research
US Department of Energy report Residential HVAC Installation Practices: A Review of Research Findings, summarizes relevant findings from available literature and research that were evaluated to better quantify the potential benefits of improving current installation practices for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment in existing homes (i.e., equipment replacements). (PDF)

How to Measure Air Filter Static Pressure Drop
HVAC school describes how to measure static pressure drop across an air filter using the Testo 510i.

Efflorescence on CMU
Journal of Light Construction describes what to do when an existing CMU foundation has a lot of efflorescence.

Fireproof Houses
USA Today says fireproof homes could be the answer to massive wildfires across the West.

Business Case for Healthy Buildings
Urban Land Institute report, The Business Case for Healthy Buildings: Insights from Early Adopters, documents how real estate leaders worldwide are increasingly seeking to create environments that support healthy lifestyles in both workspaces and homes.

7. Green Building & Energy Efficiency

New BC Energy Efficiency Program
EfficiencyBC, along with partner programs, will provide up to $14,000 for a home and $200,000 for a commercial business to switch to high-efficiency heating equipment and to make building envelope improvements. It is a new program launching in partnership with the federal government, BC Hydro, FortisBC, BC Housing and many local governments.

UDI Response to Towards a Clean Growth Future for BC Intentions Papers
Urban Development Institute response says it is generally supportive of the directions proposed in the Papers, but they have several concerns and propose recommendations that the government consider. (PDF)

Home Energy Monitors Available in Canada
Naikoon Contracting describes home energy monitors available in Canada, their benefits as well as pros and cons, and a handy comparison chart.

Best Sustainable Products for Green Remodeling
Curbed article by California’s leading green building expert offers guidance for buying eco-friendly materials.

Rebates for New Home Construction
Fortis BC has adopted the BC Energy Step Code as the energy performance standard for their New Home Program. Build a home more energy efficient than the minimum BC Building Code requirements and qualify for a whole-home rebate ranging from $1,000 to $8,000. Rebates are also available for installing eligible high-efficiency and Energy Star appliances and water heaters.

Advancing Energy Efficiency in New Construction
Victoria Residential Builders Association seminar Advancing Energy Efficiency in New Construction will be presented in Victoria, October 16th.

New BC Incentives for Energy Efficient Buildings
UDI seminar, New Incentives for Energy Efficient Buildings, will be presented in Vancouver on October 10th. Developers, companies and consultants involved in the planning, design and construction of buildings, can find out how ZEBx, the province and the City of Vancouver are working to support early energy efficient high performance buildings that align with the BC Energy Step Code and Vancouver’s Zero Emission Building Plan.

CanSIA Solar Ontario 2018 Conference & Tradeshow
Canadian Solar Industries Association presents its Ontario regional conference Solar Ontario 2018. It is Ontario's largest and most influential solar industry event, taking place in Mississauga on November 14th.

8. Building Products & Suppliers

The Difference in Circular Sawblades
Fine Homebuilding says choosing a blade with the correct number of teeth for a particular job ensures the best performance from a circular saw, a miter saw, or a tablesaw.

How to Build Strong, Lightweight Sawhorses
Tools of the Trade online video describes how to build sawhorses that are strong and inexpensive.

Performance of Flexible Structural Sheathing
Engineered Wood Association online Product Advisory: Performance of Flexible Structural Sheathing summarizes five flexible structural sheathing products that underwent shear wall tests in three independent laboratories. Without exception, the test results found that their published lateral load design properties are significantly overstated. Free site registration required.

New Ways to Build with Blocks
Canadian Contractor says new concrete block technology pushes self-insulated and lightweight alternatives to concrete to new levels.

Voice Control Tops Home Technology Trends at CEDIA Show
Forbes says at the CEDIA Expo earlier this month, industry experts predicted voice-enabled systems will continue to grow in popularity.

Researchers Test New Type of Insulation
Green Building Advisor says experimental boards combine vacuum panels and foam to double the R-value of current products on the market.

