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7 Ways to Stay Safe and Save Money This Winter

The word SAVE on a digital room thermostat wearing wooly hat.

Even though it seems a bit late this year, winter will eventually be upon us.  The freezing temperatures will not only make your heating bill rise, they could also cause potential hazards to your safety.  By taking the time to follow these seven tips, you will not only save money this winter, but reduce your exposure to hazards.

  1. Seal all air leaks in ductwork with foil faced tape. Duct tape does stick securely to galvanized metal. Add insulation wherever needed.
  2. Install a programmable thermostat and set it at 68 degrees or lower. You will easily save the cost of the thermostat the very first winter.
  3. Make sure all heat registers are not covered up with rugs, furniture or drapes. Air flow is important in maintaining optimum temperatures.
  4. Replace your furnace filter every three months at a minimum and every month during heavy use.
  5. Reverse the blade direction of your ceiling fans in order to circulate the heated air.
  6. Install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in your home and place it on the wall 2-3 feet above the floor rather than by the smoke alarms. Carbon monoxide is a heavy hazardous gas that you cannot see, taste or smell.
  7. Make sure your natural gas meter is always clear. Leaves, snow and ice can interfere with the operation and even cause a safety hazard.  Build up can also block natural gas exhaust and air intakes, increasing your risk of CO exposure.

It’s always good practice to conserve energy, but when you can combine it with saving money, it’s even better; not to mention protecting yourself. Weatherization and Energy Efficient Building is just one of the course options we provide to builders and contractors across the nation that will fulfill their builder or contractor license continuing education.

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Festive Holiday Tips for Realtors

holidays

As a Real Estate agent why not make the holidays a fun time for you, your staff, and clients. Traditionally winter is a slower time of year for Realtors, this makes for a perfect time to get involved with your community and let your clients (future and current) know you are here.

Everything Merry and Bright

Create and offer holiday themed coloring sheets with your logo incorporated on them. Have a neighborhood gingerbread decorating party or a holiday wreath contest. Hire someone or dress up yourself as Santa (or Mrs. Clause and Elves) and offer free Holiday photos at your office.

Personalized Finishing Touches

This year send out personalized greeting cards or e-cards with a thoughtful greeting in it, and thanking them for their loyalty and business. By taking the time and sending out these personalized greetings you are showing your clients that you are a real person instead of just a business.

Santa’s Local Helpers

To spread the warmth of Holiday cheer, host a local food and toy drive. This will not only bring people through your doors but also show that as a business you care about your community. Send out flyers or broadcast on the radio about your drive, location of your office, and where the donations will be going.

Festive Local Gatherings

The Holidays are a great time to throw parties and other festivities. This year throw a Client Appreciation party and host it at your office or at your local community center. Invite all those who you have recently closed deals with, those who you are currently working with, and those who you hope to work with in the future. By hosting a party, it will be a great way for you to network, showcase your successes, and continue to improve relationships with previous clients that could lead to referrals down the road.

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Louisiana Contractor License Renewal Deadline

Contactor Installing Kitchen Counter Tops

Contractors are required to complete six hours of approved continued education per year by December 31st to renew their Louisiana Contractor License. The requirement increased in January, 2012 from four hours to six hours each year. As of February 2012, continuing education is not required for contractors who hold Commercial licenses in the following classifications:

  • Commercial Building Construction,
  • Highway, Street and Bridge Construction, or
  • Municipal and Public Works Construction

Builders License Training Institute offers several online continued education courses. Each course is 6-hours and 3-hours so contractors can mix and match to create a package to suit their learning preferences.

Top 3 Continued Education Courses:

  • Drones in Construction: This state approved 3-hour course will teach you the basics of UAV/Drone Technology, Rules and Regulations, Cost of Drones, and how you can use them in the construction industry.
  • Manage Your Way to Big Profits: This 6-hour course will help prepare the learner for the scope of responsibilities that a professional construction project manager must be prepared to perform.
  • Estimating and Bidding for Success: This 6-hour course is excellent for builders and estimators entering the field, as well as architects, engineers, and contractors learning new tricks of the trade. AIA Approved and fulfills Builders License Continuing Education in several states.

