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
By Dai Ona – Daizen News, March 2013
The photo below shows a thermal image from a blow door test for BCLTBI, superimposed over a shot of the house itself. A blow door test forces air through the house to determine where heat is escaping. The tongue-and-groove decking and, especially, one triangle along the roof are areas of air leakage. Since they are in the upper part of the house, the heat loss is tremendous.
The air-tight joints with gaskets that we use prove that our joinery is not causing the heat loss. In one spot, where a beam intersects the roof plate via a wood housing, we thought a gasket was not needed. But the photo shows a distinct air leak. What we learned from this test result will change our frame joint details immediately; and with this knowledge, the leak was easy to fix.read more
Once again BC Wood organized the Canadian Pavilion at the Nikkei Newspaper’s construction industry trade show. This year, seven BC Wood members took part covering a variety of products including log & timberframe homes, kitchen cabinets, WRC, mouldings and flooring, as well engineered wood. Our Canada Wood partner, Canada Tsuga, took space with us as usual. We also included a special display on the Canada-Tohoku Reconstruction Project so that show visitors could see the efforts being made by Canada in helping to rebuild after the March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Having Japan’s most influential newspaper behind the show means that it will always be a well-attended event. The show is only open to industry people and yet attracted 242,353 visitors over four days. This represents a 2.6% increase in attendance over 2012. In total, there were 1,279 exhibitors (for a total of 3,640 booths) representing 13 countries. The show organizers are looking to further build this event by clearly branding it as a “Nikkei Show”. Therefore, from this year, they started using “Nikkei Messe” as the overriding name connecting the various sections such as “Architectural and Construction Materials 2013,” “Japan Shop 2013,” “Lighting Fair 2013,” etc.
Aside from the strong numbers, you could also sense the bullish housing sector in talking with the visitors. While there is a concern of what might happen after next year’s consumption tax increase, many people that I spoke with are now feeling optimistic that the economic recovery will keep housing starts strong past the tax hike. More importantly, participating members reported a good number of business leads and strong sales figures by the end of the show.
During the week, BC Wood also worked with COFI to put on a seminar for the Japanese committee members working on the new CLT JAS code. This is a crucial time in these deliberations as the first draft is expected to be tabled by this spring and the final draft brought into effect by next spring. Therefore, we seized the opportunity to have Colin Chornohus speak to the committee as Structurlam was participating in the Nikkei Show. Colin was able to address their questions about using mixed species such as SPF as well as the types of glue used in Canada and Europe.
All in all, it was a very busy and successful week!read more
The Rules of Engagement tell the military the limitations they must follow in using force. The Rules of Engagement for Booth Staffers are there to help prevent staffers from limiting their lead counts.
You can’t generate a big pile of trade show leads if you’re not adept at sparking and fanning the flames for many conversations. So let’s do a deep dive on the start of the interaction that takes place in only a few seconds.
Winning designs included the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver, and three new buildings at the University of B.C.
Fourteen British Columbia architects, contractors and engineers were honoured Monday night at the B.C. Wood Design Awards for their innovative use of wood that, according to awards organizers, is growing in popularity as the building material of choice for beauty and sustainability.
“We are truly amazed by both the structural and architectural uses of wood; we are seeing innovation beyond anything we could have imagined a decade ago,” said Mary Tracey, executive director of awards sponsor Wood WORKS! and co-MC of the event.
Winning designs included the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver, and three new buildings at the University of B.C. – the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, the Earth Sciences Building, and the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility.
Twelve awards and two honourable mentions were handed out at gala ceremony attended by 350 people at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Judges recognized green touches, such as a Revelstoke residence built with solid wood panel walls and held together with wooden screws.
It is the ninth year for the awards, which recognize leadership and innovation in wood use.
There were 98 nominations.
“Builders and designers have always embraced wood for its beauty and sustainability, and now with technological advances in wood products, they are recognizing it as a building material that offers them opportunities to create distinctive and expressive projects because of its remarkable versatility, flexibility and cost-effectiveness,” said Tracey
The top honour, the Wood Champion Award, went to Vancouver consulting engineering firm, Equilibrium Consulting, chosen for their work on such projects as City of North Vancouver Civic Centre Renovation and Prince George Airport. Equilibrium co-founder Eric Karsh was also the recipient of the Engineer Award.
Other winners included:
B.C.’s forestry industry has a head start over other regions to make the most of rising lumber prices, say industry experts.
The steady rebound in the U.S housing market has caused softwood lumber prices to follow suit, rising 40% over the past six months, according to data compiled by Natural Resources Canada.
