Online continuing education courses revamps how contractors renew licenses

By Oregon Small Business Association

Oregon licensed building contractors are finding they have to take an extra step to renew their state Construction Contractors Board (CCB) licenses this year. Effective October 1, 2011, the CCB began requiring contractors to complete continuing education credit hours. Most residential contractors are required to complete 16 hours. Those with a “dual endorsement” for both residential and commercial work require more.

The new requirement stems from a rash of litigation and claims related to moisture-intrusion, mold and mildew problems mostly resulting from improperly installed siding, windows and doors. As a result, contractors’ liability insurance became very expensive and difficult to obtain, with many carriers cancelling coverage and pulling completely out of the Oregon market.

The 2007 Oregon Legislature passed HB 2654, calling for the CCB to develop and implement the program. Of the 16 hours typically required for most residential contractors, eight hours consists of courses on building exterior shell training, building codes, and CCB laws and regulations. The courses are currently available from just a handful of education providers who have been approved by the CCB following a thorough review of their course content.

Some contractors are not happy with the timing, given the economic recession which started shortly after the legislation was passed. Many contractors are finding that computers are a necessary tool, and a convenient way to complete the requirements. One provider, Oregon Contractor Education, offers all courses via website at Oregon Contractor Education , enabling contractors to watch the videos 24/7.

“Contractors are busy people, and many are operating on a shoestring budget,” said Phil Peach, owner of Oregon Contractor Education. “This is a way to get through the continuing education requirements quickly and affordably while picking up some great tips along the way,” he said. In addition to featuring all Oregon contractors and building officials, the website offers elective courses by a popular construction industry management consultant.

The education requirements will continue for contractor license renewals through the current two-year renewal cycle until September 30, 2013. After that, subsequent renewals will undergo the same number of required hours, although changes in the curriculum are expected.

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