Florida Thermal & Moisture Protection Course

Here is an excerpt of our 1-hour online course “Thermal & Moisture Protection: Keeping the Weather Out” with Roger Peck. Water damage is a major concern in many building projects. Keep your clients dry and your profits high with practical moisture and weather solutions.  

Why should we install vapor barriers and foundation coatings?

We need to limit ground water moisture from entering the foundation walls.  It’s a common misunderstanding that concrete is waterproof!  Concrete and mortar are not waterproof!  Think of masonry products as hard sponges!

The best way to avoid moisture problems below grade is to design and install a system that keeps moisture from saturating the soil around the home.  Through the use of proven designs we can effectively divert the rainfall away from the building before it saturates the soil around the structure.

Nothing is more effective in keeping the foundation and crawl space dry than keeping the rain water and ground water from penetrating the perimeter of the foundation.

When a high water table exists, install a footer drain around the perimeter of the foundation and drain to daylight if possible. Through the use of proven designs we can effectively divert the rainfall away from the building before it saturates the soil around the structure.

The footing drain needs to be installed as soon as possible after the foundation waterproofing. If not done soon, it may require extra hand digging due to collapse of surrounding soil from rain and loose soils around the excavation. This extra work may be ignored or done incorrectly, resulting in incorrect slope or no slope in the footer drains. Or worse, if the drain material is flexible, workers may allow the line to move up and over the obstruction, resulting in a sediment trap and causing the drain to fail prematurely!

Remember: The surface drains should never be allowed to connect to the floor or footer drains!  This means the surface water or gutter drains can only be installed after the footer drains have been covered and backfill operations have begun.


Builders License Exam Prep & State Approved Continuing Education

2010 ADA Standards: Special Rooms, Spaces, and Elements

This one-hour course by Instructor Roger Peck will help you understand the importance of circulation pathways and ADA requirements for lodging, dining, courthouse, and public transportation facilities.

The ADA is one of the United State's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in mainstream life. The 2010 Standards set minimum requirements for construction design.

This one-hour video course will cover the eighth chapter of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, Special Rooms, Spaces and Elements. The material for this course is presented by simple narration and PowerPoint video presentation, including on-site, real world video examples in various accessible buildings used by both the public and private sector.

Course Objectives:

  • Recognize the importance of adequate circulation pathways for disabled persons in special spaces and public facilities.
  • Identify the ADA requirements for lodging, dining, courthouse, and public or private building.
  • Outline at least one design strategy based on ADA standards for the construction of either a public or private building.
  • Summarize the options available to the design or building professional when designing a facility per the requirements of the ADA Standards.

Builders License Exam Prep & State Approved Continuing Education

2019 Top 10 OSHA Violations

OSHA released the Top 10 OSHA violations of 2019 at the NSC Congress & Expo in San Diego. Since 2018 violations have dropped by 15% but Fall Protection remains the #1 OSHA violation.

 

  1. Fall Protection (1926.501)
    Violations: 6,010 in 2019 • 7,270 in 2018
    Online HD Video Course for Fall Protection
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
    Violations: 3,671 in 2019 • 4,552 in 2018
    Online HD Video Course for Hazard Communication
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451)
    Violations: 2,813 in 2019 • 3,336 in 2018
  4. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
    Violations: 2,606 in 2019 • 2,944 in 2018
    Online HD Video Course for Controlling Hazardous Energy
  5. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
    Violations: 2,450 in 2019 • 3,118 in 2018
    Online HD Video Course for Respiratory Protection
  6. Ladders (1926.1053
    Violations: 2,345 in 2019 • 2,812 in 2018
    Online HD Video Course for 29 CFR 1926 Stairways and Ladders
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
    Violations: 2,093 in 2019 • 2,294 in 2018
    Online HD Video Course for Powered Industrial Trucks and Aerial Lifts
  8. Fall Protection Training (1926.503)
    Violations: 1,773 in 2019 • 1,982 in 2018
    Online HD Video Course for Fall Protection
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212)
    Violations: 1,743 in 2019 • 1,972 in 2018
  10. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)
    Violations: 1,411 in 2019 • 1,536 in 2018
    Online HD Video Course for Personal Protective Equipment

You can avoid OSHA violations by making sure your team is trained in proper safety procedures. Visit our OSHA & Industrial Safety Training catalog for a full list of training.


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3 Concrete Innovations That Could Change The Construction Industry Forever

Concrete throughout history has literally and figuratively become the building blocks of civilization as we know it. Just a few ingredients combined and formed into bricks and other shapes, dried in the sun or ovens have formed the foundation and support of structures for centuries. We depend on its strength and durability to protect us from outside elements and find safety within the sturdiness of the structures we inhabit. Here are a few new innovations that will take concrete to new heights.

