Find a shelter space »

Technical Research

Check out our range of residential construction reports and research for the latest information on new technologies and good building practices, from Builder Insight bulletins and Maintenance Matters to in-depth studies and analysis. Also available for your review: our illustrated guides provide practical information for industry professionals on design and construction best practices.

Attic Ventilation and Moisture Research Study

This study looks at the level of mold growth in wood-framed buildings constructed in coastal climates. It includes those buildings that fully comply with code requirements, without significant defects, and evaluates the factors that lead to moisture collection and mold growth in attics.

14.77 MB

Best Practices for Air Sealing and Insulation Retrofits - For Single Family Homes

This guide consolidates best practices for air sealing and insulation retrofits, such as building enclosure weatherization, for B.C. homes. It's a valuable reference tool for construction industry professionals and may also interest homeowners performing home retrofits without a contractor, although it's not written for the do-it-yourself audience.

4.38 MB

Builder Insight No. 03 - Poured-in-place Concrete Residential Construction: Moisture Management Strategies

Highlights various strategies and steps that can be taken to facilitate continued effective design and construction practices for exposed poured-in-place concrete walls.

1.50 MB

Builder Insight No. 06 - Rainscreen Walls

Highlights the results of an industry-sponsored program that was performed to verify the long-term performance of rainscreen walls in multi-unit residential construction in British Columbia.

1.16 MB

Builder Insight No. 07 - Energy Performance Requirements for the Building Enclosure

This bulletin describes the energy performance requirements for the building envelope in accordance with either ASHRAE 90.1-2010 or 2011 NECB for new multi-unit residential buildings.

7.50 MB

Builder Insight No. 08 - Compatibility of Fasteners and Connectors with Residential Pressure Treated Wood

Best practices for types of fasteners and connectors to be used in contact with treated wood.

2.78 MB

Builder Insight No. 09 Fenestration Energy Performance: Requirements for Residential Buildings in British Columbia

Energy performance requirements for windows, glazed doors and skylights used in residential buildings, and provides a roadmap for compliance. This bulletin will help clarify the building code and BC Energy Efficiency Act requirements and the supporting standards.

3.84 MB

Builder Insight No. 10 - Sidewall Venting of Gas Appliances

Examines issues surrounding sidewall venting along with current installation requirements and recommendations.

1.41 MB

Builder Insight No. 11 - Concrete Driveways

Highlights common issues encountered with concrete driveways and provides information on how to select materials, build and maintain driveways.

804.85 KB

Builder Insight No. 12 - Reducing Energy Use in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings

Focuses on the energy consumption of multi-unit residential buildings and how to reduce energy use and costs to building owners and occupants.

1.19 MB

Builder Insight No. 13 Managing Environmental Risks During a Renovation Project

Outlines the most common environmental risks that contractors, tradespeople and building occupants may be exposed to during the renovation or repair of existing buildings and precautions that you can take before work begins to avoid risks.

2.45 MB

Builder Insight No. 14 - Heat Recovery Ventilation

This bulletin focuses specifically on HRV design for new Part 9 houses.

3.95 MB

Builder Insight No. 15 Pressure Losses in Oval Ducts and Fittings

This bulletin details a recent study that proves it’s possible to design duct systems for multi-storey residences more accurately, resulting in better air distribution and fewer resident complaints about inadequately conditioned rooms.

2.19 MB

Builder Insight No. 16 - Domestic Water Re-Piping

Compares two alternatives to residential multi unit re-piping, epoxy pipe lining and water management systems.

1.74 MB

Buying a Home in British Columbia: A Consumer Protection Guide

This guide provides practical information to help consumers make informed decisions about their home purchases.

4.18 MB

Consumer Guide to High Performance Homes

This guide assists consumers in making informed decisions when looking to buy, design, or build a high performance house.

5.20 MB

Consumer Guide to Window and Door Replacement

This guide addresses the key issues homeowners should consider when replacing windows and doors, from the initial conversation with replacement contractors to products, installation options and maintenance.

1.39 MB

Energy Consumption and Conservation in Mid - and High-Rise Residential Buildings in British Columbia

This research study was undertaken to assess the impacts of building enclosure rehabilitations on the energy consumption of mid- to high-rise (5 to 33 storey) multi-unit residential buildings. The principal objectives of this study are to review and assess the actual energy consumption of in-service mid- to high-rise residential buildings, and the impacts of building enclosure rehabilitation related improvements on the overall energy consumption of these buildings.