“We’re positioned to make profit now, where [other provinces and U.S. states] won’t make it until they open [mills] up,” Dave Cohen, a forestry professor at UBC, told Business in Vancouver. “We’re in a good competitive position.”
Data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce shows U.S. housing starts are up 23% above last January’s numbers, putting the U.S. market on track to build just under one million houses this year.
It’s a far cry from the 2.1 million starts seen in 2005 before the U.S. housing bubble burst, and the market still has a ways to go before it can be considered stable, said Cohen.
“What they consider steady state is somewhere between 1.5 and 1.8 [million],” he said.
Softwood lumber prices have risen along with rising construction and steadily climbing U.S. home prices. Last week, softwood lumber had risen to around $420 per thousand board feet, up from below $300 six months ago, according to data compiled by Natural Resources Canada.
Coastal BC swept the 2013 Wood WORKS! BC Wood Design Awards, with projects of the winning architects and structural engineers located in and around Vancouver and the Gulf Islands, including three projects on the UBC campus. See 2013 Winners on YouTube Here
More than 350 distinguished design and building professionals, including architects, engineers, project teams, industry sponsors and guests gathered this evening to honour the nominees and winners of the 2013 Wood WORKS! BC Wood Design Awards. The 9th annual awards evening at the Vancouver Convention Centre (West) recognized leadership and innovation in wood use while being an opportunity to publicly salute and celebrate continued excellence in the building and design community.
There were 98 nominations in 12 categories for the 2013 awards from all over the province, as well as some national and international submissions, including one by a BC architect for a project located in Tajikistan and another in the Yukon. “We are truly amazed by both the structural and architectural uses of wood; we are seeing innovation beyond anything we could have imagined a decade ago,” explained Wood WORKS! BC executive director Mary Tracey. “Builders and designers have always embraced wood for its beauty and sustainability, and now with technological advances in wood products, they are recognizing it as a building material that offers them opportunities to create distinctive and expressive projects because of its remarkable versatility, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. The project teams are exploring wood’s potential and advancing the science and art of wood design and building which are goals of our awards program.”read more
There’s no way North American stud lumber sawmills will be able to keep up with the recovering U.S. housing market, new research being compiled by the International Wood Markets Group shows.
The shortage of studs — boards used to frame walls in residential houses — is expected to lead to record lumber prices and will make construction lumber profitable enough that European sawmills will likely make inroads into North America, where a supercycle is shaping up for commodity lumber, Wood Markets president Russ Taylor said Friday.
Lumber prices today are high, having broken through the $400 US a thousand board feet barrier, but Taylor said this is just the beginning.
“Two or three years out is when we think it is really going to hit,” he said.
U.S. housing starts are expected to more than triple off their 2009 lows between now and 2017, when Taylor said they will hit 1.5 million starts a year. Starts are expected to reach 925,000 to 950,000 this year, indicating the lumber rally still has a long way to go, he said.
While all segments of the lumber industry are expected to benefit with the U.S. recovery, studs are going to be affected the most, Taylor said, because there are limited opportunities to increase production capacity.
Studs are generally made from logs cut to eight-foot lengths and are processed in mills designed to produce only two-by-four or two-by-six dimensions in that length. While a standard dimension lumber sawmill can produce studs, it usually means taking a more valuable piece of lumber and cutting it to the eight-foot length, something that may end up happening as the supercycle — which Taylor said is now underway — leads to supply shortages.read more
Private and public-sector organizations in B.C. look like they are going to play it safe this year by holding capital investments level following slow economic growth and subdued corporate profit gains in 2012.
According to Statistics Canada’s annual survey of investment intentions, anticipated current-dollar investment in construction, machinery and equipment across all sectors is about $46.9 billion for 2013. This would mark a 0.9 per cent increase from 2012, but would be one of the weakest gains since 2000 and a far cry from last year’s 6.8 per cent uptick.
B.C.’s expected decline is consistent with the direction of Canadian aggregate intentions, which fell to 1.7 per cent from a gain of more than 7 per cent in 2012, but anticipated growth in B.C. was fourth lowest among Canadian provinces.
While overall intentions are subdued, outlooks differ sharply among industries. Weak commodity prices have weighed sharply on expansionary plans for B.C. resource industries. Investment intentions for 2013 in the mining and oil and gas sector, slumped more than 25 per cent ($2.3 billion) from 2012, while plans in the utilities sector fell 5 per cent ($200 million).
