Looking Into 2015


My initial thoughts about the coming year are mostly positive. Many of our customers are very busy and certainly the level of quoting is very high for this time of year. It seems we have rounded the corner in BC and construction levels are slowly improving. Overall this is still a great part of the country to live especially as I saw today it was over 30 below throughout much of the Prairie provinces. I believe we will see another wave of migration from the Prairies to Vancouver Island which will help to further stimulate the construction industry. We are also at the beginning of the largest ever wealth transfer from “baby boom” parents to their children. This will afford the down payment that has been so difficult for these families to get together given the high cost of real estate. My only concern, which is shared by many contractors, is the ability to find good employees to take advantage of the increased volume. We have been fortunate to attract great employees thus far, but I suspect we will all be spending more time looking for employees. Maybe the downturn in the oil patch will bring back some of the keen young workers who will look to the construction industry for more stable employment.  I wish you all the best in the New Year.

Cow Bay to Cherry Point

Sponsoring our Community: CTRA Fundraiser

ctra_pacific_homes_&_truss_bar_photo1Pacific Homes & Pacific Truss is proud to be a donator for the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association (CTRA); sponsoring the bar at a fundraising dance held last Saturday at the Avalon Farm in Duncan, BC.

What the CTRA does? As described on their website http://www.ctra.ca/

Mission: The Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association provides therapeutic riding and equine-based therapeutic services for persons with disabilities.  We promote and facilitate access to horses as a therapeutic alternative, recreational/sport opportunity, and agent of well-being in the lives of all participants.  Through the power of the human-equine bond, CTRA brings together individuals, families, and the community in the spirit of healing, inclusion, and human growth.

Vision: CTRA exists as a place where the human-equine relationship creates opportunities for achievement and positive human experiences.

Community: Although our program serves people with disabilities, it has positively impacted the lives of countless individuals of all abilities.  Our program serves as a hub of community action where members of our community give back through participation, volunteerism, and a culture of inclusion.

What is Therapeutic Riding and Equine-Based Therapy?

(Photo credit and copyright Lisa Pink)

(Photo credit and copyright Lisa Pink)

“Therapeutic Riding” is often called “Equine Assisted Therapy.” Therapeutic riding is an alternative form of therapy that utilizes horses to help people realize various therapeutic goals. Therapeutic riding is especially beneficial for persons with various disabilities.

The therapeutic benefits of equine-based therapies, activities, and education can extend far beyond simply riding a horse. Activities involving the horse can be used to assist people in achieving physical and mental health as well as cognitive, behavioral, social and communication goals.

At CTRA our goal is threefold:

To facilitate and promote access to horses as a therapeutic alternative and agent of well being.

To improve the quality of life for all people involved in our program with an emphasis on providing opportunities for persons living with disabilities.

To offer opportunities for vocational development, volunteerism, workplace training, and employment for persons facing barriers to employment.

Then & Now

Pulled these old photos out of the archive and had some fun looking at our family owned business back then and now.

Aerial THEN: Early 1970's

Aerial THEN: Early 1970’s

Aerial NOW: 2011

Aerial NOW: 2011

Pacific Truss Production NOW: 2006

Pacific Truss Production NOW: 2006

Pacific Truss Production THEN: 1983

Pacific Truss Production THEN: 1983

Head Office NOW 2006

Head Office NOW 2006

Head Office THEN: 1992

Head Office THEN: 1992

Pacific Delivery Truck NOW

Pacific Delivery Truck NOW

Pacific Delivery Truck THEN

Pacific Delivery Truck THEN

Earth Bermed Edgeland House Transforms a Former Brownfield Site

earth bermed edgeland house

Located on a rehabilitated brownfield site in Austin, TX, the Edgeland House is a unique, triangular home designed by Bercy Chen Studio that is built into the earth and covered with a thick layer of sod. Because it is an earth-sheltered home, the Edgeland House is highly efficient, and it can stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer from the added thermal mass and insulation. Additionally, the high-tech home features hydronic heating and cooling, geothermal heat exchange, and phase‐change thermal heat storage. [Learn more and view more photos]

Master builder bends wood to his will

Via Vancouver Sun By Jenny Lee

Flexibility key to engineer Gerry Epp’s innovative structures, which include Richmond Olympic Oval

Tsingtao Pearl Visitor CentreNorth Delta engineer Gerry Epp dreams of Michelangelo. His head is filled with the glory days when engineers were architects, poets, builders and sculptors — when da Vinci and Michelangelo scrambled on scaffolds, calculated arches, designed cathedrals and conferred with craftsmen.

“Michelangelo was a master builder,” Epp said. “There was no such thing as separate engineering. He was an architect, thinker, builder and instruction giver.”

He was the perfect blend of art and science. And Epp, born into the separation of disciplines that started to appear in the late 19th century, wanted to turn back time.

