Wholesaler, manufacturers team up to support Toronto transitional housing program

For 27 years, 9 Huntley St., Toronto, Ont., was the home of the Casey House – a 12-bed AIDs hospice. It was even visited by Diana, Princess of Wales, back in 1997.
The Huntley Transitional Housing Program provides support for people living with HIV/AIDS who are currently within, or entering, the City of Toronto’s emergency shelter system. Located on Huntley St. in Toronto, the program welcomed its first clients in August.
An important part of the program includes donations from industry companies. Noble Corp., Concord, Ont., sponsored a third of all in-kind building product donations for the project, including plumbing fixtures, heating and cooling equipment.
The 20-bed facility provides housing, clinical care, and case management support.
“Noble has always been committed to supporting community initiatives in the areas where we do business” said Jim Anderson, Noble general manager. “We are extremely proud to be associated with this worthy cause. It all started with a conversation between project contractors and Stephen Willmets, our downtown Toronto branch manager. Recognizing the scope and importance of this project, we partnered with some of our manufacturers – American Standard, Fujitsu and Rheem – to increase product donations and overall level of sponsorship.”
The Fife House Foundation’s Capital Campaign for the project raised more than $1.8 million in private and public contributions and an additional $250,000 of in-kind donations. An opening ceremony was held Nov. 4.

Supreme Court upholds reprisal clauses

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the City of Burnaby, B.C.’s right to have a “reprisal clause” in its public tender materials, which excludes bids from contractors that have been in legal proceedings against the city within the previous two years.
J. Cote & Son Excavating, Langley, B.C., challenged the constitutional and common law validity of the clause and claimed damages in April 2019. In May, a provincial court judge dismissed the contractor’s claim. The Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal.
“The decision effectively upholds reprisal clauses in tender documents to force consultants and contractors who may have a dispute with the City to choose between pursuing their legal options or bidding on city contracts for the coming years,” said Sandra Skivsky, chair of the National Trade Contractors Council of Canada (NTCCC). “These clauses deter contractors from accessing their legal rights through fear of being banned from participation in future projects.”
This ruling may have implications as it allows contractors to be placed on a two-year blacklist that bans them from bidding on city projects, she added. There is no constitutional barrier preventing municipalities from using these reprisal clauses.
This was not the first legal run-in that J. Cote & Son Excavating has had with the City of Burnaby. In August 2012, they were awarded a sewer contract with the city. On Oct. 11, 2012, while the contracting company was executing the sewer contract, a retaining wall collapsed and killed one of its employees, per court documents. A conflict arose over whether the accident was related to a “concealed condition” within the meaning of the contract.
Cote & Son Excavating filed a notice of dispute and the matter was referred to a referee for a non-binding opinion. The referee recommended that the city pays the appellant’s claim – which the city declined and refused to embark on binding arbitration. In Dec. 2013, the contracting company began action in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to recover payment from the city.
The City added the clause to its form of an invitation to tender on its municipal works in February 2014. The clause stipulates that tenders won’t be accepted by the City of Burnaby from any person, corporation, or other legal entity if they have been within a period of two years prior to the tender closing date, engaged in a legal proceeding against the city.
Plumbing & HVAC Magazine will follow up on the events in the New Year. More to come.

Conference will focus on Legionella prevention

Dr. Dave Dyjack, executive director of the National Environmental Health Association, addresses 360 industry and public health experts at the 2019 Legionella Conference held in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy of NSF Health Sciences)
An international conference on Legionella will put the emphasis on preventing deadly outbreaks of the bacteria in hospitals and health care settings. The 2020 Legionella Conference will run Aug. 19-21 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.
NSF Health Sciences and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) are partnering as conference co-hosts to help stem this rising public health threat. Public health leaders, policymakers, researchers, practitioners and water management system experts will discuss policies and strategies for the prevention of waterborne disease outbreaks, including hazards related to medical devices, cleaning and disinfection in sterile settings, and water quality requirements in hospitals and health care facilities.
Legionnaires’ disease is fatal to 25 per cent of patients who contract it in a health care setting and to 10 per cent of the general population, reports the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A review reported by the CDC in 2016, shows that 90 per cent of outbreaks could have been prevented with a comprehensive water management plan.
“The data continues to tell us that deadly Legionnaires’ disease cases are on the rise, and it also shows the outbreaks leading to these cases may be preventable. Bringing together experts at the Legionella Conference who can effect change is a major step in our commitment to protecting public health,” said Kevan Lawlor, CEO and president of NSF International.
Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria dispersed through man-made water systems in the form of contaminated aerosolized droplets. Common sources are showerheads, cooling towers, public fountains and hot tubs. Once inhaled, an acute form of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease can develop. Legionella can also lead to the less-severe Pontiac fever.
This will be the third annual Legionella Conference. The deadline to submit abstracts for oral presentations is March 1, 2020. The deadline to submit abstracts for poster presentations is April 1, 2020. Applications for presentations and posters may be submitted online at http://www.legionellaconference.org/call-for-abstracts/.
Pre-conference training workshops will be held Aug. 18, the day before the conference officially begins. To find out more about the 2020 Legionella Conference, please visit www.legionellaconference.org.

