Michigan Building Code Changes Effective February 8, 2016

Attention Michigan builders and remodelers!  As I’m sure you’ve heard, the State of Michigan will begin enforcing the new 2015 Michigan Residential Code on February 8, 2016.  As part of this new code, the State has adopted the 2015 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), edited appropriately for Michigan buildings. The addition of the 2015 IECC code has many Michigan builders and contractors calling us with questions so we thought we would put together a quick list of new requirements that everyone will have to incorporate beginning February 8th.

2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) – Chapter 11

As stated above, the 2015 IECC has been adopted as part of the Michigan Residential Code.  The good news is that for the first time in 15 years, builders are now able to purchase one comprehensive code book instead of two or more.  Click here to purchase the new 2015 Michigan Residential Code, including the 2015 IECC.

Blower Door Test – N1102.4.1.2

The Blower Door Test (BDT) is designed to find the source of air leakage in new homes (post-construction) or existing homes (prior to remodeling). The 2009 IECC offered contractors the choice between a visual test and the blower door test, allowing for flexibility.  However, the 2015 IECC requires a BDT on all residential new construction.  Furthermore, to avoid conflict of interest, builders and contractors are not permitted to perform their own BDT’s and must hire an independent 3rd-party to complete the testing, average cost running between $250 – $450 USD.

Electrical Code Arc-Breakers

No longer required for new residential construction builds

Basement Egress Windows – R310.6

When finishing or remodeling existing basements to create additional living space, builders must install egress windows in any basement room that is designated as a sleeping room.  Egress windows are no longer required when basement finishing or remodeling is limited to laundry rooms, family rooms, exercise rooms, etc.

  • NOTE: All counties and local municipalities interpret this code differently. It is always a good idea to contact your local Building Inspector to find out how codes are enforced and interpreted.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms – R315

The old 2009 code only required that carbon monoxide alarms be powered by a 9volt battery. The new 2015 code requires that all carbon monoxide alarms are now:

  • Inter-connected with the smoke alarms
  • Complete with a battery back-up
  • Wired to the buildings wiring system

The required locations for the carbon monoxide alarms remains unchanged from the 2009 IECC.

Decking – R507

In previous versions of the Michigan Residential Building Code there was only one sentence regarding deck construction.  The new 2015 code provides more than 4 pages of instruction on how to properly build a deck.

  • Joist and Beam Span Tables
    • Now compatible with wet-use environment and incised treated lumber
  • Sizing provisions for Posts
  • Foundation Details

These are just a handful of the topics covered in the 2015 code book. 


For the best new way to complete your education requirements,

visit www.licensetobuild.com or give the friendly staff a call



How to Become A Certified Lead Paint Renovator in Michigan

Did you know…

If you are working on a pre-1978 home or child occupied facility and have NOT been certified as a Lead Paint Renovator, you could be fined up to $37,500.00. While the EPA doesn’t always hit you for this full amount, this is being enforced and they are fining contractors. To avoid exposing children to the harmful effects of lead poisoning and lead dust, plus to avoid a hefty fine, you must become a Certified LEAD Renovator.

To become a LEAD Certified Renovator you must:

  • Attend an 8-hour EPA approved Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Training Course.


  • Participate in all Hands-on sections during the course.


  • Pass the 30 question test at the end of the course.  


  • Submit a $300.00 fee to the EPA along with Certificate of completion
    • If you own your own business you will send in your Firm Certification Fee in order to certify your Firm as the qualifying Individual. 


How to Renew my Lead Paint Renovator Certification

Your certification is good for 5 years. Before the 5 year cycle is up, you will be required to complete a 4-Hour Lead Paint RRP Refresher course. Once the course is completed contractors will take a 20 question exam.  A copy of your original Certification must be provided to the instructor in order to receive your renewal certification. Your Firm Certification including the FEE can then be submitted to the EPA.

