Well, here I am sitting in another hotel room. Why? Two words – Continuing Education; this time I am down here in Montgomery to take a three-day class on Weatherization. Back in October, I was in Indianapolis to take a government mandated Lead class and to attend the Remodeling & Deck Expo. Then there were the 4-day trips to Birmingham for Xactimate training, and the trip to Atlanta to attend the International Kitchen Bath Industry Show.
Ok, so you may be asking – why should I care and how does this help me? Well, instead of me answering that question right now, let see what others have to say first.
Let’s start with Owen Sechrist of Ruby Construction in Millersville, PA
I think customers benefit when using contractors who are committed to continuing their education on several levels.
For me, continuing education includes much more than formal coursework or certifications. It can be as simple as reading articles online.
Although building science isn’t rocket science, it is certainly more complicated than many people understand, even contractors that don’t bother to become more educated.
On another level, it behooves contractors who are involved in project design and selections to keep abreast of new technologies, products and fixtures as they become available. This not only has a huge impact on performance issues, appearance and functionality; but can also greatly affect a project’s price.
Brock Patterson of Blue Ribbon Construction in Wichita, KS adds the following thoughts…
Building codes are constantly being amended, FEMA has redrawn flood plain maps, and innovations in product development to assist the builder in producing a more energy efficient structure are coming out every day. It is imperative that the builder keep himself aware of these and other changes to compete in his marketplace and deliver a better product than his predecessors did.
As Owen & Brock so succinctly point out, numerous changes occur all the time that affect the construction field. Just to name a few major changes that will start happening in 2010; the building codes in most areas will be changing shortly from the 2006 version to the 2009 codes. The EPA has changed the rules on LEAD Abatement and Renovations, which is just starting to get some much-needed attention. (FYI – a newer article will soon be released helping you cut through a lot of the fluff out there)
So how do you know if the contractor you have chosen is staying current or how do you stay up to date if you like working on your own place? Let’s start with the Contractor – ask them how they stay up to date, how is training provided to the employees (the boss can be up to date, but it does no good if the information doesn’t get to the employees, right)? If your house is an older one, ask them how they plan on complying with the LEAD regulations – did they hand you the proper booklet required by law? You might also ask them if they are a member of any construction forums, which magazines or web sites they use to help stay up to date, etc…
Now, how do you stay up to date? You are reading this blog article, which is a good start; you can accentuate that with sites like This Old House & Fine Home Building which have excellent articles and how to advice. My only word of caution is to be careful what you find on the web – while there is a lot of excellent advice out there; there is also numerous self-proclaimed “experts” or “how-to articles” that have some real bad advice.. I would also strongly recommend subscribing to magazines like
In closing let me leave you with one final comment from Paul Lesieur of Silvertree Construction in Minneapolis, MN
Are we that much different from doctors or lawyers? Whom would you consider for professional services, someone that costs less but is still doing what they knew 20 years ago, or a professional who is up on the latest developments?