Zurn acquires stainless steel sink manufacturer

Zurn hosted a hospitality event at the Mercedes Benz Stadium, home of the Falcons, at the 2018 ASPE Convention and Expo,
Zurn Industries, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has announced the acquisition of Just Manufacturing, Franklin Park, Illinois, a manufacturer of stainless-steel designer and engineered sinks, commercial faucets, and accessories. Just Manufacturing is a third-generation family-owned business with 135 employees.
Just Manufacturing and the Just Sinks brand have been providing first-class stainless-steel sink solutions to their customers for the past 87 years,”
said Zurn president Craig Wehr. “They have a solid position in the commercial building specification market and continuously strengthen the brand with new industrial designs and system solutions. We are excited to add this complimentary category to our portfolio and look forward to growing the business.”
Architects and engineers specify Just Manufacturing products for non-residential building applications and they are sold in similar market segments and distribution channels as Zurn products added Wehr. The acquisition will allow Zurn to deliver more finish plumbing content to new and existing buildings.
For more information, please visit www.Zurn.com.

Canadians do well at Kitchen & Bath Show

The 2020 Kitchen & Bath Show was held, again, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The winners for the 2020 Design and Industry awards have been selected by the annual National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). The annual competition takes place at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS); this year in Las Vegas, Nevada from Jan. 21 to 23.
A slew of Canadian companies took home awards this year, including:
Best Overall Bath
Michelle Miazga-Hall, founder and principal, Port + Quarter Interiors, Vancouver, B.C.
Contemporary Kitchen, Small (Under 250 Square Feet)
First Place: Svetiana Tryaskina, Estee Design, Toronto, Ont.
Third Place: Nyla Free, Nyla Free Designs Inc., Calgary, Alta.
Contemporary Bath, Large (250 sq. ft. and over)
First Place: Michelle Miazga-Hall, founder and principal at Port + Quarter Interiors.
Second Place: Carly Nemtean, Carriage Lance Design-Build, Mississauga, Ont.
Contemporary Bath, Small (Under 250 sq. ft.)
First Place: Michelle Miazga-Hall, Founder and Principal, Port + Quarter Interiors.
Second Place: Madeleine Sloback, Principal, Madeleine Design Group, Vancouver, B.C.
Traditional Bath, Small (Under 250 sq. ft.)
First Place: Dvira Ovadia, Owner, Dvira Interiors, Toronto, Ont.
Second Place: Dvira Ovadia, Owner, Dvira Interiors.
Living in Place
First Place: Kendall Ansell, Principal, Kendall Ansell Interiors, Vancouver, B.C.
A scholarship prize was presented to Georgian College student Thao Mai. She received second place in the bath category.
Also honoured at the ceremony was the recipient of the NKBA Chairman’s Award. It was created in 2009 to recognize industry leaders for their impact on the industry. The winner of the 2020 NKBA Chairman’s award was Signature Kitchen Suite and LG Electronics. The award was accepted by Thomas Yoon, CEO for LG North America.
The NKBA Design and Industry Awards kick-off the KBIS every year. KBIS 2021 will be held Feb. 9-11, in Orlando, Florida. The NKBA is a non-for-profit trade association that owns and runs the KBIS as part of Design and Construction Week (DCW).

