How long has it been? The answer: 57 months or nearly five years. June 2008 was the last time U.S. monthly housing starts, seasonally adjusted and at an annual rate (SAAR), were higher than one million units.
March 2013 new home starts in the U.S. were 1.036 million units SAAR, according to a joint press release from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In June 2008, they were 1.046 million units. Between then and now, they dropped as low as 478,000 units (less than half a million) in April 2009. They last “peaked” at 2.273 million units in January 2006…
The single-family segment of homebuilding accounted for 60% of all residential groundbreakings in the latest month, leaving the remaining 40% to multi-unit construction. The share more typically taken by single-family starts is 70% to 80%, with 20% to 30% being of the multi-unit variety.
Regionally, the strength to-date in 2013 has been mainly in the West, where average monthly starts are +63.6% versus the first quarter of last year, an increase of nearly two-thirds. The comparable figure for the South is +31.8% (almost one-third higher) while in the Northeast it is +26.9% and in the Midwest, +18.7%.
The monthly pattern in the South and West through the first three months of this year has been a steady progression of steps upward. In the Northeast and West, monthly starts have been more level.
Returning to the national scene, how significant is a “starts” figure of one million units?
It’s a huge psychological breakthrough. Far below that level, homebuilders are drowning. Slightly under a million, they’re still floundering. Above the one-million-unit threshold, residential contractors are breathing fresh air again.
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Responding to membership, BC Wood has secured a coordinated space at the Gas and Oil Expo to be held June 11-13, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta. BC Wood staff, along with some members, have walked the show in the past and feel it presents a good opportunity for exposure into the fast growing oil sands regions of Alberta, the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana.
About the Gas and Oil Expo
‘We’re a leading biennial event for the North American gas and oil industry. Held in the energy capital of Canada – Calgary, Alberta – the event offers opportunities for brand exposure, business development, education, and networking. Indoor and outdoor exhibits showcase emerging technologies, a diverse range of products and services, and leading expertise. The largest Canadian energy event of 2013, Gas & Oil Expo hosts over 500 exhibiting companies and attracts 20,000 registered attendees.’
BC Wood feels there is an excellent opportunity for companies that manufacture pre-fabricated homes, industrial products such as, rig matting & components, as well as finished products such as, cabinets, flooring, and millwork.
Growth in the oil and gas sector is creating significant opportunities in select regional markets in the western United States. For example, the State of North Dakota is in dire need of additional housing units due to an influx of refinery workers. The state’s population is expected to grow by 25% over the next 15 years. The ten energy development counties where the oil sands are located, are projected to grow by at least 50%. The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency projects household growth at 30% or 80,000 new housing units by 2025.
Given that the show is fast approaching, please contact BC Wood as soon as possible to hold a position at the show as space is limited. Online registration will be available soon.
Date & Location:
June 11-13, 2013
Please contact Scott Thompson at BC Wood for more information and to register: Office: 604-882-7100; Cell: 604-880-0060; E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, a deposit is required to register for the show.
Central Valley Cabinet Doors, based in Abbotsford, BC, manufactures custom wood cabinet doors, distributes a line of Thermofoil doors, and re-faces existing cabinets. They have been supplying custom cabinet shops in the Fraser Valley with locally produced cabinet doors since 1994.
In 2008, they expanded by selling to the end user who wanted to replace their existing doors with new ones. Over the next few years, they began to sell and promote several products that helped streamline the re-facing process. Re-facing is a process of giving your kitchen a face-lift without having to rebuild the entire kitchen. The current layout stays the same; however, the cabinets get re-skinned, new doors are put on, new hinges and hardware are added, etc. to change the appearance of the original cabinets. The process is quite cost-effective and a popular choice amongst homeowners on a budget with a limited timeframe. Central Valley Cabinet Doors offers a few different solutions for re-facing such as Shaker White Thermofoil door. Watch this quick video on their re-facing solutions.
If you can not see the above video link, go to: http://www.centralvalleycabinetdoors.com/refacing-video.php
Central Valley Cabinet Doors has the ability to custom create what the customer specifies. They prefer to use locally sourced wood; however, they can import rare species and have a wide variety of material available according to the customer’s specifications.