Upon successful completion of each course students will have access to a downloadable certificate of completion. Contractors are required to mail a copy of their certificate of completion to the State Licensing Board for Contractors.

State Licensing Board for Contractors

2525 Quail Drive

Baton Rouge, LA  70808.

Note: You DO NOT need to send the Continued Education Form because we have all of the necessary information printed on your certificate.

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James Stallcup: Electrical Inspection and Loose Connections

EC&M Blog1

7.8 Inspection and Cleaning NFPA 70B – 17.8

Insulated-case and molded-case circuit breakers should be kept clean of external contamination so that internal heat can be dissipated in a normal manner.

Note: A clean case reduces a possible arcing condition between exposed live conductors and between energized conductors and ground.

The structural strength of the case is important in withstanding the stresses during fault-current conditions. Naturally, the case should be inspected for cracks and replaced where necessary.

Loose Connections NFPA 70B – 17.9

Excessive heat in a circuit breaker can cause a nuisance tripping and possibly lead to a failure. Loose connections are the most common cause of excessive heat. Maintenance inspections for loose connections or evidence of overheating should be checked as deemed as necessary. Tightness of loose connections should be performed and comply with NFPA 70B – 8.11. Insulated-case and molded case circuit breakers having non-interchangeable trip units are appropriately adjusted, tightened, and sealed at the factory. Interchangeable trip units installed and maintain improperly may overheat if not tightened properly during installation. Manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures of connections should be followed.

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California Real Estate License Renewal Requirements

Beverly Hills mansions landscape aerial view -Los Angeles

Continued Education Requirements

Real estate salespersons renewing an original license for the first time, must complete 45 clock hours of CalBRE-approved continuing education consisting of:

  • Five separate three-hour courses in the following subjects: Ethics, Agency, Trust Fund Handling, Fair Housing, and Risk Management; and
  • A minimum of 18 clock hours of consumer protection courses; and
  • The remaining clock hours required to complete the 45 hours of continuing education may be related to either consumer service or consumer protection courses.

Real estate brokers renewing an original license for the first time with an expiration date on or after 1/1/2016 or who are renewing on a late basis on or after 1/1/2016 must complete 45 clock hours of CalBRE-approved continuing education consisting of:

  • Six separate three-hour courses in the following subjects: Ethics, Agency, Trust Fund Handling, Fair Housing, Risk Management, and Management and Supervision; and
  • A minimum of 18 clock hours of consumer protection courses; and
  • The remaining clock hours required to complete the 45 hours of continuing education may be related to either consumer service or consumer protection courses.

For subsequent renewals, all real estate brokers and salespersons with an expiration date on or after 1/1/2016 or who are renewing on a late basis on or after 1/1/2016 must complete 45 clock hours of CalBRE-approved continuing education consisting of:

  • One eight-hour survey course covering the six mandatory subjects (Ethics, Agency, Fair Housing, Trust Fund Handling, Risk Management, and Management and Supervision) OR licensees can choose to take each of the mandatory subjects separately; and
  • A minimum of 18 clock hours of consumer protection courses; and
  • The remaining clock hours required to complete the 45 hours of continuing education may be related to either consumer service or consumer protection courses.

Who submits my completed California continuing education?

Real Estate Training Institute is required to submit a report within 1-2 business days of all completed courses. At the end of each course completion Real Estate Training Institute offers downloadable certificates of completion. We suggest students print a copy for their records.

Real Estate Training Institute is expanding their online education to more than just Michigan. We have been working hard to offer top-of-the-line continued education across the United States

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Is a Michigan Builder’s License On Your List for Santa?

Santa Claus worker in helmet with hammer

Being your own boss is part of the American dream. It’s not an easy task to achieve but the Builders License Training Institute has created the best online program for someone wanting to get their Michigan Builders License.

The Michigan Residential Builders 60-hour Pre-licenseure program is one of the best Christmas gifts you could give. The winter months are a perfect time to complete the 60-hour course and pass the state examin time for the spring and summer building rush.

