Building BC is published by the Homeowner Protection Office for Licensed Residential Builders and Licensed Building Envelope Renovators, as well as our partners within the residential construction industry.


"Raising the Bar" Discussion Paper Released

Consultation process continues until October 31, 2005

The HPO invites Licensed Residential Builders and other interested parties to provide feedback on the new discussion paper "Raising the Bar - Enhancing Professionalism in B.C.'s Residential Construction Industry". The discussion paper responds to industry and consumer calls for the HPO to support further increases in the professionalism within our industry. Comments can be submitted to in writing or at one of the HPO's upcoming public meetings.

Read more...


Building Smart #4 Seminar - Fall 2005

Attics, Roofs, Balconies and Decks

Three-hour seminar will be delivered in 16 cities in October and November. This will be the fourth in a series of seminars brought to you by the HPO and presented by Murray Frank of Constructive Building Solutions.

Read more...


First Maintenance Bulletin for Consumers

Maintenance Matters is a new series of easy-to-understand bulletins on the building envelope maintenance of multi-unit homes.

Read more...


Consumer Survey Good News for Builders

Survey reveals that owners and buyers are concerned with the builder reputation and quality of workmanship, and that consumer protection and home warranty insurance are very important. 91% of owners of new homes are satisfied with the quality of construction of their new home.

Read more...


Manager, Licensing, and Deputy Registrar Appointed

Wendy Acheson was appointed Manager, Licensing and Deputy Registrar of the HPO.

Read more...


ACQ Treated Wood Info

The HPO website has important information on the proper use of metal connectors, anchors and fasteners with alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) preservative-treated wood.

Read more...


2-5-10 Logo at GVHBA Parade of New Homes

Homebuyers attending the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association's (GVHBA) Parade of New Homes from October 15-23, 2005 will see a sign with the HPO trademarked 2-5-10 year logo at each site on the Parade. The 2-5-10 logo is the homebuyers' assurance that the homes were built by Licensed Residential Builders who have arranged for 2-5-10 year home warranty insurance, the strongest construction defect insurance in Canada.

Read more...


IRC/NRC Fall Seminar

One-day Building Science Insight seminar called Roofing: Staying on Top of Technology and Change, in Vancouver on November 2.

Read more...


Corporations: Use of Alternate Business Names

Builders who incorporate using one name and choose to do business under an assumed or trade name should read this article for important tips.

Read more...


Warranty Resource Packages Available

SG Global Warranty Resources Corp. has launched its Warranty Resource Homeowner Packages service which can help builders to present the manufacturer's warranties and contact information, the CMHC Homeowner Manual and more to their home purchasers on a custom, per home basis.

Read more...


Your Feedback: Building Smart #3

Over 700 people attended Building Smart #3 seminars on Soils, Foundations, Crawlspaces and Basement Wall Finishing. See feedback results.

Read more...


Licensing Statistics

Licensing Statistics of Licensed Residential Builders and Licensed Building Envelope Renovators.

Read more...


Calendar of Events - Fall 2005

Listings of seminars, conferences and other events. 

Read more...


Building BC is published by the Homeowner Protection Office primarily for Licensed Residential Builders and Licensed Building Envelope Renovators

PO Box 11132 Royal Centre
2270 - 1055 W Georgia Street
Vancouver BC  V6E 3P3

Phone: 604-646-7050
Toll-Free: 1-800-407-7757
Fax: 604-646-7051

Website: www.hpo.bc.ca

[header="Raising the Bar" Discussion Paper Released]

"Raising the Bar" Discussion Paper Released

Consultation process continues until October 31, 2005

The HPO invites Licensed Residential Builders and other interested parties to review the options contained in the recently released discussion paper "Raising the Bar - Enhancing Professionalism in B.C.'s Residential Construction Industry" and provide feedback. The options presented in the discussion paper respond to industry and consumer calls for the HPO to support further increases in the professionalism within our industry.

The process leading up to the release of this discussion paper began in 2004. Upon providing approval for the HPO Board's Futures Report, the Minister responsible for housing directed the HPO to meet informally with industry and consumer groups to develop a discussion paper for implementing the first strategic direction contained in the report: increased professionalization of the industry.

The HPO's consultations indicated that progress has been made, as evidenced by the full recovery of our industry and the return of consumer confidence. However, we were advised that significant challenges remain including:

  • the absence of meaningful entry requirements for the residential construction profession
  • the voluntary nature of existing training programs
  • black-market building activity which creates unfair competition for licensed builders and erodes consumer protection
  • the need to administer legimate exemptions effectively and fairly while not unduly affecting the ability and right of individuals to build their own homes, and
  • the ability of the HPO to effectively perform its gate-keeping mandate.

