The Transforming of Surrey

Vancouver Westcoast Homes & Design Magazine Special Sections

By Steven Threndyle, Westcoast Homes & Design / Vancouver Sun
Summer 2011 

In the Mad Men world of advertising, a company’s brand stems from a reputation founded upon the promise and delivery of its products. “Brand” is embraced not just by multinational companies, but by countries, sports franchises, even individuals (or, as it was first developed almost 14 years ago in Fast Company magazine “The Brand Called YOU”). More …

No Need to Fan Flames of Building Code Debate

Homebuilding industry has rallied around Richmond project contractor following fire
By Peter Simpson, Vancouver Sun
May 21, 2011

If you are a regular reader of this fine newspaper, you are likely aware of the massive fire that burned to the ground a six-storey woodframe building under construction in Richmond. I mean, there was no way you could have missed the story: it was on the front page, above the fold, two days in a row. Both stories provided fuel for a firestorm of speculation about the wisdom of permitting changes to the B.C. Building Code that allow the construction of six-storey woodframe buildings. The Sun reporter even included references to the building code in the first paragraph of each of her stories. More … 

Fire Safety of Wood Buildings is Not on Trial

Photograph by: Francis Garrucho, Special to the Vancouver Sun

By Michael Giroux, Vancouver Sun
May 26, 2011

In the last few weeks, including in British Columbia, there have been many outrageous comments published in the media questioning the safety of wood-frame buildings in reaction to the recent construction fire at the Richmond Remy job site. While we all wait for the results of the official fire investigation, I would like to set the record straight on some key facts about wood construction. More … 

Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia – Green Issues Day (Kelowna)

The Okanagan Chapter of Interior Designers of Canada invites you to take part in Green Issues Day 2011, an event that will bring together interior designers, architects, manufacturers, suppliers, and others from the built industry. Keynote speaker Jan Mills – an author, professional speaker, health coach, medical pioneer and successful entrepreneur for more than two decades will address “Life Choices and Your Healthy Home”. Featured sessions include Colour Pulse, which will examine a theme of Preservation: Heritage, Process, Protection, and Enlightenment; LED Lighting: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly; and Understanding Recycled Content Surfacing Materials: Its Value Under LEED®. It all takes place Thursday, June9, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at Okanagan College in Kelowna. The cost is $60 ($50 for AIBC members). AIBC members note: two of the three se4ssions are LU-accredited.  To register, visit

Building Smart #14: Making It Work – Design and Details for New Seismic and Envelope Requirements

In response to a sold-out Vancouver seminar, the Homeowner Protection Office is offering an additional presentation of its “Making It Work – Design and Details for New Seismic and Envelope Requirements” information session. This one will take place Wednesday, June 8 in Richmond. The seminar will help prepare architects, builders, designers and others involved in house building for changes to the B.C. Building Code anticipated for Fall 2012. The new provisions will change the way many walls, basements, slabs and roofs are designed and constructed. Seismic zone structural requirements and energy requirements top the list for changes, and this three-hour seminar will explore real and practical solutions for both new seismic and envelope detailing. It will be held at the Hilton Vancouver Airport, 5911 Minoru Boulevard, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.  The cost is $39 HST included). While there are a few seats remaining, registration is filling up. Go to

Unhealthy Neighbourhoods Play Big Role in Obesity, Diabetes Epidemic

By Lisa Rochon, Globe and Mail
May 16, 2011

Cities’ neighbourhoods have long been ranked, like Hollywood stars, according to their beauty and magnetic personalities. But cities are now being increasingly divided into healthy and sick zones. If you live in downtown Vancouver or New York, where the tree canopy is lush and you can easily walk to an organic café or a yoga class, you belong to a privileged class not only because of the real estate values in your neighbourhood but because you’re likely to have a higher life expectancy. More …

Winnipeg Rethinks Suburban Sprawl With Downtown Reinvention

By Siri Agrell, Globe and Mail
May 16, 2011

It’s 5 p.m. on Portage Avenue and a parade of cars, buses and pedestrians is making its way out of the downtown as quickly as possible, speeding past shuttered storefronts and lonely side streets. But for the first time in years, the daily commuter rush is passing something new: construction. An unprecedented level of development is under way in the Manitoba capital, as Winnipeg attempts to reverse decades of movement out to the suburbs. More … 

Vancouver Island AIBC Chapter – Lunch and Learn: Hazardous Materials Audit, Renovation Projects

There are new requirements and regulations regarding asbestos, lead, and other hazardous construction materials that architects need to be aware of. Recent research has shown the very real and significant health impacts of these materials. Vancouver Island AIBC Chapter will host a lunch and learn on Thursday June 8th noon to 1:15 p.m. at the Ambrosia Centre, 638 Fisguard St. The topic is Hazardous Materials Audit – Renovation Projects. Please RSVP at by June 6th.

