Housing Foundations and Geotechnical Challenges: Best Practices for Residential Builders in British Columbia

Housing Foundations and Geotechnical Challenges: Best Practices for Residential Builders in British ColumbiaThe first of its kind in BC, this comprehensive guide educates builders and other industry professionals on soil types and  associated geotechnical challenges – from pre- to post-construction  of single and multi-family residences. A valuable reference tool, the guide is intended to present current best practice guidelines, and to emphasize basic building code requirements.

This publication received endorsement from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia.

The Guide is available for download at http://www.hpo.bc.ca/housing-foundations-geotechnical-challenges-guide.

Visit the HPO website for additional information.

Help Re-imagine Downtown Vancouver

Re-imagine VancouverHow do you want downtown Vancouver to look, taste, and feel in 25 years?

Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver is an initiative of SFU Public Square and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association to co-create a future-oriented and inclusive vision of downtown Vancouver for 2040.

Our downtown is changing and your help is needed to shape its future. What do you love about downtown Vancouver? What needs to change? How can we make this community one of the best in the world in which to live, work, play and learn?

Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver is a chance to dream big and inspire new ideas for the future of downtown Vancouver. For those who currently enjoy what downtown Vancouver offers, and for those who hope to enjoy it in the future, this is your chance to collaborate in creating a compelling vision of what the downtown Vancouver experience could become over the next 25 years.

There are lots of ways to get involved, including:

Additional events and activities will take place over the next few months, visit the Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver website for more information.

UBC SALA Call for Mentors

The UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) runs a mentorship program for all incoming architecture and landscape architecture students. Each student is paired with a mentor from the professional community who acts as a resource, advisor and connection to the profession. A new class of students will be starting soon, and UBC SALA is looking for members of the professional community who would be interested being mentors starting in September.

As the start of the new school year is rapidly approaching, those who are interested or would like more information should contact Nicole McDonald at mentoring@sala.ubc.ca as soon as possible or by August 20 at the latest.

UBC SALA greatly appreciates the support of its mentors in making this opportunity possible and instrumental for students.

Note: Active mentors can self-report 1 non-core learning unit (LU) per student per 12-month period under AIBC’s Continuing Education System (CES). Please refer to Bulletin 80: Mandatory Continuing Education System (CES) Rules and Guidelines for further information.

New BCIT Graduate Certificate in Building Energy Modelling

BCIT is offering a new Graduate Certificate in Building Energy Modelling starting September 1, 2015.

Energy Modelling is an important area of specialization of Building Science; as such, the Graduate Certificate in Building Energy Modelling builds on the strengths and success of the Building Science Graduate Program at BCIT with a focus on the fundamental heat, air, and moisture transport principles, and their application to building systems integration. Emphasis is placed on mechanical systems design, operation, and control; and their integration with the building envelope.

Students can expect to complete the Graduate Certificate in one academic year if they fast-track by registering in up to three courses per term, or complete the credential in two to three years if they take a lesser course load.

Admissions will be opening for applications soon. To be notified, please send an email to buildingscience@bcit.ca.


Program prerequisites are the same as for the Master of Applied Science in Building Engineering/Building Science. Read complete pre-requisites here.

Post-secondary: one of the following:

  • A 4-year Bachelor’s degree in an engineering field or architecture with a GPA of 2.8 out of 4.0 (70%)


  • A 4-year Bachelor’s degree in a related Science field with a GPA of 2.8 out of 4.0 (70%), preferably with an Architectural and Building Technology (ABT) diploma (Building Science option) or equivalent building science industry experience.

Math: Differential Equations and Linear Algebra at the post-secondary level

For more information, visit www.bcit.ca/buildingscience or email buildingscience@bcit.ca.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation Student Access Program

Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Student Access Program encourages students to engage with architecture, heritage conservation and Vancouver’s history. Students who sign up for the program are put into a queue to receive complimentary tickets to Vancouver Heritage Foundation events such as house tours and educational courses. Vancouver Heritage Foundation is offering a small number of fully sponsored free tickets to students for our Mid-Century Modern House Tour coming up on September 26. Celebrating the architecture of the West Coast Modernists, this tour gets inside Vancouver examples of this remarkable style, including a 1962 home designed by Arthur Erickson.

Visit the Vancouver Heritage Foundation website for information and guidelines on the program and for information on the Mid-Century Mode House Tour.

To sign up to the Student Access Program, email mail@vancouverheritagefoundation.org or call our office at 604-264-9642.

Students can also receive complimentary admission to our house tours and many other events by becoming a Vancouver Heritage Foundation Volunteer.

Copenhagen ArchitecTOUR 2015

Join the sustainable architecture and educational tour to Copenhagen from September 14-19, 2015.

Denmark is one of the world’s forerunners for ground-breaking architecture and sustainable city growth – the nation has made significant impact on innovative technologies globally and new standards are constantly set in terms of buildings and products that live up to the new protocol and standards for sustainability.

