Construction Connect - Summer 2017

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09 Building career paths for women On worksites, in offices, studios and workshops, the female presence in the construction trades is small but growing

21 Call for submissions

12 A network of support

CHBA – Alberta Award of Excellence & Safety Leadership Awards

Calgary Women In Construction is a hub for women in home building

16 ‘Girls can totally do this’

W H AT ’ S N E W

19 Attic rain

For third year apprentice Kylee Zaparniuk, a carpentry career was a rewarding choice


Airtightness is the key preventive measure CIT Y OF CALGARY

30 Some insight on infills

26 Tiny possibilites Nanotechnology manipulates matter’s building blocks to enable some huge new ideas

Public safety a priority around infill construction sites

28 Bring it home

04 Editor’s Message 05 Cartoon 06 Tool Time 21 Trade Websites 24 At Your Fingertips 29 Events 31 Laugh Out Loud


Local company part of Nano revolution HOUSING MARKET

13 We got spirit, yes we do! Calgary area housing market something to cheer about INDUSTRY NE WS

18 And the winners are… Brookfield Residential wins Builder of the Year at 2016 SAM Awards




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Editor’s Message

Get connected! Welcome to the Summer 2017 edition of Construction Connect magazine — our second issue. The goal of this magazine is to connect people in the construction industry with news, information, insight and analysis. And we hope to keep you entertained along the way, too. As you’ve seen on our cover, this time around we’re focusing on the increasing number of women in the construction industry, including the trades. There’s a long history of women playing key roles in such areas as marketing, sales, administration and design, and now many of their counterparts are discovering how rewarding a trades career can be. This is good news for employers, as the number of baby boomers reaching retirement age is rapidly reaching critical mass. More skilled, trained tradespeople are needed, — and if women can be part of meeting that need, the industry can only benefit. As our story package shows, a number of dedicated, talented and high-achieving women are choosing to pursue apprenticeships and work in the construction trades. Be sure to read about Kylee Zaparniuk (pictured on our cover), who tried a few different careers before falling in love with carpentry. In our main story you’ll meet Brittney Yax, a structural welder who was at the top of her class at Olds College. We also profile Elaine Coates, who runs an organization dedicated to supporting and connecting women who work in construction. Elsewhere in this issue, we take a close look at nanotechnology and its applications in construction. Darrell Paul explains the phenomenon of attic rain and how it can be prevented, and we have our usual roundup of eye candy on our Tool Time pages. Last but not least, we’ve got a cartoon and some construction-related humour to keep things in perspective. Enjoy the issue, and please get in touch with any comments, questions or suggestions:


Source Media Group

Jim Zang Jean Faye Rodriguez GRAPHIC DESIGNERS • Dave Macaulay, Vivian Zhang PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR • Colleen Leier CONTRIBUTORS • Ainsley Ashby-Snyder, Andrea Cox, Miles Durrie, Jock Mackenzie, Don Molyneaux, David Shepherd, Dennis Terhove ADVERTISING SALES • Andrea Glowatsky ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER | EDITOR  • ART DIRECTOR •


©2017 Source Media Group Corp. Material cannot be reprinted in whole or in part without the written permission from the publishers. All rights reserved. Construction Connect® is available free through select distribution points in Calgary. Source Media Group Corp. agrees to advertise on behalf of the advertiser without responsibility for claims or misinformation made by the advertiser and acts only as an advertising medium. Source Media Group reserves the right to refuse any advertising at its sole discretion. Contact: Source Media Group, 6109 – 6th Street S.E., Calgary, AB T2H 1L9. E-mail; Tel 403.532.3101; Fax 403.532.3109; Toll free 1.888.932.3101 Printed in Canada. Distributed by Gallant Distribution Services, Media Classified and Source Media Group. PUBLICATIONS AGREEMENT NO. 41072011. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Source Media Group, 6109 – 6th Street S.E., Calgary, AB T2H 1L9.




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Tool Time




1 Used Delta Router Shaper $225 at Quality Tools. 2 Multiquip 15 KW Diesel Generator at Alberta Construction Rentals. 3 TuF E Nuf Ripping Bar $9.99 at Riverbend Hardware & More. 4 TASK Heavy Duty Caulking Gun (Large), $12.99 at Riverbend Hardware & More. 5 John Deere 318E Skid Steer Loader at Alberta Construction Rentals. 6 Assorted Used Hand Planes $20 to $95 at Quality Tools. 7 Campo 200,000 Btu Indirect Fired Heater at Alberta Construction Rentals. 8 Atlas Copco 190lb Plate Compactor at Alberta Construction Rentals. 9 TASK Fibreglass Hammer $29.99 at Riverbend Hardware & More. 10 Used Hollow Chisel Morticer $395 at Quality Tools.



Tool Time 3




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BUILDING CAREER PATHS FOR WOMEN On worksites, in offices, studios and workshops, the female presence in the construction trades is small but growing // BY ANDREA COX



lowly but surely, women are working their way into careers in the traditionally male world of construction. From engineers and architects to welders and carpenters, there’s a growing female presence in offices and on jobsites. The women pursuing these careers are smart, determined, professional and dedicated. They take their work seriously, and many are acutely aware of their role as trailblazers for other women. Jill Drader is one example. The Calgarian began her career with a degree in languages and international relations, and travelled the world teaching and working. While overseas, she fell in love with architecture and stonework, and returned to Calgary to pursue a journeyman’s ticket in tile-setting. She loved the work, but when became pregnant with her second child she discovered that maternity benefits weren’t available to her as a tradesperson. That is now changing; the federal government last October passed Bill C243, a national maternity leave strategy suited for women working in the trades. “It’s taken a long time, but it is a step forward,” Drader says. Drader began teaching at SAIT and working to encourage women in the trades. She’s now collaborating with Junior Achieve-

ment to design a high school course on entrepreneurship in the trades that will be offered nationally. She points out that just as not every man is cut out for the trades, neither is every woman. “Thick skin helps, and so does the ability to think long term. What can you do with the skill set? What if you are laid off? Are you okay with moving, with catapulting your skills into something else?” Kathy Kimpton, president and CEO of Women Building Futures, an Edmonton-based organization that offers females a government-approved, four-month introduction to the trades along with employer-specific programs and mentorship, says the most important skill for women is resiliency. “Working in the trades and in construction is tough, and not everyone is up to it,” she says, adding that women still need to prove



