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COMPLIMENTARY

MARCH/APRIL 2014

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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Landscaping Paints & Stains Taxation

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CA N A DA’ S M AG A Z I N E F O R P R O F E S S I O N A L C O N T R AC T O R S

‘Fifth Wall’

DECOR PLUS: WATER CONSERVATION ENGINEERED WOOD ®


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CONTENTS

Features

By the numbers / 18 You learned the lessons of your trade, but are you ready for tax season?

All-season splendour / 24 The move towards gardens that can be enjoyed all year round comes to full bloom this year.

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External paint primer / 28 Water-based exterior paint, whether 100% water-based or a hybrid, is here to stay. Consumers may not be all that interested in that fact, but contractors definitely should be.

Added strength, straighter lengths / 35

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Engineered wood products transform raw materials into something stronger and straighter than would ever be possible through milling alone.

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Inside

Fifth wall décor / 40

NEWS WATCH / 4 Housing starts to stabilize PRODUCT SHOWCASE / 7 New and improved products SMART MONEY / 10 Easy tax planning ideas ECONOMICS 101 / 12 Who will get Dad’s office BUSINESS STRATEGIES / 14 Budgeting basics LEARNING CURVE / 17 How to cope with relentless change March April 2014 Vol. 18 No. 2

Editorial Director Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. Jennifer Mercieca Managing Editor Paul Barker Art Director Mark Ryan

Castle Building Centres Group Ltd., with building supply outlets in every province, is Canada’s leading supplier of lumber and building materials to professional contractors, builders and renovators. Publications Mail Agreement #40006677 Return undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: 100 Milverton Drive, Suite 400 Mississauga, Ont. L5R 4H1

Contributors Nestor E. Arellano Lawrence Cummer Victoria Downing Stefan Dubowski Lois Lang Paul Rhodes David Chilton Saggers John G. Smith

Ceilings are often overlooked during renovations or new builds, but a little attention to this space can make a world of difference.

Tap into water and energy efficiency / 47 Greywater recycling, WaterSense fixtures and Energy Star windows help both conserve the environment and save property owners money. Advertising Enquiries Vendors whose products are carried in Castle Building Centres stores have the opportunity to advertise in

Contractor Advantage

For more information or to reserve space in the next issue, contact: Jennifer Mercieca Director of Communications Phone: 905-564-3307 Fax: 905-564-6592 E-mail: jmercieca@castle.ca

Published and designed exclusively for Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. by Business Information Group Material Contact: Jessica Jubb 416-510-5194 Copyright 2012

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NEWS WATCH Career paths to be laid before youth at the biennial Future Building expo

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ousing starts in Canada are expected to stabilize over the next two years as a result of a “modest and gradual increase” in mortgage rates and a slowed demand from first-time buyers, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC). The organization said in its recent first quarter 2014 Housing Market Outlook, Canada Edition that these factors will temper the otherwise improved economic and demographic outlook. “With a relatively high number of units currently under construction, we expect builders will gradually adjust their activity in order to reduce their level of inventory,” said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist for CMHC. “Housing demand for resale market homes will continue to be sustained despite expected modest and gradual increases in mortgage rates toward the end of the forecast horizon.” On an annual basis, housing starts are expected to range between 176,600 and 199,800 units this year, with a point forecast of 187,300 units, relatively unchanged from 187,923 units in 2013. In 2015, housing starts are expected to range from 163,200 to 206,600 units, with a point forecast of 184,900 units. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales are expected to range between 436,000 and 497,000 units in 2014, with a point forecast of 466,500 units, up from 457,485 in 2013. In 2015, sales are expected to range from 443,400 to 506,000 units, with an increase in the point forecast to 474,700 units. The average MLS price is forecast to be between $380,100 and $400,700 in 2014 and between $384,300 and $409,900 in 2015. CMHC’s point forecast for the average MLS price calls for a 2.1% gain to $390,400 in 2014 and a further 1.7% gain to $397,100 in 2015. 4

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More information is available at www.futurebuilding.ca, on the Future Building 2014 Facebook page or through following @OntConstSec on Twitter and using the hashtag #FutureBuilding2014.

PHOTO: PPG

Housing starts to stabilize in 2014 and 2015

The Future Building 2014 exhibition, held by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) is putting a spotlight on skilled trades as a viable and sustainable career option for today’s students. “Over the past generation, there has been an emphasis on a university education as the only path to a good job,” said Sean Strickland, CEO of the OCS. “There are other options out there. We have great needs in the construction trades, and they provide a very comfortable lifestyle with excellent wages, provide rewarding work and tangible results.” The three-day, hands on career expo for students from Grades 7 to 12 aims to undo the conditioning youth have faced over more than a generation that university is the only path to a rewarding career. It will take place April 8-10 at the Mainway Recreation Centre in Burlington. Over the next 20 years, Ontario will see a shortage of skilled workers as Baby Boomers continue to retire from longheld positions. The shortage could reach as high as 100,000 workers in just five years, according to the OCS. “A skilled labour shortage is a real threat to our long-term economic health,” Strickland said. “When the province is working, it grows. A stable and growing labour force is one of the foundations of economic prosperity. Ensuring Ontario has a quality pool of skilled tradespeople from which to draw, ensures Ontario remains a solid province in which to invest, and will keep Ontario growing.” Upcoming major projects in Ontario, such as public transit in the Greater Toronto Area and central Ontario, mining facilities in northern Ontario and infrastructure projects like the 2015 Pan Am Games demand a steady stream of skilled workers to meet the growth in construction, the organization said.


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NEWS WATCH

Colour takes gold when it comes to home décor: CIL With the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics hot on the minds of homeowners, CIL paint recently offered insight into colours that can help build worldly-inspired décor. “While many people opt for neutral tones as the safest bet, those who go with lively shades of paint often never look back,” said Alison Goldman, brand manager for CIL Paints, a brand of PPG Architectural Coatings. An event like the Winter Olympic Games, she added, is a wonderful opportunity to see what colours are trending worldwide and get inspiration for home décor ideas. For a Far East feeling, the company suggested incorporating a mixed palette of deep reds, warm browns, rustic oranges and golden yellows, both on the walls and through furnishings. A red accent wall in the dining room, for example, can bring exotic elegance and romance to a meal. Zesty orange combined with golden yellow warm up a family room or bedroom, with accessories like bamboo plants, woven mats and black lacquered furniture adding a Zen-like feel to the space. CIL said pastel blues and creams will bring elegant “Parisian panache” into the home, with blue on the walls and creamcoloured trim. The excitement of Spain can be visually reproduced through rich,

warm colours like deep oranges and vibrant reds topped with colourful wall textiles and mosaic tiles. An earthy red clay tone with deep, ocean blues can bring a taste of Italy into homeowner’s décor. Goldman recommended painting walls dark blue, and ceiling a lighter blue and accenting the area with cream furniture, terra cotta urns and wrought-iron, glass-top tables. CIL also suggested popular jewel and energetic tones. A small powder room can be livened through shades of pink, while painting a kitchen accent wall bright yellow or orange, and adorning walls with boldcoloured, patterned artwork, can give the space an upbeat feel. For a more luxurious look, the company suggested jeweled shades of blue or green accessorized with ceramic pieces, beaded lamps, Brazilian masks and ornate area rugs. “There is no hard and fast rule in any décor style,” Goldman said. “You can take your favourite elements from any place in the world and infuse them into a home or even mix together a couple of different globally-inspired ideas.” She added that patriotic fans may even consider creating a Northern getaway in their homes by adding a rustic Canadian feel through deep shades of red, rustic browns and warm cream tones.

Vicwest Inc. recently acquired the steel deck and exterior metal cladding business and related resources from the Roll Form Group, a division of Samuel, Son & Co. Ltd. The business will be incorporated into the company’s exterior building products division, Vicwest Building Products. “This acquisition increases our customer base, adds another deck profile to our catalogue and consolidates an important market for our building products business,” said Colin Osborne, president and CEO of Vicwest Inc. “We believe this transaction will bring greater discipline to a marketplace that has under-performed since the recession and continues to be very challenging, trending at levels well below 6

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historical norms. This consolidation will improve our position in the market, add volume in the short term, and provide even greater upside when the domestic non-residential market recovers.” As a result of the acquisition, Vicwest Building Products will substantially increase its Canadian revenues from deck products, the company said. The acquired composite floor deck product line is recognized for the high-performance required for high-traffic, high rise and residential construction. The newly acquired roof deck is designed for flat-roof construction and is available in standard, larger span and acoustic profiles. Both will be rebranded under the Vicwest banner. The purchase price was not disclosed.

PHOTO: CIL

Vicwest acquires Roll Form Group’s deck and cladding products business


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PRODUCT SHOWCASE

Building Blocks

Innovative Products for Today’s Renovators

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STANLEY TILE CUTTERS CUT AND SCORE WITH PRECISION

The new Stanley manual tile cutters from Stanley Black & Decker Inc. are designed to make straight cuts on tiles when installing a new floor or a tile backsplash. The key feature is a tough pencil-style tungsten carbide cutting wheel, the company says. It allows contractors to cut tiles down to size to fit borders and edges or cut them diagonally to add creative touches to designs. The tile cutters are available in 16” and 24” length models and each come in foldable cases that double as tile cutting bases with extra storage for spare cutters. Ergonomic handles help make tile cutting comfortable. The 16” version (model STHT71908) lists for $79.99 and

the 24” version (model STHT71909) has a suggested retail price of $99.99. Replacement tungsten carbide cutting wheels are priced at $8.99. Visit www.stanleytools.com for more information.

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SCREENEZE PORCH SYSTEMS BRING INDOOR LIVING OUTSIDE

The new Screeneze Porch Systems distributed by Can-Cell Industries provide homeowners with year-round comfort in their outdoor sitting areas. Screeneze is a strong and durable screen system designed to help prolong and maintain the integrity of the screen, the company says. Easy to install and simple to repair, the system requires no staples or splines and can span openings of up to 150 square feet. They are available in a variety of screen fabrics and sizes and come in white, sand or bronze colour options. Visit www.screeneze.com or www.can-cell.com for more information.