Danish architecture has seen widespread international success and that makes experiences in the Danish market very interesting to study.

Focusing on Denmark’s regulatory policy, industry challenges and opportunities as well as architectural visions for growing cities, valuable lessons can be brought back to Canada.

The Royal Danish Consulate General and Architecture Canada have together with Werksted and the Danish Association of Architectural Firms tailored yet another interesting program that enables you to:

  • Experience state of the art architecture and sustainable buildings
  • Take part in 50+ engaging architecture events at the RISING Architecture Week
  • Meet and network with skilled Danish architects, planners and developers
  • Learn about the Danish architectural policy
  • Share and expand your knowledge base, get inspired and enjoy

Date: September 14-19, 2015
Price: C$5000 all inclusive – flights, hotels, all meals, guided tours, etc. (max 20 participants)

Extended registration deadline is July 21, 2015.

For more information or to sign up for the tour.

Role of a Land Surveyor

Association of BC Land SurveyorsHave you ever wondered how land boundaries are legally defined? Or how land disputes get resolved? Have you ever wondered where to go for spatial, boundary and land title information? Or who to approach for advice on land title registration procedures or about statutory requirements for land development?

British Columbia Land Surveyors (BCLS) liaise with municipalities, engineers, architects, planning and legal professionals on a regular basis, providing spatial, boundary, and title information as required for land use, development, and environmental protection. A BC land surveyor is an expert on all statutory requirements of land development, on the provincial land title system and land title registration procedures.

BCLS are charged with the responsibility of carrying out all legal surveys within BC, which include surveys of land (property boundaries), water and airspace, rights of way, condominiums, leases, and mining claims. According to the Land Surveyors Act, only a BC land surveyor may carry out certain tasks, including establish or re-establish property boundaries.

BCLS have a primary responsibility to maintain the integrity of the legal survey fabric (also called the cadastre) because they are the legally appointed caretakers of this system on which titles or rights to land are based. BCLS carry out these responsibilities with impartiality to their client, in all fairness and equity, for the protection of the public interest. BCLS are proud of their profession and their responsibility to the public. They see the benefit of working proactively across sectors and industries.

Land surveyors enter the profession through a rigorous process. After either graduating from an accredited geomatic engineering program (offered at the University of New Brunswick, the University of Calgary or the British Columbia Institute of Technology), or achieving a certificate of completion through the Canadian Board of Examiners for Professional Surveyors, land surveyors in training enter into an articling period of 12-36 months. Once the articling period and its associated field projects are successfully completed, the candidate must sit professional examinations and a professional assessment interview before one can be commissioned as a BC land surveyor.

A complete list of practicing BCLS, along with further information about the profession and employment opportunities, can be found at the Association of BC Land Surveyors’ website, www.abcls.ca.

Building Act Information Now Online

The Building Act is now available on the Building Act website at www.gov.bc.ca/buildingact.

The website includes a link to the final text of the Building Act as well as the first two sections of the Building Act Guide. The guide provides plain-language information about the Building Act and will be prepared in sections as corresponding parts of the Act come into force.

In addition, the new Building Codes and Standards website is available at www.gov.bc.ca/buildingcodes. The Building and Safety Standards Branch will complete the transition from the former website to the new website over the coming months.

Homeowners Protection Office: Illustrated Guide to R22+ Effective Walls in Wood-Frame Construction in BC

Illustrated Guide to R22+ Effective Walls in Wood-Frame Construction in BCThe Homeowners Protection Office (HPO) is pleased to announce that the Illustrated Guide – R22+ Effective Walls in Wood-Frame Construction in British Columbia is now available for free download from the HPO website.

This guide was developed to assist home designers and builders in the City of Vancouver build walls with R22 or greater thermal performance. The information included in this document is relevant for low-rise wood-frame residential buildings across British Columbia. A valuable reference tool, the guide is intended to be an industry, utility, and government resource with respect to meeting this thermal performance level, while not compromising other aspects of building enclosure performance, including moisture management, air leakage, and durability. This guide was funded by the City of Vancouver and the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO), a branch of BC Housing, and was prepared by RDH Building Engineering Ltd.

The AIBC contributed to the project by reviewing and commenting prior to publication. Additional resources from the HPO useful to architects are available.

Doors, Windows and Skylights Public Review: June 4-25, 2015

Office of Housing and Construction Standards
Building and Safety Standards Branch

Doors, Windows and Skylights Public Review
June 4-25, 2015

The 2012 BC Building Code introduced new requirements for manufactured and preassembled fenestration products
to conform to both:

  • AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440‐08 North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors
    and Skylights (NAFS 08); and
  • CSA A440S1‐09, Canadian Supplement to AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors and Skylights.

These requirements rate products according to  performance grade, performance class, water penetration
resistance test pressure and air infiltration/exfiltration as well as specifying minimum quality of materials, finishes and components.