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themselves daily. “Women represent only about four per cent of workers in the industry, so when they’re onsite they have to be able to work harder and faster and longer. That doesn’t sound fair, but it’s the reality.” Even so, women are increasingly being drawn to the opportunities in the construction trades. “We’ve graduated more than 1,200 women, and the numbers each year are upwards of 200.” Often it’s the economic potential that first leads women to look into the trades. Kimpton says taking this career path can change a woman’s life. “The average pay increase from their previous jobs for women who graduate from this program is 128 per cent. For some, it goes up 200 per cent. Those are pretty staggering statistics. We want these women coming out and making the kind of income that will allow them to purchase a home, have an occasional vacation and make a difference in the lives of their children.” For 25-year-old Brittney Yax, a journeyman structural welder who got her training at Olds College, the earning potential was a huge draw. “The


Welder Brittney Yax with Olds College welding tutor Glenn Summers. Yax earned the college’s Chipping Hammer Award as the top welder in her third-year class.


money that you can make is just stupid. I was shocked the first time someone told me what the potential was,” she recalls. But she agrees that it’s not for everyone. The hours are long, the work is hard and often she is the only woman on the jobsite. She works in the oil patch, where living out of a hotel or camp comes with the territory. “But I get Sundays off and a living-out allowance, which is great.” Yax says she was pulled toward the trades after moving from Kelowna, B.C., to Grande Prairie five years ago. She worked as a swamper and ran a rock truck, then she heard that a local firm was hiring a welder’s helper. She applied, got the job and loved it. “In two months I was offered an apprenticeship and I jumped on the opportunity.” At Olds College she was a high achiever, earning the school’s Chipping Hammer Award as the top third-year welding student. “I’m so proud of myself that I work in the trades. A trade ticket is something you can never lose. You can take it anywhere in the world and once you get your red seal, no one can take that away from you,” she says, adding that she finds her work really creative. She says the men she works with have been terrific mentors. “If you go out there with your head on your shoulders and do your job, you are going to get the respect from the men.” Kerry Ross, a Calgary-based architect who has been practising for close to 25 years, would agree with that. “For the most part, I’ve



found great camaraderie from both men and women,” she says. Like many women in the construction industry, Ross is an entrepreneur at heart. She’s become a national expert in green roofs, and is the design lead and steward for the innovative green roof project topping Calgary’s City Hall. Ross has worked hard to break down barriers in what is still a male-dominated industry. She advises young women pursuing a career in architecture to get out onto jobsites. “Take lots of extra courses in construction specification and drawings, take a tile-setting workshop. You definitely need to know how to talk to a tradesperson, and far too many women don’t set foot onsite. And really, the most exciting part of architecture is seeing your design coming out of the ground.” Shannon Lenstra knows her way around a construction site. An interior designer by training, she owns Kon-Strux Developments, a residential and commercial construction and renovation company. She started the Calgary-based company out of a desire to be financially independent, open doors for women in the construction industry and create a thriving business that would support a healthy work/life balance. Kon-Strux has won multiple SAM Awards and boasts impressive annual sales volumes. “I’ve been able to sustain growth through operating cash flow and have yet to apply for a business loan,” says Lenstra, adding that she

grew her business through hard work, determination and persistence. Along with a love of making things, these women also share a can-do attitude. Yax sums it up: “Believing in yourself is the most important thing. If you want to work in the trades, then just do it. Don’t ever doubt yourself.” It’s great advice, especially with opportunity on the rise. “The demand for women in the trades will continue and will likely outpace what we are able to meet,” Kimpton says, adding that over the next several years across Canada hundreds of thousands of people in the trades will be retiring. “We have a 92 per cent placement rate. Going forward it will be very challenging to find the candidates to replace the highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals who are retiring. That’s why Women Building Futures is pushing to train more women now so that they have the on-the-job experience to step into these roles when they become available. To that end, Women Building Futures has recently established a partnership with the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association. “We want to set women up for even greater success,” Kimpton says.  CC

Game Changer

ACSA partnership opens new doors for women The Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) and Women Building Futures (WBF) have teamed up to create a safer work environment and open more opportunities for women working in construction. Through this partnership, WBF students and alumni will have access to ACSA programs and services — which will help them complete apprenticeships and compete for employment. The goal is also to contribute to a safer, more productive work environment for women in the construction industry. The partnership was announced at the launch of the Breakfast with Leaders series earlier this spring by Kathy Kimpton CEO of Women Building Futures, who said “The impact this partnership has on safety in the industry could be a real game changer.” For more information visit or


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Calgary Women In Construction is a hub for women in homebuilding // BY ANDREA COX


laine Coates knows first-hand how challenging and how rewarding life in the trades can be. She ran her own central vacuum piping company starting in 1999, doing the work at ground level. But a few years ago, a car accident left her physically unable to continue the demands of the business. So she sold her truck and tools and began to focus single-mindedly on her other project, Calgary Women in Construction, a networking and educational organization for women in the home building industry. The organization began informally as a small volunteer group of women who met on an intermittent basis to check out new homebuilding products. “And then, 12 years ago, I was asked to take it over. I gave it a name, built a website and started organizing regular lunch-and-learns, and it just grew from there,” Coates says. Today, members attend breakfast and luncheon meetings and wine-and-cheese socials. Each event includes an expert speaker or a product and information showcase featuring the latest in materials and techniques. And, of course, there’s plenty of time to network and build relationships. That reflects the mandate of Calgary Women in Construction, which calls for 50 per cent product education and 50 per cent networking. “Women are natural networkers,” says Coates. “We talk more and share more than men.” Coates says she wants to keep numbers manageable so it’s a “cozy” experience. “My goal is to grow a solid foundation of women, build strong relationships and do