5.73 MB

Envelope Drying Rates Experiment - Final Report

This report examines the results of the drying rates of 12 wall panels under controlled laboratory conditions. Although best practice indicates that walls must manage moisture by incorporating deflection, drainage, drying and durability, little attention had been paid to the effect of wall design on drying rates.

1.14 MB

Field Investigations on the Application of ACQ Treated Wood and Use of Metal Fasteners and Connectors in Residential Construction

The results of a preliminary survey into the problems of corrosion from metal fasteners and connectors in contact with alkaline copper treated wood.

4.54 MB

Greenhouse Gas Implications of HVAC Upgrades in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings

This Research Report explores best practices and approaches for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) upgrades in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) in British Columbia.

1.55 MB

Guide to Home Warranty Insurance in British Columbia

This guide provides prospective homebuyers and homeowners of newly built homes with information on warranty insurance in British Columbia.

6.50 MB

Guide to Managing Renewals Projects

This guide will assist owners, strata councils and co-op housing managers understand the benefits of a comprehensive renewals program for multi-unit residential buildings, including what work is required, when and how it will happen, who will perform it, and how to pay for it.

1.51 MB

Heat Recovery Ventilation Guide for Houses

This guide consolidates best practices for the design, installation and maintenance of heat recovery ventilation systems in single-family, semi-detached, and row houses.

1.83 MB

Heat Recovery Ventilation Guide for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings

This guide consolidates best practices for the design, installation and maintenance of heat recovery ventilation systems in multi-unit residential buildings.

5.15 MB

High-Rise Envelope Performance - Project Summary

This research project identifies factors contributing to envelope performance problems and successes in high-rise residential buildings, correlating building envelope performance with sources of moisture as well as features of design and construction of assemblies and details.

140.60 KB

Home Warranty Insurance in British Columbia: What you need to know to protect your investment

This brochure includes tips to help homebuyers and homeowners of newly built homes understand the basics of home warranty insurance as well as their rights and responsibilities.

2.14 MB

Housing Foundations and Geotechnical Challenges

This reference guide promotes best practices related to soils, foundations, and associated geotechnical challenges for builders and other industry professionals, from pre- to post-construction of single and multi-family residences.

3.11 MB

ICF Field Testing Report

This laboratory study evaluates the water-penetration resistance of several Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) window installation techniques. Its aim is to help develop standard construction details and procedures that will reliably provide water and air penetration resistance levels that are comparable or better than other conventional building systems.

7.52 MB

ICF Wall Testing and Modeling - Lab Testing Report

This report details the tests completed to help provide the necessary information to quantify the air tightness, water penetration resistance and thermal resistance of sample wall assemblies, which included a fixed window and associated detailing.

4.18 MB

Illustrated Guide - Energy Efficiency Requirements for Houses in British Columbia (Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island)

For Climate Zone 4: this guide helps builders and industry stakeholders comply with the requirements of the BC Building Code for energy efficiency for houses and small buildings.

1.42 MB

Illustrated Guide - Energy Efficiency Requirements for Houses in British Columbia (North Vancouver Island and Interior)

For Climate Zones 5 to 7A: this guide helps builders and industry stakeholders comply with the requirements of the BC Building Code for energy efficiency for houses and small buildings.

1.46 MB

Illustrated Guide - Energy Efficiency Requirements for Houses in British Columbia (The North)

For Climate Zones 7B and 8: this guide helps builders and industry stakeholders comply with the requirements of the BC Building Code for energy efficiency for houses and small buildings.

1.42 MB

Illustrated Guide - For Building Safe and Durable Wood Decks and Balconies

Free online illustrated guide helps residential construction professionals design and build safe, durable wood deck and balcony structures for single and multi-family wood-frame homes.

7.24 MB

Illustrated Guide for Seismic Design of Houses - Lateral Bracing Requirements

This guide helps designers and builders understand the new BC Building Code requirements for lateral bracing of small wood-frame structures in the high seismic regions of B.C.

2.13 MB

International Window Standards - Final Report

In order to better understand the ISO and Passive House fenestration energy rating systems, this study compares them with the NFRC/CSA rating system used in North America. As well as identifying any conceptual differences, this study uses computer simulation methods to illustrate how these differences can result in significantly different product ratings.

2.70 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 01 - Paints, Stains and Coatings

Have you ever noticed how a building shows its age? A new building looks clean, the exterior isn’t faded, the wood trim is in perfect shape, metal parts are not rusted or scratched, and it even smells new. As the new appearance disappears, so does the protection provided by paints, stains and coatings.