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PRODUCT SHOWCASE

WEISER SMARTLOCK TURNS SMARTPHONE INTO A KEY

Weiser’s Kevo smart lock is a Bluetooth-enabled deadbolt designed to be both convenient and secure. By installing the Kevo lock and downloading its mobile app homeowners can use their iPhone as a key. Homeowners may also share temporary electronic keys (eKeys) with families, friends and service people from anywhere, at any time, and receive notifications whenever a user enters or exits their door. Through the mobile app, homeowners can set several levels of permissions and can send, delete and disable eKeys within seconds. After setting up a Kevo account, owners can customize and control everything through their app, including managing eKeys and settings associated with each given lock; monitoring lock activity and tracking user history; updating Kevo lock software directly from a smartphone; and gaining instant access to Kevo’s Help Center. The Kevo Web portal offers the same management features as the app via a browser. The Kevo takes advantage of a number of Weiser innovations including inside-outside technology, which helps prevent unauthorized entry; touch-to-open convenience; a

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fob for homeowners without smartphones; multiple levels of encryption and Weiser SmartKey technology. Currently compatible with the iPhone 4S, 5, 5c and 5s, as well as the fifth generation iPod touch, third generation or higher iPad and iPad mini, other platforms, such as Android phones and tablet, will become available pending software upgrades. Visit www.weiserlock.com for more information.

BRUSHLESS DRILLS EXTEND RUNTIME

DeWalt’s new XR-3 speed hammerdrill (DCD995) and drill/driver (DCD990) feature a built in brushless motor to deliver up to 57% more runtime than standard brushed motors. The drills deliver premium power when completing demanding drilling and fastening applications using the DeWalt 20V MAX&* XR (extreme runtime) 4.0 Ah lithium ion battery packs, which provide 33% more capacity over standard DeWalt 20V MAX* battery packs. The packs feature a fuel gauge allowing users to check remaining battery power during use. Both drills contain high-efficiency brushless motors that provide 650 unit watts out (UWO) max power, while the three-speed (0-450/0-1,300/0-2,000 RPM) all-metal transmissions better match toolto-application tasks speed/torque settings versus standard 2-speed transmissions, according to the company. XR premium brushless drills also

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feature an electronic clutch (E-Clutch) helping to minimize front-to-back tool length versus standard mechanical clutch systems. Their compact size and weight allow them to fit into areas with a slim profile and offer good balance. The tools include a heavy-duty ½” metal ratcheting chuck with carbide inserts for exceptional bit gripping strength. Its LED work light with 20-second trigger release delay provides illumination when working in dark or confined spaces. Both are available in bare versions, or premium kit versions that include two Dewalt 20V MAX* XR battery packs, and come standard with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract, and 90-day money-back guarantee Visit www.dewalt.com/XR for more information.

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PRODUCT SHOWCASE

MAKITA CIRCULAR SAW HAS CHARGE TIME OF 22 TO 36 MINUTES

Makita Canada Inc.’s new DHS711Z 36V Li-Ion 7-1/4” Circular Saw offers the power of an electric saw with the convenience and versatility of a cordless saw. It is Makita’s first 18Vx2 Direct (36V) tool and the first 18Vx2 Direct circular saw in the market, according to the company. With a charge time of 22 to 36 minutes the new saw has the shortest charge time for its class of tool. It also accepts two 18V 3.0Ah or 4.0Ah Li-Ion batteries, eliminating the need for spare batteries and chargers. Lightweight in design with a magnesium blade case and base plate, the saw features a blower hat that keeps cutting lines free of sawdust, and a bevel capacity of 50° with positive stop at 45°. Its ergonomic soft rubber grip is designed to absorb vibrations for comfortable operation, while a large lock-off safety lever prevents accidental start up. For further safety, the saw is balanced to only sit flat when batteries are removed, preventing users from changing blades while it has power. Visit www.makita.ca for more information.

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PLY GEM WINDOWS COMBINE ENERGY EFFICENCY, AESTHETICS

New Comfort Series Vinyl and Design Series Metal Clad Vinyl windows from Ply Gem afford high energy performance, but with the flexibility to create one-of-a-kind designs. The Comfort Series Vinyl Slider Windows offer the look and convenience of traditional sliders without a sacrifice in energy efficiency. The windows are available in horizontal and vertical operating styles with multiple grille types in an array of designer colours, sizes and patterns. Designed to support triple-glazing, the slider windows feature an oversized frame to accommodate full-sized sashes and sealed units. Triple-glazing reduces heat loss and meets Energy Star requirements. In addition, the windows are equipped with a steel-reinforced interlock system for increased frame stability, water resistance and wind load. Constructed with an aluminum-cladded exterior and vinyl interior, the “hybrid window” remains a high-performance product with little upkeep required. Homeowners and contractors can create memorable looks with the Design Series by combining awning, casement, picture and fixed, slider and single-hung operational styles in 12 exterior cladding colours. Formulated to withstand the harshest climates, the

windows feature a continuous head-and-sill design for a watertight frame and improved structural rigidity. Thermal performance can be improved by adding double- or tripleglazing and ECO Glass. Visit www.plygem.ca for more information.

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SMART MONEY

Easy Tax Planning Ideas

They can help take the headache out of your 2014 personal tax filing and save you money. BY PAUL RHODES

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ince everyone will be thinking of preparing for 2013 personal tax filings soon enough, this is a good time to review some planning ideas to get your 2014 tax house in order. This article summarizes 10 such ideas.

1 Consider realizing accrued losses on

investments to shelter capital gains realized this year and in the previous three years.   Note that a loss realized from the disposition of an investment may be denied if you repurchase the investment within a short period of time.

2 Consider donating publicly-traded

securities instead of selling the securities and donating the cash proceeds. Any appreciation in the value of the securities from the date of their purchase to the date they are gifted will not be subject to capital gains tax if the securities are donated to a registered charity or a private foundation. The donation credit (for individuals) or deduction (for corporations) is available for the fair market value of the securities donated.  Keep in mind that special rules apply to persons not dealing at arm’s length with the foundation and also that a donation of flow-through securities may trigger a capital gain to the donor.

You can give money to your spouse for a TFSA contribution, and the income earned on the contributions in your spouse’s TFSA will not be attributed back to you.  3 Canadian residents 18 years of age and older can each contribute up to $5,500 annually, plus any unused contribution room from previous years to a tax-free savings account. You can give money to your spouse for a TFSA contribution, and the income earned on the contributions in your spouse’s TFSA will not be attributed back to you.

Paul Rhodes is a partner at Soberman LLP. His professional experience includes providing assurance and advisory counsel to a number of clients in construction, manufacturing, real estate and internal audit engagements. Paul is a member of the Toronto Construction Association. 10

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 Contributions to a TFSA are not deductible for income tax purposes and interest on money borrowed to invest in a TFSA is not tax deductible. Contributions to and income earned in a TFSA are tax-free upon withdrawal.  You cannot contribute more than your TFSA contribution room in a given year, even if you make withdrawals from the account during the year. If you do so, you may be subject to a penalty tax for each month that you are in an excess contribution position.  4 Consider your optimum salary/dividend mix from your corporation to achieve less overall tax: salary will


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SMART MONEY qualify the recipient for RRSP contributions, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, and child-care deductions. Dividends will not qualify an individual for these contributions or deductions, but may cost the family unit less in current taxes. Each family member, over 17 years of age and receiving dividend income of approximately $39,500 or less of noneligible dividends, or $51,000 or less of eligible dividends, from taxable Canadian corporations, will pay little or no income tax, but will pay a small Ontario Health Tax premium. The tax on split income eliminates the tax benefits of paying dividends to children under 18 years of age. Consider accessing funds from the cor5

poration that can be withdrawn taxfree. For example, repay shareholder loans, return capital to shareholders up to the lesser of the paid-up capital and the adjusted cost base of the shares, or roll in personal assets with a high cost base to the corporation on a tax-free basis to extract the cost base of the assets on a tax-free basis.

 6 Consider instalments for 2014: the annual threshold above which corporations must pay income tax, GST and source deductions instalments is $3,000. The threshold will be based on 2013 tax amounts payable.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

Certain Canadian-controlled private corporations are allowed to make quarterly, instead of monthly, income tax instalments. To qualify, certain conditions must be met, including the following criteria relating to the 2013 taxation year: • The corporation was entitled to the small business deduction; •The taxable income of the associated group did not exceed $500,000; and, • The taxable capital of the associated group did not exceed $10 million.

Instalment planning for 2014 can be addressed by meeting the conditions where applicable.

Consider donating publicly-traded securities instead of selling the securities and donating the cash proceeds. Any appreciation in the value of the securities from the date of their purchase to the date they are gifted will not be subject to capital gains tax if the securities are donated to a registered charity or a private foundation. 7 Reduce tax withheld at source: if you

will have large tax deductions available to you (such as RRSP contributions, tax shelters, interest, business losses, work related car expenses, or alimony), apply in advance to the CRA for a reduction of the payroll withholdings that are withheld from your salary.

8 Income splitting with your spouse or

common-law partner: you may want to consider either: • Lending money to your spouse or common-law partner to allow them to earn business income; or • Having the higher-income spouse or common-law partner incur all household expenses, thus allowing the lower income person to acquire investments, to be taxed at their lower tax rate.

9 Lend

money to your spouse or common-law partner with actual interest payable at the prescribed rate. Earnings in excess of this rate will be taxed in your spouse or common-law partner’s hands.  Where possible, maximize interest deductions by structuring or arranging your borrowings first for business or investment purposes, and then for personal use.

10 Consider saving for your child’s or

grandchild’s education with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). An RESP is a trust arrangement that

earns tax-free income to be used to fund the cost of a child’s or grandchild’s post-secondary education.  Contributions to an RESP are not deductible for tax purposes and withdrawals of capital from the RESP are not taxed. The beneficiary is taxed on the income portion when withdrawn from the RESP for the purpose of funding his or her post-secondary education. While at school, the child or grandchild tends to have relatively low sources of other income, and, as a result the income is usually taxed at lower rates, if at all. FOR RESP CONTRIBUTIONS IN 2014:

• There is no annual contribution limit; • The lifetime contribution limit is $50,000 per beneficiary; and • A federal government grant of 20% of annual RESP contributions is available for each beneficiary under the “Canada Education Savings Grant.” The maximum annual RESP contribution that qualifies for the federal government grant is $2,500.