Elaine Coates

business. Women are really wanting that business and industry knowledge, and that’s what networking provides.” Membership is open to women working within the residential building industry, from marketing and sales people to suppliers, interior designers, estimators and entrepreneurs. “I’m probably the odd man out,” says Coates, referring to her hands-on central vacuum installation experience. “Most members aren’t ‘on tools,’ but we do have a few women in plumbing and electrical.” The organization now boasts close to 100 members in Calgary. Coates launched a chapter in Edmonton last December and has plans to grow the organization into B.C. Events are open to both members and the general public. Membership dues are $250 annually and include access to a job board, membership listings and $10 off the regular priced admission to each event.  CC For more information visit

Housing Market

WE GOT SPIRIT, YES WE DO! Calgary area housing market something to cheer about // BY JIM ZANG


can’t help it. I Find myself cheering for 2017… not very scientifically objective of me, I admit. Just like I can’t help cheering for the Calgary Flames. So when I heard from Canada Mortgage and Housing


Housing Starts


March March 2017 2017 2016 YTD

2016 YTD

Single detached 31 19 88 96 Semi-detached 6 6 38 32 Row 0 15 51 60 Apartment 0 0 0 12 All 37 40 177 200 CHESTERMERE Single detached 3 Semi-detached 2 Row 0 Apartment 0 All 5

8 7 0 6 0 0 0 0 8 13

22 0 11 0 33

COCHRANE Single detached 13 Semi-detached 2 Row 12 Apartment 0 All 27

14 48 4 20 16 30 0 87 34 185

47 12 16 0 75

RED DEER Single detached 13 11 41 25 Semi-detached 2 0 6 4 Row 0 0 5 0 Apartment 0 24 0 154 All 15 35 52 183

Corporation (CMHC) that Housing starts are trending higher at 211,342 units in March 2017, compared to 205,521 units in February 2017, I celebrated not quite as much as I did when the Flames won the cup in 1989 (yes, I’m THAT old), but it was definitely cause for some cautious optimism moving forward. “March housing starts were at their highest level since September 2007, pushing the trend in housing starts upward for a third consecutive month,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “Stronger residential construction at the national level is reflected by a rising trend in single-detached and multi-unit starts in Ontario and continued growth of new rental apartments in Québec.” Good for them, but what about us? In Calgary, according to CMHC reports, “Most of the housing starts this year had been in the single-detached market.


“March housing starts were at their heighest level since September 2007, pushing the trend in housing starts upwards for a third consecutive month.” MAY – AUGUST 2017    CONST RUCTION CON N ECT

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Housing Market

Even in the headline-grabbing single-family category, Calgary new home starts are up 140 homes over 2016 through March. However, there was a large increase in apartment units started in March, comprising the majority of new housing construction for the month. This occurred at a time when complete and unsold apartment inventory was well above historical averages.” Indeed, the numbers show a total of 545 apartment-style starts in March 2017 in the downtown and beltline areas alone, boosting the monthly totals by quite a bit over 2017 (See Chart C). However, why nitpick at the negatives? There’s plenty of other news media who’d love to do that, I’m sure. I’d rather focus on the positives, like the fact the total year-to-date starts for 2017 are outpacing last year by 33 per cent. Even in the headline-grabbing single-family category, Calgary new home starts are up 140 homes over 2016 through March. Across every housing CHART B

Housing Starts



Q1 2017

Q1 2016

2017 YTD

2016 YTD

Single detached 40 32 40 32 Semi-detached 0 8 0 8 Row 0 0 0 0 Apartment 0 0 0 0 All 40 40 40 40 STRATHMORE Single detached 13 21 13 21 Semi-detached 2 28 2 28 Row 0 0 0 0 Apartment 0 0 0 0 All 15 49 15 49 CANMORE Single detached 2 0 2 0 Semi-detached 6 2 6 2 Row 7 12 7 12 Apartment 0 0 0 0 All 15 14 15 14


category, 2017 is so far a big improvement on last year. Not like winning the Stanley Cup, but maybe the first round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Charts A and B report the data from some key communities in Southern Alberta and each is worth a quick look just to see if they’re on the upward swing also. Up North in Red Deer, the year-to-date numbers still favour 2016, but it’s of note that March 2017 single-family starts — in a predominantly single-family driven market — were up, just a little, from last year. A few miles south on the QEII, in Airdrie, year-to-date starts are down overall from 2016, but not by much, and single detached starts for March outpaced 2016 by a wide margin (Chart A). On the east side, Chestermere and Strathmore (Chart B) have yet to rebound, with both March and year-to-date totals well behind last year’s. Looking west, Cochrane is blowing last year’s numbers away thanks to a surge of 87 apartment units in the first quarter of 2017. In addition, single-family starts are up year-to-date, by exactly one home (Chart A). Total Cochrane starts are up 146 per cent so far in 2017, and they’re up in every housing category.

When the same trend can be seen in multiple markets, it’s more than just a coincidence — something’s happening. In this case, something good.

Housing Market


Calgary Housing Starts


March March 2017 2016 2017 2014 YTD YTD

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 207 0 0 207 0

0 2 0 0 2

6 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 6 2

1 0 2 0 0 0 3 0 3 0 338 167 4 338 172

21 78 66 8 4 20 0 67 7 0 0 0 29 149 93

Single detached 83 47 212 128 Semi-detached 16 4 44 12 Row 37 113 62 75 Apartment 10 0 41 33 All 146 64 359 248