1.11 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 02 - Maintaining Your Roof

Many people don’t think about their roof until a leak appears. However, like other parts of your home or building, the roof requires ongoing maintenance to prevent leaks, to identify minor problems before they become major costly problems and to maximize the amount of time before you need to replace your roof. This bulletin provides practical information on how to maintain your roof.

1.45 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 03 - Avoiding Condensation Problems

Have you ever noticed water droplets on your window or black staining on the drywall of your walls? Have you ever wondered why the moisture returns around your windows after you have wiped it away? This type of moisture is from the interior air and is commonly referred to as condensation.

1.12 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 04 - Residential Windows and Exterior Doors

This bulletin presents information on inspection and maintenance to ensure good long-term performance of windows and exterior doors. The information also aids in recognizing when professional assistance is required.

1.43 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 05 - Sealants

The main purpose of using sealants in a building envelope is to fill joints and gaps between building materials and to form a seal that keeps water penetration and air infiltration at bay. While sealants may seem like a small detail item on the outside of your building, they can contribute to the development of large problems if they fail and allow moisture to get into the walls.

1.30 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 06 - Decks and Balconies

Decks and balconies provide residents with great enjoyment and direct access to fresh air and the outdoors. Like all other building components they require routine maintenance, inspection and repair by qualified contractors and consultants to ensure durable performance.

2.75 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 07 - Building Envelope Maintenance and Renewals Planning

Over the life of every building, owners are required to periodically make decisions, and take action, to maintain and renew the various physical components of their buildings. Each of these decisions and actions can impact the lifespan of the building components.

3.66 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 08 - Cladding

Wall cladding is the material or component of the wall assembly that forms the outer surface of the wall and is the first line of protection from the exterior environment (sun, wind, rain and temperature). It is also an important part of the appearance of a building. As with all other exposed portions of the building enclosure (windows, roofs and balconies), regular review and maintenance of the cladding is important to ensure intended performance and appearance.

1.02 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 09 - Exposed Wood Structures

There is a long tradition of wood construction of residential buildings in British Columbia. Wood is valued for its strength, cost effectiveness and natural visual qualities. In addition to its use in structural framing, wood is used as a finishing and cladding material. Much of the wood used in buildings is concealed in walls and building interiors. However, in many buildings, wood elements are also used on the building exterior and are exposed to the environment. Examples of exposed wood elements include siding and trim, posts, decks, walkways, stairs, balcony guards and fences.

1.56 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 10 - At-Grade and Below-Grade Assemblies

Most multi-unit residential buildings today include multiple levels below ground level. These below-grade spaces are typically used for automobile and bicycle parking, storage, and mechanical and electrical rooms. Conditioned, occupied spaces below-grade are less common. Water ingress into belowgrade spaces is one of the primary building performance issues, can be a nuisance to occupants, and may result in damage to the reinforced concrete structure over the long term.

976.42 KB

Maintenance Matters No. 11 - Creating and Implementing a Building Envelope Maintenance and Renewals Program

How to create and implement a maintenance and renewals program that will protect your building’s assets and the owners’ investment.

757.35 KB

Maintenance Matters No. 12 - Reducing Energy Use in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings

We all want to decrease our energy use to help the environment and to save money. Saving energy can be as easy as adjusting temperatures and turning off fireplace pilot lights in summer. Options also include more extensive energy-savings projects, such as building enclosure improvements, that are more cost effective when coupled with other maintenance and renewals work.

1.29 MB

Maintenance Matters No. 13 - Window and Door Replacement

As part of the ongoing maintenance of your home or multi-unit residential building, windows and doors will eventually become a focal point. Aging appearance, rising energy costs, drafts, condensation and comfort problems are reasons to consider replacing your windows and doors.

621.72 KB

Maintenance Matters No. 14 - Avoiding Exhaust Duct Problems

Exhaust ducts help regulate indoor humidity by removing moist air from the home or suite to the outside. However, ducts that are not well maintained can lead to interior damage from condensation build up. As a homeowner, how can you identify if there are problems with your ducting, and what can be done to avoid or fix the problems?

995.55 KB

Maintenance Matters No. 15 - The Impact of Delayed Maintenance and Renewals on Buildings

Over the life of a building, various components, materials and assemblies require maintenance and replacement. Having a planned and coordinated approach to maintenance and renewals reduces the likelihood of premature failures, damage to other assets and the associated emergency costs to repair or restore.

746.09 KB

Maintenance Matters No. 16 - Maintaining Your Heat Recovery Ventilation System

New homes are built to be airtight to reduce heat loss and potential moisture damage to the building envelope. This also minimizes the amount of fresh air flowing in and stale air flowing out of the home through unintentional cracks and openings. To compensate, airtight homes require the use of a mechanical ventilation system t o ensure that adequate fresh air is available for occupants.

