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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Mortgage of the year one of few with 35-year amortization

For most Canadians in the market for a mortgage, when it comes to amortization period, the choices are limited. Twenty-five years is the norm. This is what the major banks and most other lenders are able to offer since the minister of finance removed the thirty-five and the thirty-year options in 2011 and 2012 respectively. It’s a little bit unusual, therefore, that Canadian Mortgage Trends (CMT) should choose a mortgage that most borrowers wouldn’t qualify for as its “Mortgage of the year.”  However, the mortgage in question meets their requirements, which are uniqueness, overall value and utility. CMT says its choice is “widely available,” though that term is clearly relative. The ... Read More »

Grant to women highlights big problem of non-traditional work

Why do so few women still work as engineers, architects and construction workers? It’s a persistent problem—in some male-dominated occupations, there has been no meaningful gain by women in decades.  Today the federal government announced that it is giving the Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC) $250,000 to help find answers. The money is being given through a program called Opening Doors: Economic Opportunities for Women. It can also be traced to a 2010 report from the standing committee on the status of women in Ottawa (Building the Pipeline: Increasing the Participation of Women in Non-Traditional Occupations). That parliamentary report recommended that the government develop a strategy and commit ... Read More »

Alberta latest province to mandate new home warranty

Albertans are about to join their fellow Canadians in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in having warranty protection for new homes. Legislation takes effect on February 1 making it mandatory for all new homes built in the province to be covered by warranty protection. The New Home Buyer Protection Act about to take effect has its origins in a report on the Alberta housing industry that dates back to 2008. The report was in response to numerous complaints from new homeowners about shoddy workmanship, particularly in building envelope construction. Mould and rot were showing up in relatively new homes and condos at an alarming rate. Other common complaints have ... Read More »

Happy New Year and welcome to the Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year, like its western counterpart, is a time when people traditionally think about the future. For Westerners, however, one New Year’s Eve is pretty much like any other. We tend to go to parties on New Year’s Eve, drink champagne, get sentimental while singing Auld Lang Syne, and make silly resolutions. For the Chinese, on the other hand, each New Year has a very specific character, as embodied in one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Tomorrow, January 31, 2014 marks the first day of the Year of the Horse. To be specific, it is the year of the Wooden Horse, for each of the twelve ... Read More »

Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction open for entries

There are many international award-granting competitions for architecture throughout the world, but perhaps none has the unique breadth of vision and dedication to future-oriented projects as the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction. The Holcim Awards competition celebrates “projects and visions” that contribute to a more sustainable built environment around the world. Total prize money is $2 million US. The Holcim Foundation announced today that the 2014 competition is now open. The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction was created in 2003, an offshoot of the giant Swiss building materials company that supplies cement and aggregates among other products. The overall aim of the foundation is to raise awareness of the importance of ... Read More »

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