The 8-HR Initial and 4-HR Refresher courses both meet the 3 required approval levels:

  1. Fulfills the 4-Hour Federal Requirement for the Certified Renovator Refresher course.

  2. Fulfills 4 hours of Continued Competency for the Michigan Residential Builders and Maintenance and Alteration Contractors Licensees.
    • This applies for those who need 21-HR of CE. This does not fulfill the 3-HR Code, Law, Safety requirements. 

  3. Fulfills 4 hours of Continued Education for the Michigan Real Estate Licensees.


The Home Builders Association of Grand Traverse Area (HBAGTA) will be offering a certification course on December 18, 2015 in Traverse City, MI. This course will be taught by BLTI instructors. To sign up for this course click here



Complete your Continuing Education Now!

For the fastest and most economical way to complete this education visit www.licensetobuild.com or give the friendly staff a call at: 1-800-727-7104

Subscribe to our Blog and Follow us on Twitter @ConEdTraining to receive periodic updates on licensing information changes and deadlines, as well as exclusive discounts.


Turn Your Construction Tradespeople into Salespeople!

Turn Your Construction Tradespeople into Salespeople!

Sales are a major part of any construction job. Knowing the different regulations, site limitations, and legal language are all extremely important to the overall success of a project. Having the right tools and knowledge not only makes you and your team effective salespeople but confident as well.  

What qualifies you as a Salesperson?

If you are working for a licensed builder in any capacity where you are signing contracts or exchanging money, you are required to hold a salesperson license. You must be sponsored by (work under) a licensed residential builder or maintenance and alteration (M&A) contractor, or their company. You cannot hold a salesperson license on your own. You must also pass a State Salesperson Exam consisting of 50 questions.

The online Video Salesperson training program produced by the Builders License Training Institute, not only prepares construction salespeople to pass the Michigan Salespersons Exam, but it is an extremely effective tool in teaching tradespeople many important facets of selling in the construction industry.


Along with a thorough preparation for the exam there are 4 main points covered in the Online Video Salesperson Course:


1. Laws & regulations surrounding licensing Construction and Salespeople.


2. The investigation and complaint process in Michigan, including the Construction Lien Act.


3. Reading construction plans, blueprints, & spec sheets


4. Construction Math


 Builders License Training Institute also offers the full 60-hour Builders License course in an online video format. For those who have already taken the 60-hr builders license course, we offer many Continuing Education courses that can help contractors grow a successful business, click here for the full list. The online video salesperson course is set up for you to come and go as you please. Our system is designed to keep track of where you left off and we store your completion when finished.



Complete your Continuing Education Now!


For the fastest and most economical way to complete this education, visitwww.licensetobuild.com or give the friendly staff a call at:




Subscribe to our Blog and Follow us on Twitter @ConEdTraining to receive periodic updates on licensing information changes and deadlines, as well as exclusive discounts. 





Minnesota Lowers the Cost of Construction Licensing and Permits

Great News for the Construction Industry

Effective July 1, 2015  the state of Minnesota has reduced construction code licensing fees by about $20. This change is set to lower license costs for construction contractors, electricians, plumbers, and high pressure pipe fitters. Minnesota has been working hard to make its licensing process more efficient, and through these efficiency gains they are now able to pass down the cost savings to contractors.


In 2012 the online ReNew licensing system was launched to allow individuals and businesses to apply for and renew a license online. By creating and launching this system, the DLI has been able to process applications and renewals much faster, and at a lower cost.


The DLI has four different levels of licensing: Entry, Journeyworker, Master, and Business. Each of these license types have their own associated fees. These fees have been reduced for all four levels, and the DLI says these lower licensing costs will stay in place until June 30, 2017 when they will be re-assessed.


Minnesota, Builders, License, Fees, Continuing Education, Courses, Get Licensed,

Source: MN CCLD


Along with the license fees being reduced, Minnesota’s Construction Codes and Licensing Division has also reduced the building permit surcharge fee. The state surcharge applied to “fixed fee” building permits used to be $5 but now has been lowered to just $1.


With these reduced fees and rise in construction activities, there has never been a better time to get your license. In order to get your Minnesota Residential Builders or Remodelers license you need to pass the state exam.