Michigan Residential Builders 60-Hour Pre-Licensure Online Course

The Michigan 60-hour prelicense course consist of eight separate sections:

  1. Business of Building walks you through setting up your business, the rules that apply and prepares you for the Business/Law portion of the State exam.
  2. Marketing for Contractorsteaches you how to bring in new customers year round.
  3. Project Managementteaches you how to complete your projects on time and on budget.
  4. Contracts and Risk Managementmakes sure you understand the importance of contracts and insurance.
  5. Construction Safetyreviews the OSHA Standards of the industry.
    (6 hours Construction safety standards promulgated under the Michigan occupational safety and health act, 1974 PA 154, MCL 408.1001 to 408.1094; 1 hour Electives)
  6. Overview of Building Tradesfocuses on what you need to know to pass the Trades portion of the State exam.
  7. Building Greenshows you how to save your customer’s money and boost your profit at the same time.
  8. Residential Code Reviewwalks you through the code book so you can use it as a tool.

Builders License Training Institute offers this course online along with two free exam prep courses designed to help students specifically on passing their state exam.

Michigan Builders 60-hour Course and Book Package #1

  • Course – 60 Hour Prelicensure Online Program
  • Book – Michigan Residential Code Book, 2015 Edition
    • REQUIRED for the program and the State of Michigan requires all prelicensure builders to own the book prior to taking the state exam.
  • Book – Carpentry and Building Construction, 2010 Edition
    • This book is highly recommended to accompany our 60-hour program

Did you know that as a contractor, you are required to own a copy of the most recent Residential Code book? So, don’t wait, save money by getting yours today! Buy it in a course package and save this Christmas Season.

coupon-code

Get $35.00 off on our Michigan Builders 60-hour Prelicensure Course Package #1 by using the code above.

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Colorado Real Estate License Renewal Requirements

Colorado State On House and Real Estate Icon Pattern

Real Estate Brokers in the state of Colorado are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education every three years. 12 of the 24 hours must consist of 3 different versions of the four-hour Annual Commission Update course. The remaining 12-hours can be any combination of elective credit hours approved by the Commission.

All active real estate brokers are required to attend the four-hour Annual Commission Update course each year and pass the exam. The course has important information about current statutes and rules promulgated by the Commission. Brokers are strongly encouraged to attend the course early in the calendar year. If four (4) versions of the update course during the license cycle, the fourth class may be counted toward the elective credit requirement. It may not be used for credit in the next/upcoming license cycle

Colorado Brokers renew their license triennially on the anniversary of their original license date. Brokers can renew their license by logging on to their DORA account, filling out the renewal form and paying the $186.00 renewal fee.

Brokers are required by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) to retain all records of their completed continuing education. Real Estate Training Institute offers downloadable certificates of completion for each completed online course.

Inactive License Continuing Education Requirements

If your license has been inactive for longer than three (3) years/36 months, you MUST complete either:

  • The State portion of the Colorado Broker’s Exam, or
  • 48 Hours in Colorado Contracts & Regulations and 24 hours in Real Estate Closings (for a total of 72 hours).
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Wayde Hoppe: Successful Building Design Part 2

close up of a pile of 2x4's with architect plans on top of them and a worker in the background

Developers of commercial, industrial and institutional buildings are driven by return on investment. Today’s building owners are savvy, and seek to balance the initial cost with the payback. Functionality, aesthetics and methods of code compliance are each guided by financial investment and return. In this course you will learn, from the foundation to the roof, from the appearance to the operation, from construction to maintenance, tried and proven methods for analyzing design decisions that will lead you to a greater reputation as a designer.

Architects Training Institute has created a design course for building design that will assist you through all of the ins-and-outs of building development. The course integrates audio, video and written text for an enriching experience.