Single detached 26 Semi-detached 14 Row 16 Apartment 65 All 121

68 113 148 18 32 36 17 16 30 0 65 66 103 226 280

Single detached 16 Semi-detached 14 Row 0 Apartment 23 All 53

7 2 4 0 13

29 22 30 6 0 4 23 4 82 36

Average price $1,639,029

NORTH HILL Single detached 4 Semi-detached 4 Row 4 Apartment 0 All 12

154 79 36 10 45 0 19 272 254 361


FISH CREEK Single detached 32 Semi-detached 2 Row 44 Apartment 0 All 78

15 2 0 80 97


DOWNTOWN Single detached 0 Semi-detached 0 Row 0 Apartment 338 All 338

Single detached 41 Semi-detached 10 Row 17 Apartment 19 All 87 NORTHWEST

CHINOOK Single detached 0 Semi-detached 0 Row 0 Apartment 0 All 0

March March 2017 2016 2017 2014 YTD YTD


BELTLINE Single detached 0 Semi-detached 0 Row 0 Apartment 207 All 207

5 10 12 0 14 8 0 4 7 0 0 0 5 28 27

Further down the road, in Canmore, cottage country, the numbers aren’t as big, but they reflect the same upward trend (Chart B). And therein lies the importance of looking at statistics; looking beyond the raw numbers, interpreting their meaning to gain perspective and spot any trends, however subtle or obvious. Because when the same trend can be seen in multiple markets, it’s more than just a coincidence — something’s happening. In this case, something good.  CC

OTHER CALGARY Single detached 81 Semi-detached 10 Row 12 Apartment 0 All 103

53 198 203 10 64 46 31 81 87 0 87 12 94 430 348

CALGARY TOTAL Single detached 283 217 800 660 Semi-detached 70 46 224 140 Row 130 68 275 213 Apartment 662 80 780 554 All 1,145 411 2,079 1,567 Median price $555,000


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‘GIRLS CAN TOTALLY DO For third-year apprentice Kylee Zaparniuk, a carpentry career was a rewarding choice // WRITTEN BY ANDREA COX


Third-year carpentry apprentice Kylee Zaparniuk takes her work seriously and finds it highly rewarding.


t five feet and 112 pounds, Kylee Zaparniuk is aware that she’s hardly the stereotypical construction worker. “I’m this teeny blonde girl, so I really stick out like a sore thumb,” says the outgoing third-year carpentry apprentice. But looks can be deceiving. Zaparniuk, 26, is used to working long shifts, often putting in 10-hour days alongside a crew of men. She works outdoors in the Edmonton area, and in the winter that can mean operating at temperatures hovering around -25°C. “That part isn’t fun. But you get used to it and dress for the weather,” she says, adding that the building trades aren’t for someone who doesn’t want to work hard. “I’m exhausted by the end of the day. It isn’t for everyone, but I absolutely love it.” Zaparniuk wasn’t always a carpenter; she experimented with a few other careers first. After high school, she worked in administration for a year. “But I wasn’t crazy about office work. I’m not the type of person who can sit in front of a computer all day.” She then took a cosmetology program, earning her licence as a hairstylist. “I’m not really sure why I decided to do that; it was kind of a random experience,” she says. But she enjoyed it, working at Eveline Charles Salons for a few years and then moving to a barbershop where most of her clients were men. “And that’s when I really began to think about moving into the trades,” she says. “Most of my friends are guys and they all work in the trades, so I had an idea of what it was like. And to be honest, I was really motivated by how much money you could make.”


She initially thought she wanted to become an electrician. “But I just didn’t know how to get my foot in the door,” she says. Then in 2014 a friend introduced her to Women Building Futures, an organization that trains and supports women considering careers in the trades. “I was like ‘oh, my gosh, how is it that I haven’t heard about this before?’” Zaparniuk attended an orientation session at Women Building Futures and then registered for the four-month Journeywoman Start Program, a government-approved set of courses that introduces students to a range of trades, from carpentry to plumbing, welding, rigging, electrical and pipefitting. At the end of the course, students write the Level B Trade entrance exam. Zaparniuk fell in love with carpentry. “It just felt right. It felt good and I loved every part of what I was doing. I just went right into my zone, the smell of sawdust, getting my cuts right. It was just so rewarding for me.” Zaparniuk was offered a job in commercial construction even before the four-month program was finished. She began working onsite as a carpenter and pursuing the four-year apprenticeship program at NAIT, which entails eight weeks of schooling per year along with experience on the job site. Although the construction industry has had its ups and downs during the current recession, Zaparniuk has been able to roll with the punches, and in the past three years has only found herself without employment


THIS’ for a single two-month stretch. “You do have to think about that possibility, and plan for the times when you are without a paycheque.” She says working in the trades has given her a financial boost — one that will be even greater when she earns her journeyman ticket next year. As for being a female in a traditionally male profession, “it’s no big deal,” she says. “I’ve been really fortunate. For the most part everyone is really awesome. Once you start working for a company, you become like a little family and that is your crew. You get pretty comfortable pretty quick, as long as you are open to joining the team.” Her advice to women entering the trades is practical. “Be kind to yourself and recognize that you are going to make mistakes. Everyone does — you’re learning.” She says the biggest challenge has been her size, which means she doesn’t have the reach of most of her male counterparts. “It can be a little awkward because I don’t have that length in my arms. But you have to get past it, and laugh at yourself and ask for help. It is what it is, and that’s totally fine. “I’m 100 per cent behind women getting into the trades. Girls can totally do this, and they can have fun doing it too.”  CC

“It just felt right. It felt good and I loved every part of what I was doing. I just went right into my zone, the smell of sawdust, getting my cuts right. It was just so rewarding for me.” MAY – AUGUST 2017    CONST RUCTION CON N ECT

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Industry News

AND THE WINNERS ARE… Brookfield Residential wins Builder of the Year at 2016 SAM Awards


t was another night to remember as Calgary’s home building industry celebrated its biggest night of the year at the 30th annual SAM Awards gala April 8 at the Telus Convention Centre. Brookfield Residential took home the Builder of the Year honours. Other Grand SAM winners are: Timber Tech Truss Inc. for Partner of the Year; Riverview Custom Homes for Builder of Merit; Renova Luxury Renovations for Renovator of the Year; and Hopewell Residential Managaement LP for Multi-family Builder of the Year. BILD Calgary Region (formerly CHBA – UDI Calgary) had close to 800 entries for the 2016 SAM Award, as the economy did not suppress member enthusiasm to compete for 60 industry awards. “For three decades the SAM Awards have demonstrated the determination and innovation of member companies, and this year will be no different,” says Shane Wenzel, chair of the SAM committee. “This year we celebrate the SAM Award’s 30th anniversary and the first Awards for BILD Calgary Region, the new identity of the association.” Other big winners included Bordeaux Developments Corporation and Qualico Communities for Harmony, New Community of the Year; Heritage Pointe Properties for Show Home Parade of the Year for Artesia at Heritage Pointe; Westcreek Developments Ltd. for Calgary Community of the Year for Legacy; and Cove Properties’ The Armory in Currie Barracks for Best Multi-Family Community.  CC For the complete list of winners and finalists, go to