2.61 MB

Options for Resolving Construction Disputes

This is a general information guide for people involved in residential construction disputes. Written primarily from a homeowner's perspective, the information provided can also be useful to parties in the residential construction industry.

2.15 MB

Performance Monitoring of Rainscreen Wall Assemblies

This study compares the in-service performance of rainscreen wall assemblies in five new or recently rehabilitated buildings. Its secondary goal was to increase the knowledge of rainscreen wall performance in-service to identify opportunities for fine-tuning rainscreen assembly design to make them more cost effective and durable.

17.46 MB

Performance Monitoring of Rainscreen Wall Assemblies in Vancouver, British Columbia - Project Summary

A high-level summary of a project that involved measuring and monitoring the performance of rainscreen wall assemblies within a sample of new and rehabilitated low-, mid- and high-rise residential buildings.

226.54 KB

R22+ Effective Walls in Wood-Frame Construction in B.C.

Assists home designers and builders build walls with R22 or greater thermal performance in low-rise wood-frame residential buildings. Update: Cladding support and fasteners through exterior insulation has been added including: structural considerations, installation methods and fastener tables.

17.58 MB

Report on Properties and Position of Materials in the Building Envelope for Housing and Small Buildings

This National Research Council of Canada report used computer modelling to investigate the change in risk of condensation in wall assemblies associated with increasing the thermal resistance of cavity insulation for various scenarios of exterior insulation products.

6.11 MB

Research & Education - Summary of Projects (Summer 2016)

A comprehensive list, including description, timeline and status, of the projects and reports being carried out by BC Housing Research team and its partners.

268.38 KB

Research Highlight - Static and Dynamic Earthquake Testing of Rainscreen Stucco Systems for B.C. Residential Wood-Frame Construction

The primary objective of this research was to undertake a comparative evaluation of rainscreen and non-rainscreen stucco systems to determine if there is any significant change in earthquake performance through the introduction of the rainscreen cavity. The secondary objectives of this research were to assess the ability of rainscreen stucco to withstand large earthquakes and to develop refinements to the design of rainscreen stucco systems for improved earthquake performance.

331.15 KB

Research Report - Study of High-Rise Envelope Performance in the Coastal Climate of British Columbia

This study identified causal relationships that have resulted in building envelope problems and successes, in non-combustible high-rise residential buildings in the coastal climate area of B.C. This was done by correlating building envelope performance with sources of moisture, and features of design and construction of assemblies and details.

2.81 MB

Review of Window Energy Rating Procedure in Canada

This study aimed to determine if the Energy Rating (ER) in its current form is still appropriate for selecting energy efficient windows and doors for all areas of Canada. The study also investigated the use of the ER as a ranking tool for doors and skylights, as well as its applicability in larger multi‐unit residential buildings.

15.28 MB

Review of Window Energy Rating Procedure in Canada (Executive Summary)

An executive summary of the study that aimed to determine if the Energy Rating (ER) in its current form is still appropriate for selecting energy efficient windows and doors for all areas of Canada. The study also investigated the use of the ER as a ranking tool for doors and skylights, as well as its applicability in larger multi‐unit residential buildings.

1.19 MB

Static and Dynamic Earthquake Testing of Rainscreen Stucco Systems for British Columbia Residential Wood Frame Construction

This report documents the earthquake testing of rainscreen stucco systems undertaken at the University of British Columbia in 2001. Its primary objectives were a comparative earthquake performance evaluation of rainscreen and non-rainscreen stucco systems plus developing refinements to the design of rainscreen stucco systems to improve earthquake performance.

245.22 KB

Study of Airflow in Attic Space

This research aims to establish relationships between attic ventilation rates and temperature and airflow distribution patterns in an attic space with local climatic conditions.

809.33 KB

Weather Resistive Barriers: Laboratory Testing of Moisture Flow

This research evaluates the effectiveness of the existing test methods used in characterizing weather resistive barriers (WRB)'s moisture performance, as opposed to determining how different WRB products perform under exposure to various climatic and service conditions.

358.61 KB

Wind-driven Rain Study in the Coastal Climate of British Columbia

This study quantifies the amount of rain impinged on typical building wall surfaces in order to establish the influence of overhang on wind-driven rain exposure. It also verifies the empirical method of quantifying wind-driven rain based on comparisons to new measurements at various locations in Metro Vancouver.

1.10 MB