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Spring 2014 Volume 4 Issue 16


CANADIAN HOME BUILDERS’ ASSOCIATION – EDMONTON REGION (CHBA-ER) is the trade association of the new home building and home renovation industry in the Capital Region. Our role is to strengthen the industry and encourage the highest standards of product and business practices among our membership. Established in 1954, CHBA-ER is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 450 member companies. 150 Summerside Gate, SW Edmonton, Alberta T6X 0P5 Phone: 780-425-1020; Fax: 780-425-1031 Email: Sharon Copithorne | Chief Executive Officer Email:


Dennis Peck | Government Relations Manager Email: Dianne Burgess | Accounting Administrator Email: Kimberley Banford | Programs & Services Manager /Events Email: Lisa Chmilar | Membership Manager Email: Kendall Franklin | Conventions & Conference Manager Email: Meghan Rennick | Communications Manager Email: Lori Galand | Administrative Assistant Email:

Published by Source Media Group Corp. 207, 5809 Macleod Trail S.W., Calgary, AB T2H 0J9. Tel 403.532.3101, Toll free 1.888.932.3101 Fax 403.532.3109 email: web: Associate Publisher  | Jim Zang Art Director  | Jean Faye Rodriguez Graphic DesignerS  | Lama Azhari, Dave Macaulay, Megan Sereda Production Co-ordinator  | Colleen Leier Accounting  | Donna Roberts Advertising Sales  | Jennifer Mills Tel 780.486.4101 ext 230, Cell 780.905.3575 Copyright 2013 by Source Media Group Corp. Material cannot be reprinted in whole or in part without the expressed written permission of the publishers. Source Media Group 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. Industry Insider is published quarterly per annum and is distributed to every member of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association-Edmonton Region.



5 Infills and renovations

The single-family alternative to the suburbs

11 Innovation, dedication and commitment Edmonton builders shine at annual awards gala


19 Residential Construction Industry Conference

CHBA – ER celebrates another successful RCIC. Plans are already in the works for next year’s show.


committee reports

7 Government relations

Building blocks

9 Builder technical

Making things happen


10 Smoke detector program n

Smoke detectors save lives


15 Innovation

Fantastic fasteners

17 City corner

City of Edmonton

20 Housing market

Economic analysis report

22 Members 22 Calendar of events S p r i n g 2 0 14

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Infills and renovations The single-family alternative to the suburbs By Ann Sutherland


ith an estimated half million people moving to Edmonton over the next 30 years, housing issues will be front and centre. Homeowners have two options — move to the suburbs that are increasingly pushing to the outer edges of the city, or buy an older home in one of Edmonton’s 107 mature neighbourhoods. The challenge for the city is finding a balance between urban sprawl while keeping mature neighbourhoods vibrant and relevant. New subdivisions are hard to resist. There is the lure of brand new homes built with the latest designs, construction techniques, and technology. Mature neighbourhoods have their own allure: character, established amenities, and mature tree-lined streets. The drawback is that the homes are aging so it becomes a question for homeowners of either moving to a newer community, renovating, or tearing down the house and building a new one in its place. Renovating has several benefits. It improves the soundness and aesthetic of the house, but it also helps revitalize the community by adding to its character and history. Marie Soprovich, president of Aquarian Renovations, says it’s necessary to have a conversation with clients to find out their reasons for renovating. “A renovation is the equivalent to a custom build,” says Soprovich. “The

Rohit Communities’ Tawa Landing three-plex

scenarios and reasons for renovating are different. We work with the client to best redo the space to suit their needs. We can open up walls, put on additions to make the space more useable.” Changes in family dynamics is a major reason for renovating, from a growing family who needs more room, to adding a granny suite for aging parents. “People who have lived in the same house for years have an emotional attachment to their home and their roots in the community run deep,” says Soprovich. “They have an investment in their home and neighbourhood.” Baby boomers are a big demographic. “We’re starting to see more of that generation thinking ahead to their old age and being proactive and renovating so they can stay in their house and neighbourhood longer.”