The HPO incorporated this feedback, as well as the results from the survey of Licensed Residential Builders, into the discussion paper that was approved by the Minister Responsible for Housing, the Honourable Rich Coleman, and released by the HPO in August. The consultation process will continue until October 31, 2005.

Licensed Residential Builders and all other interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the options presented in the "Raising the Bar" discussion paper. Comments can be submitted to the HPO in writing or by participation in one of the HPO's public meetings planned during the consultation process:

  • October 4 - Cranbrook
  • October 5 - Kelowna
  • October 6 - Kamloops
  • October 11 - Prince George
  • October 17 - Vancouver
  • October 19 - Victoria

The discussion paper, including the specifics of the public meetings, has been mailed to all Licensed Residential Builders and is available on the HPO website’s "What’s New" page.

Following the consultation period, the HPO Board will provide recommendations to the Minister for consideration, targeting the spring of 2006 for any recommended changes in the legislation.[header=Building Smart #4 Seminar Planned for Fall 2005]

Building Smart #4 Seminar Planned for Fall 2005

Attics, Roofs, Balconies and Decks

Building Smart #4: Attics, Roofs, Balconies and Decks will soon be underway with seminar delivery expanded to 16 communities in B.C. This seminar provides practical information on how to avoid problems in the performance of attics, roofs, balconies and decks in single detached houses and townhouses. Building Smart is an on-going series of educational seminars held twice annually by the HPO.The three-hour evening seminar will cover:

  • attic ventilation and the various building science principles behind moisture control and the performance of roofs and attics
  • a review of roofing systems and materials, membranes, insulation, vapour and air barrier strategies
  • proposed code changes for attics, roofs, balconies, decks and walkways, and
  • best practices in balcony and deck railing systems and attachments.

The presenter, Murray Frank of Constructive Home Solutions Inc., is also an instructor of residential construction at B.C.I.T. and brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and energy to each seminar. The seminars will be of interest to Licensed Residential Builders, contractors, trades, architects, engineers, building officials/inspectors, suppliers, students, apprentices and others involved in the home building industry.

The fee to attend the seminar is $25 which includes a presentation guide and certificate of completion for each participant. Online registration is now available.

Building Smart #4 Seminar Schedule

October 17 Prince George, Coast Inn of the North
October 18 Fort St. John, Quality Inn Northern Grand
October 20 Vancouver, Plaza 500 Hotel
October 24 Kamloops, Forster's Convention Centre
October 25 Kelowna, Ramada Lodge Hotel
October 26 Castlegar, Sandman Hotel
October 27 Cranbrook, Prestige Inn
November 1 Courtenay, Coast Westerly Hotel
November 2 Nanaimo, Coast Bastion Inn
November 3 Victoria, Holiday Inn
November 7 Powell River, Town Centre Hotel
November 8 Surrey, Sheraton Guildford Hotel
November 22 Abbotsford, Abbotsford Banquet and Conference Centre
November 23 Burnaby, Metrotown Hilton
November 29 Sechelt, Seaside Centre
November 30 Terrace, Coast Inn of the West

[header=First Maintenance Bulletin for Consumers Issued]

First Maintenance Bulletin for Consumers Issued

In response to requests from strata owners, property managers, strata councils and builders to provide consumer-friendly information on maintenance, the HPO is producing Maintenance Matters, a series of easy-to-understand bulletins on the building envelope maintenance of multi-unit homes. The bulletins draw attention to key maintenance issues and provide basic information to help prevent avoidable and sometimes expensive problems.

The Maintenance Matters bulletins, funded in partnership with Polygon Homes Ltd. and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and with the input of the Condominium Home Owners' Association, deal with why various components of a building envelope must be maintained, how and when the maintenance should be done, and who is qualified to perform the maintenance.

The first in a series of six Maintenance Matters bulletins, called Paints, Stains and Coatings is now on the HPO website and is available in print.

The five remaining bulletins are currently under development and will be released later this fall. The series will include bulletins on:

  1. paints, stains and coatings
  2. sealants
  3. decks, balconies and railings
  4. indows and doors
  5. roofs, and
  6. avoiding condensation problems in your home.[header=Consumer Survey Brings Good News for Builders]

Consumer Survey Brings Good News for Builders

The results of a recent consumer survey conducted for the Homeowner Protection Office were positive and encouraging to the builders, warranty providers and government entities that have been working to improve the quality of residential construction and consumer confidence in B.C.

It is clear that the system of residential builder licensing and mandatory home warranty insurance has enhanced consumer confidence in the residential construction industry and in the quality of new homes in B.C.

The survey, carried out by Synovate on behalf of the HPO, involved two groups of B.C. residents: owners of homes covered by home warranty insurance, and those who were considering buying a home built by a licensed builder that is less than five years old. A similar survey was conducted in 2002. The randomly selected survey participants reflected the overall population distribution in the province on a regional basis as well as the balance between ownership of single detached and multi-unit homes.