For more information on these and other Easily Adaptable Tax Ideas go to www.crowesoberman.com or click on the following link: www.crowehorwath.net/uploadedFiles/SOBERMAN/insights/Publications/ Tax_Letters_and_Bulletins/2013/CroweSoberman-Tax-Tips-2013.pdf This article has been prepared for general information. Specific professional advice should be obtained prior to the implementation of any suggestion contained.

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ECONOMICS 101

Who Will Get Dad’s Office? The five tips below related to family business succession planning can help ensure a smoother transition. BY LOIS LANG

Think beyond seniority. Many family business executives choose their future leaders based on seniority (i.e.: “She is

RANK POSSIBLE SUCCESSORS BASED ON KEY CRITERIA. Rather than just appoint the next oldest family member to the leadership role, consider creating a list of all the possible successors and rank them, from 1 to 10 (with 10 being high), in each of the following areas: • Past work experience and advancement history

• Geographic mobility, if appropriate

• Education

• Learning agility

• Assessment of the individual compared to the company’s values and leadership competencies

• Prior leadership positions and the size and scope of leadership responsibilities

• Advancement potential

• Interpersonal skills

• Past performance ratings

• Decision-making ability

• Advancement desire

• Problem-solving ability

• The ability to take risks

the oldest, so she will be our next CEO.”). In some families, the next in line is the oldest male. Of course, a single owner can make the easy decision to pass the business leadership to the child of their choice, but this “easy” choice can backfire if the adult child or the one with the most seniority has not gained respect from other family members and employees. In other words, often the easy choice or the obvious choice is not the best choice; therefore, be open to broadening your search beyond the next of kin.

Lois Lang is a speaker and consultant with Evolve Partner Group, LLC where she helps organizations become high-performance workplaces. Lang works with clients on management succession readiness, organizational/team strengthening, executive coaching, executive compensation design, wage studies and mediated conflict resolution. For more information visit www.evolvepartnergroup.com or contact her at lois.lang@evolvepartnergroup.com or (209) 952-1143. 12

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Embrace a more professional process of skill evaluations, performance assessments, and reviews of career history. The more thoughtful, objective, and inclusive the process of bringing on the next leader is, the more likely that the transition will be embraced. Succession readiness calls for a written transition plan and an individual development plan for the future CEO within three years of the planned succession date. Implementation of the plan may involve identifying other executive team members with succession needs, building a coaching plan and providing stretch assignments in different functional areas of the company. Doing this for each potential successor will help you see which ones are best positioned to move the company

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

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hen it comes to family business succession planning, most family business leaders do not do it, they do not do it well or they wait to do it until it is too late. While the CEO longevity in non-family businesses is an average of six years, for a family owned businesses CEOs tend to stay for 20-25 years. Sure, that long tenure contributes to leadership stability and consistency, but it can also fuel flat growth, narrow business focus, and decreasing leadership drive. Additionally, when the CEO and other top-level executive family members do not step aside in a timely manner, it causes a high level of frustration in the next generation who is ready to charge forward and make their mark. Once it becomes clear that the children might reach their mid to late fifties before taking over, it becomes hard to hold on to the ambitious ones. That is why all family businesses need to have a solid succession plan in place; one that helps the senior generation leave with ease and welcomes the well-prepared next generation. While succession planning can happen at any level within the organization, we commonly think about the top five to eight key positions for a written, structured succession plan. As you plan your company’s future leadership, keep these points in mind.


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ECONOMICS 101

forward. Finding a successor with the right mix of skills, attitude, drive, character, and experience that matches your business will ensure the family company succeeds for the long term. Groom the next generation. Once you have a successor in mind, offer him or her additional development through such things as job rotations, stretch assignments, additional profit and loss responsibility, and additional exposure to board members and customers. The more emphasis you place on prepping the next leader, the smoother the transition will be. Consider a non-family leader. When a family business member utters the words, “Let’s consider a non-family CEO,” the first reply is usually a colorful “No!” However, a non-family CEO frequently brings diverse,

All family businesses need to have a solid succession plan in place; one that helps the senior generation leave with ease and welcomes the well-prepared next generation. in-depth experience to drive business growth, bringing professional alliances, partnerships, and strategy opportunities. They can be a great mentor for the next generation of family leaders, often then known as a “bridge CEO” from one generation to the next. While the family may hold all the stock, it is critical to develop a performance incentive that will reward and retain the non-family CEO and an employment agreement that will fairly treat and protect the CEO.

Choose Who’s Next Thoughtful, on-going planning for succession is a must for long-term business success and sustainability. Start now. Develop a clear plan for the succession of senior leader positions, including who will be next, when the transition will take place, and how that successor will be groomed to make the move smoother. The more planning you do now, the better the future will be for you and your family business.

In the next issue of

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE CA N A DA’ S M AG A Z I N E F O R P R O F E S S I O N A L C O N T R AC T O R S

•H  igh-performance windows • Fences and gates • Emergency preparedness • Worksite safety • Roofs and shingles • Training and education

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BUSINESS STRATEGIES

Overcoming Leadership Hurdles Four traits that served you so well in your start-up past may become a problem as your business grows. BY VICTORIA DOWNING

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1. A tendency to demonstrate loyalty to comrades, those who were there from the beginning or who lived through tough times, even when those comrades are giving signs of failure or an inability to keep up with the changes that growth demands. Hamm calls this failure on a leader’s part to grow with the company “stubborn loyalty, at the expense of an organization’s success,” and notes that it is extremely common in growing compa-

Without losing sight of the priorities, the renovator must be in the right place with the right person at the right time. This takes new skills and personal growth. nies. I heartily concur. The renovation company owner who wants to grow the company often must make tough decisions as to who has the skills to take the company to the next level and who does not. Some who can do their present jobs well will stay but not progress to new levels of management. Others, even though they are liked and respected and cared about, will have to leave for other opportunities.

Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage Inc. and is a leading authority in the remodeling industry. She has authored and co-authored several industry books, including The Remodeler’s Marketing PowerPak. She can be reached at victoria@remodelersadvantage.com or by phone at 301 490-5620 ext. 105. 14

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2. A tendency toward task orientation or focus on the job at hand. In other words, leaders who fail to become more strategic and end up with an evergrowing to-do list and a blurring of priorities. “Leaders able to scale…learn to extract three or four high-level goals… and focus their teams…” notes Hamm.  There are renovators who own $3 million dollar companies and report spending two hours a week working on the company (as differentiated from in the company). This simply will not fly. Bigger companies demand management and leadership time that only an owner can provide. They call out for a strategic vision and direction against which every activity is measured.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

et us look into the future together. Are you planning growth for your company? What about your growth as the leader of your business? Entrepreneurs often underestimate or totally overlook the challenges that growth will place on their leadership and management skills. Just as the company will be undergoing major upheavals as it grows, you will be changing your relationship to the company. Many of the traits and talents that served you so well in a smaller company will become hurdles to be overcome. John Hamm writes about this in his article “Why Entrepreneurs Don’t Scale,” in the Harvard Business Review. He notes, that a “leader who scales is able to jettison habits and skills that have outlived their usefulness and adapt to new challenges along the way.” Hamm identifies four tendencies that work at some stage for business leaders, but become Achilles’ heels or weak spots as the company grows:


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BUSINESS STRATEGIES

There are systemic problems, people problems and economic problems.  As a company grows, risk grows, and the renovator has to invest the time to read the vital signs of the business, insuring health and profitability. For a multi-million dollar company, a few hours a week is simply not enough. 3. A tendency to be single-minded, which can turn into tunnel vision as the company grows. The owner of a growing company is much like the clown who has to keep many plates spinning in the air. They cannot focus just on sales or just on estimating, but instead must learn to see the bigger picture and delegate tasks to others. 4. A tendency to work in isolation. This trait can be powerful in an entrepre-

There are renovators who own $3 million dollar companies and report spending two hours a week working on the company (as differentiated from in the company). This simply will not fly. neur and disastrous in leading a larger -neur work for a small start-up company company with an increasing number but restrict the growth and success of a of stakeholders. In your growing busi- larger enterprise. As Hamm notes, leaders ness, the numerous employees, clients, who grow “make concerted, sometimes subs and suppliers must have a strong uncomfortable efforts to do what does not leader. Without losing sight of the pri- come naturally to them for the team’s sake.� orities, the renovator must be in the right place with the right person at As you plan and look at what might be the right time. This takes new skills required to grow your company, do not and personal growth. forget to include growing yourself and  These four tendencies of an entrepre your skills in the decision.

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CA

LEARNING CURVE

How to cope with relentless change Whether keeping employees safe or keeping them inspired, two books below can help you to better nurture and manage your team. EVERYTHING CONNECTS McGraw-Hill Businesses today face relentless changes in technology and customer relationships. Customers are becoming more informed and empowered, workforces increasingly demanding and sometimes disengaged. Business owners must somehow spark creativity, motivate and drive innovation in this topsy-turvy environment. That is where McGraw-Hill’s Everything Connects: How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation, and Sustainability comes in. The book looks for the remedies and solutions for some of the business problems of today in some of the oldest and timeless business practices of the past: mindfulness, authenticity and perseverance. Everything Connects is a kaleidoscopic view of the way people, by being able to think out of the box, have been able

to achieve greatness for themselves, their organizations, and sometimes the larger community. It is a step-by-step guide for working with yourself and others to achieve meaningful success. Entrepreneur Faisel Hoque and journalist Drake Baer use real-life, practical experiences to provide a personal and professional playbook that shows the reader how to: • Holistically connect the “when” and “what” with who you are ; • Inspire and lead inside and outside of your organization ; • And, generate ideas, grounded decisions, and long-term value. Part philosophy, part business and part history, Everything Connects combines wisdoms of 2,500-year-old Eastern philosophies, the insights of Leonardo da Vinci, and the creative, start-up thinking that has helped the Fortune 100 to better adapt to change.