For more information on Central Valley Cabinet Doors, visit www.centralvalleycabinetdoors.com
We have another fiscal year behind us as April 1st marks the beginning of a new year for both BC Wood and the Specifiers Program.
Although we had a late start in 2012, the Program picked up considerable momentum beginning in October and continued quite a hectic pace through to March 31st, the end of our fiscal year. Although the major audience was the architect community, the program also experienced an expansion into the construction community with us joining and become active with the major construction associations in BC. As we look back, here are some of the highlights for the 2012 – 2013 year:
All in all, this was a quite busy and successful year for the Specifiers Program. My next Wood Connections article will cover our planned activities for the coming year. In the meantime, should you want to participate in the program for the upcoming year, or simply want more information, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or you can reach me by calling the BC Wood office.read more
We are pleased to announce that we have moved into a larger shop in a better location.
We are now about 20km east of Kamloops, near the Lafarge concrete plant. The shop is big enough so that we can now fabricate two projects at the same time.
Our new address:
2947 Shuswap Rd
Kamloops, BC V2H1S9
For the past three years, BC Wood has had a special partnership with the WRCEA for the Japanese market. This relationship has allowed us to deliver higher impact promotions through seminars and trade shows in order to introduce Western Red Cedar to a new generation of architects and designers. These efforts are targeted at the growing use of wood in exterior applications as new certifications and installation methods help WRC meet Japan’s tough fire-code regulations.
The WRCEA has developed an extensive library of resources and presentation materials which by working together with in-market distributors, we were able to localize into a comprehensive seminar program for Japanese architects. We first delivered the program on behalf of the WRCEA in 2012 in Tokyo and Nagoya and the feedback from both the WRC distributors and attendees was overwhelmingly positive. For this reason, we expanded the program for this year and delivered it in Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. Once again we had great turnouts in each city and were able to inspire participants through our lecturers’ great presentations on WRC projects both in Japan and around the world.
It was interesting to see local wood distributors who in the past had handled WRC take part. Speaking with these companies after the seminars, it was clear that they also have seen a renewed interest in WRC and are looking at putting effort into promoting the species again. Before the American housing bubble pushed up cedar prices, WRC was considered a standard species for decking. However, as Japan’s own wood first policies are creating more demand for wood products, many in the wood industry realize the potential to use WRC on the exterior of not only homes, but also commercial buildings, whether they are built in wood or concrete. I believe the positive reaction of the architects at the seminars helped further demonstrate this latent potential and will hopefully lead many of these distributors back into our WRC network.
These seminars also offered us a great venue to promote the Global Buyers Mission (GBM) to architects interested in wood first inspired designs. We look forward to inviting some of them to our 10th annual event in Whistler this September!read more
The past 7 years, working with clients in the trade show industry have allowed me to work with many different companies, industries, marketing teams and personalities. I’ve had the benefit of seeing some really great success and trade show strategy. And, I’ve also seen companies who have stumbled, because of mistakes that have been made in several different areas of the trade show strategy.
So, I’d like to share with you the 25 most common trade show exhibiting mistakes. You’ll see that they can all be filed into several different categories, like pre-show, at-show, post-show, logistics, strategy, exhibits, etc.
CLT has gained traction since 2000 in the emerging green building movement. Engineered wood products offer a strong combination of environmental performance and sustainability, design flexibility, cost-competitiveness and structural integrity.
This video provides thoughts and commentary from technical experts, manufacturers, architects and leaders in the building community regarding their experience with CLT.
If you can not see the video link above, please go to: http://youtu.be/rLqiwBL28v4read more
Tolko Industries Ltd. received the top honour in the Natural Resources category at the 30th annual BC Exports Awards. The Natural Resources Award recognizes the company that has engaged in marketing, processing and primary production of natural resources.
The BC Export Awards were given out at a ceremony held in Vancouver in November, 2012. A total of 27 companies were finalists in nine sector award categories plus two individual awards: the Leadership Award and the International Business Studies Award. The BC Export Awards recognizes the innovative approaches and unique contributions of export companies in British Columbia across all sectors and in all regions.