Breathable Barriers
Qualified Remodeler describes some housewrap manufacturers that are focusing on reducing air infiltration in addition to boosting water resistance and vapor permeability.

Glulam in Residential Building
Engineered Wood Association construction guide Glulam in Residential Building, features the allowable loads for simple-span stock glulam beams, as well as the capabilities and characteristics of glulam, design considerations and information on storage and handling. Free site registration required.

9. Installation Procedures

Wall Air Barrier Reference Sheet
BC Housing provides an overview of the steps that can be taken to make the commonly used wall sheathing membrane airtight as part of an overall effort to achieve the whole-building airtightness level as required by the City of Vancouver or the BC Energy Step Code. (PDF)

Concrete Against Siding
Fine Homebuilding says you should be concerned about placing new concrete in direct contact with the fiber-cement trim—or most siding and trim materials, for that matter.

Slab Insulation
US Department of Energy online fact sheet for homeowners and contractors describes how to insulate slab-on-grade floors and control moisture, air leakage, termites, and radon. (PDF)

Air Sealing, Whose Job Is It Anyway?
Insulation Institute says there is an average of 22 subcontractors involved in the construction of a new home. With dozens of people involved, there can be a lot of confusion about whose job air sealing is, particularly if details aren't spelled out within the scope of work or aren't communicated effectively.

Concrete-Slab Drying Time
Journal of Light Construction describes how long it takes a fresh concrete slab to dry out before flooring can be put down.

How to Pour Concrete on a Slope
Fine Homebuilding says the best way to pour concrete on a slope is to order it low-slump, which is concrete with a low proportion of water.

Basic Maintenance for Residential Electric Heat Pump
HVAC School lists the basic maintenance steps they use for residential electric heat pump systems.

Existing Skylights Repaired or Replaced and Fully Flashed
US Department of Energy describes issues and considerations for retrofitting an existing skylight to improve water resistance and improve performance.

10. Information Sources

BC Labour Market Outlook, 2018 Edition
BC Government online BC Labour Market Outlook report is a ten-year forecast of the flow of supply and demand for labour in the province. The publication is updated every year to give British Columbians the information they need to make informed decisions on careers, skills training, education, and hiring.

Experts See Mix of Soft Skills & New Tech as Future for Industry
Journal of Commerce says a panel of industry experts sees the future of construction as a mix of new technology and new values.

2019 Employment Insurance Premium Rates Drop
Canada Employment Insurance Commission has announced that the 2019 Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate will be $1.62 per $100 of insurable earnings. This is a decrease of 4 cents for employees compared to the 2018 rate and an effective decrease of 5.6 cents for employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate.

New Regional Reports on Credit Trends
CMHC has launched a new series of quarterly regional reports and data based on Equifax Canada numbers. These new reports, Regional Mortgage and Consumer Credit Trends, and complementary data expand the availability of consumer debt-related information to large cities.

Interim Guide to Indigenous Housing Development & Design
BC Housing publication Interim Indigenous Housing Development and Design Guide is meant to be a quick, high-level starting point for First Nations and their partners to help plan and build housing that meets community needs. (PDF)

Open Standards for BIM
Building Smart Canada says open standards for BIM are seen as the vehicle to achieve data interoperability and the integration required for improvements in the construction sector’s efficiency and productivity.

Long & Short of Wood Roof Systems
WoodWorks online slide show presentation provides an overview of the many framing systems commonly used in buildings, for a variety of span lengths. It reviews the possible wood structural framing systems including rafters, metal plated wood trusses, engineered wood products and hybrid roof systems. (PDF)

Real Costs of Building a Home in US
Fixr breaks down the costs involved in building a home in the US.

11. Conferences & Shows

BC Window Industry Conference
Fenestration Association of BC 2018 Industry Conference will be held in Surrey on October 24th. The speaker lineup will include: Code Compliant Alternative to Fire-Rated Wired Glass; Selecting Windows for the Step Code; Window Installation Education Program; Fenestration- Project U-Value; Guards and Balustrades; Ministry of Energy updates on current regulations and enforcement.