In contrast, capital investment plans surged in manufacturing by nearly $1 billion or 50 per cent, as companies plan to invest heavily in wood products, food and transport-related products. Gains are also expected in transportation and warehousing, which saw a 28 per cent gain ($650 million) in intentions over 2012 levels. Housing is also expected to be a positive driver with residential investment rising 3.6 per cent from 2012.read more
By Scott Thompson
BUILDEX Vancouver, one of Canada’s largest tradeshow/conferences, welcomed over 13,000 design, construction, and real estate management professionals on February 13th and 14th to the Vancouver Convention Centre. Over 600 exhibitors and more than 50 educational seminars were presented to the interior design and architecture professions, property and real estate management, and the construction and renovation sectors.
BC Wood coordinated a centralized area for wood products manufacturers with 15 members joining us from the building and finished products sectors including Structurlam, Sitka Log Homes, Pacific Homes, Cedarland, SilvaPanel, Coulson Manufacturing, Woodtone, Masonite, Kettle River Timberworks, BC Timber Frame, Merit Kitchens, Brisco Manufacturing, Big Foot Log Homes, AWMAC, and Wideplank Flooring. Feedback to date has been very positive with respondents citing renewed optimism in demand for wood based building products.
We were very busy during the show as we met with over 40 architects, designers, and contractors; approximately 20 of which we knew and were afforded the opportunity of renewing relationships. The rest were new connections who we will invite to future BC Wood specifier related activities including the popular lunch & learn sessions.
We met with 12 international buyers looking for BC wood products. In each case, we requested they contact us with detail that we can pass on to our members. To date, 3 have done this.
We also met with companies that were both exhibitors and visitors to the show from the value-added wood industry that are not BC Wood members and used the opportunity to promote various association activities.
BC Wood plans to participate in the next Buildex show being held Feb 18th – 19th, 2014. For more information on this event, contact Scott Thompson at 604-882-7100.read more
A few comments and suggestions that may be of interest to industry…
The first few months of the calendar year proved to be extremely busy for the US program with our participation in the IBS show in Las Vegas which was immediately followed by the BIA Hawaii. While I admit there could be worse places to be in January than Vegas and Hawaii, having both events back to back provided a number of logistical and time challenges. The good news is that if you use these events as a barometer of market conditions in the US construction sector, then one could conclude that the market south of the border is finally getting better.
As discussed in the last edition of the Wood Connections, the IBS show has an impressive attendance, topping the 60,000 mark for the first time in five years. The same could be said for the Building Industry Hawaii (BIA Hawaii) trade event. While this regional event is small, interest and participation from the building community from across the Hawaiian Islands was strong. In fact, attendance at this years’ show was 20% higher than last year and up 45% over the past three years. Builders and other buyers who came by the booths were optimistic that market conditions were on the upswing and many were starting projects in the residential and light commercial construction sectors.
The Hawaiian market continues to be a prime location for BC grown softwood species including Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar (WRC), and Yellow Cedar. This was evidenced by a site visit to a new development on the Big Island of Hawaii. This project is a high-end residential development of 40 plus homes anchored by a private beach club and golf course. More impressive than the view was the use of WRC and Douglas Fir in the construction of the residences and commercial buildings. WRC is featured extensively in the project including WRC shingles in the roof, 12’’clear board and baton exterior siding, and VG WRC interior panelling; the project was a showcase for the species. The architect specified WRC in part due to the unique colour and weather resistance properties of the wood. Where structural timbers were needed, Douglas Fir was specified and is prominently featured in the golf club house and beach club buildings. See images below.
This project is expected to last for the next four to six years. There is an opportunity for BC Wood members to supply materials and finished products for this project. In fact, with improving market conditions being experienced across the US construction sector, there remains excellent potential for the BC Industry to develop and grow market share through participation in trade events such as IBS and BIA Hawaii.
For more information on these events or other opportunities in the US market, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com
In January, BC Wood participated with one of its member companies in the BAU fair in Munich, January 14th -19, 2013. While the turnout from BC Wood members was disappointing, the fair itself was probably the best show I have attended in two or three years. The BAU fair, held every two years, is the largest building materials trade event in Europe. Other shows, especially those in Asia, claim larger numbers; however, their numbers are pumped up based on the practice of allowing the general public access to the show. The BAU fair is a strictly trade-only event and this past event attracted over 240,000 visitors to the six day show.
