The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
NAHB has asked the House Committee on Small Business to convene a panel to discuss the failure of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule, citing its excessive regulatory burdens and costs.
“With the new home construction market still at historic lows, the effort to find work in retrofitting and upgrading older housing (remodeling) has been attractive to many unemployed builders,” the letter said.
“Unfortunately, recent amendments and changes to the rule have further constrained small businesses in the remodeling industry that are making every effort to comply” with a regulation that the Environmental Protection Agency has made “cumbersome, burdensome and as inordinately difficult as possible,” the letter said.
“Without better oversight on how the EPA is implementing, managing, assessing costs and enforcing the RRP, this rule could easily derail the small business remodeling firms that are complying by placing them at a comparative disadvantage to uncertified, untrained contractors and home owners who blatantly do not, or are not required to, comply,” NAHB said.
The letter also reiterated NAHB’s serious concerns with the removal of the rule’s “opt-out” provision, which enabled owners of homes built before 1978 to forgo some of the more expensive requirements if there were no children under the age of six or a pregnant woman in the household. This would apply to 88.5% of all homes.
“Without even giving the original rule a chance to work, the EPA immediately amended it by taking away a key measure that made it easier for small businesses to absorb the regulatory impact,” the letter said.
“Those home owners no longer have the option of foregoing the costs of compliance with RRP when hiring a professional remodeler to work on an older house,” it said.
The letter said that accurate test kits are unavailable.
It also pointed out that the EPA’s plan to include clearance testing in the rule would blur the line between remodelers and lead paint abatement contractors, while creating liability for the remodeler and the home owner.
“During a time when unemployment tops 18% in the construction industry, heavily dominated by small businesses, it is inconceivable that the EPA has subverted nearly every possible tool that remodelers have to help ensure their compliance with something as important as the RRP,” the letter said.
“NAHB members worked closely with the EPA during the development of the original RRP and had hoped that it could be implemented as finalized, and help promote healthy, lead-safe renovation work. Unfortunately, the EPA is redesigning the RRP into a regulatory nightmare that will essentially discourage critical efficiency upgrades and increase costs for older homes.”
For assistance in complying with the rule, visit www.nahb.org/leadpaint.
For more information, email Matt Watkins at NAHB, or call him at 800-266-8366 x8327.