About the presenters:

Geoff Clark, senior hygienist WorkSafeBC, is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), a Registered Occupational Hygienist (ROH) and holds a Masters degree in Biology from the University of British Columbia. Geoff has conducted thousands of assessments in many areas of occupational hygiene. He was an expert witness in mould and asbestos litigation cases in the U.S. His main areas of interest, at present, are reducing worker exposure to mould, lead, silica, and asbestos dust.

Julie Scott-Moncrieff’s, Industrial Hygienist Chemist at North West Environmental Group Ltd, has over 20 years experience in the Environmental Consulting field. Training and consulting services provided in asbestos, lead, mould, indoor air quality and more.


Is Conservation Killing Contemporary Architecture?

by Benjamin Sutton, The L Magazine
May 11, 2011

“I had never pronounced the word ‘preservation’ until eight years ago,” said world-renowned architect and outspoken urban theorist Rem Koolhaas at a recent media preview of his exhibition Cronocaos at the New Museum (through June 5). “Now preservation is outpacing us.” By “us” he meant architects, but the accompanying displays, artifacts and installations arranged along a rhetorical circuit by the Dutch urbanist and his firm OMA reinforce to what extent the profession’s arrested development affects the rest of us too. More …

2010 Executive Director’s Report

The 2010 Executive Director’s Report is now online. You can also find it on the Annual Report page – here.

In Design, We Trust

By Cathy Lang Ho, Architect
May 2011

Stadiums, aqueducts, bridges, opera houses, museums, city halls—going back to the ancients, extraordinary public building projects are the most enduring evidence of a civilization’s technological and artistic prowess, and, ineluctably, its political and cultural ambition. Today’s courthouses, schools, highways, embassies, and so on are likewise a repository of a nation’s ideals and competence at a particular moment. Only a fledgling idea three decades ago, today, architectural policies serve many countries as a powerful tool that may be put in the service of a range of functions, practical and symbolic alike. More …

Critics Raise Safety Concerns After Wood Frame Fire

By Richard Gilbert, Journal of Commerce
May 16, 2011 

The safety of six-storey wood frame construction is being questioned after a housing project, being built under new regulations, was destroyed by a fire in Richmond, B.C.

Associations representing cement manufacturers and masonry contractors, as well as the COO of a steel fabricating and installing company have raised concerns. More …

Designing Women

By Anne Neville, Buffalo News
May 13, 2011

It took almost 10 years, but Architect Barbie has shattered the glass ceiling. The professional doll, who accessorizes her ombre dress and short-sleeved blazer with a practical hard hat and ankle boots, makes her debut this weekend at the American Institute of Architects national convention in New Orleans. And like a lot of other professional women, she couldn’t have done it without her friends. More …

Canada Green Building Council – LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance

CaGBC invites you to a one-day interactive workshop that will provide a technical review of the LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance Rating System. Discussion will focus on technologies and strategies that can assist in achieving LEED® credits, and participants will have the opportunity to consider the synergies between various credits. Also includes case studies that have been created to assist participants in applying their learning in relation to a real project scenario. This full-day course will be held Thursday, June 9 at the Granville Island Hotel, 1253 Johnston Street, Vancouver. The cost is $430 ($365 for chapter members; $325 for members). Register online at more information, contact

7 Core LUs

2011 BCBEC Conference

Save the Date: the British Columbia Building Envelope Councils’ 2011 Conference & AGM takes place Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver. This year’s theme is “Building the Enclosure – Innovation and Transformation”. The conference will provide a forum for discussion of technical challenges, advances and opportunities in improving building enclosure performance, and ASHRAE requirements and compliance. Check the BCBEC web site ( for more information as it becomes available.