The number one renovation request is the kitchen followed by the bathroom. Mudrooms are popular with families, and Soprovich is also seeing requests for bigger ensuites. “They will take out the third bedroom and turn it into an ensuite. A bathroom and walk-in closet are more important than a the third bedroom.” A renovation isn’t necessarily cheaper than buying a new home in the suburbs. A kitchen alone can cost $100,000 and up. A substantial renovation can cost $400,000 or more. Homeowners upgrade to granite countertops, hardwood flooring, and other high end products. And while they are at it, Soprovich encourages them to add more energy-efficient products such as new windows, furnace, hot water on demand, and better insulation. There are situations, though, when a


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Unlike building in a new subdivision, it takes more time, thought and effort to do an infill.” renovation is perhaps not worth the cost. In that case, the homeowner must decide to sell or start fresh with an infill. An infill is any form of new housing in an older neighbourhood and includes single-family homes, duplexes, and townhomes. The city launched the Evolving Infill initiative in November of 2013 as a way to support residential infill and provide a roadmap for infill development. “We can and need to do more work with builders and citizens to support infill in older neighbourhoods,” says Lisa Larson, acting senior planner for the city. “In the first step of the Evolving Infill project, we had two public forums, an online forum and reached out in many ways. We had a great response from over 700 Edmontonians. Lisa Larson People are passionate about their neighbourhoods and want a say in shaping their community.” The main concern citizens have about infill is that new homes won’t fit in with the neighbourhood’s character. The city has taken steps already to combat some of that. The Mature Neighbourhood Overlay controls how an infill can look so it 6    industry


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doesn’t dominate the streetscape and that it “maintains the traditional character and pedestrian-friendly design of the streetscape, [and] ensures privacy and sunlight penetration on adjacent properties.” The city has seen a steady increase in application for infills over the last five years. They had 366 applications in 2013, up from 142 in 2008. One of the City’s goals is for a minimum of 25 per cent of all new unit growth to be infill in mature neighbourhoods, downtown, and around the LRT. “Residential infill can provide more diverse housing options in terms of style and affordability,” says Larson. “Neighbourhoods have a life cycle and infill is important for rejuvenation and for supporting the population.” Randy Ettinger, president of Celebration Homes, is getting more requests for infills and views them as a trend that’s here to stay. As a housing alternative, it’s not necessarily cheaper. For $400,000 you can buy a nice house in the suburbs. That’s how much you could spend on a small bungalow in a mature neighbourhood. Then you have to tear it down and build the new house. “It used to be that if you had the money, you moved to the suburbs. That’s reversing. The trend now is to move into mature areas closer to the downtown core in which case homeowners are looking at infill.” There are also design challenges to

make sure the home fits with the feel of the neighbhourhood. There are logistic challenges as well such as the delivery of materials, working around overhead power lines, and working with existing infrastructure. “Unlike building in a new subdivision, it takes more time, thought and effort to do an infill,” says Ettinger. Infill isn’t restricted to single-family homes. As Larson states, infill provides different housing options. The city’s First Place Program, which transforms Russell Duak surplus school sites into housing, provides homes for first-time buyers by offering deferred payments. So far, six of 18 surplus sites are complete or under construction. Russell Dauk, vice-president at Rohit Group, says it’s a win-win for homeowners and neighbourhoods. Rohit is currently building a 40-unit townhouse on surplus school land near the Millwoods Town Centre. “Tawa Landing is entry-level housing that will add to the vibrancy of a mature community,” says Dauk who adds that public consultation was vital in making the development an accepted part of the community. “We held public meetings and collaborated with citizens,” Dauk says. “It’s an opportunity for them to be involved in the design and layout and to express any concerns. Dialogue is key.” As infill and renovations continue as long-term trends, one thing is clear: open and honest discussion between the city, builders and citizens is essential for cohesive and thriving neighbourhoods.  n

committee report: government relations

Building blocks Leadership dinners key to maintaining strong relationships By Jason Sutton, (Jayman MasterBUILT), Chair, Government Relations Committee


s every new home builder and home renovator knows, we work in an environment heavily influenced by municipal policies and practices. From the broad brush strokes of a high level planning document, to the nuances of a municipal staff’s interpretations of the Building Code, municipal government decisions and processes profoundly influence the delivery of housing to the marketplace. For home builder associations, the ability to constructively influence the development and implementation of municipal policy is a key aspect of our work. Achieving this in the Edmonton Region can be particularly challenging, however, since our regional framework is both dynamic and complex. How dynamic and complex? Consider this: • Alberta entered 2014 with an economy continuing to exhibit strong positive indicators. In 2013, the Edmonton area experienced a 14 per cent increase in total housing starts over 2012. This represented the best year since 2007. 2014 kicked off with housing starts at an even higher level than the previous year. • 2013’s municipal elections were hotly contested, as local politicians sought to become part of our region’s exciting future. All throughout the region new mayors and councilors are working