CONTRACTOR SAFETY MANAGEMENT CRC Press The safety of your team on the jobsite is crucial, both from a legal perspective and to maintain a good reputation. Contractor Safety Management looks specifically at issues for health and safety management that arise in contracting relationships, bringing together a range of perspectives from different disciplines including legal, health and safety management, operational, contract and procurement management. By sharing lessons from both success and failure to identify critical issues in contractor safety management the book raises awareness of the complexity and importance of contractor safety management and offers guidance on how those critical issues might be addressed. This book examines legal and practical aspects of contrac-

tor safety management. It covers safety and health laws and other obligations applying to principal/contractors relationships across a number of different regions from Australia to the Middle East to North America. Author Gregory William Smith has included case studies on managing health and safety in complex contracting environments. Contractor Safety Management also presents chapters from practicing health professionals who have worked for principals and had to manage contractor relationships. It provides a wide-ranging examination of the challenges of contractor safety management with practical guidance on how to approach safety and health management in a contracting environment. Both books are currently available from www.amazon.ca and www. chapters.indigo.ca. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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CA

FEATURE

By the

Numbers

You learned the lessons of your trade, but are you ready for tax season?

I

t takes time to hone the skills of any trade, and important lessons are often learned the hard way. Look no further than the way a pile of scrap lumber can reinforce the need to measure twice and cut once. Kim and John Copetti know the same can be said about business skills. The proprietors of Copetti and Co. Professional Corp., an accounting firm with offices in Ajax and Whitby, Ont., have been introduced to plenty of contractors who were masters of their respective trades but struggled with the realities of running a business, particularly when it came to tax rules. One of the biggest challenges is that new contractors are often confused about the difference between cash sales and accrual accounting methods. 18

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“There is a myth you only have to report what you receive,” Kim says, offering one example. An invoice submitted late in the year will still need to be reported on that year’s tax return, even if the money has yet to be collected, and the related taxes will still need to be paid. Early challenges here will begin to compound themselves in the years which follow. “They get into the cycle of paying last year’s taxes with this year’s money,” she explains. “You start incurring a lot of interest and penalties and cannot catch up.” John sees a similar challenge with sales taxes. “Some new contractors use the Canada Revenue Agency as a bank,” he says. When the money collected for Harmonized Sales Taxes (HST) or the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applied

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

to other uses, such as buying building supplies, it can present a financial headache when the taxes are due. This may not be a huge challenge for a contractor who invoices little more than $40,000 a year, but larger tax bills can deliver a crushing blow. Tax collectors can also reach well beyond the company’s accounts when searching for the required funds. Business owners are personally liable for paying source deductions and sales taxes alike.

Establish separate accounts Some of the clearest solutions to many bookkeeping headaches emerge by establishing separate accounts, credit cards and other tools to divide personal and business banking activities.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

BY JOHN G. SMITH


CA

FEATURE

Operating under an incorporated business offers regular paycheques or dividends and other benefits such as bonus accruals and a much lower tax rate. Banks, meanwhile, traditionally want to see three years of business statements for unincorporated businesses before offering a loan. In contrast, says Kim, an incorporated company is considered a start-up venture for the first two years, which can make it easier to secure something such as a line of credit for expenses and tax bills. As the business grows and is more successful, it may even eliminate the need for personal guarantees. The clearly defined business accounts and records can certainly help to protect a contractor during a tax audit. “If you are audited and have everything intermin-

gled, the auditors are going to be looking through all your personal records,� Kim warns. A Net Worth Assessment could be used to help identify those who are hiding income. Put another way, if a contractor is reporting little in the way of revenue,

the auditors will be asking how a $500,000 home was financed, and who owns the boat parked in the driveway. Building contractors are more exposed to the auditing process than many other businesses, she adds. After all, the audit

When the money collected for Harmonized Sales Taxes (HST) or the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applied to other uses, such as buying building supplies, it can present a financial headache when the taxes are due. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

MARCH/APRIL 2014

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can be triggered by a single complaint to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and calls like those might come from a single homeowner who was unhappy with the quality of a basement renovation. Unusual gross margins, showing the difference between costs and sales, can also suggest that jobs are being completed for cash. Questions will certainly be raised if material costs are reported without the related revenue. “If you have a 10% gross margin and are reporting a loss on a particular job, that is not normal,” John says. The challenges of hiding income do not end at audit time. Bankers who review artificially low income statements may decide not to refinance a contractor’s home mortgage. Lower incomes also lead to lower contribution limits for Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), affecting a popular tax shelter that can help prepare for retirement.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

Expenses have limits As important as it is to track and report revenues, expenses deserve some attention of their own. There are limits, however. “Some of them think everything is a write-off,” John says. In reality, the answer may sometimes be a firm “No”. Half the cost of a meal to entertain a client or supplier can be claimed as a legitimate business expense, but a daily trip to McDonalds is not an acceptable write-off, he says as an example. Half of the HST paid on the meal with the client cannot be deducted, either. The tax-related rules around a pickup truck used for the business can catch many contractors by surprise as well. Unlike a backhoe, these trucks are still considered to be personal vehicles. Auditors will be looking for proof of business kilometres driven, usually in the form of

a log that tracks the distances traveled for work and personal purposes. A bigger shock might come in the form of the maximum amounts that can be claimed for the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) on passenger vehicles. The Canada Revenue Agency sets the maximum amount for CCA at $30,000, with lease payments capped at $800 per month. Anything beyond that will offer no tax benefit and come entirely out of the contractor’s pocket. In contrast, many contractors overlook other allowable costs such as tanks of fuel. It is one of the reasons that Kim promotes the idea of using a separate credit card for fuel, and filing receipts for everything from maintenance to auto insurance premiums. There are differences in the way toolrelated costs should be reported as well. Smaller expenses like power tools might be claimed in a single year, but the larger $2,500 investment in a generator used to power these tools should be capitalized, John says as an example, referring to how the deductions are spread out over several years. A contractor’s salary, however, can still be structured to minimize tax payments. “How much money do you need to live on

a monthly basis?” John asks. “Base your salary on that.” The figure should also be high enough to maximize Canadian Pension Plan deductions, particularly since business owners have to finance their own retirements. Dividends from an incorporated business can be paid beyond that. In households where both spouses are working in the business, incomes can be split to reduce personal income taxes, but there are limits to how much family members can be paid. The amounts need to be reasonable, John says, noting how a child hired for a summer job and working full time cannot be expected to make $25,000 a year. The related pay cheques also need to be supported through T4s, source deductions, and all of the paperwork that goes with them. A better option might be to make a family member a company shareholder who is eligible for dividends. This does not require deductions for the Canada Pension Plan or Employment Insurance premiums. “You have to have positive retained earnings to do this,” Kim cautions. “You cannot issue a dividend if you have a deficit.” Tax filing deadlines deserve some attention of their own. Self-employed contractors do not need to file their taxes until June 15, but they need to pay their

An audit can be triggered by a single complaint to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and calls like those might come from a single homeowner who was unhappy with the quality of a basement renovation. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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taxes no later than April 30 if they want to avoid penalties. The problems of late payments do not end there, either. Many union halls, used as a source of business, require contractors to remain up-todate with the CRA’s needs. They are just a few examples which show why a trusted accountant will be an important business asset. Some will simply be better equipped to help than others. Contractors who are searching for an accountant should look for someone familiar with the nuances of their business, and complete reference checks. Accrediting bodies such as the Chartered Professional Accountants Ontario can also offer insight into whether any disciplinary actions have been filed. “You can find a lot of information Kim and John Copetti have met many contractors who struggled with the realities of running a business. on the Internet,” Kim says, referring to reviews posted in online forums. Perhaps the best working relationships will in- how much should be set aside for RRSPs. the most important question, she adds, volve guidance during tax season and “I cannot help you with last year’s is whether the accountant’s contractor beyond. A meeting in late October or early taxes after the fact,” Kim says. “Develop a clients have ever been audited, and how November, when annual tax software is good relationship with your accountant first updated, can offer a chance to com- and bank manager because you never the related services would be graded. A comfortable fit is important since plete some tax planning and determine know when you will need them.”

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CA

FEATURE

All-Season

SPLENDOUR BY NESTOR E. ARELLANO

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

The move towards gardens that can be enjoyed all year round comes to full bloom this year.

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CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


F

or decades Canadian homeowners have planned their gardens as big spring and summer showcases. This has resulted in heavily-fertilized, expertlymanicured green lawns and gardens with spectacular bursts of colour from March to August, which gradually fade around September and become frozen wastelands through the winter. Lately though, gardens landscaped for maximum year-round enjoyment have been sprouting in both rural and urban neighbourhoods around the country. The adoption of environmentally-friendly practices has also produced budding trends towards gardens requiring as little watering as possible. Landscape designers and garden product experts offer advice that can help contractors cultivate the know-how needed to build the hot gardens of 2014.

PHOTO: GOODFELLOW

A garden for all season “A garden should always look good throughout the four seasons of the year,” according to Ray Johannes, owner of Ray Johannes Landscape Design of Toronto. In order to come up roses with their clients, landscape contractors should hone up on the popular plants for each season of the year and know how to position them for full impact. For instance, irises, bulb flowers and lilacs are ideal plants for a spring garden. Consider colourful perennials such as echinacea or lavender for summer. Bushes, evergreens and cypresses, work best for the autumn garden, while tall, ornamental grasses and juniper look great in the winter, says Johannes. “The key is to always keep it interesting,” he says. “In the winter, tall grasses that survive the cold provide fascinating patterns against the white blanket of snow. A statue or a solitary boulder, or even simple lattice work, breaks the snow’s monotony and provide visual focus.” Contractors should also consider the enhancing effects of garden lights, according to Cristina Ayi, director of marketing for Woods Industries Canada, a subsidiary of Coleman Cable Inc. (CCI) “Landscape lighting does not only provide illumination in dark areas for safety and security, but also highlights key areas in the garden, such as a tree, flower bed, wall or pathway,” Ayi says. CCI’s Moonrays line of outdoor light-

ing offers a huge selection of solar powered lights and low-voltage lights with rechargeable 12 volt batteries. The company also offers outdoor timers for lights, pool pumps, heaters and other outdoor appliances.

