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Homeowner? You Need Know About the New EPA Renovation Rules

On April 22, 2010, the new EPA rules for Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting go into effect. Replacement windows and siding fall under the new rules. The new rules are meant to protect young children and pregnant women from lead poisoning from lead based paints. The new rules require the containment of any renovation related dust and extensive clean up after the project is finished.

A large list of training, certification and work practice requirements are called for by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Program. The RRP Program takes effect in April 2010. By then, renovation firms must receive EPA certification to disturb lead paint as part of their work in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities. All of these jobs must be supervised by certified renovators; individuals who have completed an EPA-accredited, training course. Plus, other crew members on such job sites must be trained and equipped to follow the RRP Program’s lead-safe work practices while performing their work.

This EPA program is a federal regulatory program affecting renovation firms and individual workers who disturb lead base painted surfaces. It includes renovations to residential houses, apartments and child-occupied facilities such as schools and day-care centers built before 1978 and containing lead based paint. Renovation is broadly defined as any activity that disturbs painted surfaces and includes most repair, remodeling and maintenance activities, including window replacement and siding replacement. Under EPA’s RRP Program, both construction firms and individual workers who perform (or direct other workers to perform) renovations must be certified by EPA by April 2010. In addition, all crew members must be trained on the lead-safe work practices that they must use when performing their work. The certified renovator is required to ensure that the renovation is performed in accordance with the work practice standards of the RRP Program, among other things. These requirements pertain to warning signs and work area containment, the restriction or prohibition of certain practices, waste handling, cleaning and post-renovation cleaning verification.

Currently, contractors who perform renovation, repairs and painting jobs in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities must, before beginning work, provide owners, tenants and child-care facilities with a copy of EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet. Contractors must document compliance with this requirement.

Failure to comply with EPA’s RRP Program requirements could result in penalties of up to $37,500 per day per violation.

What does that mean to you as a homeowner? The new requirements mean that you need to ensure that the window or siding company that you hire is certified to do the work in your home. If your home is pre-1978 you need to ask your contractor for his certification documents. The requirements will also increase the cost of replacing your windows or siding if you own an older home with lead-based paint. As you can see by the penalties involved, any company that has long range plans of staying in business (the type of company you want to entrust your home to) will not want to risk the fines.

If you are talking with a company that doesn’t know about the requirements or says they will do the work without following the regulation, walk away – no run away! If they aren’t going to follow the regulations, they won’t be around if you need any follow-up or warranty work done.