Uniform refrigerant cylinder colours adopted

The colourful refrigerant cylinders on the top will be replaced with the standardized colour on the bottom.
By Simon Blake
The world of refrigeration and air conditioning is going to get a whole lot less colourful, but a whole lot less confusing for contractors. Effective Jan. 1, no longer will the colour of the cylinder identify the type of refrigerant inside it.
The number of colours for refrigerant cylinders will be reduced from today’s rainbow of colours to just one – an off-white or “dirty” white. Cylinders containing flammable refrigerants will continue to have a red band.
The significant revisions to AHRI Guideline N, Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colours, were first announced on June 28, 2016. It specifies that all refrigerant containers should have the same paint colour to end confusion between similarly coloured cylinders. Under the new system, refrigerant cylinders will be clearly marked, and refrigerants will be identified by the product number on the cylinder.
What started off as a very simple system when there were only half a dozen refrigerants and two-cylinder manufacturers became increasingly complicated as new refrigerants and refrigerant blends were introduced and new manufacturers of refrigerants and cylinders entered the industry, explained Maureen Beatty, chair of the Guideline N Committee for the U.S.-based Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and executive vice president at National Refrigerants Ltd., Bridgeton, N.J.
Today, it has reached the point where there are multiple shades of some colours like blue or green. “I’m even having difficulty seeing the difference,” she added. “(HVAC/R techs) really should not be relying on the colour of the cylinder to identify the refrigerant.” Over 50 percent of refrigerant users reported confusion over colours in a survey.
There are a number of issues and safety is a big one. For fire-fighters and other emergency personnel, they will now know at a glance if they see an off-white cylinder they are dealing with a refrigerant and if it has a red band, they know it’s flammable.
“Misidentifying refrigerants can lead to serious safety issues because refrigerants have different operating pressures and physical properties,” added Helen Walter-Terrinoni, AHRI vice president of regulatory affairs.
“It can also cause equipment damage if refrigerants are used in the wrong applications. The updated guideline will ensure that refrigerants continue to be used correctly and safely.”
AHRI will continue to issue PMS ink colours for refrigerants, which manufacturers can use on the label if they choose to, added Beatty.
Existing stocks of refrigerant in coloured cylinders will continue to be sold until those stocks are used up. Some manufacturers are already using the new cylinders.
Guideline N is voluntary but generally followed by the North American industry. AHRI is also hoping that offshore refrigerant manufacturers will adopt the new system, said Beatty.
The Jan. 1, 2020 date is also important because it marks the final phase-out of R-22 refrigerant.
For more information or to download the new Guideline N, please visit www.ahrinet.org.

Trades Hall of Fame to open in Alberta

If May 2019’s Ontario Skills Competition is any indication, there is considerable interest in trade careers among young people.
You may have heard of the Hockey Hall of Fame. In Alberta, the province will be accepting the first inductees into the Trades Hall of Fame in early 2020. Anyone can nominate someone who has made a lasting impact in the trades, reports the Alberta Government.
The Alberta Trades Hall of Fame will initially showcase inductees on the Province of Alberta website, but a longer-term plan is underway to develop a more permanent physical space to showcase the accomplishments.
The awards will honour selected recipients from the apprenticeship and trades professional community that have demonstrated things like commitment to the advancement and improvement of apprenticeship education, have made a meaningful impact in their community and Alberta, are a role model for excellence and service to raise the profile of apprenticeship education, working to change people’s perception of apprenticeship as a valuable form of post-secondary education, showing a lifelong commitment to the improvement, promotion and involvement of young people in apprenticeship education, and/or, making an exceptional contribution by improving access to apprenticeship for the youth of Alberta.
Developing the Hall of Fame is part of Alberta’s Skills for Jobs agenda, which includes around $20 million in increased funding to support and enhance skilled trades and apprenticeship education.
“It is important that we recognize what we value,” said j’Amey Bevan, chair of the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Trade Board. “The Alberta Trades Hall of Fame will celebrate and recognize the important contributions of Albertans who have quite literally built our province, and those vital individuals who have invested in their communities and built the next generation of skilled tradespeople who have and will continue to strengthen our province.”
Inductees will be announced in the late spring.