East meets west Water features and Asian influences will show up in many designs in 2014, Johannes says. “Japanese inspired gardens along with ponds, waterfalls and bubblers will become really big,” he says. “We will see a lot of Zen-inspired designs. I have been doing a lot of rock gardens lately and even one garden that had to be built strictly according to Chinese feng shui principles.” When it comes to incorporating water features and automated irrigation, contractors need to make sure they are installing equipment properly suited for the job, says Brian Didone, vice presiCONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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Sowing the seeds of sustainability Sustainability is among those buzzwords repeated so often that it is frequently misused and misunderstood. That is why Peter Solti, owner of Toronto-based Green

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Apple Landscaping, uses it sparingly. “We make sure we create as little impact as possible on the environment in our projects,” he says. For example, rather than use new fill-in material, Green Apple purchases recycled gravel made of rubble from demolished structures. Not only is recycled gravel cheaper than new gravel, using it also reduces the amount of materials thrown into landfills. When Green Apple workers tear up existing paving from a client’s property they also put out ads on sites such as Craigslist and offer the rubble as free fill-in material. Solti foresees several environmentfriendly trends making a strong showing in the landscaping industry this year. As concern for conserving water grows, more property owners will be looking towards low-maintenance and low-water landscape designs, he says. Solti recommends that contractors step up their research on gardens that incorporate the use of draught-tolerant plants and water management features.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

Some of the key gardening styles to look out for are: Xeriscaping or smart scaping – A method of gardening that uses plants with natural requirements that are appropriate to the local climate. In addition, gardening design geared towards efficient irrigation and the capturing of rain and snow runoff. Zeroscaping – Making use of indigenous plants but also emphasizing well-thought-out use of rocks and gravel. Zeroscaping is great for showcasing rock formations and sculpture. Hardscaping – This landscape practice focuses on materials such as stone and concrete for paved areas, walkways, patios and retaining walls. Hardscaping is typically used in urban areas where there is little bare soil, which hinders water drainage and the natural recharging of the water table. Federal and municipal government websites can be good sources of guidelines and free plans for such gardens. For example, the City of Toronto’s website contains guidelines, checklists and diagrams for low-maintenance and sustainable landscaping designs; Edmonton. ca provides recommendations on low impact development and naturalized drainage ways; and, Vancouver City’s website contains guidelines on waterwise landscaping.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

dent at Gravenhurst Plastics Ltd. based in Gravenhurst, Ont., which manufactures polyethylene irrigation and drainage pipes. “For residential or commercial sprinkler systems, certified HDPE (high density polyethylene) pipes should be used because they are built to take water pressure of up to 80 psi,” he says. “You risk pipe damage and leaks if you use pipes with less tolerance.” Didone recommends that pipes have consistent outside diameter and inside diameter measurements throughout their length to prevent leaks at connection points. Corrugated draining tubes can be installed underground to facilitate the draining off of excess rain water to avoid over-irrigation or flooding.

Gardening trends can generally be applied across Canada, but contractors need to be mindful that specific regions of the country have native plants that are particularly suitable for that region’s climate, weather conditions and soil quality. “If you use indigenous plants these will typically require less care than imported varieties,” Solti says. Positioning certain plants in specific spots of the garden can also affect energy consumption in the home. For instance, deciduous trees produce ample amounts of foliage in summer. When placed in the south side of the house, they help cool the home and reduce dependence on air conditioning. During autumn and winter, the leaves fall off to let more sunlight in. Coniferous plants, like pine trees, are ideal in the north side of the house. They remain green throughout the year and block cold winds during the winter.


The edible garden Vegetable gardening is something very close to Solti’s heart. A few years back he started a fad in his neighbourhood when he began planting vegetables in his front yard. In 2014, he believes edible gardens will take deeper roots in both urban and rural communities as interest in organic food gains stronger mainstream appeal. Planting vegetables and herbs in domestic gardens is nothing new, but Solti says its latest iteration comes with a new twist. Vegetables are no longer relegated to the backyard. It is now more common to see edibles integrated into the overall look of the landscape design even in the front yard.

PHOTO: CINDERCRETE PRODUCTS

The birds and the bees The appearance of birds, colourful butterflies and bees are often exciting occasions for the garden lover. These creatures also play a critical role in the natural growth and pollination of plants. In recent years it has become very popular for gardens to include artful birdhouses and birdbaths, as well as blooms that attract certain species of butterflies and bees. For gardens that are both welcoming and safe for the birds and insects, homeowners should also make sure they are not using pesticides and fertilizers that could be harmful to these visitors.

Linking the indoor and outdoor Good landscape design involves creating a relationship between the indoor and the outdoor. ”For example, the living room is restated in the garden as a patio area with lounging chairs or a small table, a

barbecue pit could represent the kitchen, a pool or a small bar is the entertainment area,” says Johannes. Russ Lebell, director of sales for concrete landscape products at Cindercrete Products Ltd., says stone and concrete are perfect for the outdoors: “They are tough enough to stand up to harsh elements, but they come in a variety of colours and finishes to provide infinite design flexibility.” Cindercrete’s Easy Stack retaining wall components come in 8”x4”x8” pieces and are ideal for stacking together to build retaining walls, plant boxes, short posts and fire pits. One of the latest trends is to use “tumbled” stone products that have been put through a machine to give them a rough or aged look. Lebell says DIYers looking for easier ways to install paving and walkways have also made larger patio slabs very popular. Look out for larger 16”x16”, 18”x18” and 24”x24” slabs making an appearance in more projects this year. Pergolas and gazebos will also be seen in more landscape designs this year, says James Doiron, product manager for treated wood products at Goodfellow Inc. “Years ago, many homeowners just plunked a deck in the backyard and called it a day,” he says. “Today they are looking for more panache.” When shopping for pressure treated wood, builders should make sure they buy lumber that will not cause nails and hardware to rust (or, alternatively, use hardware designed for pressure treated wood.) Goodfellow’s MicroPro pressure treated wood is designed for above and onground installation and can even be immersed in fresh water. The preservation

technology used on the product allows copper azole to be introduced to the wood in micronized form. This significantly cuts the copper’s corrosive properties and allows the wood to be used safely with metal products. One very common mistake that even some landscape professionals commit is piecemeal designing. When design is constrained to a limited area of the garden, there is a possibility for later work to clash with the original plan. Over time as other work is done, this can result in jumbled or mismatched spaces. Johannes encourages contractors to guide clients towards agreeing to an overall landscape design that can be executed in stages as time and budget afford. “The idea is to look at the landscape holistically and determine how the overall look will go with existing structures,” he says. “Above all, get a feel for the client. Determine what style moves them.”

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CA

FEATURE

EXTERNAL

PAINT PRIMER

Water-based exterior paint, whether 100% water-based or a hybrid, is here to stay. Consumers may not be all that interested in that fact, but contractors definitely should be. BY DAVID CHILTON SAGGERS

T

he year 2010 was a watershed for paints in Canada. That was when a federal government decision kicked in to reduce substantially the solvent-based volatile organic compounds found in these products. Since that time, VOC counts have been limited across a range of some 53 coatings so now, for example, any flat coating may not have more than 100g of concentrate a litre, and any high-gloss coating is limited to 250g a litre. The end of the grace period to affect the changeover is Sept. 9. These adjustments have driven manufacturers away from alkyds to water-based products or hybrids that are alkyds in a water-based medium, says David Machum, senior manager of Canadian dealer marketing for PPG Architectural Coatings. 28

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“Alkyd was the main focus,” Machum says. “Manufacturers have had to move away from alkyds and typically they are going to completely water-based products using 100% acrylic technology, or hybrids which are a combination of alkyd and acrylic resins. The next level would be what we could call VOC-compliant alkyd technology.” In simple terms, this last product now has a higher amount of solids and less solvent, Machum explains. As for householders’ response to these changes, the Vaughan, Ont.-based executive says as long as the coating covers what it is supposed to cover the technology in the can is of little consequence to them. Still, contractors may be more interested in what is in the can of paint that they have brought along to a client’s home and how it performs since callbacks on

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


CA

PHOTO: PPG

FEATURE

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

MARCH/APRIL 2014

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REINFORCING A STRONG FOUNDATION

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Design Talk

PHOTO: PARA PAINTS

Sam Marinucci is technical services manager at PPG Architectural Coatings in Vaughan, Ont. He has spent 32 years in the paint industry.

painting contracts are not unknown. During a period that Andrew Fedele, technical services manager at Para Paints in Brampton, Ont. describes as “back in the day” all traditional exterior paints used solvents and binders that were based on petroleum products such as turpentine. In fact, says Fedele, 99% of exterior paints were alkyds or oil-based, as they were commonly known, since they were very good at protecting wood; however, they had one drawback: as they dried they emitted VOCs, pollutants that were bad for the painter, the householder and the environment. Today, the new alkyds use natural oils such as soy that are compressed in water, meaning that cleanups can be done with soap and water while the paint is still wet. Further, as the paint dries, VOC emissions are negligible. Water-based exterior paint, whether 100% water-based or a hybrid, is here to stay, so then what are its advantages? It might be better to start with its one main disadvantage: terminology. Latex and acrylic, whatever the formulation, are used interchangeably and may lead to confusion. Latex is the general word for a milky-looking mixture of water and plastic particles, the best of these being acrylic. When it dries the latex binds the plastic particles into a rugged film and also supports adhesion. As for the advantages: the plastic particles in a latex paint have a hand in everything. They work with colour retention, resist mildew and dirt and provide scrub resistance, but that does

not mean acrylics improve the flow and spread of paint. That depends on how porous the surface is, the type of applicator used, the temperature and so on. As for stains, both the desired effect and the nature of the substrate should determine the type that is used. For sunexposed decks, heavily pigmented solid colour stains provide more protection from UV rays, but cover the wood grain. Semi-transparent stains let the grain and texture of the lumber show through, but their ability to handle ultra violet light is not as pronounced. As with its paint cousins, stains that are all water-based or a hybrid come with acrylic binders. That means they offer far greater resistance to cracking and peeling, because the surface remains flexible and permeable and allows any moisture trapped underneath to escape. A further advantage of non-alkyd stains is their ability to remain colourfast, and of course they can be cleaned up with soap and water. One downside to the improvements in stains has been increased cost. “We have seen a fair amount of price increase in paint and stain products in general,” says Machum. “It is driven by raw material demand. In the exterior stain business what is gone away through the VOC changes is the opening price point stain line.” Another change that promises to shakeup the industry is the low-temperature product. Garry Belfall, senior band manager at Para Paints in Brampton, Ont., says, “The big thing that we have is a line of low-temperature paint that can be

