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.
A consultation process between the HPO and B.C. housing industry has produced findings and recommendations toward enhancing professionalism in B.C.'s residential construction industry.
The HPO announces a new publication on new building technologies, research results, emerging technical issues and good building practices.
The latest HPO seminar series focuses on energy efficienty and green building for single detached homes and townhomes. Seminars will be held throughout B.C. in April and early May.
Survey reveals that most builders are satsified with the licensing system, but want to see tougher licensing requirements. They would like to see minimum education or training standards and changes to the owner-builder exemption.
The HPO's new online building code resource provides you with up-to-date information on what's happening with the new building code.
Results are available from a study on the performance of poured in-place concrete wall assemblies used in multi-unit residential construction. The report includes guidelines for appropriate design and construction practices.
This article provides a brief review of the renewal process and what you need to do.
Licensing Statistics of Licensed Residential Builders and Licensed Building Envelope Renovators.
Listings of seminars, conferences and other events.
Building BC is published by the Homeowner Protection Office primarily for Licensed Residential Builders and Licensed Building Envelope Renovators
PO Box 11132 Royal Centre
[header=Update on "Raising the Bar"]
Update on "Raising the Bar"
Over the past year and a half, B.C.’s industry associations and the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) have been working closely together toward further enhancing professionalism in B.C.'s residential construction industry. The Spring 2006 issue of Building BC outlined a discussion paper called "Raising the Bar" and the corresponding consultation period concluded at the end of October 2005.
The options presented in the discussion paper included:
Promote and, where possible, strengthen the current voluntary professionalism programs of industry associations. This option includes:
- continuing to work with the industry to build on and increase the accessibility of existing professional development opportunities
- expanding the HPO's public registry to include a listing of new homes and increased details about licensees' qualifications, and
- addressing more effectively the problem of black-market building activity.
Implement a coordinated approach that links knowledge, licensing and owner-builder arrangements in a way that complements activities of industry associations and training organizations. This option includes some of the elements of Option 1 and:
- introducing minimum education requirements as a condition of licensing for residential builders with emphasis placed on using existing and future industry developed courses
- more effectively addressing the problem of black-market building activity, and
- measures to improve the HPO's effectiveness in ensuring that participants in the residential construction industry operate in compliance with the Homeowner Protection Act.
The result of the consultation process confirmed that not withstanding the progress that has been made, the following significant challenges remain:
- the absence of meaningful entry requirements for the residential building 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 not to unduly affect the ability of individuals to build their own home for their own personal use, and
- the ability of the HPO to effectively perform its gate-keeping mandate.
The HPO Board of Directors forwarded its recommendations, which were based on Option 2, to the Minister Responsible fo Housing, the Honourable Rich Coleman in November 2005. The Board's recommendations acknowledged that the vast majority of existing professionals perform well above any minimum standard and proposed to address the challenges remaining that are listed previously.
The Minister expressed his support for the Board's recommendations and identified the need for further information regarding the introduction of minimum qualifications and core competencies for licensed builders in the form of an implementation plan which would provide details of the proposed new arrangements.
A collaborative process involving industry representatives who would be most affected by the changes is now underway to develop a proposed framework for introducing minimum qualifications and core competencies as a condition of obtaining and maintaining a residential builder licence in British Columbia.
Representation from home builder associations, the Urban Development Institute, the B.C. Construction Association and the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association are participating in this collaborative process along with licensed builders with no association affiliation.
Together the industry will discuss areas such as new licensing requirements, the transition to a new system of licensing and education. Participants in the collaborative process will develop their recommendations for consideration this spring.[header=Builder Insight: New Publication for Builders]
Builder Insight: New Publication for Builders
A new publication for Licensed Residential Builders and others in the residential construction industry is now available from the HPO. Builder Insight provides relevant information in an easy to read format on new building technologies, research results, emerging technical issues and good building practices.
The first Builder Insight bulletin examines the subject of ACQ treated wood and compatibility with fasteners and connectors. With the introduction of new types of treated wood such as ACQ, understanding which fasteners and connectors to use with treated wood has become a complex task. Builder Insight provides information on factors that influence the corrosion potential, describes past practice and current recommendations on the use of connectors and fasteners with treated wood, and where to obtain further information from suppliers and manufacturers.