Building design Real World Example:

Let’s say a family owned a beach front property that was not only financially valuable but the source of many precious family memories. Unfortunately, the aging building was showing severe signs of movement, including rolling floors, buckling flooring and a sloping ridge line.  After demolition of the building, borings revealed that twenty feet below the surface laid a twenty-foot-thick layer of crushed seashells.  In order to rebuild the treasured home, the decision was made to drive wood piles sixty feet into the ground. The neighboring properties had to be monitored for damaging vibrations and the pile driving rig had to be supported on a mat in order to prevent sinking into the same abyss. After successfully driving the piles, a concrete grade beam was constructed, spanning between piles to support a new two story, brick home measuring nearly six thousand square feet in area. The family was able to maintain their favored site while gaining a new and stable building!

Understanding how soil conditions affect the design of a building and how to best make decisions that will assist you in delivering a successful design project is why we have written our course on Building Design. Architects Training Institute has partnered with Architect and Instructor Wayde Hoppe to create a design course for building design that will assist you through all of the ins-and-outs of building development. The course integrates audio, video and written text for an enriching experience.

About the Instructor

head-shot-of-instructor-wayde-hoppeArchitect and Instructor Wayde Hoppe has been a licensed architect for nearly 27 years and has been working in the design and construction industry since 1982. He has also been a principal and owner of two separate architectural firms.

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Alaska Contractor License Renewal Deadline

two employees at a concrete mixer at a residential construction site

Alaska state law requires all General contractors to be licensed. Contractors have a biennial license renewal of December 31st of even numbered years. 16 hours of continued education are required each renewal cycle. An applicant for renewal of a residential contractor endorsement for the first time will need to document 8 hours of acceptable continued education. Renewal of Endorsement will coincide with the renewal of the General Contractor registration.

Builders License Training Institute offers several online continuing education courses. Each course is 8-hours so contractors can mix and match to create a package to suit their learning preferences.

Top 3 Continuing Education Courses:

  • Drones in Construction and Successful Site Design: This eight-hour course combines Drone Technology with Successful Site Design.  Learn the proper and practical use of Drone Technology as well as the basics of aerial survey and mapping. You will also learn to develop a building program, including site selection, utilization, and way finding.
  • Manage Your Way to Big Profits: This eight-hour course will help prepare the learner for the scope of responsibilities that a professional construction project manager must be prepared to perform.
  • Contracts, Liabilities & Risk Management: This eight-hour video course explains the principles of contract law and the important elements of a home building and remodeling contract.

What happens next?

After successfully completing 16-hours of required continuing education contractors must notify the state of Alaska. Builders License Training Institute gives students access to a downloadable certificate after the completion of each course. Contractors can send a copy of their certificate of completion along with their renewal notice to the state.

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Wisconsin Contractor License Renewal Requirements

Worker prepares to cut plywood at job site

Dwelling Contractors in the state of Wisconsin are required to complete 12 hours of approved education every two years to keep their certification. Contractors are not required to take all 12 hours in one course. Builders License Training Institute offers several online course options for contractors to choose from.

Wisconsin Contractor Approved Online Courses

  • 280 Question Online Course: This course guides you through the UBC Codes and how to use them. Each Question directs you to a specific code number for the answer to that question. There are also three brief chapters on Lead Paint Safety, Right to Cure Laws and Asbestos Abatement.
  • 120 Question Online Course: This course covers four topics:  Project Management for Contractors, Construction Contracts, Site Erosion and Storm Water Management.

Who notifies me when my Wisconsin contractor’s license needs to be renewed?

Wisconsin sends a renewal notice 4-6 weeks before your renewal date (which is 3 months prior to your expiration date.)

  • Cards are sent to those who have already completed their CE.
  • Paper renewals are sent to those who still need to complete the required CE.

When all requirements are met, all renewals are mailed a license number and a new license expiration date.

On-Time Renewal Fees

  • Dwelling Contractors (Business) $25 for 1 year
  • Dwelling Contractor Qualifier (Individual) with CE completed $30 for 2 years.

Late Renewals

  • Dwelling Contractor Qualifier with CE completed renewing during 90 days preceding expiration $30 renewal + $25 late fee = $55
  • Other fees apply for later renewals.