The survey results identified several trends in consumer opinion of particular interest to the residential construction industry. The reputation of the builder and the quality of workmanship continues to be very important to both prospective buyers and owners of new homes.

The good news for builders in this survey is that the vast majority, or 91% of owners of new homes are satisfied with the quality of construction of their new home.

Although satisfaction with the industry remains high, it is clear that consumer expectations of the industry are increasing. The importance of builder licensing was rated even higher by consumers in this survey than the previous one.

The survey revealed that more than 90% of new homebuyers and prospective homebuyers expect the provincial government to have in place mandatory builder licensing and home warranty insurance as basic consumer protections.

An expansion of the builder licensing requirements rated high on the list of prospective consumer protection measures. Virtually all new homeowners feel that the provincial government should assist or protect buyers of new homes by licensing all residential builders and by ensuring they have basic qualifications.

The great majority also believes the provincial government should provide information on how to buy a home of good quality.

Consumer awareness of and satisfaction with the mandatory home warranty insurance system continues to grow. A majority of respondents say the program either made them more comfortable about their new home purchase or that they would not have gone ahead without it. This protection was particularly important to owners of spec. homes.

A significant majority of consumers in both groups felt the home warranty coverage is adequate. Those who did not feel the 2-5-10 year coverage was adequate mentioned the two-year term on labour and materials should be extended, and that the five-year coverage on the building envelope was not sufficient.

Consistent with the 2002 findings, builders and developers continue to be an important source of home warranty information to both respondents in both groups.

The information generated by the consumer survey will help the HPO identify ways to improve its current programs and services for licensed builders and consumers.

Survey highlights

  • Compared with 2002 ratings, knowing your home was built by a Licensed Residential Builder has increased in importance among owners of new homes: 84% currently say it is "very important" versus 73% two years ago.
  • 80% of new homeowners said having warranty insurance coverage on their home made them more comfortable about the purchase or they would not have purchased the home without it.
  • 78% of current homeowners rated home warranty insurance as being "very important" when it comes to being confident about the home they have purchased.[header=Manager, Licensing, and Deputy Registrar Appointed]

Manager, Licensing, and Deputy Registrar Appointed

On June 13, 2005, Wendy Acheson was appointed Manager, Licensing and Deputy Registrar of the HPO. Wendy comes from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC), where she has served as Director of Registration and Licensing/Deputy Registrar with responsibility for the registration and licensing of architects, compliance with the Architects Act and development of legislative improvements.

Wendy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Laws, both from the University of Calgary. She also has considerable community involvement with community-based housing services, strata and co-operative housing organizations.

Former Deputy Registrar, Tom Reeves, has joined home warranty insurance provider, Lombard General Insurance of Canada, as their Director of Home Warranty Operations.[header=ACQ Treated Wood Info on Website]

ACQ Treated Wood Info on Website

Check out the HPO web site for important information on the proper use of metal connectors, anchors and fasteners with alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) preservative-treated wood. Determining which type of connector, anchor or fastener to use with this new type of treated wood - to avoid possible corrosion problems - has become a more complex task for builders. More information can be found in the "Research & Education" section of the website.[header=2-5-10 Logo to Assure Homebuyers at GVHBA Parade of New Homes]

2-5-10 Logo to Assure Homebuyers at GVHBA Parade of New Homes

The recent HPO consumer survey has clearly indicated the importance that homeowners place on knowing their builder is licensed and their new home is covered by home warranty insurance.

Hundreds of homebuyers attending the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association's (GVHBA) Parade of New Homes from October 15-23, 2005 will see a sign with the HPO trademarked 2-5-10 year logo at each site on the Parade. The 2-5-10 logo is the homebuyers' assurance that the homes were built by Licensed Residential Builders who have arranged for 2-5-10 year home warranty insurance, the strongest construction defect insurance in Canada.

For information about the Parade of New Homes, contact the GVHBA at 604-588-5036 or visit their website.[header=IRC/NRC Fall Seminar]

IRC/NRC Fall Seminar

The Institute for Research in Construction (National Research Council of Canada) is presenting a one-day Building Science Insight seminar called Roofing: Staying on Top of Technology and Change in Vancouver on November 2 at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre. The seminar's main focus is on new or existing low-sloped roofs. As the HPO is a sponsor for this event, Licensed Residential Builders and Building Envelope Renovators can register at a reduced rate of $299 plus taxes.

For more information contact Madeleine Rousseau by email at madeleine.rousseau@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca or visit the web site.[header=Corporations and Use of Alternate Names for Doing Business]

Corporations and Use of Alternate Names for Doing Business

Licensed Residential Builders commonly incorporate using one name and choose to do business under an assumed or trade name. This is particularly common when a builder incorporates as a numbered company and wishes to offer its services under a more recognizable name, e.g. 123456 BC Ltd. "doing business as" ("dba") Tough Built Construction.