This MN Builders and Remodelers exam is 110 questions and includes both business/law and trades. If you are considering taking the exam, there are great exam prep resources available that have a 100% money back guarantee that you will pass. The Builders License Training Institute has an online MN Exam Prep Program that is fantastic for everyone from entry level contractors to veterans of the industry who are deciding to get licensed. 



For more great information or to check out our state approved courses on construction, architecture, electrical standards, and engineering, visit www.licensetobuild.com or give our friendly staff a call at:


Subscribe to our Blog and Follow us on Twitter @ConEdTraining to receive periodic updates on licensing information changes and deadlines, as well as exclusive discounts.


Skyscrapers to Spaceships: The Coolest New Buildings in America

Coolest New Buildings in America


The US is in the midst of rapid change. With a booming tech industry and a growing population of over 320 million, the US needs additional infrastructure. With limited space and growing environmental concern, architects are designing buildings that are taller and more efficient than ever before. Below are a few of this year’s coolest buildings that reflect an adapting industry:


Nordstrom Tower, 225 West 57th Street – New York City

›  This residential building, to be completed in 2018, will be one of the tallest buildings in the city.

›  However, living here may cost you a pretty penny, with an average price of $17 million.

›  The 94-floor building was designed by esteemed Chicago-based architecture and design firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.

Architect Training, Continuing Education, Online AIA Courses, Cool Buildings

Source: New York YIMBY



Apple Campus 2 – Cupertino, California

›  Apple’s now soon-to-be headquarters in Silicon Valley has been dubbed the “spaceship” for its UFO-looking circle shape.

›  Originally estimated to cost under $3 billion, current estimates put Campus 2 around $5 billion.

›  Designed by UK architects Foster + Partners, who are rumored to be in talks to also design new Apple Stores.

›  The loop structure, which is over a mile long, places an emphasis on green space, allowing room to plant over 72,000 trees.

›  Campus 2 was one of the last great visions of Steve Jobs, inspired by the Stanford campus.

Architect, Cool, Buildings, Apple, Online, Courses, AIA,

Source: Apple



432 Park Avenue – New York City

›  Another luxury residential building, this time designed by world-renowned Rafael Viñoly Architects.

›  The grid-like structure was inspired by a trash can.

›  The penthouse apartment, boasting six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, reportedly sold for over $95 million.

›  Currently topped-out, the building should open later this year.

Online AIA Approved Courses, Architect, Continuing, Education, Architecture, License, Renewal

Source: 432parkavenue.com



The Pensmore Mansion – Ozark Mountains of Highlandville, Missouri

›  This residential home, owned and built by a former CIA officer, will be one of the largest residential homes in the US, totaling a dumbfounding 72,215 square feet.

›  Despite its massive size, the home is designed with its carbon footprint in mind, using insulated concrete and geothermal heating.

›  The house is designed to be nearly everlasting —being earthquake and tornado resistant, fire retardant and even bulletproof.

›  The construction is ongoing, with no set completion date.

›  The Pensmore Mansion is so large, it’s even bigger than the White House.

Architecture, Engineering, AIA, continuing, education, courses, online, AIA, Approved

Source: pensmore.com


Facebook Headquarters – Menlo Park, California

›  Facebook’s new headquarters, near the Stanford University campus in San Francisco South Bay Area, was designed by LA-based architect Frank Gehry and opened just this past year.

›  CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted the space to have a dorm-like feel, placing an emphasis on collaboration.

›  According to Zuckerberg , the new location is “the largest open floor plan in the world.”

›  The new location can house 9,000 employees.

›  The new headquarters features an expansive rooftop garden, complete with 400 trees and a running path.

›  Facebook employees are told to personalize their space – adding artful graffiti to the campus as they wish.

Architects, AIA, Open Floor Plan, Online, Courses, Course, Simple, License, Renewal

Source: Hillary Fox



Did we leave out a building you think deserves the spotlight? Which architectural marvel are you most excited about? Let us know by commenting below, connecting with us on LinkedIN and liking our Facebook page!



Complete your Continuing Education Now!