“Tolko is committed to our international customers by providing quality products backed by excellence in customer service,” said Tolko’s vice president, Sales, Marketing & Logistics, Hardy Wentzel. “Our Export group appreciates the nod of recognition and will continue to build on the service expectations set by our customers and partners abroad.”
Responding to Tolko’s growth in the export market, John Langley, Tolko’s general manager, Export said, “We saw an opportunity in the overseas markets and we acted on it. Six years ago, just eight percent of Tolko’s structural wood products from our operations across Western Canada were heading overseas. In 2011, approximately 40 percent of these products went abroad and we continue to explore more opportunities.”
Tolko Industries Ltd. is a private, Canadian-owned forest products company based in Vernon, British Columbia with approximately 2,900 employees. Tolko is a major producer and marketer of lumber, veneer, plywood, oriented strand board, and kraft papers, with manufacturing operations across Western Canada. The Company’s Woodlands operations have received third-party certification of their sustainable forest management systems.read more
BC Wood just recently received confirmation that the funding for our 2013-2014 trade show activities has been approved. We began this year’s proposal writing with some concerns over just how much our members would want to take on in the coming year. Our early December sector meetings with member companies provided some good input on how much companies wanted to do this year and where they wanted BC Wood to focus its’ efforts.
BC Wood took this input and put together a comprehensive package of market development activities. Upcoming activities will focus on expanding market share in the United States while maintaining the hard won presence we have gained in Asian markets and Eastern Europe. Recognizing the possibility of a new and emerging market opportunity in India, BC Wood has scheduled a mission and participation in a trade show in Bangalore in February 2014. The Global Buyers Mission, our 10th, will be a highlight, with over 200 buyers coming to Whistler in early September.
I would like to recognize and thank the staff of BC Wood for the extra effort they put towards writing these funding proposals. The result was that BC Wood has another strong program of approved trade event activities for 2013-2014. For those of you wanting to see the updated list of trade show activities, please visit the BC Wood website at www.bcwood.com and select Trade Events from the Programs & Services tab. Any comments or questions regarding these planned activities can be directed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our office at 604-882-7100.read more
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest…
June 2013 is expected to be be a busy time for BC Wood with two major trade events that are important to the residential and light commercial construction sectors in the United States. PCBC and AIA National both take place that month and BC Wood, along with member companies will be exhibiting at both key events.
PCBC, a longstanding trade event for the construction sector on the West Coast of the US, takes place in the first week of June. This event draws builders, developers, distributors, and architects from across California and the Western United States. PCBC has traditionally been held in San Francisco, but for the first time in its 50+ year history, has moved to the sunnier climes of Southern California and the city of San Diego.
Show organizers made the difficult decision to move the event for a number of reasons; the primary being the decline in attendance in the San Francisco event since the downturn of 2008. Having the IBS builders event in Las Vegas for the next few years also factored into the equation.
Either way, moving the event to the San Diego market makes good sense. San Diego is one of the stronger markets in California with increasing construction starts in the residential and multi-family sectors. So far, interest and uptake in the event is very good, with the show selling out its original space and having to add floor space to accommodate new exhibitors. BC Wood already has 5 member companies exhibiting and has a small amount of space left. If this is of interest to your company, let us know as soon as possible.
*images from PCBC
AIA National is the American Institute of Architects annual conference and trade event that moves around the country each year. This event annually attracts 25,000 to 30,000 architects, engineers, and builders from both the residential and light commercial construction sectors. The 2013 AIA takes place the 3rd week of June in Denver, Colorado and is expected to be a well attended event. As with PCBC, BC Wood and member companies will have a significant presence at AIA and if you want to reach a target audience of US architects and builders, then this event is a cost effective way of doing so.
Both trade events are important for manufacturers to connect directly with their target audiences. If you are targeting builders, architects, developers, and distributors in the western United States, then you should seriously consider either or both of these events as a part of your companies market development strategy. With improving economic conditions and a stronger than expected construction market being experienced across the US, the time to develop market share is now.