We must ensure that our members are seen as partners in the dialogue of public policy development and implementation.

hard to establish themselves and begin the process of moving their agendas forward. One major change is that the City of Edmonton has an almost completely new Council. All twenty-three municipalities in the Edmonton Region are growing and eleven are seeing significant levels of home building activity. Small communities are becoming big towns and cities. As a result, the region is seeing an ever wider range of housing demands. To be effective in this uniquely dynamic environment, the Association must follow three important steps. The first is to introduce ourselves to the region’s decision makers. The next is to focus on building established and meaningful relationships with those leaders and their staff. And finally, we must continue to ensure that our members are seen as partners in the dialogue of public policy development and implementation. Each year the Association hosts a series of Leadership Dinners for the key mayors and councils — generally focusing on municipalities experiencing the most home building activity or those standing out as leaders in the region. These dinners provide a personal and intimate opportu-

nity to discuss key issues and to speak candidly in an environment not constrained by the formal process of council meetings. They allow the Association to be proactive and focused in our approach. This year’s City of Edmonton Leadership Dinner was a particular success. On February 19th, Mayor Don Iveson and nine of the City of Edmonton’s twelve councillors met with CHBA – ER president Dan Brazinha and the Board of Directors. Over the course of the evening many pointed, challenging, and constructive conversations took place. The evening presented a perfect opportunity for CHBA – ER representatives to properly introduce the Association to the City’s new council members. The goal of the evening was three-fold. Build upon existing relationships with Council, create new relationships, and effectively lay out our industry’s topmost concerns. CHBA – ER Government Relations Manager Dennis Peck initiated the conversation with a brief, yet impactful presentation to the City. Included was an overview of the economic impact our


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committee report: government relations

industry has on the region, the valued relationship we have maintained with Council over the decades, and a number of key issues that need to be addressed. They included: Development Permit and Inspections Services CHBA – ER members deal directly with the City’s Current Planning Branch more than with any other municipal office. It is, therefore, in everyone’s interest to ensure the City has an effective permitting and inspection service. The presentation noted that over the past few months, a number of very constructive conversations have taken place between the CHBA – ER and Current Planning. Together we are working to improve the process. We are also very encouraged by the City’s action on the recent City Auditor’s Report on the Inspection Services Team and expressed a desire to work closely with the City to help improve these processes. Although encouraged by these positive steps forward, we recognize there is still much work that needs to be done. Zoning Amendments At the time of the Leadership Dinner, the City had nearly a dozen zoning initiatives underway or soon to begin. The presentation noted three key themes of particular interest to the industry: 1. Height and Grade: How grade is determined and what should be considered appropriate heights for different forms of housing are among the items being considered. Ground-Oriented Multi-Unit Project Developments: These projects represent a key market segment and the general feeling is that improvements are possible; 2. Medium and High Density Zones: These are being reviewed under more than one initiative. 8    industry


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3. Energy Transition Strategy: The Energy Transition Strategy represents a continuation of an initiative that the Association has long been part of. Home builders and home renovators have led the move to greater efficiency and have achieved successes that few other industries can match. It was noted that a new home built today will use about one-third as much energy as the identical home built in the 1970s. Industry-led initiatives such as BuiltGreen™ have helped to make these significant strides part and parcel of the practice of new home building.

The 2014 Leadership Dinner provided a unique and valuable opportunity for the CHBA – ER to develop a deeper relationship with the Mayor and Council. Infill Housing The Association recognizes the City’s desire to encourage and support greater infill development. However, it was made clear that we believe this objective can only be achieved by making infill easier; not by making green-field harder. The City has the data to show the significant additional time required (and thereby cost) to get the permits required to do an infill project. Many members have mentioned that they are ‘watching’ the City’s infill related initiatives and are interested in infill opportunities, but are waiting to see the outcome of the planning initiatives before committing to a business decision.