The BAU fair has a strong international draw with over 60,000 of the attendees coming from countries outside Germany and the bordering Western European countries. This year saw strong contingents from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Scandinavia, Turkey, Dubai, and other countries within the Middle East. The BAU fair lived up to its reputation as the “architects fair” with close to 50,000 attendees coming from architectural, planning and, design offices.
The size of the BAU fair is staggering with the 180,000 square meters of occupied exhibition space spread over 14 different exhibition halls that showcased the products and services of 2060 exhibitors. In total, 41 different countries where represented in the BAU exhibition halls. The halls were arranged by product categories. BC Wood was located in the “wood building systems” hall along with another 75-80 exhibitors. This arrangement works well as it tends to concentrate the buyers with a wood interest into two halls, ours and the one next door showcasing wood doors, windows, and flooring systems.
The traffic at the BC Wood booth was busy, many times a crowd two or three deep were in front or our booth waiting to talk to someone. This fact was a little astonishing considering that we did not have a display that was anywhere near as elaborate or as large as some of our neighbors. I think the fact that the Canadian flag was prominent and that we had a cross section from a cedar log home on display helped to pull the buyers in. People felt drawn to come into the booth to touch and smell the cedar. Many people did not even know the name of the species, but they did know that they liked it and the conversations started from there. I also think flying the “maple leaf” was important as our booth attracted a far higher proportion of attendees from outside of Germany. Almost 50% on the visitors to the BC Wood booth were from outside Germany. The vast majority of inquiries we responded to were related directly to Western Red Cedar and log home and timber frame projects. The market for these two product categories remains strong within Western Europe, but, particularly, in the new emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
So, to say that I was impressed with the BAU fair and the level of interest that BC Wood received at the fair would be an understatement. I would urge BC Wood members manufacturing log, timber frame, pre-built homes, and any Western Red Cedar products to seriously consider participating in the BAU fair when it comes around again in January of 2015. For more background and some additional observation on the BAU fair, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for confirming space at the upcoming Turkeybuild show in Istanbul is fast approaching. For any company, who has not done so already, wanting to participate in the Turkeybuild show within the BC Wood pavilion, please contact Brian Hawrysh at email@example.com or in the office at 604-882-7100 by Thursday, Feb 28th, 2013.
For a little more background on the Turkeybuild show…
Turkey remains one of the strongest of these regional economies within Europe. Turkey also has a long history and affinity of building with wood, which gave way to a focus on concrete construction in the post WWII period. With their growing affluence, Turks are rediscovering their traditional preference for wood construction, particularly, in higher-end residential and recreational home construction.
For these reasons, BC Wood decided to explore opportunities for BC’s value-added sector in Turkey. Last May, four BC companies and BC Wood’s representative attended the Turkeybuild show and reported that there was very strong interest shown in BC’s products and services by the local timber and building materials distributors. The products generating the most interest were higher-end solid wood building products and interior finishing materials. Turkish companies showed a great deal of interest in partnering with Canadian companies that produce innovative, higher quality wood products.
During the period of April 24-28th, BC Wood will attend the Turkeybuild show in the country’s economic centre, Istanbul. Last year, the Istanbul show drew over 110,000 visitors, many of them from the neighboring Eastern European and Islamic countries. At Turkeybuild, exhibitors can showcase a full range of building materials and systems. High quality specialty lumber and building materials such as WRC decking, siding and roofing, log and timber frame homes, and prefabricated house packages will be of interest to the Turkish lumber importers, architects, and builders.read more
This week I had the opportunity to meet with a very interesting company; Vancouver Urban Timberworks. They specialize in producing products from hard and softwoods. What sets them apart is that their products are made from discarded trees around the local area.
In and around Metro Vancouver, there are hundredsof trees that are coming down for various reasons which could be quite costly for the individual or company to discard. Starting out in their North Vancouver driveway three years ago, Eric and Danny began retrieving these fallen trees free of charge. They then transformed these trees into unique wood products including large slabs, furniture, and other custom products.
One of their projects included producing a boardroom table made out of reclaimed and salvaged timber from the Squamish Valley in BC. After retrieving the tree, they reclaimed the usable timber, milled it into slabs, transported it in their biodiesel powered trucks, kiln dried it, CNC’d it flat, and finished the table. Click here to watch a quick video on the production of the table.
With the support of their community, they have moved their business out of the driveway and into a retail location that will soon house an exquisite showroom. They are steadily adding and upgrading their equipment and inventory to increase their capacity and meet a high demand.