For more info on these events or opportunity in the US, please contact me at email@example.com or give the office a call at 1877 422 9663read more
“Top Ten” lists exist for everything from “What To Do On Vacation In France” to “10 Things Not To Wear To A Costume Party.” Dial in to what you need to run a successful trade show marketing program by reviewing this list of do’s and don’ts while exhibiting.
1. Set clear objectives for your trade show exhibiting opportunity. How do you define “success”?
2. Determine how you’re going to measure the ROI for your trade show event. How will you keep score?
3. Start the show marketing early with good pre-show promotion. Give the attendees a reason to make your trade show exhibit a destination at the show.
4. Train your booth staff. Equip them with the tools and techniques to perform well on the trade show floor.
5. Follow up with your prospects in a timely manner and implement a trade show lead management plan. The first one to follow up often wins the sale!
1. Just sign up for the trade show or marketing event out of habit. Make the show organizer sell you on why you should go again this year.
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By Barbara Bell
A second challenge has been launched through FPInnovations’ online collaborative innovation platform, FPIntell LAB. This project is ‘The BioBuild Challenge‘, which will explore the use of novel wood-based bio-materials to produce next generation multi-functional building panels.It is open from February 21st until June 18th, 2013. The submission deadline is May 17th. There is $5,000 CDN in prizes.
For more information and to register go to www.fpintell.fpinnovations.ca, or contact Barbara Bell at Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-876-1169.
FPInnovations, Canada’s forest research centre, has created a collaborative, online innovation platform called the FPIntell LAB. The goal of this site is to bring technology, creativity, and experience together to solve issues related to wood product innovation. We believe by working together, we can create a stronger value-added sector for the good of our country and our environment.
A variety of collaborative projects related to innovation in wood will be hosted on the LAB. These projects may range from design contests, to co-creation events, to customer-focused research. Creative individuals with a collaborative spirit and an interest in wood are invited to join in.
The projects are structured to be flexible. No matter your participation level, you are sure to learn something new, stretch your creativity, and make valuable connections. In addition, there are cash prizes of $5,000 for each challenge.
With two projects underway – you still have a chance to get involved (see story below).
If you are intrigued by the concept of collaborative innovation, but aren’t able to participate, sign up for the Lab Community to be notified of future projects. You will only receive an email when a new project is started.
Your involvement with this Lab Community will help shape this important tool for strengthening the value-added wood sector. The concepts generated by these challenges will spark further Research and Development and ultimately help to work toward a renewable built environment.read more
PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. (PCL) has been selected as the preferred proponent to design and build the Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) in downtown Prince George.
The team integrates a number of design and construction companies, including:
The Centre, of which 100 per cent of the primary structure will be wood, is expected to showcase British Columbia’s expertise and global reputation as a leader in wood construction, design and engineered wood products. The preferred proponent team proposed a design that effectively uses a full complement of wood from all corners of British Columbia, including Douglas-fir, cedar, hemlock, pine and spruce. Engineered wood products used in the design, such as glulam columns and beams, cross-laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber, are all produced in B.C.
The team focused on creating a repeatable design solution that could be replicated in other building projects. The design is flexible and cost-effective and it is expected to expand the market potential for B.C. wood products, both structurally and as a finishing material.read more
There is a great program out there for BC companies that want to take the next step to expand or sell their operations. Investors who recognize British Columbia as a safe harbour for investment can now take advantage of a Province of British Columbia online tool, OpportunitiesBC.
OpportunitiesBC is a searchable database of business and project opportunities throughout British Columbia that are suitable for investment — particularly foreign investment. As an investment attraction tool, the database has three functions:
Opportunities range from large-scale projects to small- and mid-sized businesses throughout British Columbia engaged in sectors that include:
Businesses in British Columbia can submit opportunities to the database free of charge. Once local economic development officers vet entries, notification goes to B.C.’s trade and investment representatives (TIRs) who can present these opportunities to interested investors around the globe. The TIRs oversee 13 points of service around the world, including:
The TIRs bring immediate local market knowledge and access to large networks of key influencers within government and industry, as well as language, business and cultural skills to attract investment and connect B.C. businesses with new markets and opportunities.