The Association values its engagement with Council and Administration, and hopes to continue to be engaged in the process of building the City of Edmonton. While there have been many frustrations with the City’s processes and timelines, some significant improvements have been made. These include: • City staff are regular participants on the CHBA – ER’s Builder Technical and Renovation committees; • Meetings between CHBA – ER and Current Planning are taking place twice a year; • Cooperation is taking place on test pilot projects such as expedited permits and expedited foundation inspections; and • CHBA – ER is increasingly being engaged earlier in the process of policy review. Despite our positive steps forward, the Association still spends a lot of time simply reacting to government policy development. The City needs to appreciate that the present rapid pace of bringing on new initiatives is straining our ability to fully participate. Good public policy needs to engage the industry at the earliest possible stage. Overall, the City of Edmonton 2014 Leadership Dinner provided a unique and valuable opportunity for the CHBA – ER to develop a deeper relationship with the Mayor and Council — a relationship that is essential to the new home building and home renovation industry. As we move into 2014, additional Leadership Dinners are planned. This is all part of a concerted effort to ensure we continue to represent the interests of our members and effectively influence the development of the public policy that you must deal with each and every day.  n

committee report: builder technical

Making things happen BTC has full agenda for 2014 By Derrick Hiltz (Sterling Homes), Chair, Builder Technical Committee


he Builder Technical Committee (BTC) agenda is always full. Monthly meetings provide great insight into the day-to-day issues facing the home building industry. With a mandate to review the technical practice of building new homes in the Edmonton Region, the BTC is an important conduit of ideas, concerns, and suggestions back to municipal development officers and building inspectors. The Committee works with CHBA – Alberta and CHBA National to affect code changes and thereby influence an even wider audience. Ultimately, the BTC is here to help members be successful in their business. In meeting this role, the Committee is an important and central player in influencing the code and regulatory environment facing new home builders in the Edmonton Region. Chaired by Derrick Hiltz (Sterling Homes), co-chaired by Len Walters (Coventry Homes), and supported by a team of 18 building experts, the BTC is always engaged in dealing with a wide range of issues. In the first two months of 2014 we have discussed:

• Inspection Services’ harmonized heating and insulation/vapour barrier inspections; • setbacks on corner lots in RF4 zones; • seasonal road bans; • expedited permits and foundation inspections; • interpretation of code requirements for water service connections; • numerous zoning amendments (e.g., setbacks on corner lots in RF4 zones, height and grade provisions, ground-oriented multi-unit project developments); • evolving infill; • Energy Transition Strategy; and • Auditor’s report on Inspection Services. Recognizing that many issues overlap with the mandates of other committees,

a Multi-Family Sub-Committee was made up of members from the Builder Technical and Government Relations committees. Since formed, this has been one of the busiest of the Association’s technical committees. The BTC initiated and is now being joined by other committees in participating in regular meetings with the City of Edmonton’s Current Planning Team. These meetings cover a wide range of topics and are really starting to yield positive results. Representatives from the City of Edmonton’s Current Planning team are now regular members of the BTC. By having the correct people around the table, we hope to address certain issues right at the committee table.  n

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Industry insider


committee report: smoke detector program

Smoke detectors save lives CHBA – ER and Edmonton Fire Rescue team up for a great cause


tudies suggest that 56 per cent of fire fatalities can be attributed to a faulty smoke detector or the absence of a smoke detector in the home. In 76 per cent of fatal fires, dead or incorrectly installed batteries caused smoke detector failures. Smoke detectors save lives. If a home fire occurs, a properly installed, fully functioning smoke detector could make all the difference between whether or not a family gets out safely. CHBA – ER recognizes this, which is why in 2006 we approached Edmonton Fire Rescue with a plan to start a community smoke alarm program similar to programs sponsored in other major Canadian cities. An agreement was reached to jointly participate in a 3 year pilot project. After numerous meetings between Fire Rescue Services, the Union, and sponsors of the program, Edmonton’s Smoke Detector Program was born. The program officially launched in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week in 2007. That year, just over 1,200 homes were visited and 775 smoke alarms were installed. The Smoke Detector Program targets specific residential communities around the city, providing and installing smoke detectors free of charge to homeowners where needed. Fire Rescue teams go door-to-door speaking with homeowners and teaching them how to identify fire and injury hazards around the home. Homeowners are encouraged to conduct personal home safety checks and to follow up by correcting or eliminating the hazards identified. In 2008, the areas of Jasper Place 10    i n d u s t r y


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(Station 4), Norwood (Station 5), Mill Creek (Station 6) and Highlands (Station 7) were targeted. Homes in those areas were built pre 1974, (before smoke alarms became part of the building code requirement). Approximately 1,200 homes were visited, with 500 alarms installed or new batteries put in. Despite strong support for the program, it was temporarily halted between 2009 and 2010. In 2011, the groups reunited to revive the project. This time, it was held over the span of three weekends in October. Crews continued to visit homes in the Jasper Place, Norwood, Mill Creek and Highlands areas, as this is where the majority of pre 1974 homes are located and 15 of the top 20 fire locations are in these areas. A total of 753 smoke alarms and 314 9V batteries were installed over the course of the 6 day program. For 2012, the program was divided into two sessions — one in the spring and one in the fall. Each Platoon at stations 4, 5, 6 and 7 went out either on a Saturday or Sunday through the months of June and September. All together, over 400 smoke alarms and 63 batteries were installed. Four totally different areas were selected in 2013 — Maple Ridge (Station 9), Castleview Village (Station 17), Evergreen Community (Station 18) and Westview Village (Station 23). This was the first time the program had reached out to manufactured home parks. Conventional smoke detectors were replaced with a new product called the Kidde Intelligent Talking Alarm — a battery operated combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Approximately 500 units were installed.