New standard for non-sewer sanitation systems

Saniflo grinder/macerating units made it relatively easy to install indoor plumbing at this construction camp.
The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) has published a new standard for mostly rural sanitation systems where municipal sewer systems don’t exist.
The new standard – “ANSI/CAN/IAPMO/ISO 30500: 2019, Non-Sewered Sanitation Systems – Prefabricated Integrated Treatment Units – General Safety and Performance Requirements for Design and Testing” – covers both the frontend (toilet) and backend (treatment) components.
It is applicable to sanitation systems that are either manufactured as one packaged system or manufactured as a set of prefabricated components designed to be assembled in one location, without further fabrication or modification that influences the system function.
“The adoption of ISO 30500 by Canada and the U.S. will set the stage for great alternatives to existing non-sewered sanitation solutions,” said Dr. Doulaye Koné, deputy director of water, sanitation and hygiene for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Mass production of ISO 30500 compliant integrated toilet and treatment systems will result in safe and aspirational affordable systems that will not just benefit the U.S. and Canada, but the entire world, particularly the poor who often have no access to safely managed sanitation.”
This standard originated as an international standard and was developed by 32 countries. Canada participated through the Canadian Mirror Committee, which is part of the Standards Council of Canada.
For the past few years, ISO has worked with partners to develop new sanitation technologies. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has created a “reinvent the toilet challenge,” that aims to deliver sustainable sanitation to the 2.3 billion people who lack access to safe sanitation systems.
“This newly approved standard will aid manufacturers, regulators, and consumers with the safe use of reinvented toilets,” said Edward Osann, senior policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Products meeting this standard will offer the health and safety of a working toilet that the rest of us take for granted.”
The standard is available at the IAPMO bookstore in both English and French. For more information, please visit www.iapmo.org.

Kitchen and Bath Show returns to Las Vegas

Registration is open for the 2020 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The 2020 show will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from January 21-23.
The three-day event is owned by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Building on a six-year partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builder’s Show (IBS) – to create Design and Construction Week. The two shows are expected to feature more than one million sq. ft. of exhibit space, showcasing over 2,000 design and construction brands, and attracting more then 95,000 industry professionals.
“The kitchen and bath industry is thriving and evolving rapidly,” said Suzie Williford, executive vice president of industry relations and chief strategy officer for NKBA. “KBIS is a lively and energetic platform that showcases the latest products and technologies that will shape the homes of the future and provides a wealth of learning and networking opportunities for the full spectrum of professionals across our industry.”
The show floor encompasses three halls featuring more than 600 exhibitors, including GE Appliances, Kohler and Cosentino. In recent years, global brands from Germany, Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Spain and the UK have also been present.
Part of the show will include the KBISNeXT Experience, anchored by the KBISNeXT Stage which will be located in the South Hall. It will host some of the show’s more inspired and thought-provoking programs including Design Bites, Best of KBIS Awards, Discovery District, Showcase for Living in Place, Lightovation Lounge and Lighting Pavilion, DCW Outdoor Living Pavilion, and the Design Milk X Modenus Talks Lounge.
Attendees can navigate the show floor using new themed curated tours. In addition to exploring the show, attendees can register to attend more than 70 education sessions as part of the NKBA Voices from the Industry (VFTI).
For more information, please visit www.kbis.com.

