NAHB Urges EPA to Accredit More Lead-Paint Rule Trainers
In an effort to ease the challenge of obtaining the training required when a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule governing the work of professional remodelers in homes where there is lead-based paint goes into effect on April 22, NAHB remodelers urged the EPA during a meeting last week to quickly increase the number of accredited trainers available and to find ways to support remodelers who are making a “good faith” effort to comply with the new regulation.
There are an estimated 200,000 remodelers nationwide and, to date, the EPA has only accredited about 50 firms to provide training for its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, which is intended to reduce childhood lead poisoning. The rule addresses all aspects of remodeling and renovation projects disturbing more than six square feet of potentially contaminated painted surfaces in homes, apartments and condominiums built prior to 1978.
NAHB Remodelers representatives met last week with Steve Owens, the assistant administrator with EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, to discuss the need for additional accredited trainers, flexibility when implementing the rule and the need for greater consumer awareness to discourage home owners from remodeling their homes themselves without regard to the regulation or from relying on unscrupulous contractors.
Greg Miedema, CGR, GMB, CAPS, CGP, of Dakota Builders of Tucson, Ariz., and NAHB Remodelers chairman, told Owens that the NAHB Remodelers has been keeping its members informed of the progress of the EPA’s lead paint rule since the 1990s, and that working with the federation represented the agency’s best hope for successfully rolling out the new regulation.
While the EPA is developing guidelines for the online training required to comply with the rule, Brindley Byrd, CAPS, CGR, of QX2 Contracting in Lansing, Mich., noted that the EPA had not certified enough training facilities in the Midwest or Northeast — where demand for training is expected to be higher because of the older housing stock in those regions — to meet the hands-on training requirements for remodelers to become certified to work under the rule.
EPA to Increase Consumer Awareness
Mike Nagel, CGR, CAPS, of Remodel One in Roselle, Ill., said there was a lack of consumer demand or willingness by consumers to pay for the increased costs for remodeling under the rule. He said that without an effort to educate consumers about the risks involved, many consumers might attempt to remodel their homes themselves or hire contractors who would perform work without regard to the rule.
He also said remodelers were concerned that unless consumers were more aware of the rule and its implications, remodelers might not have enough customers warrant the expense of training and certification.
Owens said the EPA was working with a marketing agency and the Ad Council, which provides public service announcements, to educate consumers about the dangers of lead paint and the risks of using a fly-by-night contractors or doing the work themselves.
Owens also asked NAHB for advice on how to enforce the rule when unscrupulous or uncertified contractors are performing the remodeling.
A Call for Flexibility and Future Rule Makings
Citing confusion among remodelers because of an EPA plan to propose additional rules that might change the lead paint regulation, Bob Hanbury, CGR, of House of Hanbury in Newington, Conn., called for continued flexibility from the EPA when implementing and enforcing the rule.
He also asked the EPA to provide transitional support to remodelers who are making a good-faith effort to comply with the rule.
NAHB Remodelers will continue to work with the EPA on the rule’s implementation.
For information about the lead-paint rule — including how to become a certified trainer or certified renovator and how to find training courses — visit www.nahb.org/leadpaint.
For more information, e-mail Kelly Mack at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8451.