The Economic Development Association of B.C. (EDABC), Venture Connect, Colliers, and Northern Development Initiative Trust, among others, are key partners supporting OpportunitiesBC.
OpportunitiesBC may be of interest to investors who would like to enter the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). This program accelerates the Permanent Resident application process for skilled and/or experienced workers, experienced business persons and their family members who want to settle in BC permanently. The Business Immigrants component of the BC PNP considers applications from experienced business entrepreneurs who plan to invest in and actively manage an eligible business in B.C. Together, OpportunitiesBC and the B.C. PNP align to support investors and B.C .companies looking to expand or sell their business and retire.
Check out OpportunitiesBC for more information and to submit your business opportunity. It’s straightforward and you can do it from any computer at www.opportunitiesbc.ca
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Pat Bell –
“With the world economy still struggling, investors from around the world are looking to British Columbia as a safe harbour for investment. OpportunitiesBC is a great tool that will allow B.C. businesses to take advantage of our province’s positive economic reputation to attract the capital they need.”
BC Chamber of Commerce president and CEO John Winter –
“British Columbia businesses and industries are the lifeblood of the province’s economy, and OpportunitiesBC represents a great tool for continued growth and assistance for those looking to retire and pass on their success. We appreciate the government’s support in attracting investment to create jobs.”
EDABC CEO Dale Wheeldon –
“The continued challenges in the world economy highlight the importance of economic development tools. OpportunitiesBC is a great tool for attracting investment and creating jobs in B.C.”
Learn more at www.opportunitiesbc.ca
Contact: OpportunitiesBC@gov.bc.caread more
7 keys to consistently keeping your shop busy and profitable, with wood products marketing specialist, Neil Godin
What You Will Learn:
This full day workshop delivers seven integrated ways to raise the peaks and reduce the valleys in your business – so you can achieve consistent, predictable and growing sales, while avoiding layoffs. The Seven Keys include:
If you’re like many others in the value-added wood products business, you may have come to believe that see-saw sales just go with the turf these days. In this workshop, you will learn why that doesn’t have to hold true and exactly what you can do to break free.
When and Where?
Date: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Location: Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, 15269 104 Ave, Surrey
Vernon, BC based Poulin Timber Works Ltd. was incorporated in 2003. The owner, Joe Poulin, having operated a home based business creating wood carvings and manufacturing custom furniture, realized that there was a better market in the construction industry. He attended the Timber Framing Program at the College of The Rockies, with the intention of setting up his own business. After gaining two years of experience working for other log and timber framing companies, PTW went into production and hired its first (external) employee in 2005.
“Initially, 90% of our business was building timber frame accent pieces and small structures,” Poulin said. “In 2006, we landed contracts for three resorts in Vernon; building log Hashi Post decks at The Outback; trellises and pergolas at The Strand Lakeside Resort; and all of the timber frame entries and accents at The Rise. We went from a company of 2 employees, to a company of 8 highly skilled craftsmen. That was as big as we wanted to get! Keeping a low overhead was paramount in the company’s business plan…it helps to keep us competitive.”
After a few years of going ‘flat-out’, the economy changed, and PTW had to either change its strategy, or go down like other log and timber frame companies. Diversification was key and they gained a valuable working relationship with Structurlam Products Ltd. based in Penticton. The BC Government started implementing ‘Infrastructure Projects’ to help bolster the economy, and as heavy timber specialists, PTW fit right into the ‘structural glulam installation’ scope of work.
“Even when glulams were not shipped pre-cut by CNC machines, we had the tools and expertise to cut precise joinery and knew the techniques to raise and fit them. There was certainly a learning curve, especially dealing with steel connectors, rather than traditional wood-to-wood mortise and tenons, secured with oak pegs. We have perfected the process, and are proud to be amongst only a few companies in BC who can legitimately claim it! We have served as consultants throughout BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and as far away as South Korea.”
PTW is a strong community supporter as Gold Sponsors of the 2005 Sovereign Lake FIS World Cup, the 2008 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship and currently the NONA Child Development Centre in Vernon. Our most fulfilling charitable contribution was to rebuild the roof of a community hospital in Peru after an earthquake destroyed it in 2009.
