Hi folks, welcome to... wait, I might have been listening too much to Paulosoaresjr videos XD. Anyway, welcome to my little corner of the Minecraft universe.
First, regarding actualizations, Buildcraft has been ported to the 1.8 version of the game. However, it's not the Minecraft Forge version, but the one that doesn't require it. Also it's a first port, not fully tested (the 1.7.3 version of the mod and the forge-dependant versions remain in the page, though), so I'd advice to backup everything before updating.
And there is another mod I'd like to talk about today. It's related to 1.8's empty villages, because I think it was the inspiration to the project. The name is Millénaire, and it's a mod that, like all the ones adding stuff to the world, requires you to explore new, unvisited chunks. I tried this in 1.6.6 or so, with IC and BC installed, and for what I saw in the changelog, the mod is growing and being fixed without losing the original intent.
Millénaire was a mod that added NPC's to the game, living in towns (Norman towns, to be precise, but the current version includes indian towns too. Indian as in Hindi, not native american) that require the player's help to develop, paying for goods that are used to make new buildings, making it possible to get more and better items in the future (items you buy with the coins they payed you before for the raw materials).
The Millénaire wiki is quite useful and up to date, but we don't need it to play (unlike, for example, Industrialcraft; Millénaire doesn't add new recipes, or at least not very complex or with items that need other items to be crafted), but it's good to have at look at it before playing and from time to time. I'd suggest to have a look at the village types page, where we can discover not only the kind of settlements we can visit, but images of how do they look like and what items are they going to need (and what items can we buy later). There is currently 9 different norman settlements, and 5 hindi, and the best part of it it's that you can become the founder of a new settlement (in time and with a special item a village with enough population will sell to you).
In my experience, it's good to have a huge reserve of basic mats before going to the village. The first blocks they will ask for are going to be wood (don't turn the wood into planks... they might prefer it with bark!), stone (be ready for them asking for smooth stone), and sand/glass. Eventually they will ask for iron, coal, and whool (the forge, for example, requires them), so save them all the time. You are going to need a carpenter, too, since a new building block has been added since I last played the mod, and the only way to get it is to buy it from the carpenter... meaning sometimes you will need to explore and look for another village if the one you are trying to develop lacks one or cannot have it for whatever reason.
Another piece of advice, once you find a village, level the terrain all around so they can expand easily. The village's NPCs don't clear place for buildings, sadly...
Well, that's all for today. I'll see if I can add Millénaire to my mix of mods, and come back to you in a few days. Have fun!