News for EPA Lead Rule for Home Improvement:
This past April, the EPA passed new rules and regulations concerning home improvement protocol that have seemed to have an effect on the industry, however detrimental. Until October 1, 2010, the EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule’s firm certification requirement. This rule, Renovation, Repair, and Painting has existed since 2008, but it has since been completely overhauled with a big new requirement: certification.
Contractors and profession remodelers must go through a training course in order to obtain a certificate that says the recipient knows how to set the project up, do the work, and then remove tools, staging, etc, in the safest way. Although this new requirement of the Lead Rule is great in that it acknowledges the harm that lead can do when released into the air and onto surfaces during a home improvement project, there remains concern over the feasbility of taking these classes to be certified.
The program applies to homes constructed before 1978, which are the ones with a higher chance of giving lead poisoning during painting, installing windows, doors, etc. Also, the harm is mainly done to children under the age of six and pregnant women. It is certainly a good precaution for people with a weakened immune system. Contractors must submit an application and then pay a fee to the EPA. On top of this, as mentioned before, the ones performing the work in the company must go through a training course given by EPA-accredited professionals in order to learn lead-safe practices under the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. Training must be completed by December 31 of this year.
Just recently, a provision has been revoked from the rule acknowledged by a July 6, 2010 press release given by the EPA. This provision says that the homeowners can no longeropt-out of the rule and all that it requires even if there are no members of the household who are children under age six or pregnant women. This is very important to the industry as a whole. The AAMA came out and said that this development is a huge blow to the industry, and in fact it is. The home improvement industry has been declining for a while now, and companies are struggling to maintain a level of business that they have been operating on for years.
Knowledge is important. A certified contractor giving a quote to a homeowner that has not heard about the new rule or removal of the opt-out clause may not be received so well when the quote is given because costs have been invariably rising, and the contractors and remodeling companies need to stay afloat. Also, awareness of this rule is mostly important in the world of dealers and contractors in a different way: if there is a project underway that does not comply with the rule, the result can be significant, up to a $37,500 per day violation fee, as well as certification revocation. Incarceration ensues in the case of criminal offenses. Prices are rising as the economy is not, and homeowners, dealers, contractors, and remodelers all need to be aware of this reality, however disliked it is.