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At a recent webinar addressing remodelers’ concerns about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lead paint rule, panelist Michelle Price of the EPA said that remodelers can contract with a certified renovator to manage the work and train other subcontractors — as long as the certified renovator conducts the work stipulated by the rule and oversees uncertified workers.
Remodelers participating in the May 20 webinar, “The Lead Paint Regulation Is Here — Now What?”, expressed concern and confusion over the large fines the EPA can levy if they are unable to comply with the rule, the hiring of contractors and whether consumers are fully aware of the new regulations overseeing the renovation and repair of homes built before 1978.
The rule requires that remodelers working on homes and child-occupied facilities, such as schools and day-care facilities, built before 1978 be managed by a certified renovator who has completed EPA-approved training and is employed by an EPA certified firm. The rule applies when more than six square feet of paint are disturbed on a structure’s interior or more than 20 square feet on its exterior.
Under the rule, remodelers must share the EPA’s “Renovate Right” brochure with the home owner before starting work and must follow work practices stipulated in the rule, create containment for controlling dust, clean after the work, confirm cleaning and create records that must be kept for at least three years.
Panelist and EPA-approved training provider Brindley Byrd, CGR, CAPS, of QX2 Contracting, in Lansing, Mich., advised remodelers that if they are not yet trained and certified to work legally under the regulation, they must avoid working in pre-1978 homes or hire a lead assessor to test the home before work can begin or risk being fined up to $37,500 per day per rule violation.
If a home tested by a lead risk assessor is free of lead, then the rule does not need to be followed, Byrd said. LeadCheck test kits also can be used to test particular housing components for lead.
Many local home builders associations are offering training under the rule. In addition, online training is available from the Oregon Home Builders Association and the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association in partnership with the National Center for Healthy Housing to cover the classroom portion of the requirement. Online training must also be accompanied by two hours of hands-on training.
Panelist Bob Hanbury, CGR, of House of Hanbury, in Newington, Conn., advised remodelers to “create a culture of compliance” within their company, adding that workers and subcontractors should be expected to get trained and follow the law.
“Remodeling firms must go through a process of positioning their company to follow the regulation,” Hanbury said. Remodelers need a plan for updating contracts, managing job records and handling risk management by purchasing additional insurance or evaluating business risk.
Rule’s Practices Should Conform to OSHA Safety Regulations
When addressing remodelers concerns about potential conflicts between following the new rule and Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety regulations — such as preventing falls when ladders are used on plastic covered floors — the EPA’s Price clarified that remodelers should not violate OSHA rules to follow the regulation. As an example, she said remodelers should not place ladders directly on the plastic because they could potentially slip and become a hazard. Instead, she said remodelers could puncture the plastic, place the ladder on the floor, and then tape the plastic shut by taping it to the ladder.
She also said that remodelers can use other methods to keep the work site safe while still adhering to the lead rule.
Marketing to Consumers
With the help of the Ad Council, a leading producer of public service advertisements, the EPA has created a consumer awareness campaign that includes ads, radio and television public service announcements, web banners and more. Materials can be downloaded from http://www.leadfreekids.org/.
In addition, NAHB has created a consumer fact sheet on the lead paint rule and several articles that remodelers can use with their local media, as marketing materials and on their websites. To download this material, visit www.nahb.org/remodelingmonth.
To Replay Webinar
NAHB members can access a free replay of the webinar. The fee for non-members is $34.95. All participants must register to replay the webinar.