Ont. college to offer new construction boilermaker program

A Southern Ontario college has recently been accredited for its construction boilermaker apprenticeship program, reports the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
The announcement comes as Minister Monte McNaughton is beginning what he has called a “Listening Tour,” where he plans to speak with frontline tradespeople across Ontario.
Funding was provided to six in-class training programs at Lambton College, Sarnia, Ont., including the new construction boilermaker program.
“People in Sarnia and the surrounding region should take note. There is demand here for welders, millwrights, steamfitters, concrete finishers and boilermakers,” said McNaughton. “These are exciting, fulfilling and often well-paying careers. They are for people who want challenging, hands-on work that provides security, advancement and freedom to travel or become an entrepreneur.”
The government will invest $926,416 over the fiscal year to apprenticeship programs at Lambton. This will include instrumentation and control technician – receiving funding to train 37 apprentices, steamfitter – receiving funding to train 102 apprentices, construction boilermaker – receiving funding to train 24 apprentices, general carpenter – receiving funding to train 112 apprentices, construction maintenance electrician – receiving funding to train 94 apprentices, and welder – receiving funding to train 17 apprentices.
“Ontario is facing a looming problem,” said McNaughton. “Our skilled tradespeople are retiring faster than we can replace them.”
Boilermakers build, install, maintain and repair boilers, tanks and pressure vessels in residential and industrial settings, including the local petrochemical industry in southwestern Ontario and at Ontario’s two nuclear generating stations. The province reports that up to 40 per cent of current boilermakers are expected to retire in the next few years.
In 2018, the Ontario Auditor General’s annual report stated that between 2021 and 2025, Ontario will require 1,000 boilermakers for refurbishment of Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations.

New standard set for radon control in new low-rise construction

The only way to know if a building has a high radon level is to measure the radon concentration using a long-term test. Graphic courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada.
A new standard looks after radon control options for new construction in low-rise residential buildings. Standard CAN/CGSB 149.11-2019 has now been published and approved by the Standards Council of Canada.
This is the first edition of the new standard and does not apply to radon control measures that have been installed prior to December 2019.
Radon is a naturally radioactive element that is present in rocks and soil. When uranium decays, it produces radium, which in turn decays to radon – a radioactive colourless and odourless gas. A Health Canada study in 2011 concluded that there are no areas in Canada that are radon free. “The level of radon in a completed home cannot be predicted; hence all homeowners need to test their homes for radon, ideally by conducting a long-term test during the first heating season after the completion of the home,” per the introduction of the standard.
The purpose of the standard is to provide technical recommendations for radon control measures in new low-rise residential buildings. The recommendations are intended for use by a contractor or management team where at least one person on-site is specifically trained in radon reduction technology. There are three levels of protection from radon ingress in the standard:
Level one: rough-in for active soil depressurization;
Level two: fill passive vertical radon stack (level one plus a stack); and
Level three: fill active soil depressurization system (level two plus a fan).
The first level promotes the future addition of a full passive or active system if the home tests high after occupancy. A rough-in for active soil depressurization is used in level one radon reduction systems. A pipe extends into a soil gas collection plenum in the gas-permeable layer under the foundation floor, which acts as an entry point for radon and other soil gases. The pipe then terminates just above the slab and is capped.
This system is only a rough-in and forms the base for either a level two or three mitigation system. Level one will also include a membrane installed underneath the concrete slab, which is sealed to the foundation in order to minimize radon ingress.
It is also important that the continuity of the air barrier be maintained in the basement, including sump pit covers, floor drains, other slab service pipe penetrations and by caulking any cracks and joints in the foundation.
Level two is for full passive radon reduction systems which uses a stack that runs vertically up through the building envelope and exhausts above the roofline. The system will also intermittently reduce indoor radon levels due to the stack effect and does not require electrical power.
A level two system will typically reduce radon levels by 50 per cent, states the standard document. It extends the pipe from level one up through the interior of the building vertically to terminate outdoors. The system relies on naturally occurring pressure differentials to mitigate radon.
Level three is the most effective radon reduction system, often reducing high radon levels in homes by 90 per cent or more, but it requires a fan that operates continuously. This standard describes reducing radon in new construction where the radon in the air originates in the soil surrounding and beneath the home.
This level uses the pipe from level two and also includes a low wattage radon fan. The fan induces a pressure difference to exhaust soil gases and radon from under the slab.
The health risks associated with radon include an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The risk is based on the level of radon and how long the person is exposed to those levels. For more information or to view the standard, please visit http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2019/ongc-cgsb/P29-149-011-2019-eng.pdf.

