Q & A with Luiz Bezerra
Senior Manager, Passive House Canada
Why is Passive House Canada offering the new Site Supervisor and Construction Verifier courses?
The idea for the new courses is for us to bring the industry up to speed on best practices for building Passive House multi-family and high-rise buildings. Both for trades and designers, these courses let us dig deep on these bigger buildings.
With the new Site Supervisor and Construction Verifier courses, we’re mainly looking at part three buildings, although we do have part nine buildings on the curriculum.
What in the building industry is driving demand for these courses? What trends have you been noticing?
If you look at Canada right now, the industry is moving towards bigger buildings and more complex details: high-rises, multi-family buildings, community centers. The idea for our courses is to not focus solely on single family homes, but to show that any kind of building can be a Passive House.
There used to be a stigma with Passive House because of the name – that Passive Houses were single family homes only. But we’ve been seeing a huge change in the industry, not only in Canada, but worldwide as well.
“It has been a while since I experienced such a good course that I can honestly say, ‘Hey guys, you should take this one’.”
Multi-rise buildings have really been more prevalent among European builders for decades, haven’t they?
Yes, they are. In Germany, for example, they don’t have the high-rise culture that we’re developing here in Vancouver – they build more mid-rise buildings. But here in Canada, Vancouver specifically, as well as in Hamilton and Toronto, we’re pushing to the next level with Passive House high-rises. The tallest Passive House building in the world right now is in Spain, Bolueta. But soon, the tallest Passive House in the world is going to be in Vancouver (the CURV building, followed by the Earth Tower).
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO ON THE UPCOMING CURV BUILDING, SLATED TO BE THE TALLEST PASSIVE HOUSE BUILDING IN THE WORLD.
What are the major differences between the two courses?
The Site Supervisor course is focused on tradespeople, while the Construction Verifier course will take the Site Supervisor module, plus two more add-on modules: commissioning and certification. Tradespeople only need the Site Supervisor course, while the Construction Verifier course is for designers and architects.
You can view the organization of the courses this way: Everyone working in any type of construction should take the Pathway to Certification for Tradespeople course. That’s the foundation. Let’s say you’re going to work as a supervisor in any type of construction project. Then you also need to take the Site Supervisor course, because it will give you more in-depth information than the trades.
It’s a kind of “rolling up,” and it works the same way for the Construction Verifier course. For example, the 120 P (Pathway to Certification for Passive House Designers/Consultants) is your bottom line. If you want to do more, then you take the Construction Verifier course, or our PHPP Master class, then you take a few more courses, depending on the area you are working in. These masterclasses bring you to the next level. You keep growing and gaining expertise because you don’t stop learning.
What are some of the highlights that participants will encounter in the courses?
There will be a lot of discussion, a lot of construction examples and different types of construction. Participants will learn common mistakes, how to solve problems, and best practices in construction for multi-rise Passive House. There will be class exercises, as well. For example, participants will need to identify problems not related to single family dwellings.
The Site Supervisor course consists of 16 hours of learning. This is a longer course the 150P — there is much more in-depth information, from the foundation up to the end of the construction. Topics will cover construction management; opaque thermal envelopes, foundation and building structure; opaque thermal envelope, thermal insulation; airtightness; windows and doors; curtain wall facades; and finally, mechanical systems.
I actually took this course. It was a great course. It has been a while since I experienced such a good course that I can honestly say, ‘Hey guys, you should take this one.’
If you’re a Certified Tradesperson, once you finish the Site Supervisor course you can take the international exam. Upon passing, you receive a seal that will be appended to your Certification, attesting to your site supervision expertise.
So, Passive House Canada delivers the exam – but the certification is international?
Yes, just like with our Pathways to Certification streams, the certification accreditation is awarded by the Passive House Institute.
What about the Construction Verifier course? Do participants also get an add-on seal?
The Construction Verifier course is going to give our certified designers and consultants an add-on seal, as well. They will take the same course as the Site Supervisor, plus another 16 hours of coursework on the topics of commissioning and navigating Passive House certification.
The process of certifying multi-rise buildings is more complex than certifying single family homes. For high-rises, it takes a little bit more work, and that’s what we touch upon in this course.
How does this add-on certification and seal benefit people working in the industry?
Certification is quality assurance. It’s the assurance that you have studied and developed a higher level of knowledge than those who have not. And if you’re taking this course, it means that you are actually going to face the challenges you’ll learn in the course in your day-to-day life.
Does the add-on seal open up career opportunities for designers and consultants?
Having these add-ons gives you the advantage of being in front of the industry when it comes to brand new market knowledge. Those who take the courses first will acquire important knowledge that will better prepare them to solve problems that they might face in the future. Because it’s all about solving problems, right? It’s very easy to say what went right, but how do you know it’s not going to go wrong unless you see where things went wrong?
We’ll talk about best practices, but we will also talk about what you should not do in some types of situations. Our master classes, like our conferences, exist to give our community opportunities to be on top of new and best practices in the market.
Are companies eligible for provincial building grants for these courses?
Yes, they are. I encourage those interested to check out the grants section of our website to see which grants are available in your province or territory. We also encourage participants to apply for the Randy Proven Zero Carbon award, which offers two bursaries worth $1,000 each year.
REGISTER NOW FOR THE CONSTRUCTION VERIFIER AND SITE SUPERVISOR COURSES, WHICH BEGIN ON APRIL 18TH.