  1. Martian Concrete – Quite literally the building material of the future! Researchers at the Northwestern University, have created concrete made from the materials available on Mars.
    This new concrete does not require water which is a crucial benefit in the development of structures on the planet. Martian concrete can be made by heating Sulphur at 240 degrees Celsius which will melt it into a liquid. Martian soil is then added as an aggregate and once the mixture is cooled, becomes concrete!  Northwestern Universities research team has determined the ratio of Sulphur and Martian soil needs to be 1:1.
  1. Fire Resistant Concrete - Traditional concrete tends to chip and flake when exposed to fire, just the same as firewood crackles. The water that is trapped inside vaporizes when heated and builds pressure which causes it to break down. Researchers have found that adding polypropylene (PP) fiber to the mix creates a network of canals for water vapor to escape. Such canals are created as the fibers melt away, thus reducing the pressure build up. While the addition of PP fibers to self-compacting concrete seems to solve the fire retardance issue, it also posed a threat to the concretes ability to self-compact. Researchers found that soaking a super absorbing polymer (SAP) in water beforehand caused the fibers to swell. When the concrete sets, the water is drawn out of the SAP through the porous cement matrix which then causes the SAP to shrink, leaving behind hollow spaces inside. These spaces link up with the other hollow spaces left behind by the few melted PP fibers that were in the mix, again creating a network of canals that enable it to withstand the heat.   Sources: EMPA  NEW ATLAS

  2. Self-Healing Concrete – Concrete provides the foundations for our homes, bridges, and It’s the most common construction material worldwide. It’s ingredients consist of water, cement, and aggregate.
    Scientists have found another ingredient that when added to the mix, makes concrete self-healing – Bacteria. While Bacteria is often considered to be a bad thing, this bacteria can actually heal the cracks in concrete. When a crack forms, water has a way of seeping into the void and over time makes it larger with expansion and contraction. With the addition of these bacterial spores, the water seeps into the crack and the spores go to work germinating, and moving toward the source of the water. The bacteria produce calcite which acts as a bio-cement which fills the cracks as the bacteria move. This process is known as Biomineralization. Biomineralization is a sophisticated process and a widespread phenomenon in nature leading to the formation of a variety of inorganic minerals by living organisms [19].  From: Modern Inorganic Synthetic Chemistry, 2011

 


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4 Safety Practices for the Modern Jobsite

Dodge Data & Analytics (DDA), a provider of analytics and software-based workflow integration solutions for the construction industry, conducted a new study for the Center for Construction Research and Planning (CPWR).

The study asked contractors about specific practices focused on safety like reducing noise levels and fall risks, to broader practices like adopting a safe jobsite climate that includes supervisor mentorship and training.

Dodge Data & Analytics shows four safety best practices that need to become commonplace on jobsites. The study helps reveal ways that the construction industry can still improve practices to help with worker safety, health, and well-being.

For the briefness of this blog, this is how they defined different size construction companies:

  • Large companies: annual revenues of $100 million or more
  • Midsize companies: annual revenues of $10 to $100 million
  • Small companies: annual revenues below $10 million

Manage hazards before construction begins

There is a clear pattern of large companies utilizing more safety practice techniques compared to smaller companies. One area that large companies consistently perform better than smaller ones is advanced hazard planning. 42% of respondents in large companies reported that they believed their company handles advanced planning well—compared to 28% of midsize and 36% of small companies.

A similar trend appears when looking at materials-handling practices. 86% of contractors from large companies reported that they formally plan how materials will be handled once work is awarded, and 72% reported that they meet with employees for a discussion on how materials will be moved. In comparison, small and midsize companies reported they develop a formal plan for material handling, but only 54% conduct those meetings with employees.

Take advantage of online safety tools

According to the study, another way midsize and small companies can help develop jobsite safety is utilize websites and online tools that provide useful information and materials for improving safety.

Surveyors were asked if they used websites from Stop Construction Falls, Choose Hand Safety, CPWR’s Construction Solutions database, as well as the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health. Dodge Data & Analytics states “The gap between the percentage of contractors using them and the percentage who find that they provide value suggests that wider use of these online resources could help contractors access practices and solutions, ultimately helping them improve safety on-site.”

Mentor Subcontractors on Safety Performance

Providing health and safety related mentorship to subcontractors helps with the safety climate of a project by making sure that all workers understand the safety goals and parameters. The findings found that this type of mentorship was not common practice.

58% of respondents from large companies reported this type of safety mentorship on their projects, with small and midsize companies saying 29% and 35% provide it.

Practice Lean Construction Widely

Dodge Data & Analytics describes lean construction as “The goals of eliminating waste and improving the process of construction are frequently supported by enhanced leadership and communication across the organization. These same qualities are essential to enhancing safety, and safety is also a key performance indicator of success for lean projects.”

Many contractors in the study reported that they are familiar with lean construction, which is a huge increase from 53% in a similar study conducted in 2013.  But In the current study only 21% reported implementing lean procedures at their businesses.

Dodge Data & Analytics show there is a lot of safety practices that construction companies can focus on to improve the jobsite climate. Larger companies have the resources to ensure safety practices but there are applications smaller and midsize companies could implement to improve jobsite safety.


