New EPA Lead Paint Laws Effect Remodeling Projects – article by Home Construction & Improvement

 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has new lead paint laws going into affect on April 22, 2010. The new lead paint laws require any renovation work performed on houses built before 1978 to be performed by a certified contractor. Obviously his new law is causing some serious moans and groans from both home owners and contractors. Contractors will be required to provide home owners the Renovate Right Brochure which contains useful information about the new law.

 Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Law

The new lead paint laws that goes into affect on April 22 involves training and certification of remodelers, safe work-site practices, verification and record keeping. It’s very important to understand that the new law pertains to projects on any house built before 1978 with a few exceptions as follows:

  • The home or child occupied facility was built after 1978.
  • The repairs are minor, with interior work disturbing less than six sq. ft. or exteriors disturbing less than 20 sq. ft.
  • The homeowner may also opt out by signing a waiver if there are no children under age six frequently visiting the property, no one in the home is pregnant, or the property is not a child-occupied facility. This is no longer true. The EPA just removed this waiver. (Ref).
  • If the house or components test lead free by a Certified Risk Assessor, Lead Inspector, or Certified Renovator.

What Does The New Law Mean To You?

You’re probably wondering what this new law might mean to you and your next remodeling project. The obvious answer is a healthier home for you, your family and people that perform renovations to your  home. The other obvious answer is an increased cost for contractors to adhere to the new rules which ultimately means an increased cost to you.

Over the last few months I’ve heard several small contractors say they will steer clear of and avoid older home renovations. A significant amount of small replacement window contractors will most likely go out of business and stop providing inexpensive window replacement services. While we think the new law is important in protecting public safety we also know it will result in much higher prices for consumers and less competition for consumers.

If you hire a contractor to do a renovation in your home that was built prior to 1978 be sure you hire a certified contractor. You should ask to see your contractors RRP certification prior to hiring them. Contractors performing work without the certification face penalties of $37,500 per day!

New Law Will Take Time To Work Effectively

With over 38 million homes containing lead paint in the US no one can argue the importance of good lead paint laws. However, from the few meetings and conversations I’ve had it’s clear to me that this is going to take some time before it’s very effective. Most of the literature and training has left contractors confused, upset and frustrated. However, with time these new laws will become part of everyday routines for contractors and ultimately help save lives. We certainly hope the EPA works quickly to fill in the blanks and help contractors implement this new law.

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