For the fastest and most economical way to complete this education, visit www.architectstraininginstitute.com or give the friendly staff a call at:



Subscribe to our Blog and Follow us on Twitter @ConEdTraining to receive periodic updates on licensing information changes and deadlines, as well as exclusive discounts.


Contractors: Blueprints for Better Communication with Clients

A Better Way To Communicate with your Clients

Good communication is crucial to the success of any business, especially those in the construction industry.  Product selections and change orders can be overwhelming and can quickly change profit into loss if not handled correctly. It’s not uncommon for a client to visit their project after the completion of a phase to discover a request had been missed or installed wrong.  Here’s a web site idea that will put an end to your client communication problems.


Create a simple one-page web site that has a client “Login” feature.  Each client will have their own username and password so they can log into their own project account.  Once they log in, they will be presented with the following tab selections:


Documents – Under this tab should be all of the contract, specifications, plans, and other paperwork to be stored for both you the contractor and the client to review at will.  Even things like soil reports, board approvals and permits should be placed under this tab.


Allowances – Should include all allowances, product selections, ordering information like dates and delivery, installation schedules and change orders as they pertain to the allowances.  Be sure to include deadlines that clients must adhere to for making their selections so they don’t slow down the project.


Change Orders – Any time a change is made to the project it needs to be documented, dated and posted here.  This is a great way to CYA (Cover Your A**) and account for all the little changes and additions that occur with most projects.


Selections – All product selections should be posted here, with pictures if possible.  This is not only a great way to keep track of the zillion different decisions made during a project, but also is a place where you can go to review you clients decisions and consult with them if necessary.


Progress Report – This report should be posted weekly, preferably at the end of day Monday.  It should include a detailed synopsis of the work completed the previous week, as well as a schedule of the work to be accomplished in the new week.  Photos and reminders can also be included.  This tab will help keep the job progressing because we sure don’t want to see the same progress for three weeks in a row.


Whether you create the site yourself using an off-the-shelf package like Microsoft FrontPage, or hire a company to create the site, the time saving convenience to your customers, as well as the “CYA” aspects for yourself will be well worth the time. If you really want to be creative, you can add webcams to your job sites allowing out of town clients to monitor the progress.  This may also limit the amount of time clients spend actually at the jobsite.

We have talked about the importance of a company website in the past, and this is just another example of how having a simple yet functional website can greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your hard work. 


NOTE:  Whenever possible, post scanned images of invoices, orders, plans and specs; anything that proves the validity of the information.


For more great information or to check out our state approved courses on construction, architecture, electrical standards, and engineering, visit www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com or give our friendly staff a call at:



Subscribe to our Blog and Follow us on Twitter @ConEdTraining to receive periodic updates on licensing information changes and deadlines, as well as exclusive discounts.


Lead Paint Renovator Renewal Deadline Extended

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a final rule on April 8th to extend re-certification for individual renovators who received their initial certification prior to March 31, 2011.  This extension applies only to individual renovators who must get re-certified within the following timelines.


  • Individual renovators who received certification on or before March 31, 2010, now have until March 31, 2016, to get re-certified.


  • Individual renovators who received certification between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011, will have one year added to their 5-year certification.


  • Individual renovators who received certification after March 31, will be five years to get re-certified.


These extensions apply to only the states that fall under the EPA program and not the following 14 states that are authorized to administer their own RRP program:  Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.


SPECIAL NOTE:  These extensions only apply to individual renovator certifications, not to firm certification.  Firm certifications must be renewed according to the original expiration date, and are good for a 5 year period.



For more great information or to check out courses on construction marketing, visit www.licensetobuild.com or give our friendly staff a call at:



Subscribe to our Blog and Follow us on Twitter @ConEdTraining to receive periodic updates on licensing information changes and deadlines, as well as exclusive discounts.


Six Steps to Creating a Great Online Course!

Authoring an Online Course Is Easier Than Ever!


Certified Training Institute is looking for knowledgeable instructors to author online courses in multiple areas of expertise. If you have unique skills, design knowledge, a great idea or even a list of tips you’ve developed over the years, we are offering you an opportunity to pass on your knowledge and receive income from each student that purchases your course.