The Smoke Detector Program will be back in 2014. We are planning two runs again this year — one in spring and one in the fall. If you are interested in sponsoring this great cause, contact Lisa Chmilar, Membership Manager, at or (780) 395-2980.  n Check your smoke detector! You should have at least one functioning smoke detector on every level of your home. Battery or electric smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years, as the sensing devices do wear out. Check your smoke detector each month by pressing the test button; this will ensure the power supply to the device is adequate. And remember, “Change your clock. Change your battery.” It is recommended that when you change the time on your clocks every spring and fall, you also change the battery on your smoke detector. Check the sensing chamber of the smoke detector by creating a small amount of smoke and allowing it to drift into the unit. If the smoke detector alarms within 20 seconds, the sensing chamber is working properly.


Innovation, dedication and commitment Edmonton builders shine at annual awards gala


n Saturday, March 15, 2014, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Edmonton Region hosted its 34th annual Awards of Excellence in Housing Awards Gala, formerly known as the Sam Awards, to a sold out crowd of over

1,600 people. The Awards of Excellence in Housing pay tribute to the best in sales and marketing ideas, outstanding products, superior home building, and exceptional neighbourhoods. Simply put, they’re the best of the best.

Brookfield Residential was one of the big winners on the night, taking home seven awards in total, including Best Community and the very important New Homebuyers Choice Award from the Professional Home Builder Institute. Other multiple award winners included Large Volume Builder of the Year winner, Homes by Avi, Kimberley Homes, Carrington Communities, and Perry Signature Homes. Congratulations to all of this year’s Awards of Excellence in Housing winners. 


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Small Volume Builder of the Year: Kimberley Homes

Small Volume Builder of the Year: Kimberley Homes

Large Volume Builder of the Year: Homes by Avi

Multi-Family Builder of the Year: Carrington Communities

DEVELOPMENT Best Community Entrance, Logo & Signage Alldritt Land Corporation – Granville

Best Community Landscaping & Amenities Canada Lands Company – Village At Griesbach

Best Show Home Parade

Large Volume Builder of the Year: Homes by Avi

Beaverbrook – Greenbury

Brookfield Residential — Lake Summerside

Best Community Brookfield Residential – Lake Summerside

BUILDERS CHOICE Supplies or Manufactures a Tangible Product Directly to the Builder/Renovator All Weather Windows

Supplies and Installs a Tangible Product directly to the Builder/Renovator Gem Cabinets

Supplies a Service Directly to the Builder/Renovator Progressive Home Warranty Solutions Inc.

LEADERSHIP Best Leader Rohit Communities

APARTMENT STYLE Best Multi-Family under $250,000 StreetSide Developments – Canterbury

Best Multi-Family Apartment Style $250,000 to $350,000 StreetSide Developments – Durham

Best Multi-Family Apartment Style over $350,000 Carrington Communities – Lammond

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Marcson Homes Ltd. — The Oliver

Sterling Homes (Edmonton) Ltd. — Design Q


Multi-Family Builder of the Year: Carrington Communities

TOWNHOUSE/DUPLEX STYLE Best Multi-Family under $275,000 Homes by Avi – Marshall

Best Multi-Family $275,000 to $300,000 Bedrock Homes – Birk

Best Multi-Family $300,000 to $330,000 Marcson Homes Ltd. – The Oliver

Best Multi-Family $330,000 to $425,000 Kimberley Homes – Essence

Best Multi-Family over $425,000 Dolce Vita Homes – Capri

TOWNHOUSE/DUPLEX DEVELOPMENT Best Townhouse/Duplex Project Landmark Group of Builders – Magrath Green

RENOVATION Best Exterior Renovation Ackard Contractors Ltd. – Saskatchewan Drive Residence