What’s New

ATTIC RAIN Airtightness is the key preventive measure



n the days following a chinook, Darrell Paul estimates his company, Qualistat Building Performance Consultants, receives about 25 calls per day. The reason? A relatively new phenomenon known as attic rain. It started in 2005 when builders began using high-efficiency furnaces. These furnaces, combined with houses that weren’t airtight, created a higher internal pressure, which lead to increased air leakage. “We can live with some air leakage,” Paul says. “But only if it’s combined with negative pressure — which is what used to happen with furnaces that exhausted through the chimney or B vent.” When the temperature drops below freezing, the combination of air leakage and higher interior pressure causes frost to accumulate in the attic. After a chinook hits, the temperature rises and the frost melts. This causes water to drip through the ceiling — usually around light fixtures. It’s bad news for builders, as the Home Owner Protection Act requires them to protect against moisture for five years. The solution? Turn on the ventilation fan switch, which should equalize the house pressure. “We’ve always had air leakage, but now it’s combined with mechanical pressures,” Paul says. “If you don’t make your home super airtight in the first place, the attic rain problem will show up immediately. But if you kind of did it right, but didn’t protect the joints, then in the long run — a year or two later — it may fail.” To build an airtight home,

So a higher standard of airtightness makes homes more energy efficient and helps prevent moisture issues. you need to get the little things right, he explains. “It’s the connections where the window goes in, or where the electrical plug goes in. It’s the connection where two pieces of poly join. That poly has to stay there for the next 25-35 years. If the joint only lasts two years, then you can end up with attic rain. If you make a new home airtight, you won’t have attic rain.” You also won’t have homeowners with skyrocketing heating bills. Consider this: an average two storey, 2,000-square-foot home contains about 33,000 cubic-feet of air. The current code gives builders the option to build a home at 2.5 air changes per hour or 3.2 air changes per hour. At 3.2 air changes per hour, the average home is going to have, in theory, 107,000 cubic-feet of natural air change every hour. If you drop that to 2.5 air changes, the average air change drops to 83,000 cubic-feet — a difference of 24,000 cubic-feet per hour, which the homeowner no longer has to pay to heat. So a higher standard of airtightness makes homes more energy efficient and helps prevent moisture issues.



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What’s New

If the benefits of a home’s airtightness are so obvious, why are builders and trades struggling? “One of the major downsides of our industry is the assumption that the trades know what they’re responsible for,” Paul says. “But the builders aren’t putting the requirements in their scope-of-work documents. You have electricians and plumbers cutting holes through the poly to run their wires and pipes and expecting the insulator to fix it.” The solution for builders? A more “A lot of airtightness detailed scope of work, says Paul. “If the builder puts it into his scope problems come from the of work that the electrician, when joints…The new codes he installs wires through the poly, pokes it through instead of slicing require every joint be the poly, then they can go back to overlapped and supported. him if he doesn’t do it right. If you You could be losing 35 per don’t have that in your scope of work, then it becomes an argument, cent of your energy in air because nothing in the contract said the electrician had to do it that way.” leakage.” Paul expects the new building codes to help, as builders are required to provide drawings on how they’re going to seal the poly. “It’s forcing people to build homes more airtight. With that being forced on them, they’re automatically going to reduce the problems associated with not being


airtight and improve the energy efficiency of the building.” The new code also addresses air pressure, by encouraging heat recovery vents (HRVs) which balance mechanical air pressure in a more economical way than ventilation fans. In terms of best practices, the goal for builders and trades should be to achieve as tight an air barrier as possible. “A lot of airtightness problems come from the joints,” Paul says. “If you take an air barrier and cut it into 8x10 pieces, and staple those all over the wall, is that an air barrier? No, because the joints are unsealed. That’s where you have air leakage. The new codes require every joint be overlapped and supported. You could be losing 35 per cent of your energy in air leakage.” For Paul, designing and building a home with an emphasis on airtightness is a nobrainer. Do it properly the first time and builders will save money and have happier homeowners — and they won’t have redo the work when leaks become a problem.  CC

Trade Websites

CONSTRUCTION JOBS Trade websites a great place to start


ots of people dream about being a tradesperson. But, whether you want to be a plumber, carpenter, welder or HVAC specialist, it takes more than just dreams to make it happen. In real life, it takes dedication, time, and a lot of hard work just to get your ticket. Then you’ve got to get the work and then, maybe one day,

you’ll eventually own your own business. If that’s a career path you’ve been thinking about, you’re not alone on your journey. There’s lots of resources available in Alberta to help you find your way, starting with the Trades Alberta website itself at

Following are some other popular websites for people interested in learning a trade. ABOUT THE TRADES IN ALBERTA


• Trades and Occupations list: tradesecrets.alberta. ca/trades-occupations/trades-occupations-list • Labour market information for Alberta, including monthly statistical updates on the province’s labour force, and short and medium employment forecasts:

• Available internships and programs: students/get-experience/internships • Apply for a program/get started: get-experience/get-started • Career camps: • Success stories: • Learn more about financial assistance options for apprentices and occupational trainees:


• Find resources for planning and achieving educational and career success, including information on apprenticeships, occupations, and wages and salaries: • Learn more about Alberta’s apprenticeship and industry training system: • Find out if your skills, knowledge and experience meet Alberta’s industry standards:


• Information for new and young workers, their parents, educators and employers on workplace health and safety: working-in-alberta/5369.html • Alberta Worksprovides employment and training services to connect unemployed people to jobs, and employers to skilled workers:


• Learn about the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) for high school students: tradesecrets. registered-apprenticeship-program • Learn about apprenticeships, and how to get your career started in a trade or occupation:


• Find your career/career path exploration: • Interactive games: • Available internships and programs:  CC

Industry News


CHBA – Alberta Awards of Excellence & Safety Leadership Awards


he Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing & Safety Leadership Awards website is now accepting submissions. Over the next few weeks, members will have the opportunity to complete their online submissions to compete to be recognized as Alberta’s best.

