Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Housing Activity to Rebound in Second Half of 2009 and in 2010

OTTAWA, September 3, 2009 — Housing starts are expected to rebound in the second half of 2009 and will reach 141,900 for the year. Starts will increase to 150,300 for 2010, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) third quarter Housing Market Outlook, Canada Edition* report. The overall forecast totals for housing starts remain unchanged from the second quarter release.

"Economic uncertainty and lower levels of employment tempered new housing construction in the first half of this year", said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC. "In the second half of 2009 and in 2010, we expect housing markets across Canada to strengthen."

Improving activity on the resale market and lower inventory levels in both the new and existing home markets are expected to prompt builders to increase residential construction.

Existing home sales, as measured by the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®)1, have rebounded strongly since January and will reach 420,700 units in 2009 and remain close to that level at 419,400 units in 2010. The average MLS® price is expected to moderate to $301,400 in 2009 and to increase to $306,300 in 2010.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making vital decisions.

* The forecasts included in the Housing Market Outlook are based on information available as of July 23, 2009. Where applicable, forecast ranges are also presented in order to reflect economic uncertainty.

1 The term MLS® stands for Multiple Listing Service and is a registered trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Data are for 10 provinces.

Information on this release:

Charles Sauriol
CMHC Media Relations

LEARN MORE AT www.flywheelbuildingsolutions.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seeking Kelowna Build Community Input

The Building and Safety Policy Branch is seeking public input on three proposals for changes to Provincial building regulations:

High-Efficiency Toilets - Building Code requirement for high-efficiency toilets (including dual-flush units) and urinals in new construction. The requirement supports greening the BC Building Code and Living Water Smart, BC's water plan.

Solar Hot Water Ready - Local government option to require Solar Hot Water Ready construction for new single family houses, which supports the 100,000 Solar Roofs Initiative and the Province's commitment to reduce GHG emissions.

Letters of Assurance - Update to the Building Code's Letters of Assurance. The update responds to industry requests and supports the Modernization Strategy's shift toward more clearly defined
responsibilities and accountabilities.

It is important that we hear from you. You are invited to comment on these proposals through the public review until September 14, 2009. The public review is available online through the Building and Safety Policy Branch website at:


Please feel free to forward this information to your colleagues and other stakeholders.  We look forward to receiving your

Best regards,

Teegan Meuser

Policy Analyst
Building and Safety Policy Branch
Policy and Research Division
Ministry of Housing and Social Development

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Okanagan - Buying a New Home - Charges against title

Understanding the legal issues with purchasing a property or new home can be very challenging. The following article written by Una Gabie of Pushor Mitchell will explain Encumbrances or charges against title.

Buying a new home can be an extremely exciting process. It can also come with its own stresses. There are many things to keep in mind, in addition to the physical condition of the property, when you are purchasing a new home including encumbrances registered against title to the property. Encumbrances, in general terms, are charges registered against title which may restrict the use of the property in some way or, in some cases, provide additional benefits to the property owner. Encumbrances include statutory rights of way, easements, covenants, and statutory building schemes. Each of these charges has a different purpose. A statutory right of way generally provides certain bodies with the ability to make use of some portion of the property. For example, utility services for a home on a property are dealt with by statutory right of way. Easements can either benefit the property owner or permit a neighboring property to make some use of the property. For example, some properties are set up such that the driveway crosses another person’s property and, therefore, an easement can be registered to protect the benefiting property’s route of access. Restrictive covenants can limit a person’s right to make certain uses of their property while a statutory building scheme may dictate certain things with respect to buildings or improvements on the land. It is very important to carefully review these encumbrances prior to or at the time of the purchase so that you, as the purchaser and new home owner, is aware of the restrictions on your rights. Your legal advisor can assist you with understanding the impact of these charges.

If you are purchasing property that is part of a strata development, additional considerations arise. You should be alert to the status of the strata by reviewing the bylaws, receiving disclosure with respect to the contingency fund, and ensuring that all strata fees have been paid to date and that you are aware of your strata fee obligations. The strata bylaws can limit such things as the pet and rental allowances for your unit. Again, your legal advisor can assist you with this and make sure that you fully understand the restrictions with respect to the property you are purchasing.

Purchasing property on First Nations land raises its own unique considerations because such land is sold on a leasehold basis rather than freehold. This means that you, as the purchaser, are acquiring your rights to the lands and/or improvements pursuant to a lease. It is important to have your legal advisor review these considerations with you.

If you have any questions about purchasing your home, please feel free to contact Una Gabie at Pushor Mitchell LLP at (250)869-1230 or by email at gabie@pushormitchell.com.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New pump technology cuts noise and energy consumption by 75%...Valley Pools Kelowna

Here is some great news for pool owners form Gene Brown of Valley Pools


I don't know if "pool equipment noise" has been a concern for you on any of your projects. Some municipalities are getting so fed up with complaints of noisy pool pumps that they've mandated sound enclosures for all pool equipments. My partner Skip and I laugh at the ridiculousness of these efforts, when such an easy solution is available.

At least one of the leading pool equipment manufacturers has come out with a new "Variable Frequency Drive" pump design that has brought pump noise down to a whisper. By no great surprise, the electrical consumption has dropped dramatically as well. We've been using these new pumps for more than three years now, and getting outstanding results.