What makes them unique in their industry is that they have managed to recognize, and diversify with the changes in their economy. “My grandfather taught me that if you’re proud of your work, then put your name on it! That’s why my name is my company and I’m prepared to back it with quality work, performance and recommendations from our clients.”
Current projects include: Prince George new Kin Arena; Northern Lights College Training Tower; Maple Ridge Pump House; NONA playground shelter; Grizzly Den log stairs & railings.
For more information on Poulin Timber Works, please visit: http://www.poulintimberworks.com/read more
By Scott Buchholz
This past weekend, Abbotsford was once again home to the 2013 BC Log Home, Timber Frame and Country Living Show. The show exhibited many products and consumer goods, yet none more impressive than what was on display in the BC Wood Pavilion where the Log Home, Timber Frame, and Pre-Fab companies of British Columbia showcased their craftsmanship, innovation, and skill.
Participating members this year included: Artisan Log & Timber Homes, BC Timberframe Co., Big Foot Log Homes, Canadian Timber Frame, Daizen, Hamill Creek Timber Homes, Kettle River Timberworks, Okanagan Timber Frame, Pacific Homes, Sitka Log Homes, and Trout Creek Log Homes.
The LHTF sector stood out among the displays as fully and partially erected log homes towered over the trade event attendees, attracting large crowds and marketing the latest and greatest in timber home joinery, product, and design.
Reports after the 2012 Denver Log Home Show suggested a growing sense that the worst of the 2008 ripple-effects were over and that a general feeling of profitable times were approaching. Fast forward 5 months later to Abbotsford, and it appears as though these sentiments were rightly directed as scores of serious buyers-and less “tire kickers”-lined the event hall to inquire into companies and determine the right builder for them.
A Strong attendance, serious buyers, and quality product added legitimacy to reports of a resilient BC housing sector and a rise in demand from the U.S. This upward trend is a welcomed one.
After speaking with a number of BC Wood Members who participated in the event days after it had finalized, there were reports of sales made, meetings scheduled to go over projects, and a general air of optimism for things to come. It was good to hear of a much busier show than last year, and the word that continues to be passed around is that we are trending towards more black and less red.
For more information, do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com more
A few ideas, suggestions, and thoughts that may be of interest to Industry…
Last week, I attended the Wood Solutions Fair in Seattle, Washington and was pleasantly surprised with the number and quality of attendees at this one day event. According to Woodworks staff, over 630 qualified architects, engineers, construction specifiers, and other key influencers in the light commercial construction sector attended the event. Attendees had a chance to participate in seminars that showcased new products and trends in wood frame construction and to meet with exhibitors displaying high quality wood and construction related products. The general consensus from exhibitors and attendees was positive and many architects came to the event armed with construction plans and blueprints. All in all, the Wood Solutions Seattle was a good event for companies looking to increase sales into the non-residential and light commercial construction sector.
I have been working with an architect in the Lake Tahoe market and in our discussions found it interesting how he is using some new software in the design of the multi-million dollar vacation homes that his firm specializes in. He is using a software program, Innodraw, which utilizes laser technology to provide 3 dimensional, precise measurements of the interior rooms of his projects. These exact measurements are then forwarded to the architectural millwork shop that he works with. They in turn manufacture 95 percent of the product in their shop and are only on the jobsite for the install. The architect believes that considerable time and money is being saved by using this software, and he feels that a number of costly mistakes have been avoided as a result of the millwork supplier adopting the use of the software into the manufacturing process. For more information on the Innoware software, check out their website, www. Innodraw.com.
Finally, a hearty congratulations to Mr. Doug Auer who has recently been appointed as the new CEO for Viceroy Homes. Doug, as many of you know, worked for BC Wood for a number of years as our in-market representative for the United States. He has a strong knowledge and specialized expertise in the prebuilt housing sector and will use these skills in his new role with Viceroy. We wish Doug all the best in his new endeavor.
As always, for more information on the topics discussed or on market opportunities in the United States, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org more