With the multitude of categories to enter, there are plenty of opportunities for your homes to shine in this year’s competition. All the information required for this year’s housing and safety award competitions can be found on the awards website. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, May 31 at noon.  CC MAY – AUGUST 2017    CONST RUCTION CON N ECT

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United Communities has a new name:

Anthem United


hange is in the air at United Communities, one of the largest land developers in Alberta. After more than 80 years of helping homebuyers find their homes in some of the most distinguished communities in the province, the multi-awarded developer will now be known as Anthem United. Anthem United traces its roots back to the 1930s. It began in rental and commercial property, and expanded into an extensive residential land portfolio. Today, Anthem United has one of the largest land bases in Alberta and develops communities thousands of families call home in Alberta, British Columbia and California. “Our new name better reflects our relationship with our sister company, Vancouver-based real estate development, investment and management company, Anthem,” says Steve LePan, Director of Sales and Marketing for Anthem United. “Together with Anthem, we are a team of 300 in B.C., Alberta and Sacramento, California, with 190 projects under our belt, including more than 10,000 homes, 6.2 million square-feet of commercial and 5,000 acres of land for future development across Western North America.” This is the second name change for the company but the brand continues to acknowledge its roots. When United was formed in 1934, it was called United Management. It rebranded once, in the 1990s into United Communities when its main focus became greenfield land development. Since that time, the company has developed more than 60 communities and sold more than 20,000 lots where family homes now sit. In Alberta, Anthem United has several developments on the go. “With extensive knowledge of the local real estate market, we’ve developed over 39 master planned communities, with 20 more currently in design or development,” says LePan.

2017 will be a busy year for Anthem United in the Calgary Region. Nolan Hill, one of Calgary’s fastest growing communities, is selling in its final phase. Its impressive castle-ruins entry features and parks highlight this northwest community; it will have 2,000 single-family homes, seven multi-family parcels and two Steve LePan commercial sites. It will be home to over 6,000 residents at build out. Anthem United has over 500 acres in south Calgary, and plans to launch Belmont this fall. Belmont is located south of 194th avenue, west of Macleod Trail and only 500 metres from a future LRT station. “Belmont is positioned to meet the needs of Calgary’s growth in the sector,” LePan says. Then there is the highly anticipated community of D’ARCY in north Okotoks, just south of Calgary, which will break ground this spring. It can be seen as a follow-up to their highly successful Drake Landing community, which is entering its final phase. Another development generating much excitement is Chelsea, an ambitious 316-acre development in Chestermere that’s in the planning and approval stages. Anthem United’s new name and new look is the natural progression of a company that understands building great spaces is their most important achievement. “Expect the same quality, exceptional planning, and attention to detail,” LePan says. “Anthem United is a land development and home building company that strives, solves and evolves to build better spaces and stronger communities. We are Growing Places.”


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At Your Fingertips


Due Diligence Standing between your business and a criminal conviction


ome basic questions for an employer: In the event of a serious incident where Occupational Health and Safety must be notified, are you prepared for their arrival? Once notified of a reportable incident OH&S Officer(s) will arrive at your worksite, introduce themselves, then proceed to conduct their own investigation into the incident. They will interview any witnesses to the incident, the employee’s Supervisor, the Manager responsible for the operations of the worksite, and anyone else who can provide details as to what happened and why. One of the questions they will ask is “Can you provide proof the employee involved was properly trained to perform the task which resulted in their injury?” If equipment was involved, the Officers will ask “Can you provide proof the equipment was maintained and performing as per manufacturer’s requirements?” and “Can you provide proof the employee had been deemed “competent” by a “qualified trainer” to operate this equipment?” As an employer, you must do everything “reasonably practicable” to protect the health and safety of your workers. This means that you must do everything reasonable within your power to ensure the hazards associated with your company’s operations are identified, and addressed. If the hazards can’t be eliminated or engineered to remove or reduce the likelihood of injury have you taken steps, and documented these efforts, to ensure you’re employees are properly trained and equipment is in proper working order? Do your records, which are a critical part of any safety program, show this? Can these documents provide proof you are doing what is required? All equipment must be maintained in a safe functioning capacity. Are you documenting this maintenance? Are you able to show proof equipment and tool maintenance is actually being carried out in some form of an accepted standard, such as the equipment manufacturer’s requirement? Are you able to show proof employees are not only knowledgeable in how to perform a job, but are also competent to do so? The measure can be referred to as ASS – Adequately Trained, Suitable Qualified, and Sufficiently Experienced? Can you show proof your employees are competent in their jobs, including all the tasks which make up the performance of a single job? The difference between being able to show proof and answering these questions is the difference between thousands of dollars in fines, or the possibility of facing a conviction under C-45, which can and has resulted in a prison sentences. The ramifications are poor paperwork, or documentation, will break your company’s safety program, reputation, and bank account.