The requirements for other glazed products that do not fall within NAFS 08, such as curtain walls, site built doors and windows and sloped glazing, have also been a source of confusion for industry since the introduction of the 2012 code.

While fenestration industry associations were heavily involved in developing the model National Building Code and the relevant standards, the industry has found the new regime more challenging than they had anticipated since it came into effect in December 2013.

Some changes to the BC Building Code have been developed in consultation with the fenestration industry and local governments to alleviate some key implementation issues. We would like to hear from you. Visit our online public review from June 4th to June 25th, 2015.

For a general review of the proposed changes to requirements for doors, windows and skylights please click on the survey link: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/Windows/

To review the proposed code language of the changes to requirements for doors, windows and skylights, please click on the survey link: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/Windows-Technical/

Windows, Doors and Skylights Public Review Webinar: June 18

Save the Date – More Information Coming Soon

Presented by Office of Housing and Construction Standards, Building and Safety Standards Branch

Some changes to the BC Building Code, addressing the new requirements for manufactured and preassembled fenestration products, have been developed in consultation with the fenestration industry and local governments to alleviate some key implementation issues. Please join us for a webinar explaining these proposed changes.

Webinar Date and Topic

Date: June 18, 2015 | 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Topic: Windows, Doors and Skylights Public Review

Registration and More Information

Register via email by June 15, 2015 to Building.Safety@gov.bc.ca

There is no cost to participate, but registration is required. Please feel free to distribute.

For more information, please see FAQ.

Provincial Energy Compliance Survey

As of December 20, 2013, large buildings (Part 3 building in the BC Building Code) constructed in British Columbia are required to comply with the energy provisions in either ASHRAE 90.1-2010 or the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) – 2011. As of January 21, 2014, the Vancouver Building By-Law was amended to include the same standards.

The Province of British Columbia, in partnership with BC Hydro, is conducting a province-wide formal survey of industry professionals and building officials that design, build, or review plans for large buildings. Targeted respondent groups include architects, engineers (mechanical/electrical/building envelope), as well as municipal building officials involved with permitting and inspections. The survey is completely anonymous, available via the following webpage: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BCenergycodecompliance

The Province encourages everyone within this industry to take 15-20 minutes to complete this important survey before June 15.

Your collective responses will be analyzed to identify gaps and inefficiencies in the code compliance process and may lead to development of new processes to streamline the issues. There is also an opportunity to provide additional feedback through a focus group in July 2015.

Thank you in advance for contributing to this important initiative. If you have any questions or wish to follow up on the results of the survey, please contact:

Voytek Gretka

NFCA Floor Covering Reference Manual Available Online

The National Floor Covering Association (NFCA) Floor Covering Reference Manual is now available online and offered at no charge for six months to architects and specification writers. The manual is the industry standard for floor covering installations in Canada.

Full specification guides for resilient, carpet, hardwood, laminate, bamboo and cork flooring are included in the manual along with guides for cementitious underlayment and existing flooring removal.

A brief instructional video is available that explains how to register. Registration approval takes 24 – 48 hours.

For more information and to register.

Naturally:Wood Mid-Rise In BC Case Study

“In cities across North America, the low-density sprawl that has characterized development since the mid-20th century is giving way to a growing landscape of mid-rise buildings; five- to six-storey structures that are more environmentally sustainable and cost effective because of their increased density—while still blending with existing neighbourhoods and helping to create livable communities that accommodate growing urban populations.

The migration of residents from rural areas to cities has been a global trend that continues to gather momentum. In Canada, the 2011 census confirmed that, for the first time, more than 80% of the population lives in urban areas. In Metro Vancouver, the population is expected to increase by more than 50% to a total of 3.4 million by 2040.(1)

In anticipation, many unicipalities in B.C. have adopted policies that aim to accommodate growth through the densification of already developed areas; for example, by rezoning single-family residential neighbourhoods to permit mid-rise residential construction.

At the time of its inception in 1941, the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) permitted wood buildings of up to 22.5 metres in height, which corresponds to eight storeys. This was a relatively common height for wood buildings of the day and many examples remain. However, subsequent changes to the code reduced the maximum allowable height to four storeys. This was the limit in British Columbia until 2009 when, after a comprehensive consultation process, the B.C. Building Code, which is based on the NBCC with modifications, was changed to permit six-storey woodframe residential buildings.

Put in a global context, five-storey wood-frame buildings are permitted in the U.S. under the International Building Code; five-and-a-half storeys if the project has a mezzanine and six for an office occupancy. In the United Kingdom and Austria, there are examples of eight-storey buildings made from cross laminated timber (CLT) and, in 2012, a ten-storey CLT building was completed in Australia.

Since the B.C. code change, five- and six-storey wood-frame buildings have proven popular among developers, architects and contractors, who see them as a way to increase density at lower cost while reducing environmental impact. In less than five years, the number of mid-rise projects planned, underway or completed has risen to more than 150.” Read the full case study.

Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency Seeks Responses to RFQ


Learn More.