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New Lead Paint Renovation Rule Will Increase Costs of Repairs and Renovations

March 15th, 2010 The Wilson Team Comments off

The new EPA Lead Paint Renovation rule goes into effect on April 22, 2010. This ruling requires that all renovations, repairs, or painting on pre-1978 housing units or facilities regularly occupied by children be conducted by contractors that are licensed in safe lead handling practices. If the area disturbed in greater than 6 sq. ft. in the interior or 20 sq. ft. on the exterior, the lead safe rules apply. Even using a paint scraper on a wall where paint is peeling causes the rule to be applied. There are few exceptions, such as, a homeowner can do repairs and renovations themselves as long as it is “not for compensation”. A tenant can paint in a rental unit under the same rule, but if the landlord reduces the rent for the work, the rule applies. Failure to follow the rules can result in a fine of, up to, $37,500 per occurrence.
One of the most frequent and cost effective upgrade to a home has been replacement windows. These are specifically covered and must be done by a certified contractor. Remember that the fine is $37,500 per occurence and that means you could be fined $375,000 for ignoring the rules in replacing windows in a typical home.

In testimony March 11, 2010 before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Connecticut remodeler Bob Hanburystated that roughly 79 million homes constructed before 1978 are subject to the Lead Renovation, Repair and Repainting Rule. Renovations on these homes, including energy-efficiency upgrades, must be done by contractors who have been certified by EPA in lead-safe work practices. EPA has estimated that more than 236,000 remodelers, window installers, painters, heating and air-conditioning specialists and other trade contractors must be trained to ensure compliance with the rule. These contractors must complete eight hours of training, pay a certification fee, and employ lead-safe work practices in homes built before 1978 where children or pregnant women are present. However, EPA has been slow to approve trainers to offer the courses, and in some states there are still no approved trainers. As a result, only about 14,000 people have been certified to date.
With only 135 firms throughout the country approved to offer the training courses, it will be impossible for the remaining contractors to complete the required training before the April 22 deadline.

This new rule is very complicated so watch here for more updates on this new rule that could add $100’s to $1000’s of dollars renovation jobs. For a look at the EPA’s new booklet, “Renovate Right”, click here.