For more information on Vancouver Urban Timberworks, visit their website: http://vancouverurbantimberworks.com and their facebook page: facebook.com/pages/Vancouver-Urban-Timberworks/245145348849853read more
By Scott Buchholz
This past week saw BC Wood and FPInnovations sponsor a well-received traceability workshop attended by a wide range of industry manufacturers and related Forestry based associations. The workshop broached the subject of the potential role of traceability systems, like ThisForest, as a marketing tool and as an addition or alternative to certification.
With consumers becoming increasingly interested in the origins and supply chains involved in a product, traceability systems are seen as an effective marketing tool, showcasing sustainable business practices and the heart of the company itself.
Traceability represents this missing link between producer and consumer. The fishing and farming industries have already adopted traceability as a viable medium to this extent; it seems the Forestry sector is poised to adopt similar strategies given traceability’s growing popularity, both in industry and consumer demand.
Why is this good for your business?
Traceability is beneficial to business, big or small, for a number of reasons. International pressures are seeking proof of legal harvesting. For producers, this can be demonstrated through traceability, which tracks the supply chain back to the forest of origin. In addition, a company showcasing responsible business practice has the potential for financial return via an increased referral rate due to improved online presence through participation with ThisForest.
Traceability provides a bridge between company and consumer, whether B2B or B2C. It allows the consumer insight into the forest of origin where the wood was harvested, the story of the people behind the company, and something that can be shared between purchaser, family, and friends.
We all know word-of-mouth is the most effective tool in marketing. Studies show that people are more likely to purchase something that was recommended to them by a friend, than anything else. Traceability equips buyers with the tale behind the product and a more intimate relationship with that which was purchased. This motivates consumers to share the story of their purchase and proposes a greater likelihood of returning customers and referrals.
ThisForest is currently in its initial stages of development with a number of trial companies experiencing overall positive results. The workshop this past week allowed for industry input on this burgeoning field of traceability in combination with online marketing and social media. This mechanism doubles as not only a way of showcasing responsible Forestry practices, but also as an effective marketing strategy that people can relate to and share with their inner circles.
It is digitized word-of-mouth.read more
The industry has also launched a competition to give eight promising students across Canada a paid Green Dream Internship that includes a four month paid summer placement at a forest products company, an iPad Mini and a chance to win $5000.
“The forest products sector is now a future oriented business that is brimming with opportunity. It is now hiring and offering solid careers for those who care about their future, the environment and their quality of life,” said David Lindsay, President and CEO of FPAC, speaking at PAPTAC’s Annual Paper Week event held in Montreal.
Under Vision2020, FPAC has a set the goal of recruiting at least 60,000 or more workers by 2020 to meet the growing demand for such professions as millwrights, electricians, engineers, sales staff, truck drivers, foresters, chemists and many more.
“Our government’s top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, so it is imperative that we match the skills of Canadians, especially younger workers, with the needs of the employers,” said the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. ”Through our partnership with the forestry industry, we are helping young Canadians to receive the skills and training needed to address skills shortages in the forestry sector and prepare them for future careers.”
“We invite Canadians to visit the Greenest Workforce website to see the exciting opportunities now available. We also want to encourage students to consider applying for the internships to receive job training, skills development, and real-world experience within our growing sector,” says Lindsay.
The contest requires students to submit a short video explaining why they would be perfect for a Green Dream Internship. Applicants receiving the most votes for their video attempt will get on a short list for interviews for the paid summer positions.
The contest and voting period starts today and ends March 31, 2013. For more information, visit TheGreenestWorkforce.ca. You can find more information on FPAC’s Vision2020 at: www.fpac.ca/index.php/en/vision2020/
The housing starts for 2012 are in and are better than had been anticipated. Last year when the Japan Forest Journal surveyed 15 top home builders, the forecast for the year came in at 870,000. However, with starts rising 10% in December to total 75,944, the housing market for the year finished at an impressive 882,797 units. This was an increase of 5.8% over the previous year and also marked the third straight year of growth after the market began to recover from the Lehman Shock.
Demonstrating the soundness of this recovery, growth across all housing sectors continues to be seen. According to MLIT statistics, custom homes increased by 9.2%, rental units by 11.2%, and spec homes by 9.8%. Looking at the numbers by the type of wood construction method, we see that zairai grew by 6.3% to 31,840, 2×4 by 10.5% to 10,258, and wood pre-fab by 12.9% to 1,454.
Perhaps the best news for the Canadian lumber industry though was the fact that 2×4 starts were up 9.4% on the year to end at 107,487. This number is just shy of the record set in 2008 emphasizing the continuing strength and market penetration of the 2×4 system.
