Here it comes! Beginning April 22, Earth Day, the EPA is instituting new rules regarding lead based paint. This will affect homes built before 1978.
Remodeling? Repainting? You must get approval for your work by the Environmental Protection Agency or face fines of up to $37,500 per day.
What are the rules and how do we comply?
Who knows. Federal law will require you or your contractor be certified and to use lead-safe work practices. To become certified, renovation contractors must submit an application and fee payment to EPA. Beginning in April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
- NOTE: Contractors and training providers working in Wisconsin, North Carolina or Mississippi must contact the state to find out more about its training and certification requirements. These states are authorized to administer their own RRP (Renovate, Repair, Paint) programs in lieu of the federal program.
Who’s affected? According to the EPA, “Anyone receiving compensation for renovating, repairing, and painting work in residences built before 1978 that disturbs painted surfaces is subject to the new Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP)”.
Why? To protect children from the effects of lead based paint. I didn’t realize it was such a huge problem. Why have we been able to ignore it for so long? The baby boomers seem, to me, to have survived living through the age of toxic paint in the home.
What will it cost? The EPA estimates compliance will add an additional $8 to $167 to the cost of an average interior renovation. Seriously? Where did they come up with these numbers? An extra $8? So, we’re to expect that an EPA trained inspector is going to charge only $8 to certify that our home has been renovated to the new code? Nice.
However, according to an article in the Washington Post, contractors estimate that the extra time and effort required for protecting, cleaning and testing construction areas in these homes will add 5 percent to 30 percent in fees on small renovation jobs alone.
What’s included? Almost every renovation: paint scraping, window replacement, carpet removal (which can disrupt painted trim). So far, only minor interior repairs, less than 6 feet square in size, and exterior repairs smaller than 20 square feet, are exempt. Housing for the elderly and disabled (unless a child younger than 6 lives or will live there) and zero-bedroom dwellings such as efficiency apartments are also exempted from the rule.
At this time, do-it-yourselfers also have an out. The EPA rule applies only to renovations performed by businesses for compensation. Still, the agency recommends that homeowners follow the procedures. The goal is that all the parameters will be determined by April 22.
Problems: Well, one that might not jump out at first as obvious is that there are not enough trained people to oversee the work. In fact, there are not enough trainers to train the people who will need to oversee the work. And, even the trainers, because this is all so new, aren’t really proficient yet. Ugh. Once again, problems with government regulators regulating government regulations.
What do you think?