Admittedly, these new pumps aren't just "plug & play. The overall success of this new technology is dependent on three things. It requires:

An intelligent hydraulics design
Highly efficient, oversized plumbing
Proper programming for slightly longer running times at significantly lower amperages
If "noise abatement" and/or "energy efficiency" have been a concern for you on any of your projects, you may want to take a closer look at the attached article, where Skip describes the concepts and challenges in greater detail. Or give us a call. We're happy to help you with any pool-related design or construction challenges.
Till next time,

Gene Brown
President, Valley Pool And Spa

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flywheel - Building Codes - Hail to the Building Inspector

Love them or hate them, building inspectors are a necessity to ensuring the minimum life, safety and structural (and now green code) requirements are being met in residential construction. The main goal of a building official is to make sure the general public is protected. That is not the owner of the home or the builder but the general public over the life span of that building. Unfortunately some are either overwhelmed with work, controlled by superiors or tend to like the authority too much and may rub the home owner or builder the wrong way. Liability concerns may also trump what can or not be done in your area. This is especially true if you are trying to do something unique or beyond the basic requirements of codes.

I've found one good example of what you may be or have experienced with a building inspector. HAIL THE BUILDING INSPECTOR

Having issues with your local authority? Contact Flywheel Building Solutions

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Flywheel - Hot tubs and decks

For further information on building code related items, contact us at www.flywheelbuildingsolutions.com

If you have recently installed or are thinking of installing a hot tub on your raised patio or deck the following may be of interest to you. Decks that are above 24"(600mm) from finished grade (ground level) are required to have a guard.

In a recent ruling (BCAB#1651) from the Building Code Appeal Board has reversed a Building Officials decision to require additional guards for a hot tub install.

The hot tub had been installed in the exterior corner of the deck about 24" form the edges and guard of the deck. The height of the outer edge fo the hot tub is about 40" above the deck's floor surface. There are provisions for seating around the outer edge of the tub. When not in use, the tub is provided with a rigid cover.

The Building Official stated that do to it's proximity to the balcony guard and the height of the hot tub outer edge with respect to the height of the balcony guard, that a slip or fall that may occur in or on the tub, would render the existing balcony guard ineffective. The Building Official requested an additional guard height of 42" above the top surface of the hot tub. The specific code reference - Sentence requires every surface to which access is provided for other than maintenance purposes shall be protected by a guard on each side that is not protected by a wall for the length. The minimum guard height in this situation is 1070mm (42").

In it's decision the Board decided that in practical terms it made sense to prevent people from falling backwards over the existing railing system, the Building Official can not request the additional guard height as the hot tub edge was not considered a walking surface.

Contact Flywheel Building Solutions if you require clarification on a code reference. www.flywheelbuildingsolutions.com

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Flywheel - Building codes - ABC’s of Avoiding Claims

If you have built, are building or planning to build there are likely times when you have wondered why building departments do the things that they do. Local jurisdictions that elect to handle building permits, yes you could live in a home that never had building permits and inspections, face the challenge of protecting the pubic safety and health (and now reducing the carbon footprint) as well as protecting against future liability. After the leaky condo crisis many municipalities have written bylaws and improved internal policies to reduce risk (some have not), which have led to builders and owners getting frustrated on the amount of red tape to work through. In future newsletters we will discuss the importance of codes, bylaws and keeping proper records and taking more responsibility as the owner. But for now we will start with a list prepared by Frank Cowan Company Ltd (who specialize in risk management for municipalities), which outlines what a Building Inspector should do to avoid claims and it may shed some light on why they do the things they do or could do better.

Avoid acting as a consultant

Be aware of changes to construction, which may require revised plans.

Communicate to potential new buyers any outstanding orders or open permits.

During inspection, document deficiencies, issue orders when necessary and follow-up to ensure compliance.
Ensure drawings are sealed by an architect or professional engineer where appropriate.

Files and records should be kept in accordance with the Statue of Limitations.

Get to know your builders. Which ones will follow the building code and which ones will take short cuts.

Have procedures for consistent plan reviews.

Inspections completed today will need to stand the test of time. Remember the subsequent owner.

Judges rely on documentation to formulate a decision. What will your documents reveal about the inspection?

Keep you documentation consistent and objective. Checklists will allow you to do this. It is also an excellent tool to ensure a complete inspection.

Liability for negligent building inspection arises at the plan approval stage and the on-site inspection stage.

Municipalities that make a decision to conduct building inspections are at law, held to owe duty to the individual property owners, future property owners and the public at large to properly review plans, issue building permits and conduct inspections.

Never admit liability.

Owner acting as the Builder is a potential red flag.

Plans submitted should be detailed enough to carry out a proper review. Do not expect less.

Qualified persons are required to prepare plans for building permits.

Remember to follow up on deficiencies found during permits.

Safety of the present owner, future owner and potential visitors to a property must be considered, particularly associated with an occupancy.

The building code is your bible. Refer to it when in doubt.

Understand that by the time a claim is made, the municipality may be the only defendant left to sue. Other parties may have gone bankrupt, may not exist or may not have liability policies that will respond.

Verify that all required documentation has been received before issuing a permit.

What length of time do you allow inactive permits to remain open? Why do you allow them to remain open?

X’pect a red flag when the contractor is working outside of his usual expertise or is a new builder.

You have the power to order work to be uncovered when it is covered before you’ve inspected.

Zero in on the aspects of construction within the Building Code that are related to health, safety and structural stability.

Code Design Build

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