Builders wishing to utilize a "dba" name should seek legal advice to ensure they are not contravening any legislation, such as the BC Corporations Act when they use a trade name. In particular, section 27 of the BC Corporations Act, requires a corporation to clearly display its corporate name and use it when doing business under the corporation.

Corporate directors who wish to take advantage of the protection from personal liability afforded by the legislation must ensure individuals and entities they do business with are aware that they are doing business through a protected entity. Failure to use the corporate name properly, and thereby misleading a consumer, may mean a director inadvertently loses that corporate protection and becomes personally liable for the activities of the corporation.

In addition, alternate names for doing business should be filed as proprietorships by the company with the BC Corporate Registry. According to the Registry guidelines, only personal names with no words added do not have to be registered as proprietorships or partnerships in order to do business in B.C. For more information, visit the Ministry of Finance website.

Upon approval or renewal of a licence with the HPO, the Office will issue the licence under the corporate name if it has been incorporated; however, alternate names for doing business contained in the license application that have been duly registered with the Corporate Registry will also appear and be searchable on the HPO online public registry of Licensed Residential Builders.[header=Warranty Resource Packages Available]

Warranty Resource Packages Available

A typical new home can have upwards of 75 components and products used in its construction from faucets, lighting, dishwashers and more. Most of these items have manufacturer's warranties. It can be costly and time consuming for builders and sub-trades to provide this information to the homebuyer. SG Global Warranty Resources Corp. (250-758-6117) has just launched its Warranty Resource Homeowner Packages service which can help builders to present the manufacturer's warranties and contact information, the CMHC Homeowner Manual and more to their home purchasers on a custom, per home basis.

Note: Warranty Resource is not home warranty insurance. Homeowner Protection Act regulation 29/99 states that a warranty provider may exclude "any defect in, or caused by, materials or work supplied by anyone other than the residential builder, or its employees, agents or subcontractors" from home warranty insurance. Before contacting manufacturers to repair items with a manufacturer's warranty, owners should ensure that they will not limit any existing policy of home warranty insurance.[header=Your Feedback: Building Smart #3]

Your Feedback: Building Smart #3

Building Smart #3 seminars were held in April and May 2005 in 15 cities and towns across the province. The topic was Soils, Foundations, Crawlspaces and Basement Wall Finishing and was presented by Murray Frank of Constructive Home Solutions Inc. Over 700 people attended the session.

Results of the evaluation forms filled out by those who attended are as follows:

  • 93% said the information presented was useful
  • 94% indicated that the seminar objectives were met
  • 93% indicated that the scope and relevance of the material was appropriate
  • 97% were satisfied with the presenter's knowledge and effectiveness
  • 94% were satisfied with the value received for the price
  • top 3 suggestions for future topics: roof systems and materials, indoor air ventilation systems and air quality, and heating and mechanical systems.

Don't miss out on Building Smart #4 coming this fall. The topic for this new seminar will be attics, roofs, balconies and decks.[header=Licensing Statistics]

Licensing Statistics

Licensed Residential Builders July 05   July 04   % Change
Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley/Sunshine Coast 2,287 2,192 4%
Vancouver Island/Coast 831 720 15%
Central/Okanagan/Kootenay 687 618 11%
North/Central 120 95 26%
Other Areas 43 32 34%
Total Licensed Residential Builders 3,968 3,657 9%
Licensed Building Envelope Renovators 67 75 -11%

[header=Calendar of Events - Fall 2005]

Calendar of Events - Fall 2005

September 21 UDI Condo Buyers’ Seminar - HPO speaker, exhibitor and sponsor
September 23 Regional Permits and Licensing Committee GVRD - HPO speaker
September 24 CHBA Kamloops 2005 Keystone Awards - HPO sponsor
September 26-29 2005 UBCM Convention and Tradeshow - HPO clinic on "Consumer Protection for Homebuyers" (September 29), exhibitor and sponsor
October "Raising the Bar" discussion paper - HPO public meetings (see article for dates in your area)
October to November Building Smart #4: Attics, Roofs, Balconies and Decks seminar - HPO seminar (see article for dates and locations)
October 1 CHBA BC AGM - HPO speaker
October 13-16 Vancouver Home Interior Show - HPO exhibitor
October 21 National Education and Training Committee Meeting, Technical Research Committee, Canadian Home Builders' Association, Ottawa - HPO participation
October 28 CHBA Victoria 2005 CARE Awards - HPO sponsor
November 2 IRC/NRC Seminar on Roofing at Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre - HPO sponsor
November 24 UDI Luncheon - HPO sponsor
November 24-26 BOABC Educational Conference - HPO speaker and sponsor