Contractors, Landlords, School Boards, Homeowners and Daycare Providers
If you own or work on pre 1978 homes or child frequented buildings, you are affected by the new EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting rule!
Effective April 2010 persons performing work that disturbs paint in pre 1978 housing, daycare's and schools must comply with the new EPA Renovation Repair and Painting rules and obtain the mandatory training and certification.
This is not just a painting rule, but encompasses siding contractors, carpenters, handymen, plumbers, electricians, insulators, weatherization tech's, HVAC contractors, demolition work, school maintenance staffs, home theater installations and all others who disturb painted surfaces
Updated EPA resource page with English and Spanish versions of the most important guides out there today. This should be your first stop as you try to figure out what is required of us.
ALERT! The latest EPA proposal will require dust sampling and lab testing clearance. The EPA estimates $160 per room in testing cost. In WI testing can only be done by state certified risk assessors and the cost is about $240 per room. So replace a damaged door jamb and your costs skyrocket.
From the Federal Register (Link Below) #2 and 4 are the gotchas
Dust wipe testing must be performed after all renovations involving:
Use of a heat gun at temperatures below 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Removal or replacement of window or door frames.
Scraping 60 ft  or more of painted surfaces.
Removing more than 40 ft  of trim, molding, cabinets, or other fixtures.
Implementing these changes will require extensive retraining of those individuals who have recently obtained the Renovation, Repair and Painting [RRP] EPA training and certification. This will put further pressure on a training system that already cannot meet demand.
The proposed rule encompasses 39 pages in 9 point type, include not only dust wipe clearance testing, but other major changes. The rule as published in the 2008 Federal Registry specifically permitted the use of affordable consumer grade HEPA Vacuums. This proposal will make it illegal to use the vacuum cleaners that many contractors just recently purchased to comply with the RRP rule.
EPA penalties for non-compliance are up to $32,500 per day. ( EPA doc at page 17) Most small contractors do not earn $32,500 a year. A single violation would close most small contractors. Therefore, any changes to the RRP rule will require reformatting the curriculum and retraining of all those previously certified.
The dust sampling also requires specific training and certification under the lead abatement rules. These courses are typically conducted by the same trainers as those providing the certified renovator training.
Implementing these changes will be expensive with limited benefit.
We respectfully request that the General Accounting Office or another independent third party review the true costs of implementing these changes.
The costs of compliance with the original Renovation , Repair and Painting Rule was severely underestimated by the EPA at only $35 per job with a nationwide cost of $800 million dollars the first year. Many contractors are reporting much higher costs than the stated $35. The proposed revision will add an additional $288 Million per year to a rule that is only two months old. Surely these costs are also understated by the EPA.
The implementation of dust sampling will cost more than labor and materials for many small jobs. Prior to the April 22nd EPA implementation, replacement of a broken bedroom door strike side jamb costs $12 for material and $35 to $50 in labor, for a total of $47 to $62
Today that job costs the same $12 in lumber but labor increases $20 for containment, $15 for plastic and tape, and if the worker is wearing disposable coveralls an additional $10 for a total of $92 to $107 or a 85% increase.
The EPA now wishes to implement lead dust sampling at their estimated cost of $160 per room. Currently, a test of this nature in Wisconsin costs $240. This reflects a 483% to 560% increase over the pre renovation rule costs.
This rule requires dust sampling of the floors and windows even if no work was performed on them. What is the contractor's responsibility and liability for cleaning these surfaces even if the elements were completely covered during the entire time the contractor was on site?
A concerned contractor would take pre and post dust sampling to establish a baseline to limit their liability. Therefore if the dust clearance rule is implemented the real cost of the job increases to $367 to $587 or 781% to 947%, nearly nine and a half times as much. What will the contractor's insurer require of them?
What is the logical stopping point? The GAO notes that HUD must apply sealant to non carpeted floors to pass the dust clearance requirements. Will private contractors now be required to perform the same expensive treatments?
The EPA's own testing, confirmed by tests performed by the National Association of Builders, shows that proper work practices maintain lead dust levels at acceptable levels. Therefore, there is no need to place a greater cost burden on America's homeowners.
Implementation of this change will have a severe adverse effect on the remodeling industry, which currently is the only sector of the residential construction trades that is financially viable.
The additional cost from these changes will have the following unintended consequences:
These changes will further hinder recovery from hurricanes, flood and other natural disasters as we have recently seen when the EPA denied Tennessee's request to suspend the current RRP rule to cope with May's flooding.
The significantly higher costs will encourage property owners and homeowners to employ unlicensed underground economy contractors or opt to undertake the work themselves with no training, increasing the likelihood of exposing their children and their neighbors to lead dust.
These rules and those that have preceded them will cause environmentally sound remodeling projects like President Obama's $6 Billion Cash For Caulkers and state weatherization programs to fail as they too are subject to this rule.
Many contractors have responded to the original rule by "redlining" pre 1978 housing especially in lower income areas where pre 1978 housing is prevalent and financial resources limited.
The increased costs per job will reduce the number of jobs that can be performed, thereby causing further deterioration of pre 1978 properties with a disproportionate affect on low income Americans.
Homeowners will balk at the idea they cannot reoccupy the house until a certified lead sampling technician can do the dust sampling.
Is there sufficient laboratory and sampling capacity available to implement such a rule nationwide?
America has hundreds of thousands of pre 1978 homes, many of which are located in small communities such as Crossville Tennessee and Milo, Maine. Where will these folks find sampling technicians and certified labs? Will contractors in rural communities become outlaws due to a lack of resources and face $37,500 a day fines?
Real estate brokers will be required to provide copies of dust sampling reports to prospective buyers. The depressed housing market will have new hurdles on its path to recovery.
This creates additional paperwork and liability for an industry besieged by financial crisis.
These changes fail to meet Federal rules that were designed to protect state, local and tribal governmental subdivisions:
Fails to meet the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act
as it imposes significant record keeping requirements on renovators, Realtors and those who perform maintenance on pre 1978 housing.
Conflicts with Executive order 13132- Federalism (Issued by Bill Clinton)
The EPA alleges this will not have an impact on states. However, states such as Tennessee were beholden to the EPA RRP Rule even after both their Governor and President Obama declared a state of emergency due to flood damage.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
These changes will be financially burdensome not only to the private sector, but also upon state, local and tribal government. For example, the existing rule is causing financial hardship to homeowner weatherization programs. Although the EPA had originally estimated the impact on state, local and tribal governments at less than $100 million (see GAO Report B-316360 dated May 5, 2008) the revised rules will increase the impact to well over $100 million.
What types of renovation are affected? From the EPA website:
Any work performed for pay, including painting and remodeling, that results in the disturbance of
painted surfaces in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities. Examples: removal or modification
of painted components such as doors; repairing a painted surface or preparing it for repainting by sanding,
scraping, burning, or other action that may generate paint dust; removal of walls, ceilings, and other
structures; re-plastering; re-plumbing; weatherization work that disturbs painted surfaces; and window
If you are a landlord or even rent a portion of your personal residence you are affected (also from EPA website):
After April 2010, property owners who perform these projects in pre-1978 rental housing or space rented by child-care facilities must be certified and follow the lead-safe work practices required by EPA's Renovation, Repair and Remodeling rule.
What do these rules require?
The National Center for Healthy Housing has a detailed outline available here