Future Builder Insight bulletins will be published by the HPO on a regular basis on a wide range of topics. View Builder Insight. Copies can be obtained free of charge by calling 1-800-407-7757.[header=Building Smart #5: EnerGuide Demystified!]
Building Smart #5: EnerGuide Demystified!
Coming Spring 2006
This spring the HPO will present EnerGuide Demystified, the fifth Building Smart seminar relating to the construction of new single detached homes and townhouses. Building Smart #5 looks at the trend towards energy efficiency and green building, and what it means for residential builders and new home construction.
Developed and delivered by Murray Frank of Constructive Home Solutions Inc., this three-hour seminar will provide an example of a builder's experience in constructing a new house in different regions of the province, from the beginning to the end of the process. It explores the various choices for: insulation, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, and windows.
A concise explanation and comparison of how these technologies work, the house as a system approach, related building science and best practices, and information on how to make decisions about selecting systems will be provided.
This seminar will cover programs which support energy efficiency and green building including: the EnerGuide for New Houses program, the Canadian Home Builders' Association of BC's new Built Green BC program and R-2000. The various financial incentives and rebates that are available from utilities and other sources will also be described.
The seminar fee is $25 which includes a presentation guide. View information on Building Smart seminars.
Provincial Energy Plan
The development of Building Smart #5 EnerGuide Demystified is co-sponsored by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. In the fall of 2005 the Ministry released the provincial Energy Efficient Buildings: A Plan for B.C. This plan sets targets for more energy-efficient buildings and includes a range of new province-wide energy efficiency programs that provide incentives for consumers and builders to reduce energy consumption.
Through the Ministry's plan, builders will be encouraged to report on energy performance of the homes they build with a future goal that all new homes will be rated under the EnerGuide program. This would enable purchasers to compare the overall energy efficiency of new homes.
Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources website.
Building Smart #5 Seminar Schedule
|April 11||Prince George, Coast Inn of the North|
|April 12||Fort St. John, Quality Inn Northern Grand|
|April 19||Burnaby, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown|
|April 20||Terrace, Best Western Terrace Inn|
|April 24||Kamloops, Forster's Convention Centre|
|April 25||Kelowna, Best Western Inn|
|April 26||Castlegar, Sandman Hotel|
|April 27||Cranbrook, Heritage Inn|
|May 2||Surrey, Sheraton Guildford Hotel|
|May 3||Powell River, Town Centre Hotel|
|May 8||Abbotsford, Abbotsford Banquet & Conference Centre|
|May 9||Sechelt, Seaside Centre|
|May 11||Vancouver, Plaza 500 Hotel|
|May 15||Courtenay, Coast Westerly Hotel|
|May 16||Nanaimo, Coast Bastion Inn|
|May 17||Victoria, Ambrosia Catering & Event Centre|
[header=Results of 2005 Licensed Builder Survey]
Results of the 2005 Licensed Builder Survey
In the fall of 2005 the HPO sponsored a province-wide survey of Licensed Residential Builders. Carried out by a research firm, the survey was designed to provide builder feedback to the HPO on the licensing and home warranty insurance system, and on research and education. The 2005 survey is the second licensed builder survey.The first survey was carried out in 2003. The results of these surveys are used by the HPO to help plan future programs and initiatives, and to improve upon existing ones.
The 2005 survey results are a statistically valid representation of all Licensed Residential Builders in the province. The questionnaire was mailed to all 3,674 builders in which 1,094 builders replied for a response rate of 30%. This large response rate provides a confidence level of 95% with a maximum margin of error of +/-2.5%.
Builders indicated a substantial level of satisfaction with the licensing system, with 31% being very satisfied and 56% being somewhat satisfied with the licensing system compared to 13% who are not very or not at all satisfied. This level of satisfaction represents a slight increase when compared to the 2003 survey results. More than three quarters of builders said they are interested in being able to renew their HPO licence online over the internet.
Despite this high level of satisfaction, builders felt the licensing requirements could be tougher. Unchanged from two years ago, 72% of builders agree they would like to see minimum education or training standards introduced as a requirement for licensing.
The abuse of the owner-builder exemption continues to be considered a problem by most builders in 2005.
More than three quarters, or 80% of builders, indicated they would like to see changes made to the exemption.
Builders were asked what kind of education and training they feel will be needed to improve the quality of residential construction and professionalism of the industry. The top three responses are:
- 75% of builders said more education and training is needed on building technologies
- 65% said building code knowledge, and
- 43% said project management.
