“Calculated Thrift”

The story below points to new realities in home construction reflecting new wants in the US housing market — a “dramatic shift.. from lavish excess to calculated thrift.”  Builders are “eliminating formal living rooms that rarely see any living.  Family rooms and kitchens are sharing more space. Dining rooms and studies are being built to serve dual purposes.”

New homes smaller but mightier – builders rethink every square foot of space

Penny for your thoughts

The Canadian federal budget delivered today in Ottawa announces that the government will cease production of pennies.  We’re told that for some time now the cost of producing a penny has been greater than its value.  If a guy’s blog is no longer invited to contribute his two cents to lumber-interest-related discussion, we’ll of course aim to upgrade to a nickel.  Meanwhile, some lumber traders tell me they’ve long ago adapted to being nickel and dimed — it’s all part of adapting to change.. perhaps even loose change.

Wildfire Preparations

A reminder that open fire prohibition comes into effect in BC’s Caribou at month-end tells us that seasonal threats of forest wildfires represent ongoing concern.  Restrictions in the Caribou Fire Centre (CFC) start at noon April 2nd and will remain in effect until September 30 or until further notice (source).  Fire management plans have been prepared in all forest districts in BC.  Meanwhile, the global trend toward more severe and costly fires brings news from other western forestry jurisdictions, reflecting related concerns over preparedness in advance of this season’s wildfires.  We learn that in neighboring Oregon to the south of us there’s some concern over the reduced number of aircraft in the aerial tanker fleet available to fight forest fires this season.

NAWLA Vancouver

I’ve enjoyed the lunches opportunity to be part of the planning committee for the upcoming NAWLA Regional Meeting Thursday April 12th at The Vancouver Club.  At our meeting today, the three speakers were tentatively confirmed as follows:  Paul Jannke (Economist with Forest Economic Advisors LLC), Dave Newstead (Euler Hermes Group), and The Honourable Pat Bell (BC Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Innovation).  Stay tuned for a full review at Harderblog!

“Driven by Necessity”

The Financial Post reports “escalating fuel prices, shrinking margins, and increasingly stringent legislative demands” make innovation essential for the transportation industry.  The shift to telematics data via the internet for example – on-board computers to optimize resources – is already resulting in major cost savings in the trucking sector.

What’s next?  Prognostics – “when all critical systems in trucks can interact with an e-platform and pass information to a fleet hub.  Data will tell fleet managers at what point an engine will break down, a transmission will overheat or a battery will need to be changed. With today’s razor-thin margins, enabling early detection and avoiding downtime is becoming very important in the transportation industry.”

Full Story

Mass Timber

“The sparkplug for change is what Mr. Green calls Mass Timber, large-scale wood panel products made from laminated lumber that allow massive solid beams to be forged from relatively small trees. Free of knots and imperfections, the beams are stronger even than the old-growth wood beams available to builders a century ago. ‘This is the first major alternative structural system in 100 years,’ said Mr. Green. The flexibility of Mass Timber makes it ideal for Vancouver’s tight seismic codes and it is also surprisingly fireproof thanks to ‘charring’: The fire chars the outer layer of a beam, insulating the interior of the wood from heat penetration.”

Full Story

Wooden it be lovely..

“The proposed 10-storey Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George will become a test case for creating a value-added forest products industry around tall wood building construction methods that would differ radically from the way traditional mid-rise and even highrise buildings are constructed.”

North America’s tallest wood building to be built in B.C.