Going forward, high SPF prices and a weaker yen versus the dollar is creating some concerns. However, as all input prices in the Japanese construction industry are under pressure, this is not a problem unique to 2×4. In fact, wages of skilled labourers around Tokyo have jumped by as much as 40% due to the strong housing market combined with reconstruction work in Tohoku. The costs of materials such as concrete are even delaying reconstruction projects as budgets have been stretched.
Despite cost concerns, most of the industry people I have been speaking to since the beginning of the year are predicting a strong 2013. The major push continues to be the planned rise in the consumption tax in 2014, but favourable sentiment is now also being driven by the new Prime Minister’s economic policies. A similar survey of the 15 major builders for 2013 resulted in a projection of 920,000 starts. With the current positive climate in Japan it is quite likely that this forecast will also be easily surpassed.
Conference Board of Canada outlook puts Vancouver near top of municipal economies
British Columbia’s manufacturing and forestry industries should enjoy respectable growth in 2013, a new report from the Conference Board of Canada suggests. The board’s annual Metropolitan Outlook suggests a revitalization of the province’s shipbuilding industry should commence later this year as Vancouver Shipyard completes $200 million worth of infrastructure upgrades needed to accommodate an $8-billion contract to build seven new vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard. Work on two smaller vessels is expected to begin later this year.
“Right now it will be the construction (sector) that benefits,” board economist Greg Sutherland said in an interview. “Then you will see it more in transportation and manufacturing, once the construction finishes.”
The manufacturing sector will also benefit from a recovery in U.S. housing, the primary market for B.C. lumber. The board expects total manufacturing output to rise 3.6 per cent this year and 2.1 per cent in 2014.
However, within a couple of years, the forest sector will face ongoing supply constraints arising from the ongoing pine beetle infestation, the board warns.
“Supplies of salvageable pine beetle-infested wood will start to run out. This is expected to tip the industry into a downturn as it adjusts to the significant reduction of available timber,” the report said. Sutherland said the sector’s short-term prospects are better than many would expect.
“Housing starts in the U.S. have come back. Sometimes you wouldn’t know it if you watched the news but the data does show that they are building again, significantly, south of the border. So that increases the demand for B.C. lumber. But there is definitely a supply constraint because of the beetle, more in the medium term, but it’s coming.”
Overall, the board expects B.C. to achieve 2.7 per cent real GDP growth this year compared to 1.8 per cent in 2012, and then hold at 2.5 to 2.6 per cent per year through 2016.read more
The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) is taking a closer look at requirements in the 2010 National Building and Fire Codes of Canada that currently limit the height of wood buildings to no more than four storeys. The initiative was undertaken as a result of code change requests from the Province of British Columbia and the Canadian Wood Council asking that the current height limits for combustible construction be increased. Doing so would move the National Model Construction Codes towards harmonization with various code development initiatives and market access policies being established in jurisdictions across the country.
A joint task group encompassing several CCBFC standing committees was established in 2011, led by the Standing Committee on Fire Protection, to review current requirements and make recommendations. Four specific areas were examined: fire protection (building elements); emergency response (fire code requirements); building and plumbing services; and structural and earthquake design.
The task group determined that height and area limits for buildings constructed of combustible materials could safely be increased to six storeys by either introducing new and/or modifying various protective measures. These proposed changes would apply to residential and office-type buildings (Groups C and D occupancies, respectively, in the Codes). They would also include mixed-type occupancies where Group C and D buildings, depending on the top occupancy, may have office, residential, mercantile, assembly, low hazard or storage garage-type occupancies (Group D, C, E, A2, F2, F3 respectively) on the lower levels.read more
If you simply set up your trade show booth and collect business cards or scan badges of everybody coming by, you’ll get a lot of leads, but they won’t be very good leads. Sure, you might get a hot prospect or two, but you’ll burn through a lot of suspects along the way. Can you afford to spend that time?
Worse yet, you’ll miss those list-building attendees who never even made it to your part of the show floor.
The secret to generating higher-quality leads – as with any form of successful marketing – is to offer a highly relevant message to a highly targeted audience.
That starts with a creative message that compels your target audience to learn more about you. Ask a provocative question, make a challenging statement or suggest a different reality. But make sure to let your audience know that you understand their situation and have a solution that solves their problem. Remember, however, your goal with pre-show marketing is to earn a spot on the attendee’s must-see list. Nothing more. It’s not the time to share your company’s history, list every feature, share prices or ask for the sale.
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