Renovation, Repair, And Painting Rule

Contractors who take on jobs for properties where lead-based paints might have been used will, in the near future, need to act according to a new rule that has been issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The new ruling says that contractors will need to undergo training, become certified and adopt a number of safety measures.

New Ruling

The Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule will take effect on April 22, 2010 and is aimed at affording individuals protection from lead-based paint, which has known properties deleterious to health. An EPA spokeswoman, Donna Heron, says that anyone who accepts pay to work on properties built prior to 1978 (the year in which lead-based paint was banned for private residential use) and will be disturbing painted surfaces, will need to undergo training. The new ruling won't affect homeowners doing DYI projects, but the rule does apply to landlords who undertake repairs to their properties as well as to contractors who take on work at older (pre-1978) day care centers and other facilities that cater to children.

As the deadline approaches, most contractors have done nothing about getting certification, and this is no wonder: most towns are not offering courses nor do they plan to do so in the near future. Contractors are annoyed. They say the EPA should have done a better job promoting the new rule and are asking the EPA to extend the deadline.

The new rule requires contractors to apply to the EPA for approval as certified renovation firms. They will need to receive both training and certification from someone accredited by the EPA for this purpose. Each firm will need to assign at least one certified renovator to projects on properties that fall under the ruling, and follow work practices as detailed by the EPA. Retraining and recertification must be attained every five years.

Crippling Ailments

Shawn M. Garvin, who is the administrator for the EPA's mid-Atlantic region noted that lead has been found to be associated with several crippling ailments. "This rule is the next step in EPA's goal to protect children from the hazards of lead-based paint. Beginning April 22, consumers should ask for proof of certification from their contractors before work begins."

The new rules state that any renovations, repairs or painting in areas larger than 6 square feet or outside of areas larger than 20 square feet must be accomplished according to the new ruling. Included as examples of work to which the ruling applies are window replacement, prepping a surface for repainting through scraping or sanding, removing painted parts such as doors, taking down walls or ceilings, reinstalling plumbing or replastering.