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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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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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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.


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

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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.
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New Rules for the NASCLA Accredited Exam

contractor carpenter man on USA flag building America concept patriotism

Effective November 1, 2016, commercial general building contractors applying for NASCLA accreditation will need to be pre-approved by the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) before scheduling to take the NASCLA-Accredited exam.  Applicants will no longer be able to schedule the exam without pre-approval. Applicants can apply electronically ONLINE at

Once an individual is approved, the individual’s name will be forwarded from NASCLA to PSI. PSI will then send the applicant an email confirmation with information to register to take the examination.

What is NASCLA Accreditation?

The NASCLA Accredited Examination for Commercial General Building Contractors is an exam given by the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies that allows contractors to take one trade exam that qualifies in multiple jurisdictions or states.  This exam may not eliminate the Business and Law exam in each state, just the trades so be sure to check with each State agency to see if you still need to sit for the Business/Law exam.  Please note that this is NOT a National License.  It only eliminates the Trade Exam in participating state agencies.

Why did NASCLA make this change?

The purpose for this change to the NASCLA Accreditation procedure is to create a database to store applicant examination information for candidates, allowing jurisdictions to verify that an applicant has passed the NASCLA Accredited Examination.  Through the database, candidates are able to simultaneously apply to sit for the exam AND purchase (and send) a passed transcript to the state agencies that accept these examination.

What States Accept the NASCLA Accreditation?

There are currently 15 state agencies that accept the NASCLA Accreditation exam, so you if you are commercial building in more than one of the following, it would reduce your studying time for the commercial general contractor licensing exam by taking just one trade test.  For an up-to-date list, check the NASCLA website.

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Georgia
  4. Louisiana
  5. Mississippi
  6. Nevada
  7. North Carolina
  8. Oregon
  9. South Carolina Contractors
  10. South Carolina Residential Builders
  11. Tennessee
  12. Utah
  13. Virgin Islands
  14. Virginia
  15. West Virginia

Be sure to check with each State Agency to see the specific rules for NASCLA and how they apply to that jurisdiction.  Contact information can be found on

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Only Four Oregon CCB Law Classes Left for 2016



Most Oregon Residential Construction Contractors need eight hours of continuing education every two years based on your licensure date.  Of these, three hours must be the State Laws, Regulations and Business Practices course, which are only available through the Construction Contractors Board.  If you wish to take it in a classroom, these are the last four classes being held in 2016.

  • November 3rd in Salem, 9am-noon at the CCB offices
  • November 9th in Wilsonville, 9am-noon at Clackamas Community College/PGE Campus
  • November 9th in Eugene, 9am-noon at the Lane Small Business Development Center
  • December 2nd in Portland, 9:30am-12:30pm at the Oregon Convention Center

The cost of the three-hour live (in-person) class is $45 and you can register through the Oregon Construction Contractors Board WEBPAGE. The online format of this course is also available on the site.

The remaining 5 hours of continuing education must be in Series A business management, work safety or building code courses.  These can be taken in a classroom or online as long as they are approved by the CCB for Series A Continuing Education.

Licensed Less Than Six Years?

If you have been licensed by the CCB as an Oregon Residential Construction Contractor for less than six years and your responsible managing individual (RMI) has less than six years’ experience, you need the same eight hours of Oregon continuing education described above PLUS an additional eight hours (16 hours total).  These additional eight can be either Series A, Series B or a combination of both and can be taken in a classroom or online as well.


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Minnesota Contactor License Renewal Requirements

Silhouette of a contractor on a roof with the setting sun behind him

Residential building contractor and residential remodeler licenses are issued for a two-year term that always ends March 31st. Contractors are required to complete 14 hours of state approved continued education, including 1-hour of Energy Code every 2 years. Continuing Education courses may not be completed on the same date, nor can they be duplicates from the previous license cycle. (Builders License Training Institute offers multiple approved course packages).

How do I renew my Minnesota Contractors License?

  • Take 14-hours of approved continued education
  • Fill out the renewal form found here
  • Submit renewal form to the state along with license fee

Builders License Training Institute offers many 7-hour continued education courses that give contractors a variety of topics to choose from. The following are just a few of the 7-hour courses that contractors can use to create a 14-hour package for their continuing education. Listed below are 3 of our most popular courses:

Estimating and Bidding for Success 7-hour Fully Narrated course

This course is an introduction to the construction estimating process. The course will explain the methods of construction delivery, different types of estimates, and the tools needed by the estimator to tender a bid.

Minnesota Construction Safety 7-hour Fully Narrated course

This course is a review of the safety codes required for residential construction. Students will be able to understand and describe the basic components of a construction safety program. They will recognize the hazards inherent at a construction jobsite, and describe ways to prevent those hazards.

Weatherization and Renewable Energy 7-hour Online HD Video

This course will show contractors the energy efficient products are available on the market for their clients in Renewable Energy. In Weatherization contractors will learn how moisture enters into the internal structural areas of a home and which procedures to use in the many tasks involved to head off these problems.

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This Week’s Course Spotlight: Michigan Code, Law and Safety

2 contractors looking over plans on a construction site

Builders License Training Institute’s 3-hour Code, Law, and Safety course was written and taught by instructor Scott Corbat. This 3-hour course is required by the state of Michigan for all Residential and Maintenance and Alteration contractors to complete each 3-year licensing cycle.

Code, Law, and Safety

This three-hour course is a review of the most recent and code, law and safety changes in the Michigan construction industry.

  • Code: The first hour focuses on the 2015 Michigan Residential Code book and the latest changes.
  • Law: The second hour will cover the fundamental principles of contract law and the elements of a construction contract are explained.
  • Safety: The last hour of the course reviews OSHA regulations and the safety codes required for residential construction.

About the Instructor

scott-corbat-head-shotScott Corbat has been working with Builders License Training Institute since 2008. Scott teaches all pre-licensure, continuing competence, EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP), and private classes in the West Michigan market. He also built new custom homes in Saginaw and Midland before moving to West Michigan’s lakeshore where he continues to build. Scott assists West Michigan manufacturing firms in new product, process, and facilities engineering needs.

Michigan 3-hour Code/Law/Safety Classes

Builders License Training Institute offers the Michigan approved 3-hour Code, Law and Safety course in two forms, classroom or online. Recently partnering with Menards®, we now offer this course in 18 locations throughout Michigan.

Menards® will be hosting this class in the following Michigan locations:

Click on the city nearest you to sign up!

For contractors who are unable to make it to one of our locations we also offer the Michigan 3-hour Code, Law, and Safety course online.

These classes fill up quickly so don't procrastinate. Sign up today!