Q.  W hat is new paint and stain technology doing to make exterior projects easier? A. Today and for several years now, certainly when we are dealing with house paints and masonry paints, latex has taken over that market. Acrylic latexes are used on vinyl, aluminum and wood sidings as well, depending on what the customer demands.  With stains, it was quite the battle. The reason for that was with wood or metal it was difficult to come up with a system. There was a lot of research and development that went into reducing the VOCs successfully. Removing all the solvents from oil-based products means essentially you have just destroyed that product. In 2009 what we did was take the water-based latex and added oil to it. The idea was to create a best-of-both-worlds scenario. Q.  There are now low-temperature exterior products on the market. How are they improving matters for contractors and homeowners? A. If the exterior painting season in Canada was May 15 to September 15, by adding these low-temp products we can start as early as April 15 and we can go as late as October 15. Lowtemp paints were initially designed for the professional contractor. Architects and designers were looking for a low-temperature product. A lot of the work that was being done in the fall was being stopped because of frosting and so on. Most paints require a surface temperature and an air temperature of 10ºC. A lot of the new product will go down to 4ºC; some of them are designed to go down to 2º.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

MARCH/APRIL 2014

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to form in unpredictable ways and can lead to frost and a disaster for the painter. Also, chose ancillary products that are designed to be used together, and never thin out low-temperature paints. Even though the low-temperature paints are formulated to work at lower temperatures that does not mean that they can be stored outside. They should be kept in a place where they are not likely to freeze. For all the technical and environmental advantages of the new paints and stains, contractors would do well to remember that their clients are not really interested. “The consumer is looking for a broader range of colours,” says Machum. “People want a coordinated exterior plan.”

Q.  As new paints and stains come along, have applicators moved along with them? A. Not in the beginning. You could destroy a $20 brush because it was based on old technology. People would complain, “I cannot get the brush clean.” Now, all the major players have looked at their rollers and brushes and they have adapted. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

PHOTO: CIL, PPG

applied at 2º C, which allows the consumer to expand the exterior painting season. Usually the exterior painting season is five months, so the addition of two more months is substantial.” Belfall is right when he says almost 50% more painting time is substantial, but the new low-temperature products come with certain caveats, such as using a caulk that works in chillier weather across a range of surfaces including wood, vinyl siding, masonry and brick. Other cautions include making sure the air and substrate temperatures are appropriate to the paint being used. Morning sun will warm up the air but will it warm up the substrate? In colder weather humidity rises as the temperature falls, which causes moisture

Q.  How have contractors received the new water-based, hybrid and lowtemperature products? A. I can tell you in season one of our product launch in 2009 there were contractors who said a water-based product will never do a better job than the oil did. A lot of older homes had many years of oil-based technology on them and contractors, designers and architects alike knew that if they wanted to switch to a hybrid or a latex system they would have to convert the building, which required a lot of prep work. In some cases someone took a hybrid stain, it does not matter what company that it came from, and put it over this 30-year old surface that had had very little preparation. Within six months that new system was failing and they would blame it on the new technology.

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CA

FEATURE

ADDED

STRENGTH, STRAIGHTER LENGTHS ENGINEERED WOOD PRODUCTS CONTINUE TO DELIVER THE GOODS BY JOHN G. SMITH

PHOTO: APA

A

load of lumber could easily be considered one of the most flexible building products around. It can be transformed into everything from headers and studs to sills and joists. All it takes is a combination of the right tools, a few fasteners and a little know-how. As flexible as it may be, there is room to improve. Engineered wood products transform raw materials into something stronger and straighter than would ever be possible through milling alone. Where builders have been known to cull between 5 and 10% of a load of sawn lumber, depending on its quality, they might waste less than 2% of the engineered wood products that promise to be consistent from one piece to the next. “Some of these materials are going to be much more reliable,” says Ed Elias, the recently named president of the APA – Engineered Wood Association. “Contractors know how they are going to behave.” The products offer a classic example of something greater than its individual parts.

The adhesives and rectangular strands of wood used to make Oriented Strand Board (OSB), for example, eliminate worries about gaps and voids. Veneers, strands and flakes are combined with adhesives to make Structural Composite Lumber (SCL), creating consistent building blocks known as billets. These billets are used in products like Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) for headers and rafters, and Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL) to make heavily loaded columns or beams with unusually long spans. Twelve-inch strands of wood are combined to produce Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL), while shorter strands are used to make Oriented Strand Lumber (OSL), and the results are found in everything from headers and beams to rim boards and studs. The differences can be dramatic. A 9.5” I-joist, for example, can add about a foot to the potential span achieved with a sawn piece of 2x10 lumber. Pieces of Glued Laminated Timber, also known as glulam, come anywhere

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“We spend a lot of time trying to emphasize proper building practices and installation to minimize complaints. We have got a new crop of contractors who need that education.”

PHOTO: APA

— Ed Elias.

from 6” to 72” deep and can span 100’ or more, in addition to coming in curved shapes. Pound for pound, the result is stronger than steel, making it an option for everything from floor beams to headers and commercial roofs. The call for materials like these is certainly growing. The APA – Engineered Wood Association projects sales to increase as much as 9% this year, largely because of the recovering demand for new homes in the U.S., but some of the options are simply becoming more popular as well. In Canada, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is emerging in multistorey projects. Its three to seven layers of lumber are stacked at right angles and can be around 12” thick, 10’ wide and 50’ long, while openings in the resulting panels can be pre-cut to any shape for doors, windows and ducts. I-joists, meanwhile,

combine consistent dimensions and lighter weights to improve floors. The advantages are simply maximized when the materials are combined. “You might have an I-joist floor system, and then have a Structural Composite Lumber that is the perimeter rim board to go around that, and then put a panelized floor system over the top of it,” Elias says as an example. “They perform better as a unit than they would as individual components.” The benefits hardly end here. Engineered wood also supports projects which demand “greener” building materials, because wood is a renewable resource. It also takes less energy to produce engineered wood products than equivalent weights of cement, glass, steel or aluminum, the association says. As many benefits as there may be they can only be realized by installing the materials the right way.

Installation tips “We spend a lot of time trying to emphasize proper building practices and installation to minimize complaints,” Elias says. “We have got a new crop of contractors who need that education.” Look no further than the common problem of placing engineered panels too close to each other. “The tendency for the contractor is to slam those panels together, to butt them together as tightly as possible,” says Marilyn Thompson, the association’s market communications director. “Any wood material will shrink

and swell with differences in temperature and moisture.” It is best to leave 1/8” of space around any ends and edges of plywood or OSB. The fasteners which hold the panels tight against framing members cannot be driven too deep, either. The problems linked to tighter fits between individual panels may not cause a structural weakness, but they can still lead to complaints about buckling siding or ridges and ripples in finished roofs. “In a floor, of course, it can cause unevenness in the finished flooring,” she adds. The only way to answer that problem is to tear up the floor and start again. “It is such an easy thing to do an installation, but such a costly callback.” The early steps always make a difference. When I-joists are hanging properly, for example, there is no worry about the squeaks that can be caused by the bridging installed before the subfloor. “Afterword it is very difficult to correct,” Elias says. “You can tie it down with some extra nails and screws and things like that, and hope that fixes it, but a lot of this you can really fix and make sure it never happens in the first place.” Sheathing, meanwhile, should be installed over two spans or three supports at the very least, with a panel’s longest side set across them. It is not the only way that dimensions make a difference in this all-important layer attached to studs, joists and rafters. Panels more than 24” wide will deflect less than narrower panels. The smaller dimensions, often

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PHOTO: APA

As advanced as the building materials have become, there are more changes on the horizon. Manufacturers are already experimenting with ways to introduce strand lumber on a larger scale. attached near roof ridges where construction crews tend to walk, might need some help in the form of extra blocking or edge support clips to handle the loads. The focus, of course, is on more than the wood alone. Everything from flashing to underlayments and vapour barriers will help control the moisture that can cause any wood in the building envelope to expand and contract. The spacing between joists deserves attention of its own. Even spaces will ensure a floor deflects consistently, avoiding complaints that a new surface does not feel quite right. Still, one of the most common complaints about floors can be traced to unwanted squeaks. These can often be controlled with consistent gluing. Glulam beams, meanwhile, are made with differing bending stresses in their compression and tension zones. Put another way, they come with a top and bottom. Installers will need to find where “top” has been stamped on the lamination, and ensure that side of the beam is facing upward. The commitment to following the right building practices is particularly important since engineered wood products are usually ordered because of the way they perform. “Builders have some pretty high expectations of that material, and they are looking at it in many cases to correct a problem in another area,” Elias explains. “When we are looking at I-joists or we are looking at Glued Laminated Timber, they are really look-

ing at that for an enhanced property of that product, whether it is a large header over a garage door or if we are looking at systems where we are trying to make seismic design decisions.” The good news is that the engineered products are handled much like any other lumber, following the same building practices and requiring common same tools. Just like sawn lumber care simply needs to be taken with any cut. “People do cut the joists in the wrong places to run the mechanical systems,” Thompson says as an example, referring to challenges like improper field notches or holes in the wrong locations, which can sacrifice strength. “Some of that has gone on for years with the lumber framing, too.” Engineered I-joists, however, can come with pre-punched areas in the webbing to support different utilities.

“It is true of any building material, wood or not,” she says. “The key factor is proper installation.” As advanced as the building materials have become, there are more changes on the horizon. Manufacturers are already experimenting with ways to introduce strand lumber on a larger scale. “You are going to start to see more of these products used in combination with each other as systems,” Elias says. Some of them are already emerging in non-residential projects thanks to the promise of quicker construction, lower costs and improved energy efficiency. Thompson also points to Canadian manufacturers who are looking for new ways to repurpose trees attacked by pine beetles. “A lot of people think of wood as an old product,” she says. “It is very much an evolving industry.” Just imagine what wood could do.