Registration for the trades up in 2018

New registrations in registered apprenticeship programs, Canada, 1991 to 2018
Last year, new registrations in apprenticeship programs and certifications in the trades were up for the first time since 2014, reports Statistics Canada. These increases coincided with strong employment growth in Canada over the past two years, particularly in the construction industry. The number of new registrations in apprenticeship programs increased 11.6 per cent from 2017, noted the recently released report on 2018 registered apprenticeship training programs.
There was a significant increase for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters reported in 2018. Plumbers were the third-highest for registrations in Red Seal trades with a total of 20,025. Steamfitter or pipefitter ranked just below, coming in seventh with a total of 11,415 registrations and certificates.
Not surprisingly, registration for the plumber, pipefitter and steamfitters, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, sheet metal workers, and construction workers trades were predominantly male.
However, there has been a growing number of women registering in apprenticeship programs. Despite the steady rise, women remain underrepresented across more apprenticeship programs. This is evident in normally female-dominated trades, such as hairstylists, which has even seen a decrease over the years. Women apprentices were nine times more likely than men to report harassment or discrimination during an apprenticeship.
Despite these challenges, more women are enrolling in apprenticeship programs traditionally occupied by men – 2.2 per cent as plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters. The proportion of women enrolling in these programs has risen by 3.9 percentage points since 2008.
Quebec leads growth
Quebec had the largest growth in new registrations among the provinces with over half. British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario reported notable increases, at 1,490, 1,380, and 1,210 respectively.
The increases in new registrations coincided with sustained employment growth nationally in 2017 and 2018. Employment growth was most pronounced in British Columbia (3.6 per cent), Quebec (2.4 per cent), and Ontario (2.3 per cent).
“Apprenticeships in Canada are primarily work-based training programs. Success in the trades can be closely linked to the health of local labour markets since apprentices seek to maintain suitable employment to fulfill their on-the-job hours and technical training,” said the report.
New registrations rose for the first time in Alberta since the fall in crude oil prices in 2014. The economic difficulties of the province were also felt by apprentices, whose training opportunities were limited by the number of jobs available during this period. New registrations fell by almost half from 2014 to 2017.
There were also notable declines in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland/Labrador. These three provinces accounted for 60.2 per cent of the national decrease in new registrations during this period.
Following four consecutive years of decrease, the number of certificates granted in the trades rose 6.6 per cent to 54,520 in 2018. Employment grew by 4.2 per cent across Canada from 2016 to 2018, notably in the construction industry, according to the results from the Survey of Employment, Payroll and Hours report.
In Quebec, most of the increase included plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters.
Among apprentices, most of the increase in certificates came from those with a Red Seal endorsement.

Building permits decrease in October

Value of building permits for the residential and non-residential sectors.
The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities decreased by 1.5 per cent to $8.3 billion in October. This was the result of five provinces reporting declines, with the largest decrease in British Columbia, which was down 21.2 per cent to $1.3 billion. Quebec offset some of the decline with a significant increase of 12.3 per cent to $1.7 billion.
The institutional sector saw a sizable increase of 24.9 per cent to $765 million in October. This was largely due to gains in Manitoba and Ontario – $79 million and $72 million, respectively.
Commercial permits decreased 5.3 per cent to $2 billion with gains reported in eight provinces, led by Quebec. This was not enough to offset a sizeable decline in British Columbia – $317 million. Industrial permits decreased by 1.1 per cent to $604 million.
Strong month for Manitoba
It was a good month for Manitoba, which reported gains in all categories of permits in October. The province saw the total value increase 74.3 per cent to a record high of $438 million. This increase was largely attributed to a high value of permits issued in Winnipeg. The mixed-use development True North Square in the heart of downtown drove gains in both multi-family and commercial permits.
Institutional permits reached their highest value since April 2003, largely due to an expansion at Red River College.
Major upgrades to a water treatment plant in Brandon, Man. significantly contributed to the value of industrial permits, which more than doubled compared with the previous month.

Ont. suggests connecting with millennials to solve skilled trades shortage

Andrew Fleetwood, left, and PCL Agile senior construction manager Terry Olynyk with the hospital bathroom module prototype.
Ontario is calling upon employers in the construction sector to find new ways to connect with millennials to solve a skilled trades shortage.
“Young people have different attitudes towards life and work than the generations before them,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, in an address to construction leaders at a CEO breakfast co-hosted by ConstructConnect and the Toronto Construction Association. “The construction sector, along with others, needs to adjust to those changing attitudes to attract and retain talent.”
Research conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development shows that people prioritize independence and want to feel confident they have been some control over their lives.
Approximately one in two young workers in the construction industry feel unsafe at their current workplace, new data shows. “Through health and safety, employers have an opportunity to show young workers they care,” said McNaughton. “If we empower young people to be able to speak up on issues of safety, if we provide them with the right mentorship and we give them all the tools, including new technology, this will go a long way towards meeting their needs.” Around 54 per cent of young workers believe safety is more important than speed or profit.
An ageing workforce is driving the shortage of skilled workers, reports the Ontario government. Over the next decade, the Canadian construction industry will need about 300,000 skilled construction workers. In the first half of 2019, about 13,000 jobs were unfilled across Ontario’s construction sector.
“The shortage of skilled workers is a looming problem,” said McNaughton. “The solution is clear. We need to end the stigma around the skilled trades, make the apprenticeship system easier to navigate and find better ways to convince businesses to participate. That is my mission.”