He got his chance in 1997 when his engineering firm, Fast + Epp, was working on the Vancouver Aquarium with architect Bing Thom.

“He wanted these hybrid timber-stainless steel trusses and he wanted this warp-proof, unusual structure, so we designed it and did our best at optimizing it,” Epp said. Epp and business partner Paul Fast “went out to market to see who could build it and it was coming in over-budget. It was too risky. So I went to Bing and I said, ‘What if we build it?’ We rented a shop and set up a whole company.”

Without a doubt, the business model is risky.

When a client wants to build a dinosaur museum that looks like a dinosaur,.. [Read more]

UBC harnessing robot technology to up wood ante

Via Business Vancouver – By Gordon Hamilton

Hundegger drive could establish B.C. wood as a leading precision building material

UBC harnessing robot technologyUniversity of British Columbia (UBC) researchers are taking engineered timber to new levels of construction performance through a computerized piece of technology that is a North American first.

Called the Hundegger Robot Drive, it sits in its own sawdust-proof chamber at the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing, part of the university’s Forest Sciences Centre. It has been described as the world’s most advanced piece of wood joinery equipment.

The complicated cuts it can perform are proving to researchers that wood can be a precision building material of the future.

The researchers intend to apply the machine’s high-tech performance to engineered wood products, said Iain Macdonald, managing director of the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing, showing that intricate wood-to-wood connections can be done using computers and robotics.

It’s a step toward developing a high-valued advanced wood components industry in B.C., he said.

Wood is making a big comeback in institutional and multi-family construction. Richmond’s Olympic Oval and UBC’s Earth Sciences Building are examples.

New laminated products have given wood the strength, and machines like the Hundegger Robot Drive provide the precision needed to meet high performance standards. [Learn more]

Construction holds up in the third quarter

Cowichan Visitor Centre - Pacific Homes

Via Vancouver Island Construction Association

Victoria, November 12, 2013 – Construction activity on Vancouver Island continued to hold its own and contribute to the economy during the July to September 2013 period with a 3.7 percent gain in construction employment and a two percent gain in building permits.

The Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) reports that construction employment on Vancouver Island climbed as a result of a 7.9 percent increase in the Victoria Metropolitan area. Building permits on the Island increased because of a 23 per cent rise in residential permits throughout the Island.

“The construction industry on Vancouver Island remains active and continues to be a highly competitive market,” says Greg Baynton, CEO of VICA. [Learn more]

Are Green Buildings Better Buildings?

are green buildings better buildings1

Via Canadian Journal of Green Building & Design

The number of buildings with green credentials is growing rapidly, and an increasing number of jurisdictions require green features in new buildings. However, in most cases these buildings are judged on their “greenness” at the time of their design, and there has been little follow-up to determine whether post-occupancy performance meets expectations. While there have been numerous isolated case studies and anecdotes, scientific studies have been limited by small samples and narrow scopes. Given the paucity of objective data, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) set out to collect comprehensive field study data with a sample size and variety of outcomes not previously undertaken. The goal was to directly compare green and otherwise similar conventional buildings in arguably the two most important green performance categories: indoor environment quality and energy efficiency.

To read full article click below to download in a PDF

Icon of Are Green Buildings Better Buildings Are Green Buildings Better Buildings (5.8 MiB)


Click here to view full article online in the Canadian Journal of Green Building & Design Magazine (This particular article is on page 20-22)

A Decade of Diversifying Markets for Canadian Forest Products

Canadian Forest Service Spotlight





 Over the past decade, Canada’s forest sector has benefitted from federal investments aimed at increasing demand for Canadian forest products, both at home and abroad. These investments, which have enhanced the sector’s overall competiveness, have led to a series of notable achievements. These have included

  • Increasing sales of Canadian forest products in fast growing offshore markets such as China and South Korea;
  • Expanding the use of wood in new market segments (e.g. non-residential and mid-rise construction);
  • Working with partners to bring about changes in the National Building Code of Canada to enable the broader use of wood in buildings up to 6 storeys; and,
  • Demonstrating the versatility and environmental benefits of using wood in large-scale structures.

Click here to read entire article

Geothermal Village Square in Chemainus

Pacific Truss is happy to have supplied trusses for this new shopping center that will feature a geothermal heating and cooling system. Watch the video below or click here to view via YouTube.

 The new shopping centre being built at Oak Street and Chemainus Road will be one of the first commercial developments on Vancouver Island to utilize geothermal power for heating and cooling.

Geothermal power systems draw heat from up to 300 feet down in the earth in the winter and reverse the process to provide cooling in the summer. It is estimated that about 65% of the centre’s heating and cooling will come from the system, and will be equivalent to removing about 25-30 cars from the road. Geothermal has one of the lowest environmental risk factors of any energy source, and is safe in an earthquake as the pipes only contain water. [Read more]