Best Interior Renovation A Cut Above Living – Scoggins

Best Renovation under $200,000 Ackard Contractors Ltd. – Lessard Drive Residence

SALES CENTRE Best Sales & Information Centre — Single-Family Landmark Group of Builders — Magrath Green

Jayman MasterBUILT – Orchards

Best Sales & Information Centre — Multi-Family Carrington Communities – Ellerslie Wernerville (E’scapes Conominiums)

Best Design Centre / Show Room Sterling Homes (Edmonton) Ltd. – Design Q

SINGLE-FAMILY WITHOUT ATTACHED GARAGE Best Single-Family under $250,000 UrbanAge Homes Inc. – Design 18

Best Single-Family $250,000 to $300,000 Pacesetter Homes – Lexi B

Best Single-Family over $300,000 Perry Signature Homes – Newport

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Rick Zomer from Ply Gem, Event sponsor

BUNGALOW/BI-LEVEL Best Single-Family under $350,000 Daytona Homes – Versa IV

Best Single-Family $350,000 to $450,000 Coventry Homes Inc. – Aurora Paradise

Best Single-Family over $450,000 Perry Signature Homes Inc. – Greyhawk

TWO STOREY/SPLIT-LEVEL WITH GARAGE Best Single-Family under $275,000 Homes by Avi – Yorkdale

White Eagle Homes Ltd. — The Blue Diamond #1

Best Single-Family $275,00 to $300,000 Tristate Signature Homes – Malbec

Best Single-Family $300,000 to $325,000 Homes by Avi – Wellesley

Best Single-Family $325,000 to $350,000 Crimson Cove Homes Inc. – O’Regan Residence

Best Single-Family $350,000 to $375,000 Coventry Homes Inc. – Omega

Best Single-Family $375,000 to $425,000 Marcson Homes Ltd. – The Kimberley Rimrock Elevations — ­­ The Opulence

Best Single-Family $425,000 to $500,000 UrbanAge Homes Inc. – The Copperwood

Best Single-Family $500,000 to $600,000 Kimberley Homes – New Hampshire IV

Best Single-Family $600,000 to $750,000 White Eagle Homes Ltd. – The Blue Diamond #1

Best Single-Family $750,000 to 1 Million Perry Signature Homes Inc. – Chelsea

Best Estate Home over $1 Million Rimrock Elevations – The Opulence  n

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industry news: innovation

Fantastic fasteners Use of helical steel screw piles is increasing By Andrew J. Banack, P.Eng., Apollo Piling Solutions Inc.


he use of helical steel (screw) piles for residential construction is increasing dramatically. Although screw piles have been in use in the oilfield and industrial construction industries for over four decades in Alberta, it is only within the last ten years that they have started to be used more commonly in residential and commercial construction. Home builders are beginning to realize the financial benefits of screw pile installation on their projects. Benefits of screw piles include: • Verifiable pile capacity – the use of torque measurements during installation allow the bearing capacity of each individual screw pile to be verified. • Frost jacking – the design makes it virtually impossible for a screw pile to frost jack. • Fast installation – screw piles can generally be installed for a project in about the same time as drilling for concrete piles. • No curing time – screw piles are ready for use as soon as they are installed. • No mess – screw piles do not produce tailings from installation and do not require concrete placement. • Cost effectiveness – when all costs are considered, screw piles are competitively priced compared to concrete piles. As with most newly introduced technology or products, there is a general lack of information about screw piles, their applications, and their limitations.

Screw piles are NOT the same as concrete piles; their design is based on different principles, their installation must be completed correctly, and the pile capacity verification must be done properly to ensure the integrity of the project. The number of screw pile installers has skyrocketed as enterprising individuals take advantage of the growing market. Home builders must take care to ensure they are getting proper design and installation on their projects rather than only considering the price. Approving agencies and building inspectors are also adapting to the introduction of screw piles in residential construction. Although there are minor variances in the requirements of individual jurisdictions, most are using the following protocol for use of screw piles:

n Site specific engineering is required. This includes: • A foundation plan showing the size, location, and design loading of all piles. • Foundation plans must be stamped by a professional engineer licensed to practice in Alberta. n Pile installation report. This includes: • Size, installation depth, installation torque and calculated pile capacity for each pile. • The pile installation report must be stamped by a professional engineer licensed to practice in Alberta.