New Canadian think tank calls on government to address climate change

A new independent research institute was launched in Canada which may influence all levels of government concerning climate change – including evaluating the policies related to Canada’s goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices was established on Jan. 21. The work conducted by the group is designed to provide an “integrated, evidence-based and practical perspective to inform climate policy development and decision-making by governments at all levels by bringing together experts from a broad range of disciplines, including economics, climate change adaptation and mitigation, Indigenous knowledge, natural and social science, public policy, energy systems and engineering.”
The initial report from the Institute pushes for policymakers and government officials to expand objectives of climate policy, “embrace Canada’s role” in global outcomes and expand the space of climate policies.
“Climate change has handed us a problem of immense complexity and scale, and there are no easy fixes,” said Peter Nicholson, institute chair. “The choices governments across Canada make today – about which energy resources to develop, what type of infrastructure to invest in, where to build new homes and developments, and what types of risks we need to prepare for – will have long-lasting implications for Canada’s future prosperity, stability, and competitiveness.”
The report says that Canada may risk losing jobs and hurt our economy if the country does not learn to adapt early on.
Their work is supported through a five-year contribution agreement with Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Institute is intended to be an independent organization and retains control over its research, findings, and policy recommendations.

Alberta to allow 12-storey buildings  

From left, Paul Whittaker, Kaycee Madu, Scott Fash, acting executive director of BILD, Dale Beesley, municipal affairs, and Andre Lema, business development at Western Archrib, toured the Western Archrib facility – a manufacturer of glued-laminated structural wood systems.
Alberta is setting themselves up to be the next province to allow 12-storey wood buildings. Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu made the announcement as part of Alberta’s Red Tape Reduction Awareness Week.
British Columbia passed a similar initiative. In B.C., local governments are required to sign on. Alberta will make this a province-wide practice.
“Not only will this decision support the forestry industry and land developers, it will provide affordability to homebuyers, bolster employment, and give Alberta a competitive advantage,” said Madu. “We made this change knowing that mass timber products are safe and that these buildings will meet all necessary standards.”
Alberta’s current practice allows for wood-building construction for up to six storeys. The next edition of the National Building Code is expected to be published at the end of 2020. It will allow for the use of tall wood construction with fire-resistant material up to 12-storeys. The province plans to issue a notice to allow for early use of tall wood or mass timber construction for up to 12-storeys using fire-resistant material in time for the upcoming construction season.
“We commend the Government of Alberta for advancing the use of wood-building construction of up to 12-storeys with this provincewide variance,” maintained Paul Whittaker, president of Alberta Forest Products Association. “By building with products that are made locally, we are supporting thousands of jobs in small communities and large cities throughout the province. Moreover, because wood is fully renewable and has a low carbon footprint, our environment benefits, too.”
The building code will require tall wood buildings to be built as encapsulated mass timber construction where the wood has been surrounded by fire-resistant material. Buildings of mass timber construction must also be fully sprinklered.

U.S. changes process for creating energy standards

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has updated its process to evaluate energy efficiency standards. On Feb 13, 2019, the DOE proposed to modernize the “process rule” which has not been updated since 1996. On Jan. 15., the DOE finalized its proposal.
“Clearer energy efficiency standards will provide certainty to manufacturers, allowing them to produce products that will save consumers money on a variety of appliances,” said Dan Brouillette, U.S. energy secretary. “These modernized procedures will increase transparency, accountability, and regulatory certainty for the American people.”
The rule expands opportunities for the public to become engaged early in the rulemaking process. Major elements to the rule include:
Establishing a threshold for “significant” energy savings at 0.3 quads (a short-scale quadrillion) of site energy over 30 years, or, if less than that amount, a 10 per cent improvement over existing standards;
Requiring that DOE establish final test procedures 180 days before proposing a new energy conservation standard rulemaking; and
Clarifying that DOE will codify private sector consensus standards for test procedures. This change will allow manufacturers to test their products at lower cost than when DOE creates a separate testing metric.
Some industry groups have responded to the announcement, including the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “In yet another attack on energy-saving policies, the Trump administration today approved a rule that will make it much more difficult to set new energy efficiency standards for common appliances and equipment — from refrigerators, dishwashers and home furnaces to commercial air conditioners and industrial motors,” reports the ACEEE.
There is further concern by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) about creating more issues than solutions with these new changes.
The ACEEE argues that there are several elements of the new process that makes it harder to set new standards. This includes:
A minimum savings threshold that will make new standards for many products illegal;
Increased deference to industry developed test procedures;
Increased deference to standards established by ASHRAE for commercial products;
A pre-rulemaking process that can lead to a decision to not conduct a rulemaking;
Requirement that DOE “cover” products before setting standards;
Requirement that DOE re-start the standards rulemaking process whenever the test procedure is amended;
Requirement that DOE re-start the standards rulemaking process whenever more products are included within the scope of a regulation; and
A mandate that makes the process rule legally binding in all instances.
The efficiency standards include more than 60 categories of appliances.