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CA

FEATURE

‘Fifth Wall’

DECOR Ceilings are often overlooked during renovations or new builds, but a little attention to this space can make a world of difference. The right decorative ceiling can top any room. BY LAWRENCE CUMMER

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CA

FEATURE

PHOTO: BP CANADA, CGC

O

nce relegated to residential basements and office buildings, grid ceilings, ceiling panels and tiles are migrating throughout the home into kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms. In fact, creative contractors and homeowners are putting decorative ceiling tiles just about anywhere. Thanks to an abundance of decorative panel and tile options, contractors can now find a good opportunity to sell homeowners on ceiling designs that they will love for years to come. The one risk is that the ease of a typical install may also mean some will opt to do the job themselves. “For anyone who has put up grid a couple of times it is not difficult,” says John Hudson, Canadian sales manager for retail ceilings at Armstrong World Industries Inc. Still, he notes that many homeowners still turn to the steady hands of a skilled contractor or handyman. While product choices are generally made by homeowners, contractors can play a key role in helping familiarize them with the numerous options available, as well as what will actually work. For ceiling panels and tiles, Hud-

son says there has been a move away from what he calls contractor-oriented products, such as plain, standard 2x4 fissured tiles, to more mid- and high-range decorative options. This is in part due to the range of selection from companies like his, he says. Armstrong offers both decorative and simple tile and drop panels as well as grid installation systems. Dave Woodcock, product manager for ceiling at CGC Inc., says that the fact innovation from manufacturers has revolved around tile design and functionality has been a key contributor to homeowners increased interest. “Our company is always looking for ways to innovate in terms of producing tiles that fit different work spaces, be it a living room or a bathroom,” he adds. “We are still seeing that people tend to gravitate towards the high-end decorative tiles,” Hudson says. “They see it, they like it, they usually buy it.” When it comes to this high-end decorative ceiling trend, experts point out the decisions tends to be made by women. “This is an area they are more interested in than men because it is about the aesthetics,” says Jean-Marc Lemery, export manager at Building Products (BP) of Canada Corp. “Men will often concern

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themselves more with whether the ceiling is easy to install and maintain and price.” Hudson agrees, saying that about 80% of the decision makers around decorative ceilings are women. “I have heard many arguments between a husband and a wife over the few-hundred-dollar cost of a decorative dropped ceiling after spending thousands on a basement renovation.” Helping customers smooth out such conflict will have contractors relying on their people skills as much as their product familiarity and technical expertise. Sometimes homeowners still need a little nudge to help them recognize the importance of the ceiling in terms of its impact on a room. Although price is always a factor, according to Armstrong only 10% of consumers cite it as an issue in the residential ceiling market. The costs for decorative ceilings can also be given quick perspective when amortizing them over a 10-ormore-year life of the ceiling. A homeowner might find an additional $150 to $250 daunting, but many would not balk when presented as an investment of $15 or $25 a year for a more attractive ceiling.

Beyond the fifth wall Marketers in ceiling products (as well as mouldings and paints) have for years described this oft-forgotten area as the fifth wall, but even that may not fully present the importance of the ceiling. After all, floors are also not walls, but can play major roles in homeowners’ renovation decisions. “If you look at the cost of high-end paint or wallpaper, or the cost of a floor with high-end tiles, engineered wood or hardwood flooring, the cost is generally more than a really nice decorative ceiling,” Hudson says. While more homeowners are becoming aware that ceilings are spaces requiring attention, much of the residential market is still not even aware that decorative styles exist. Contractors may need to educate homeowners of the value of a decorative ceiling in their overall room décor, but also what to look for in a quality ceiling. “Contractors who are really good will talk to the homeowners and either take them to the local dealer to review a display or catalogue or website,” says Hudson. “They will walk them through it and ask, ‘What would you like? What do want to 42

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CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


see? What are your wants and needs?’ Those are the great contractors.” While style is a personal choice, one of the fastest ways to improve the appearance of the ceiling may be to go smaller; from 2x4 tiles to 2x2 for example. “This is popular, because 2x4 tiles are associated with the past,” Hudson says.

PHOTO: CGC, BP CANADA

Sound (and light) advice One of the major roles of a good ceiling tile is to help control a room’s acoustics. In the area of sound and sound proofing there are a few measurements that can help contractors understand a ceiling’s acoustical performance. Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) measures the overall sound absorption of the material when used in an enclosed space where sound is being reflected at many angles. It is rounded to the nearest 0.05, and materials with NRC less than 0.50 are poor absorbers of sound, while those greater than 0.80 are very good. Hudson recommends anything above 0.60 as good, in which case the ceiling will absorb 60% of the sound and reflect 40%. Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC) represents the ability for a ceiling system to act as a barrier for airborne sound transmission, keeping sound

from going from one room to another. A ceiling system with a CAC less than 25 is considered low performance, while one greater than 35 is high. Hudson recommends anything more than 30, which he says blocks 30% of the sound between rooms.

Sound Transmission Class (STC) is another rating representing a system’s ability to resist airborne sound transfer at the range of the human voice (between 125 and 4000 Hz). Where CAC tests are designed specifically for ceilings, STC numbers are used for any panels, wall,

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ceiling or floor. Higher STC ratings block more noise. An STC rating change of +/- 10 makes the sound half or twice as loud. Light may also play an important role in many homeowners’ ceiling plans, especially when building the perfect home theatre room or, alternatively, home office. In that case, a contractor should look to a ceiling system’s light reflection. Light Reflectance (LR) is a measure of a material’s ability to reflect visible light. The measurement is based on the fraction of light hitting the surface that is reflected. A typical acoustical ceiling has an LR of 0.75, meaning it reflects 75% of the light that hits it. Light reflectance can also play a role in reducing energy costs. Newer high LR ceilings are engineered to reflect up to 90% of the light striking their surface, resulting in brighter spaces, reduced energy costs, more balanced light diffusion and reduced Light Loss Factor (LLF, basically a measure of wasted light from a fixture due to elements such as lamp burn out and surface dirt accumulation.)

PHOTO: CGC, BP CANADA

Material selection While aesthetics and performance are key, material choice is equally critical. Ceiling panels and tiles are available in wood, fibreglass, metal, plastic, or mineral fibres and various colours. Each material can better meet particular homeowner needs. BP has been producing wood fibreboard ceiling products since the 1950s. Manufactured using wood, wax and starch without the use of glues or chemicals such as formaldehyde, BP’s wood fibreboard ceiling panels were an early green option for homeowners, says Pascale Savard, the firm’s product

manager for wood fibre. Because of wood’s flammability wood fibreboard does not satisfy commercial or industrial requirements. Its pluses include environmental friendliness, sound dampening and aesthetics. “The look that you have when compared with a typical fissured ceiling is such a major difference,” she says. “It is also a flat finish so you can paint it.” For generally higher-end (and higher-cost) options fibreglass, mineral fibre, metal and PVC offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Fibreglass is good for a non-decorative use and withstands high-humidity areas well. The material combines good LR and NRC with easy installation, but has a poor CAC, allowing more sound to travel between rooms. Mineral fibre products, typical of the traditional fissured ceiling panel, offer good light reflectance and a high CAC. They are available in decorative and commercial appearances, and can feature other advantages. For example, Armstrong’s HumiGuard Plus mineral products feature the company’s mold and mildew inhibitor BioBlock. A unique take on mineral fibre panels, CGC’s Cast Mineral Fibre Panels produce zero emissions, according to the company, making them a particularly green option. These are made from wool fibre, kaolin, starch, calcium sulfate dehy-

drate and limestone or dolomite. CGC’s Sandrift, with a sand-blown appearance, is a currently popular option in this material, Woodcock says. For the height in aesthetics, metal and vinyl (or PVC) ceilings are both highly decorative but, as one might expect, provide lower sound-proofing capabilities than other materials. Vinyl has a high LR, potentially cutting down on the homeowner’s lighting demands. In the end, selecting the right ceiling material comes down to use and homeowner expectations around appearance, price and performance.

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CA

FEATURE

Water TAP INTO

& ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Greywater recycling, WaterSense fixtures and Energy Star windows help both conserve the environment and save property owners money. BY STEFAN DUBOWSKI

O

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

pportunity knocks for the energyconscious contractor. Two thirds of Canadian homeowners consider making their homes more environmentally friendly, according to a recent Scotiabank survey. This trend speaks to projects big and small. Scotiabank found that 78% of respondents would install solar heating and other relatively expensive systems, while 84% would opt for water-conserving toilets and similar small projects. Their motivation: money. Upwards of 65% of homeowners expect that environ-

mentally friendly renovations would reduce their homes’ operating costs. Half of the survey respondents said green renovations would increase their homes’ value. Use this trend to your business’s advantage. Start by getting to know the options available to help property owners reduce energy and water consumption. Read on to learn about the latest notable solutions, including greywater recycling, a new energy-reduction tool for commercial buildings, and power-saving programs for residential customers. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES

Greywater: an unclear topic In theory, greywater recycling is a simple water-conservation method. Wastewater from baths, showers, laundry machines and other sources not classified as sanitary is used elsewhere: in underground irrigation systems and toilet tanks, for example. “If you have plants or trees growing around the property, you definitely want to use that water for irrigation,” says Len Swatkowski, technical director at Plumbing Manufacturers International. He explains that greywater from baths and showers contain plant-nourishing nitrogen and phosphorus. In practice, though, greywater is a grey area. While conservation-conscious individuals and organizations say the concept reduces water consumption, others worry that it could spread disease and ruin plumbing. Untreated greywater used to flush a toilet can contain bacteria, viruses or parasites. Water droplets containing these microorganisms can form and become airborne when the toilet is flushed, paving the way for disease transmission. As well, many of the contaminants in greywater are biodegradable and can result in bacteria growth on flappers, seals and surfaces in the toilet tank, causing leaks and the need for repairs.  These problems may seem worse than they actually are, says Troy Vassos, a senior environmental engineer with Golder Associates Ltd. in Vancouver. He explains the risk of disease transmission from greywater systems in single-family homes is low. As for the effect on seals and flappers, homeowners can minimize damage by cleaning toilet tanks periodically. Some municipalities, including Nanaimo, B.C., allow greywater recycling. The Ontario city of Guelph even offers $1,000 to people who install water recycling systems. Other municipalities prohibit greywater usage. Check with local authorities before embarking on any greywater project. Vassos expects more municipalities will allow greywater recycling to help reduce the burden on municipal water systems. “If it has meaning for people, like avoiding a $100 million water-treatment plant expansion, municipalities will go ahead with it.” The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) developed CSA B 128.3, concerning the performance of greywater treat-

ment systems for applications of 10,000 litres per day or less. The standard covers testing methods, as well as the materials, design and other aspects of the treatment systems. Swatkowski suggests ensuring any greywater recycling system you install meets that standard. “Even in places where greywater recycling is allowed, many clients might not be ready to install such systems. Thankfully, numerous less-involved options give you the chance to prove your green credibility and help customers conserve water. For substantial water savings, look for faucets and other plumbing products that bear the WaterSense logo. WaterSense-certified items including toilets, showerheads and bathroom faucets use at least 20% less water than standard products. “We could save over three billion gallons a day (in the U.S.) if we replace the old inefficient products with WaterSense products,” Swatkowski says. It is not difficult to imagine analogous savings in Canada. The tri-flow aerator on Pfister’s