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committee report: innovation necessary to ensure the proper use and installation of screw piles. Additional areas to be considered when selecting a screw pile contractor include: • Calculation of design loads for piles. Most residential projects do not require site specific engineering or the use of Schedules A and B (professional oversight and responsibility). Generic pile selection (ie. 12” x 12” deep concrete piles) is common but may result in inadequate pile capacity. Screw pile capacity varies greatly. Size and design loads should be calculated for each individual screw pile. • Is soil information available? All piles are a transfer mechanism from a structure to the underlying soil. The soil strength is critical in determining the size of the pile required to transfer the load. If soil information is not available, the pile designer will make assumptions regarding the bearing capacity of the soil. These assumptions MUST be confirmed by monitoring installation torque.

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Screw pile capacity varies greatly. Size and design loads should be calculated for each individual screw pile. • How is installation torque measured? Screw piles must be installed using a drive head (rather than a drilling head). A drive head provides greater torque and a lower drive speed than a drill head. Torque can be monitored using several methods, but the most common is to use installation pressure to calculate the installation torque. Professional installers will have calibrated drive heads equipped with electronic recording devices to verify installation pressures and torque, rather than relying on visual recordings of pressure gauges by the operator. • Certification of materials. Screw piles are classified as steel structures and must be manufactured to an engineered design in a CWB certified facility. Verification of

materials incorporated into the screw piles as well as stamped shop drawings for the screw piles should be available from the installer. • Connection design. The connection from the screw pile to the structure must be properly designed and constructed. In most cases the connection should adhere to a stamped shop drawing available from the installer. In conclusion, screw piles can be an excellent alternative to concrete pilings and other foundations in residential construction. Ensuring that you understand the design and construction aspects of screw pile foundations and selection of a competent professional contractor is critical to the success of your project.  n

industry news: city corner

City of Edmonton Committed to strong collaboration with the new home construction and home renovation industry


he City Corner has been established to provide regular updates on new procedures and offerings for the industry that will help ensure further consistency and predictability within the permit process. As we enter spring, Current Planning is pleased to announce, in cooperation with Drainage Services, Fire Rescue Services, Transportation Planning, and Waste Management Services, the launch of Pre-Application Meetings for Major Development Permits. Major Development Permits are required for commercial, industrial, or multi-dwelling

buildings, including new construction and renovations or changes of use that result in a substantial alteration to the site. The purpose of this meeting is to provide industry partners and the City with an opportunity to identity issues, share information, and outline supplementary information required to support the Development Permit application. Industry partners are encouraged to take advantage of this private meeting to proactively talk with a multi-disciplinary team of City staff about a proposed development. Addressing these items upfront with the Development Permit application is intended to reduce

review and processing times, thus providing savings to both the industry and the City. Industry partners can further enhance the quality of their Development Permit applications by referencing the Pre-Application Meeting webpage, which contains a list of all guidelines and regulations that inform Major Development Permit applications.  n



More details on the Pre-Application Meeting process, including the request form, meeting schedule and resources, are available at

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Industry insider


event update: rcic

Residential Construction Industry Conference CHBA – ER celebrates another successful RCIC. Plans are already in the works for next year’s show.


HBA – ER’s fourth annual Residential Construction Industry Conference, RCIC 2014, was held Wednesday, April 2nd and Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. With more than 1,000 delegates and exhibitors on site over two days, this year’s conference was the biggest yet. With 54 well attended sessions on everything from window installation and exterior insulation to service leadership and staff retention, this year’s speaker line-up was very well received. Where else can you hear Carol Smith explain the things everyone expects you to know but no one teaches or walk you through the process from warranty to referrals? On the technical side, delegates heard from leading experts like Murray Frank, Darrel Paul, and Ed Kalis. A full day Sales Rally featuring renowned sales expert, Jeff Shore, attracted hundreds of RCIC delegates. His keynote speech, Bold Leadership, was the perfect kick off to an exciting two day event. What’s particularly great about RCIC is that it allows local members of the industry to access top quality professional development right here at home. In fact, this year’s show saw a notable rise in out-of-town delegates and exhibitors. The word is spreading. RCIC is the place to come to learn new strategies, enhance your networks, and keep up with what’s going on in the residential construction industry.  n

Thank You


It’s time to start planning! RCIC 2015 - February 24th & 25th, Edmonton Expo Centre Delegate and exhibitor feedback is invaluable in the planning of future events. If you would like to share your comments, please contact: Kendall Franklin, Conventions & Conference Manager, / 780.702.0326.