Important building industry websites Alberta Building Code Information Alberta New Home Warranty Program (ANHWP) ATCO Gas BILD Calgary Region Built Green™ Canada Calgary Transit Calgary Women in Construction Call before you dig Canada Mortgage and Housing Corportation (CMHC) Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Alberta City of Calgary -Build Calgary -Bylaw Services -Calgary Housing Company -Real Estate and Development Services -Water Services Condo Living magazine Enmax New Home Living magazine Professional Home Builders Institute RenoMark™ Source Media Group

For more information visit



TINY POSSIBILITIES Nanotechnology manipulates matter’s building blocks to enable some huge new ideas




t’s another day on the job at a new home build. All your materials have been delivered and your tools are close at hand. Now what? Well, you could take all those 2x4s and stack them on top of each other, log-cabin style. Seems like the obvious building method, right? What could be easier or more natural? But we know there’s a better way. We rearrange the studs geometrically into a lighter, more efficient structure. Essentially, we’ve taken one object — a pile of wood — and changed it into another: a stud-framed wall. Now imagine doing something similar on an atomic or molecular scale, and you’re close to understanding nanotechnology — the process of making new things by rearranging the building blocks of material. “Scientists around the world now have sophisticated equipment to manipulate matter at the nano scale,” explains Marlene Huerta, principal business advisor and nanoprograms manager at Alberta Innovates, the provincially funded corporation responsible for strategic research and innovation. The prefix “nano” means “billionth,” and nanotechnology deals with particles about 10 to 100 nanometres in size. How small is that? Really, really small. A sheet of normal office paper is about 100,000 nanometres thick. A red blood cell is 2,500 nanometres in diameter. Your fingernails grow about one nanometer every second, and the average man’s beard will grow a nanometer in the time it takes to lift a razor to his face. GOLD STANDARD Nanoparticles occur in nature, and they’ve been manipulated by humans in a “top-down” way for centuries, says James Gospodyn, chair of the Nanotechnology Systems program at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton. “One of the oldest applications of nanotechnology is stained glass — any time you set foot in an old church and see the windows, you’re seeing how gold changes properties


when it’s made into a fine enough powder,” Gospodyn says. “It starts to appear red because of the way light interacts with it, and you can actually tune the colour depending on the size of the particles.” Recent advances in the ability to see and manipulate sub-microscopic particles have now enabled a “bottom-up” approach, where unimaginably small elements are assembled, often using chemical or biological tools. “We’ve been able to make instruments like electron microscopes that today cost 10 per cent of what they did,” Gospodyn says. “We’ve gotten better at making things smaller, and now that we can see the things that we’re doing, we have better control of how they’re done. We can use chemical synthesis to get things to self-assemble,” he says, adding that nanotechnology is “a marriage between chemistry, biology and physics.” At Alberta Innovates, research into the use of nanotechnology in a wide range of applications is ongoing. The corporation’s subsidiary, Innotech Alberta, operates a pilot plant in Edmonton that produces several kilograms per day of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from wood pulp. “Researchers from Alberta universities, polytechnics and small businesses — as well as researchers and companies from around the world — are evaluating these nanoparticles for different industrial applications including construction, health and the energy sector,” Huerta says.


Technologists Dean Rolheiser and Larissa Toffoli operate the drying equipment in the cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) pilot plant located at InnoTech Alberta in Edmonton.

SHOWING PROMISE The potential for the construction industry is huge. Remember that pile of lumber that’s made more useful by being turned into a wall frame? With nanotechnology, the same kind of approach could be applied to just about any object, from concrete and glass to fasteners and pipes, by tweaking its structure or adding a layer of nano-engineered material. “The use of nanocellulose in concrete is showing promise,” says Gordon Giles, director of forestry at Alberta Innovates. “The inclusion of these materials adds significant performance characteristics. It can reduce cracking due to shrinkage, and add strength as the particles act much like very small and incredibly numerous pieces of rebar.” Other advances being used or tested globally include self-monitoring and selfhealing concrete that uses electrically conductive nanoparticles to detect and identify cracks, and microcapsules to release polymers that seal them, says the U.S. Transportation Research Board in its publication Nanotechnology in Concrete Materials. This feature has the potential to double or triple the life of concrete structural components.

SMART STUFF Nano-materials can also be engineered for flexibility, hardness, corrosion resistance, photovoltaic properties and lighter weight. “One exciting area of investigation and development for CNC is in ‘smart’ window applications,” Giles says. “Applying a thin film of CNC to the surface of a window could allow for the replacement of blinds and could offer privacy or reduce damage from ultraviolet radiation, as the CNC can change colour with the application of an electrical field.” Nano-coatings can also be used in passive solar collection and storage, allowing surfaces to contribute to a home’s power supply, he adds. Meanwhile, adding CNC or other nano-materials to the resins used to manufacture plywood, OSB and fibreboard promises to improve their fire resistance significantly. Nano-engineered coatings for existing building materials have similar potential. Surface hardness is a key property of many nanotreated materials, lending durability and self-cleaning properties—the surfaces contain so many atoms there’s nowhere for dirt to get a grip, so it just falls off. Gordon Giles “One relatively near-term application for CNC is in polyurethane coatings, perhaps for flooring or other surfaces,” Giles says. “The addition of fairly small proportions imparts large improvements in the hardness of the coating, increasing its wear resistant without impacting its colour.” GREENING UP The team at Alberta Innovates is also excited about the long-term environmental benefits of Marlene Huerta nanotechnology and especially cellulose nanocrystals, since their source is renewable. Innotech uses wood pulp to produce CNC, but cellulose can be found in a range of other plant fibres as well. CNC could also potentially reduce the use of fossil-fuel-based polymers in building materials. The economic benefits of being on the leading edge of nanotechnology could be significant, too, Huerta says. “Since the launch of Alberta’s nanotechnology strategy in 2007, the number of research facilities and projects has grown and companies from around the world continue to bring their nanotechnology research and development dollars to Alberta.”  CC

Nanotechnology is “a marriage between chemistry, biology and physics.”


