Editorial: Spare some change
We can only guess where new developments will take us.
By Patrick Flannery
I’m writing this at the start of the new year, which always seems like a good time to take the 30,000-foot view and try to get a sense of where things stand before we drive ahead. Just about everyone I talk to is busier than they want to be, which leaves the question of whether it’s time for investment in the business or to stuff money in the mattress for the inevitable rainy day. Oil prices are still low, so this little boom probably owes more to the surging American economy and its spillover effect on Canada.
Change is often viewed with suspicion and fear, but the incredible pace of change these days seems to me to be creating conditions of great opportunity for companies that make the right moves going forward.
Looking through PwC Canada’s 2018 real estate forecast, some of the strongest statements are about the ongoing strength of the industrial market fueled by demand for logistics and warehousing, which is fueled by the steady increase in online shopping. Let’s put this trend together with some other trends. Condo developments in urban centres designed around a “live-work-play” lifestyle continue to lead all types of residential development in popularity. The mass baby boomer retirement is gaining speed, though many of them leave their day jobs to make as much or more freelancing in their old sector. Governments continue to be concerned about climate change and are throwing money at infrastructure with both hands.
All signs point to steady urbanization and densification in our built environment. We’re transitioning to a different lifestyle where people do all of their living, working and playing on a smaller footprint, with less travelling around, and have stuff brought to them. I think we need to think less about single-family homes, malls, storefronts and office towers. We need to think more about mixed-use high-rises, train stations, warehouses, community centres and retirement homes. And the glass in all of them performing at the very highest levels of energy efficiency.
On the topic of change, we do have one important change in the magazine for 2018. After eight years of providing great insights and technical information on his Fenestration Forum page, we bid a fond farewell to Brian Burton as a columnist in this magazine. Burton started writing for Glass Canada in 2009, when he was working for Can-Best labs. He later moved on to Kleinfeldt Consultants then Exp, which positioned him to bring the latest in building envelope science to our pages. I want to thank Brian for all the thought and great writing he put into every column.
Burton can’t be replaced, so instead we have invited David Heska, a director with the southwestern Ontario building sciences team for WSP, to contribute a new column titled The Engineer. In this space, you’re going to find the very latest thinking in building science, including discussion of solutions to technical glazing problems, review of new standards and discussion of innovative design approaches. David is going to make a name for himself right off the bat with his first take in this magazine: a defence of reduced window/wall ratios to improve energy efficiency! Check it out on page 10.