Volunteer for RCIC 2015! Contact: Lisa Chmilar, Membership Manager, / 780.395.2980

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Industry insider


industry news: housing market

Economic analysis report Edmonton market update By Richard Goatcher, Economic Analyst, CHBA – Alberta

Housing Starts Following an upturn in December and January, total housing starts in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) decreased in February by 25 per cent from a year prior to 787 units. So far this year, total housing starts in Greater Edmonton have declined by almost seven per cent from the first two months of 2013 to 1,563 units. Single-detached: Single-detached starts in the Edmonton region increased in February by 25 per cent year-over-year to 492 units. Single-family home builders began construction on 880 units in January and February this year, representing an increase of 26 per cent over the same time in 2013. Multi-family (semi, row & apartment): Multiple unit starts in Metro Edmonton decreased in February by 55 per cent year-over-year to 295 units. Multi-family starts to the end of February have dropped 30 per cent from this time last year to 683 units. NEW HOUSE PRICES For the second consecutive month, the Statistics Canada’s New House Price Index (NHPI) for Edmonton decreased on a year-over-year basis in January by 0.2 per cent. This index of contractor selling prices was up on average by 0.4 per cent

So far this year, total housing starts in Greater Edmonton have declined by almost seven percent from the first two months of 2013… 20    i n d u s t r y


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Current Month: February

Edmonton CMA


Single-family starts


Multi-family starts


Total housing starts



industry news: housing market

in all of 2013. In contrast, CMHC’s average absorbed new house price for Edmonton increased by 10.5 per cent year-overyear in January to $562,354. A larger proportion of units sold in January for over $550,000 compared with a year prior. The average absorbed price in 2013 was up three per cent from all of 2012 to $529,824.  n

For the second consecutive month, the Statistics Canada’s NHPI for Edmonton decreased on a year-over-year basis…

YTD: February 2013

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Industry insider



calendar of events April

Welcome new members

22 Board of Directors Meeting - 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 a.m. 23 AOE Criteria Committee Meeting - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 24 Builder Technical Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 28 Professional Development Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 29 NextGen Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.

May 1 Leduc Leadership Dinner - 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. 7 Business Luncheon - Human Resources - 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.


RimRock Elevations Inc. Crystal Creek Homes Mint Floor Coverings Averton Homes (Alberta) Inc. Intelligence House Ltd. McLeod Windows UrbanAge Homes Inc. Iconic Estate Homes Inc. Green Creations & Developments Inc.

Sawmill Banquet & Catering, 3840 76th Avenue NW, Edmonton

8 Industry Advisory Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 13 Economic Forum - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 14 Health and Safety Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 15 Renovation Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. CHBA – ER Dinner Meeting - 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Location TBD 20 Board of Directors Meeting - 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. 21 Government Relations Committee Meeting - 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Membership Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 22 Builder Technical Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 26 Professional Development Committee Meeting- 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 27 NextGen Committee Meeting- 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 28 Builder Breakfast - 7 a.m. - 9 a.m.


Edmonton Petroleum Club, 11110 108 Street

The Remodelers



6 CHBA – ER Charity Golf Tournament - All Day The Ranch Golf & Country Club, 52516 RR 262, Acheson

10 Membership Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 11 Economic Luncheon - Mid Year update - 11 a.m.

Ames Tile & Stone Ltd. Hoxton Homes The Home Program Qualico Communities

January Customer Insight Inc. First Service Residential Parabola Developments Postech Edmonton Inc. Provincial Safety Consulting Services Travelers Insurance Company of Canada

February Sidhu Homes Delton Cabinets Klair Custom Homes (Edmonton) Ltd.

Sawmill Banquet & Catering, 3840 76th Avenue NW, Edmonton

Health and Safety Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 12 Industry Advisory Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 16 Board of Directors Meeting - 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. 18 Government Relations Committee Meeting - 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Membership Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 19 Renovation Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 20 Year End BBQ - 2 p.m. Location TBD 24 NextGen Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 26 Builder Technical Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 30 Professional Development Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.

July 8 Economic Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 10 Industry Advisory Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 16 Government Relations Committee Meeting - 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. 17 Renovation Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 21 Board of Directors Meeting - 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. 24 Builder Technical Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.


March Karjohn Contracting Ltd. Enviromatics Group Ltd. Innovative Communication Integration Alberta Sound Exteriors Ltd.

14 Industry Advisory Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 18 Board of Directors Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 20 Government Relations Committee Meeting - 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. 23-24 Slo-Pitch Tournament - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 21 Renovation Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. 28 Builder Technical Committee Meeting - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. All committee meetings will take place in the CHBA – ER Board Room, unless otherwise specified. Committee meeting dates and times are subject to change.

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Industry Insider Spring 2014