More information on the 2005 survey can be found on the HPO Survey Results section of the website.[header=Upcoming Building Code Changes]
Upcoming Building Code Changes
The HPO’s new online building code information resource provides you with up-to-date information on what's happening with the new building code and the latest information on:
- new code release dates
- upcoming building code workshops, training courses or seminars
- links to government and industry organizations involved in building code development and education, and
- background information on building codes.
Building Code Information for Residential Construction[header=Study of Poured-in-place Concrete Wall Performance]
Study of Poured-in-place Concrete Wall Performance
The HPO and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation jointly sponsored a research study to look at the performance of poured in-place concrete wall assemblies used in multi-unit residential construction.
Builders and the design community have been increasingly utilizing poured-in-place concrete wall assemblies in combination with rainscreen windows to provide acceptable long-term envelope performance. This study looks at performance factors and includes guidelines for appropriate design and construction practices.
A CD of the full report is available by calling the HPO at 1-800-407-7757. Check out the "Building Science Research Projects" page of the website for more information on the poured-in-place concrete study.[header = Renewing Your Licence]
Renewing Your Licence
In anticipation of increased residential construction activity in the spring, the HPO would like to remind builders that a current HPO licence is required for engaging in the construction or sale of new homes in B.C., as required by the Homeowner Protection Act. The HPO wants to ensure that you have the information you need to renew your licence in adequate time so you can avoid disruptions and potentially costly delays when you are ready to start construction.
Two months prior to the expiry of a licence, the HPO sends out a reminder letter and renewal application forms to the licensee. If you have ongoing construction and sales or if you have new construction pending, we urge you to complete and return your application as soon as possible upon receipt of these documents in order to allow time for processing. Builders are required to have a current licence in order to enroll new homes with warranty.
If the HPO has not received your application by the time your licence expires, we send out a further letter advising you that your licence has expired and you have a 30-day period in which to renew your licence. This time period is not an extension to build or sell, simply an extension to renew. If you do not send us your application in that 30-day period, your file will be closed and that particular licence number will not be eligible for renewal. However, this will not prevent you from applying for a new licence.
At renewal time it is also a good idea to check your status with your home warranty insurance provider. If the HPO has a current letter of acceptance from your provider on file, your renewal application will be able to be processed. If your letter of acceptance has or is about to expire, please ensure that you also renew with the warranty provider.
Builders sometimes assume when renewing with their warranty provider that this process equates to a renewal of their HPO licence. Although some warranty providers may agree to forward your HPO renewal forms and fee to the HPO along with your acceptance letter, this may not always be possible. Remember, you must always complete, sign and have a witness' signature on your application in order to apply for renewal. Complete information and signatures will also avoid unnecessary delays in processing your application.
You can download the HPO renewal forms from HPO website or call 1-800-407-7757 and ask for Renewals.[header=Licensing Statistics]
|Licensed Residential Builders||January 06||January 05||% Change|
|Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley/Sunshine Coast||2,449||2,487||-2%|
Total Licensed Residential Builders
|Licensed Building Envelope Renovators||65||79||-18%|
[header=Calendar of Events - Spring 2006]
Calendar of Events - Spring 2006
|March 23-24||Institute for Research in Construction / National Research Council seminar on Technical Changes in the 2005 National Construction Codes at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre - HPO sponsor|
|April to May||Building Smart #5: EnerGuide Demystified! - HPO seminar (see article for dates and locations)|
|April 4||Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association (GVHBA) First-time Home Buyer Seminar - HPO speaker, exhibitor and sponsor|
|April 8||Northern B.C. Housing Awards (Prince George Home Builders' Association) - HPO sponsor|
|April 22-30||"Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association (GVHBA) Spring Parade of New Homes - HPO sponsor|
|April 28-30||Northern B.C. Home Show (Prince George Home Builders' Association) - HPO exhibitor|
|May 25||From Research to Reality - B.C. Building Envelope Council (BCBEC) Building Research Symposium and AGM - Vancouver. HPO funding partner, exhibitor and participation in organizational committee. For more information, contact BCBEC, e-mail: email@example.com|
|June 16||Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C.'s course: Residential Construction and Renovation - A General Solicitor's Guide - HPO speaker|
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