Show me the money

Some clients are fed up with green speak. No wonder. Over the last decade or so, concerns about the environment have gone from virtuous to ubiquitous: every business touts the green features of its products. If your customer wants none of this noise from you, think about shifting from environmental friendliness to pocketbook protection. Explain that lower water and energy consumption leads to lower operating costs. Note that the less water and electricity everyone uses, the lower the costs for utility companies, which means fewer price hikes. Tell your customers the value of their properties could increase if they prioritize water and energy savings in their renovation plans. faucets offers an “eco rinse” setting that uses 50% less water. “It is a more gentle rinse, but it is powerful enough to get the job done,” says Jane Chadwick, head of Pfister channel marketing at Spectrum Brands Canada in Mississauga, Ont.

For substantial water savings, look for faucets and other plumbing products that bear the WaterSense logo. WaterSense-certified items including toilets, showerheads and bathroom faucets use at least 20% less water than standard products. Reach for the Energy Star Turning to energy savings, Energy Star may be the country’s best-recognized labelling program for energy efficiency. Developed in the U.S. and administered in Canada through the federal government, the program features appliances, light fixtures, windows, doors and skylights that have been tested and certified as the most energy-efficient models for both the residential and commercial markets. In the commercial realm specifically, Energy Star offers a tool to help building owners manage energy consumption. Known as Energy Star Portfolio Manager, this website tracks and rates buildings’ energy use and compares it to similar buildings. The comparison enables owners to see how efficient their buildings are and whether it makes sense to install energy-saving products and materials. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched Energy Star Portfolio Manager some time ago, but in 2013, the Canadian government launched a version for Canada. The Canadian iteration provides property owners in this country with a more accurate picture of building energy performance. The tool uses Canadian climate data and Canadian sourceenergy information. The tool is available in English and French. As of early 2014, the website features data from some 6,700 Canadian buildings. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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Be aware, that even the best windows tend to be a building’s greatest source of heat loss. Advise customers on additional solutions such as Energy Star, WaterSense and greywater recycling to help your clientsconserve water and energy, reduce ongoing costs and potentially increase the value of their properties.

Home energy audits pinpoint savings

Natural Resources Canada, which administers the Energy Star energy-efficiency program, recommends having a certified home energy advisor perform an EnerGuide home evaluation. This assessment considers all aspects of the building’s energy performance and pinpoints the best bang for your renovation buck. “The best return on your investment may not necessarily be related to energy and dollar savings, but to comfort,” the federal government department says. “Replacing a draughty window next to a sitting area may not result in significant energy savings, but could greatly increase comfort.”

peaksaver perks

Homeowners can access various residential programs for energy savings. In Ontario, for example, residents can enroll in peaksaver PLUS. A technician from the local electricity company installs a device to remotely adjust the home’s thermostat during peak electricity demand periods. The idea is to not only help homeowners reduce their energy use, but also empower people to reduce the load on the electricity grid, which leads to lower consumption and lower costs across the province. Participants also receive a free programmable thermostat that they can adjust via the Web. The program’s overseers at the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) say savings will depend on the actions taken by homeowners and will vary from home to home. The OPA also bends over backwards to assure homeowners that peaksaver PLUS does not spell sweltering, air-condition-less summer days. Adjustments happen rarely and never on weekends or holidays, when most people are at home. Most adjustments result in imperceptible temperature changes. Participants can opt out for any days.

Door and window manufacturers use two terms to describe their products’ energy efficiency: R-value and U-value. R-value measures heat-transfer resistance. The higher the R-value, the greater the energy efficiency. U-value measures the rate of heat transfer. The lower the U-value, the better the energy efficiency. Which term should you use for windows and doors? Both. Carl Ballard, vice-president of manufacturing and engineering for Kohltech Windows and Entrance Systems in Debert, N.S., says U-value is worth using because Energy Star and building codes reference it. That said, most people who do not work in construction understand R-value better because it is commonly used for wall insulation, so you might have to use R-value in some customer conversations. 50

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Windows into energy efficiency As for energy-efficient architecture, windows play an important role. Carl Ballard, vice-president of manufacturing and engineering for Kohltech Windows & Entrance Systems in Debert, N.S., notes that architectural design trends see buildings featuring larger windows for more natural light. Windows do not insulate as well as walls, so a lot of windows could mean a lot of lost energy. Ballard says contractors should recommend triple-glazed, low-emissivity (low-e) windows. Triple-glazed means these windows have three panes of glass for excellent insulating performance. Low-e means the glass incorporates a thin film that further improves insulation. Kohltech’s Energlas Plus, Ply Gem’s Comfort Series and Jeld-Wen’s Classic Collection represent a few options. Look for the Energy Star label to ensure the windows you install are as energy-efficient as possible. Be aware, too, that even the best windows tend to be a building’s greatest source of heat loss. Advise customers on additional solutions such as Energy Star, WaterSense and greywater recycling to help your clients conserve water and energy, reduce ongoing costs and potentially increase the value of their properties.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES, PLY GEM

R-value vs. U-value: which one should you use?


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Easy in and out from either side. If you’re in inst stal alli ling ng c usto us tom m ca cabi bine nets ts s installing custom cabinets forr urbanites, fo u ba ur bani nite tes, s, you can spend less time in the van getting your tools and supplies and more time using them. You always have a door on the side with the best access to your job site too. Our latest addition to the available EcoBoost line of proven engines features an impressive 178 horsepower* economy. and great fuel economy my. my y.** If you have a shuttle shut sh uttl tle e full fulll of of travellers trav tr avel elle lers r with ights to catch, you can whisk an wh hisk them to their terminals reliably terminalls re eliably lyy and economically.

Got Go ot a lo load ad d of of heirloom h ir he irloom o tomatoes deliver? toma to mato toes es s to de d eli l ve v r? r The Transit Connect van can hold 8 more ore cubic feet of them than its closest competitor.‡ That translatess into roughly 120 more tomatoes per trip. trip. And with a payload best-in-class maximum payl load rating of 1,710 lb,† those tomatoes tom matoes can be really heavy.

Outside, it’s ea easy asy to o wrap the Transit Connect Connecct anyy way you like to create your very very own own sleek, modern mo mobile card. mobi bile le business bus usin ines ess s ca card rd.. Inside, you can n have e your choice of the wagon, with most wit i h the m ost exible seating in its ttss cclass. lass la lass ss.^ Or Or choose the van, with wit iitth ccargo arg go sspace pac ace that’s customized suit easily cus sto omized to sui uit ui it your needs and unique n ee edss a nd preferences, nd pre r fere rences, re whether whethe er you’re yo ou’re re a musician re m sici mu siician an n with instruments instrum ments and amps p or a fishing sh hin i g guide g id gu ide e with with anglers wi anglers and an nd ttackle. ackle. ac

DO MATH: SO OD O TH THE MA M ATH TH: No two businesses are exactly alike, but the new Transit Connect adds up for all of them with best-in-class horsepower* with the available 1.6L EcoBoost engine and the most congurations in its class^ in a compact, nimble package. Throw in reliability that’s earned the Built Ford Tough® badge, and you’ve found the van with all the answers. answers /♦

THE 2014

TRANSIT CONNECT AVAILABLE EARLY 2014

Vehicle 2013 Vehic Veh iclee may m be sho shown w withh ooptional p onaal ffeatures. pti eatture ures. s. *Horsepower Horsep Hor sepowe owerr achi aachieved chieve evedd using usingg 93-octane usin 93 ctaane premium 93-o premiu mium m fuel. fuel. Class Clas ass is Small Cargo Carg argo Vans ns vs. 2 013 competitors. competitors o . **Fuel Fue u consumption consump c mptio tion ratings ngs fo forr the the 2014 Connect EcoBoost 6-Speed SST:: [9.3 20 4 Transit 201 Tran ansit s Co onne n ctt [Van]/[Wagon] [Va V n]/[Wagon] 1.6L 6LL Ec EcoBo oBoos ost 66 Spe p ed SST S [[9.3L/100km 3L/1 L/100k 00km m city city and a d 6.6L/100km an 6.6L/100km 0k hwy]/[9.5L/100km hwy]/[9.5L/ 5L//100 10 km city citity and and 6.7L/100km 6 L/1 6.7 / 00k 0km hwy], based basedd on on Environment Envi nv ron onmen m t Canada-approved Canadada-app approv roved ed ‡ † test consumption will wheelbase model. Class Small Cargo Cargo tes estt methods. methods meth ods.. AActual ctuual fuel consumptio ionn w ill va vary. ry Long Long whee w he lba hee lbase se van mo model del.. Clas C asss iiss S m l Carg mal go VVans a vs. 2013 ans 013 competitors. coompe p titors. When Wh n properly equipped. Whe equi u ppe p d. Class C sss iss Small Cla Sma C Car a goo Van Vanss vs. vs. ^ ♦ Motor Company Canada, 201 0 3 competitors. c mpeti comp etitor to s. Class s is Small Smaall Cargo Cargo Vans V s vs. Van vs. 201 2013 3 competitors. competi comp e tor ors. s. Based Bas ased ed onn tri trim, m, eng engine,, and a transmission transm tra smission on options. optioons. ©2014 1 Ford r Mot M or Compan pa y of C anada, Limited. All ana All rights righhts t reserved. reserv res erved. edd ed. 2013


Contractor Advantage March/April 2014