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BRINGING IT HOME Local company part of Nano revolution // BY MILES DURRIE


coating, while visible light is changed negligibly. In other words, the window remains transparent but it blocks almost all UV and thermal radiation. Three-millimetre-thick glass, nano-coated on one side, even handily outperforms six-millimetre low-e industrial glass. The potential for saving construction costs by buying less-expensive windows and using the nano coating is significant. “It’s a thermal barrier,” says Vadeboncoeur. “The heat and cold do not touch each other,” he says, adding that the product is the result of more than 15 years of testing to ensure a reliable molecular bond between the liquid coating and glass. So how does it work? Nanotechnology involves the use of particles that are between 10 and 100 nanometres in size (a nanometre is one Paul Baxter and billionth of a metre, and a human hair is about Alain Vadeboncoeur. 80,000 nanometres thick). When material is broken down into particles that small, it presents more atoms at the surface level — so its effective surface area increases. A layer that’s just the thickness of one particle can possess extremely high density and hardness. Installation is straightforward. After a thorough degreasing procedure. NanoTechnology Solutions’ certified installers apply the coating Light Transmission Chart to the inside of the glass. After a curing period it Normal untreated window Untreated double pane Glass with Nano coating reaches its full durability double pane residential 3mm glass 6 mm thick commercial low-e glass Residential double pane 3mm and effectiveness. “The cost is job UV transmission: 52.3% 28.4 1.0 dependent, but the energy savings and IR transmission: 54% 7.2 13.9 comfort are immediate,” Visible Light: 77.3% 62.6 60.4 Baxter says.  CC anotechnology is here right now,” says Alain Vadeboncoeur, “and it’s going to change the window industry forever.” Vadeboncoeur represents NanoTechnology Solutions, a local authorized distributor of Sketch Nanotechnology, based in Montreal, the companies are taking advantage of nanotechnology by making it possible to save energy and keep homes more comfortable by increasing the effectiveness of window glass. From the summer sun’s heat to the winter’s icy chill, windows — especially older ones, but even those with thick, double-pane, low-emissivity glass — are a building’s weak spot. In fact, glass can allow as much as 71 per cent of the sun’s direct heat in and 48 per cent of radiant heat — produced by your furnace, for example — to pass right out through it. As part of an overall building envelope, windows are responsible for about 20 to 25 per cent of a building’s total energy loss, according to Canadian and U.S. figures. “Windows look wonderful, but they are very inefficient,” says Paul Baxter partner in NanoTech Solutions with Vadeboncoeur, based out of Innisfail. “Our mission is to educate builders and owners of homes and commercial buildings about the power of the nanoparticle-based glass coating we market and install.” The product originates in Japan, (Sketch Nanotechnologies is the Canadian right holder) where the energy-saving properties of nano-coated windows are well accepted. Measured with a spectrum transmission meter, both ultraviolet and infrared transmission decrease exponentially with the nano

*Measurements taken in Calgary on January 9, 2017, using a Linshang Spectrum Transmission Meter


Industry Events Professional Development and Networking Opportunities MAY 13–17 North American Occupational Health and Safety (NAOSH) Week. Events take

place throughout Alberta.

MAY 13 Central Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing, 5 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel

Red Deer.

MAY 23 BILD Calgary Region Student House Design Awards & Volunteer Recognition Awards, 11:30 a.m. at the Coast Plaza


MAY 30–JUNE 1 Building Lasting Change, the Canada Green Building Council’s annual conference, Vancouver, B.C. Visit for more information and to register.

JUNE 1–3 BILD Calgary Region Fairmont Golf Classic.

JUNE 6–8 Mayor’s Environment Expo. Open to the


JUNE 11 Jayman Built MS Walk, 9 a.m. at

Prince’s Island Park. Registration is at 9 a.m. Visit for more information and to register.

SEPTEMBER 14–17 CHBA – Alberta’s BUILD annual conference at the Fairmont Jasper Park

Lodge. Keynote speeches and information sessions, trade show, golf, Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing. More information and registration at

SEPTEMBER 21–24 Calgary Fall Home Show at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. Visit for information and tickets.


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The City of Calgary


Public safety a priority around infill construction sites // BY DENNIS TERHOVE


Dennis Terhove

t The City of Calgary, we know that inner-city construction sites, commonly called infill developments, pose more challenges than home construction in new areas. From demolition to completion, it can be disruptive for neighbours and passersby alike. The shock to a neighbour who has lived next door, sometimes for decades, to suddenly awaken to the sound of heavy equipment and workers can be overwhelming. With the noise and dust, confusion and concerns often flare up. Building a new house on an existing property can take upwards of 35 different permits and involve different City of Calgary departments. The process can take months before the first shovel hits the dirt so while it may seem to be a sudden process, it certainly hasn’t been; but neighbours don’t know that, nor do they care. The builder wants to get moving and sometimes how their actions impact the community can be forgotten. We suggest that builders start communicating with neighbours

early on in the process, well before the first equipment and workers arrive. Informed and forewarned neighbours can be a strategic key to a successful project and prevent frazzled nerves on both sides. And what better way to sell your next infill home than to have positive support from those affected by the current project? While the public safety is the builder’s responsibility, the public also has a role. Call 911 if an emergency or imminent risk to public safety exists. For non-emergency situations, give the owner or builder the first chance to correct the situation before calling 311.  CC For more on infill site safety, visit constructionsafety

DENNIS TERHOVE is the operational supervisor in the Safety Response Unit at The City of Calgary. Dennis also sits on the BILD Calgary Region Safety Advisory Committee, working with the development industry and residential builders to develop practical tools for construction safety.


Laugh Out Loud

We’d tell you some construction jokes here, but we’re still putting them together. b Did you see that documentary about sheet-metal work? It was riveting! b What did one 2 x 4 say to the other? “I’m board.” b At first, I couldn’t believe my buddy was stealing from his job as a road worker. But when I went to his place, all the signs were there. b I went to my boss the other day and said, “Three other companies are after me. Would you give me a raise?” He said, “Really? Which other companies are after you?” I said, “The power company, the phone company and the credit-card company.” b I had to call an electrician out today after I got my finger stuck in a socket. I couldn’t believe how much I was charged! b Q: What’s the difference between a site supervisor and God? A: God doesn’t think He’s a site supervisor. b A contractor dies in an unfortunate accident on his 40th birthday. He gets a rousing welcome to heaven, complete with a brass band. Saint Peter shakes his hand and says “Congratulations!” “Thanks, but congratulations for what?” the contractor asks. “We’re celebrating the fact that you lived to be 160 years old!” Saint Peter says. “But I only lived to be 40,” the contractor says. “Impossible,” says Saint Peter. “We added up your timesheets!”

Got a good housing industry or construction-related joke or story to tell? Email it to us at


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