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New Education Standard Benefits Consumers, Climate

As of July 4, 2016, owner builders in BC are required to pass an exam on home building basics.

The exam includes building envelope, a critical component of ensuring energy efficiency in today’s new homes.

Decades ago, homes experienced 10+ air changes per hour – a time when climate change was less of a concern.

Today, air changes have been reduced to 2 or 3 in a Built Green home constructed by an experienced VRBA builder.

Current construction methods include important window flashing details, application of air barrier, vapour barrier and installing mechanicals to move air through the home.

Quality home building requires the skilled craft of carpentry but also knowledge of physics.

Water exists all around us as vapour, liquid and solid. It’s critically important to manage wind, rain, and interior and exterior humidity as homes become more air tight and margins for error decrease.

Consumers expect and deserve a well-built home offering years of healthy comfort and enjoyment for their family.

In VRBA’s opinion, those homes should be constructed by a professional builder to ensure the greatest protection for their investment.

If owners are permitted to build, they should demonstrate at least basic knowledge of modern construction, including building envelope, and provide warranty to potential future owners, now required by BC’s Homeowner Protection Act and regulations.

In the past, owners applied for up to 30% of building permits, yet 60% – 70% of municipal staff time was used teaching owners to build. This wasted tax dollars and created bottlenecks for professional builders also seeking permits.

BC’s recent education standards for home building are the first in Canada, and long overdue in the interests of consumer protection, efficiency and more sustainable communities.

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This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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