Small increase in construction investment for November

Investment in building construction
There was a small increase in total investment in building construction for November. Up from October, investment increased 0.1 per cent to $15.5 billion.
Investment in the non-residential sector rose 0.8 per cent to $5 billion, while the residential sector decreased by 0.2 per cent to $10.6 billion. On a constant dollar basis, investment in building construction was largely unchanged at $12.8 billion.
Residential sector investment was down in five provinces. Ontario led the decrease at $17.3 million, with Quebec at $14 million and Manitoba at $11.8 million, coming in close behind. Nationally, investment in single-unit dwellings decreased two per cent to $5.2 billion, while multi-unit dwellings increased 1.6 per cent to $5.4 billion.
In the non-residential sector, investment rose 0.8 per cent to $5 billion in November. The commercial industry increased 1.4 per cent to $2.9 billion, led by Ontario (with 2.8 per cent increase to $1.1 billion) and Quebec (with 3.2 per cent increase to $578.7 million). Offsetting the national growth, British Columbia reports its first decline in commercial investment since May 2018 with a two per cent decline to $533 million.
Investment in the institutional market edged down 0.2 per cent to $1.1 billion, largely due to Alberta which declined 2.7 per cent to $158.5 million. This was the twentieth consecutive monthly decrease in institutional building construction for the province.
In Manitoba, a new $60 million addition to Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba, led to the largest provincial gain, increasing 12.5 per cent to $38 million. Nationally, the industrial market rose 0.4 per cent compared with the previous month. Growth in Ontario more than offset the declines reported in six provinces (2 per cent to $394.3 million).

NRC opens second round of code construction consultation

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has launched a public consultation on proposed changes to the national construction codes, including the National Building Code of Canada, National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings, and the National Plumbing Code of Canada, as of the beginning of 2020. This will include proposed changes that were not covered in the fall 2019 consultation.
Ontario code users are being encouraged by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) to review and provide comments on the national proposals as they are expected to “significantly influence the content of future editions of Ontario’s Building Code.”
This will help streamline the national and provincial code development process. The majority of the changes in the NRC’s consultation are related to energy efficiency, plumbing, accessibility, large farm buildings, earthquake and structural design, and referenced document tables, to name a few.
Consultations run from Jan. 13 through March 13 and can be accessed at the NRC website.

U.S. Senate passes NAFTA 2.0

The United States’ Senate approved the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement – or more commonly referred to as CUSMA or NAFTA 2.0 – on Jan. 16. The vote was 89-10 in the senate. Canada is the last member of the deal to pass the agreement and is expected to do so within the coming months. It would replace the 25-year-old agreement North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA.
On Nov. 30, 2018, the deal was originally signed as part of the G20 Leader’s Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Canada reportedly was waiting for the United States to pass the agreement before making any steps forward.
The deal includes a “sunset clause” which states that the terms of the agreements will expire after 16 years. The deal is subject to review every six years in which each country can extend. The United States International Trade Commission projected in April that the trade agreement would boost the American economy by $68 billion and add 176,000 jobs, six years after taking effect.