2018 Bridging the Gap Construction Safety Conference
The 2018 Bridging the Gap Construction Safety Conference will be held in Vancouver, October 25-26. It will showcase some of the best speakers in the industry presenting on topics such as: Women in Trades; Marijuana and its legalization; Navigating Health & Safety; Multiculturalism; Mental Health, and more.

2018 Wood Solutions Conference
The 2018 Wood Solutions Conference will be held in Vancouver on November 6th. 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.

Small Housing Summit
Small Housing BC presents the Small Housing Summit in Vancouver, on November 17th. It gathers senior-level professionals in one room from various sectors—design, industry, finance, real estate, policy, outreach and government—to see how smaller forms have succeeded in other places, and how we can collaborate to accelerate their uptake in our own backyard.

Building Officials Association of BC 2018 Education Conference
The Building Officials Association of BC 2018 Education Conference will be held in Richmond, November 27-30. (PDF)

Canadian Construction, Design, Real Estate Show
The Buildings Show will be held in Toronto from November 28-30. It combines Construct Canada, Home Builder & Renovator Expo, Stonex, PM Expo, and World of Concrete Pavilion.

12. Education & Training

Seminars Around BC on BC Building Code Changes
BC Housing is presenting Building Smart with BC Building Code Changes seminars around BC. Learn about changes in Part 9 of the BC Code that will come into force December 10, 2018. The changes to Part 9 will include new provisions for stairs, guards, sound transmission and seismic requirements, accessibility, energy and water efficiency standards, and other design elements. Sessions will explore a variety of approaches to comply for each of the coming changes. The focus will be on the requirements that apply to single family and low-rise residential buildings.

LEEP Technology Forum in Surrey    LEEP Technology Forum in Victoria
LEEP (Local Energy Efficiency Partnerships) Technology Forum will be presented in Surrey on October 15-16, and in Victoria on October 19. It is a comprehensive seminar designed to provide a time-saving way to learn about building technologies for high-performance homes.

Fire Performance Demonstration Workshop 2.0
WoodWorks workshop Fire Performance Demonstration Workshop 2.0 will be held in Surrey on October 16th. It will examine the current building code’s fire safety strategies, draw from examples of current design and construction practices, and provide valuable insight into proposed legislation pertaining to upcoming code changes.

Construction Project Management
ICBA course Construction Project Management will be presented in Burnaby, October 18 - 19. Participants will develop skills and knowledge of how to manage a construction project, and gain an understanding of the project processes and constraints encountered by project managers and how to successfully manage a complex project.

Free Webinars on Construction Work Health
Council of Construction Associations says the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders has partnered with the Work Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute and the BC Construction Safety Alliance to provide educational webinars on various construction work health topics.

Basic Concrete Technology
Concrete BC course Basic Concrete Technology will be held in Vancouver, October 23-24. 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.

Contracts 101, Practical Tips for Contracts & Limiting Liability
GVHBA is presenting its popular Contracts 101 seminar in Burnaby on October 30th. This session will focus on understanding the important basics of construction contracts, including the identification and explanation of key terms builders and renovators need in their contracts to protect themselves and their businesses.

BC Step Code Airtightness Training Around BC
Small Planet Supply will be providing its airtightness training classes at both the BCIT Burnaby Campus and throughout the BC Province this fall and winter.

Continuing Professional Development for BC Builder Licensing
BC Housing says during your one-year licence term, you must complete a minimum of 40 points of CPD related to the residential construction industry. Points can be earned entirely through training or from a combination of active practice, research and education development and training. You are required to keep a record of your completed CPD training for three years after the end of your licence period. They may audit your CPD participation, so keep your records complete and accessible upon request.


Dittie For Today: On Warranties

The primary cause of failure in electrical appliances is an expired warranty. Often, you can get an appliance running again simply by changing the warranty expiration date with a felt-tipped marker. - Dave Barry


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ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada

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