Builders License Exam Prep & State Approved Continuing Education

5 Construction Technology Trends to Watch in 2020

Many construction companies have been hesitant to embrace new technology because they view it as an expense rather than a method to improve efficiency and cut costs overall. Companies that have been early to the new technology game have reaped the benefits of lower employee turnover, increased productivity, and fewer workplace accidents. Here are a few new technologies that began to take hold in 2019 and are expected to take off in 2020.

  1. Drones have been an increasingly valuable asset in the construction world for several years now. As their use increases, software companies are making programs specifically for contractors. Drones can be used to increase safety on job sites. For example, many contractors use drones to determine if a roof is safe for contractors rather than sending a human up to check. Drones are also used to collect data and ensure projects are being completed correctly and at the right speed. Builders License Training Institute offers an online Drones in Construction class. Choose your state below to get started.
  2. Construction Management Software is getting easier to use on the job site and more advanced by the year. Construction Management Software includes scheduling, project management, and timekeeping applications so you can keep track of all your job costs in one program.
  3. Project Management Solutions have come a long way. These programs are more user-friendly than ever and there are plenty of options to choose from. Project management software can provide a clear view of all activities and communications, as well as, the real-time progress of your projects.
  4. Building Information Modeling or BIM. BIM is a way of representing buildings, roads, and utilities through computer-generated images to help visualize the construction process before it begins. Architects and engineers use this software to determine how building materials will hold up over time. The ability to visualize projects before beginning work reduces wasted time, labor, and materials.
  5. Virtual Reality allows contractors to experience complex logistics first-hand and get an accurate gauge on a project. VR can help construction companies get a 360-degree view of the building before construction even starts.

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5 Tips to Build Trust with Customers

Customers who trust your business will be loyal customers. Establishing trust with your customers provides you the opportunity to build lifelong relationships with your clientele, which will give you a sense of job security as well as the satisfaction of a job well done.

Here are 5 tips to help build relationships with your customers:

Listen actively

While your customer is describing their problem to you, be present with them. Maintaining eye contact, nodding in appropriate places, and leaning in slightly are all ways to show you are an active participant in the conversation. The bonus is that these non-verbal cues also let you respond to what your customer is saying, while giving them the space to make themselves feel heard.

Be socially active

Make sure your website is up to date and usable (especially on mobile phones). There is nothing worse for a customer to arrive at a website that they cannot use to find the information they need. Use your social media as often as possible. Customers appreciate a company that keeps up with their social media accounts regularly, as it shows them you care about your company image.

Be available

Especially as a small business, it is easy to set your own hours and make them work for you. However, it is important to customers that you be available when you say you will be available, and to have hours that are easily accessible to your customer base. Set regular working hours and stick to them. If your website says you are open from 9am-5pm, answer the phones during that time, or at the very least return calls as soon as possible within that time frame. This lets customers know you value their time as well as their own.

Be transparent

Try to stay away from gimmicky or misleading advertisements. Be humble when it comes to claims about your products and services (over exaggeration can be a turn off for customers). Make sure your bids are as clear and detailed as possible. Use contracts that are in plain English rather than legalese. Customers will see the value in your honesty, especially when they compare you against the flashy claims of your competition.

Under promise, over deliver

If you think a job is going to take you 6 hours, tell your customers it will take 8. Making small adjustments like this will help you if you run into unexpected problems, but if you do manage to finish ‘early’ your customers will feel you went above and beyond for them. Being upfront about what you offer is one thing but delivering on those promises is what truly demonstrates trustworthiness to customers.


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A. Vincent Caracci, IV from Hammond Louisiana

It is absolutely refreshing to find a company that provides the amount of customer service you have provided in this day and age. You definitely made navigating through this veritable quagmire that is the Louisiana commercial contractor licensing process exponentially less painful. I will definitely recommend your services to anyone looking for licensing study material and will also be a returning customer for any of my future studying needs. You are a true lifesaver and I am greatly appreciative.

Adam Madison from St. George, UT

Your courses are inexpensive with an easy to use platform.  Much more convenient than taking time off work to go to a live course.  I like that I can do it on my own time, VERY CONVENIENT!

Ailene Corlin, Michigan Realtor and Licensed Builder

Excellent training did the entire 60 hr. class online.  The two exam preps and business math were key to passing the test on the first try.  Great, friendly staff at License to Build answered all of my questions even the day before the test I asked “any words for the wise.”  They reviewed with me what to study.  Passed on first try 3/20/2014, you made it easy!! Thank you for all of your help.

Ajay C.

Course was good. our instructor was well informed. ****

Alan Kowalewski from Michigan

Good course with practical applications. The instructor was knowledgeable on subject matter. – February 24, 2017

I PASSED!!! Took the Residential Builders test for the first time today in Grand Rapids and passed both sections. Thanks so very much to everyone at BLTI. Dave, thanks for our lengthy phone conversati…
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