“I am thrilled to be able to share the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years.  I thought once I retired it would just be put aside.  This has been a great experience, plus I’m enjoying helping people enhance their careers.” – Paul Acker, author of Estimating and Bidding for Success


Step 1:  BIG IDEA.  If you have skills or design knowledge, industry techniques, good practices or even a list of shortcuts that would help others in the industry be more proficient, write them down.  So many great ideas are never heard.


“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”—Robin Williams


Step 2:  OBJECTIVES.  Make a list of things you want students to take away from the course.  What do you want your students to learn? Our great staff will work with you every step of the way. 


Step 3:  BUILD THE OUTLINE.  Take each objective and make a list of ways the objective can be met.  How are your students going to reach the objective?


An idea can only become a reality once it is broken down into organized, actionable elements.” –Scott Belsky, Making Ideas Happen…


Step 4:  BE THE EXPERT.  This is the fun part! You get to explain your experience and knowledge.  Just start writing sentences on what you do and what you know.  You can even get a program like ZebSpeech (free) or Dragon software that allows you to talk to your computer and have it type what you say. Work at your own pace.  Take your time.


Step 5: SEND IT OUR WAY.  Once you have your thoughts and ideas down, let us fill in the blanks with diagrams, charts, pictures and articles to give it that polished look.  You will be amazed at what we can do to make your knowledge glow. We will work to offer your course nationally as well as advertise it through multiple forms of media and social networks. 


Step 6: REAP THE REWARDS!  You will receive a monthly royalty check that is directly connected to the sales of your courses. There is no cap on how much you can make or how many courses you can submit. Your knowledge is valuable, so let it work for you. 



We are always looking for new topics and fresh ideas.  This is an opportunity to pass on your knowledge and make a residual income that will continue to grow as we market your course across the nation. 

Give us a call today. 1-800-727-7104


Subscribe to our Blog and Follow us on Twitter @ConEdTraining to receive periodic updates on licensing 
information changes and deadlines, as well as exclusive discounts.


PPE: 4 Categories of Fall Protection Equipment

Staying up to date on safety standards and modern PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) can save your life or the lives of your crew members. Over the next few weeks we will be covering different forms of PPE and how they should be used on the job-site. Falls on the job killed 294 construction professionals last year alone. Falls are the #1 cause of death among all construction activities. With the help of today’s personal protective equipment they are completely preventable. Failing to use the proper fall protection equipment was the most frequently cited violation by OSHA last year. Here are other major construction hazards

There are four major categories of fall protection equipment, and being familiar with all of them can seriously benefit every construction pro.


  1. Fall Arrest Systems– A fall arrest system is required if any risk exists in which a worker may fall from an elevated position. As a general rule, the fall arrest system should be used anytime a working height of six feet or more is reached. Working height is the distance from the walking/working surface to a grade or lower level. A fall arrest system will only come into service should a fall occur. A full-body harness with a shock-absorbing lanyard or a retractable lifeline is the only product recommended. A full-body harness distributes the forces throughout the body, and the shock-absorbing lanyard decreases the total fall arresting forces.


  2. Positioning Systems– This system holds the worker in place while keeping his/her hands free to work. Whenever the worker leans back, the system is activated. However, the personal positioning system is not specifically designed for fall arrest purposes. These can be body belts (single or double D-ring) that are designed to restrain a person in a hazardous work position and to reduce the possibility of falls.


  3. Suspension Systems– This equipment lowers and supports the worker while allowing a hands-free work environment, and is widely used in window washing and painting industries. The suspension system components are not designed to arrest a free fall. A backup fall arrest system should be used in conjunction with the suspension system.


  4. Retrieval Systems– Pre-planning for retrieval in the event of a fall should be taken into consideration when developing a proactive fall management program. A chest harness can be used for retrieving someone from a tank or bin. (OSHA 2014)


To learn more about PPE and other construction safety topics check out www.licensetobuild.com or www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com. Both are trusted sources for builders, contractors, architects, and anyone in the construction trades to get a license or complete their continuing education.