In 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a Lead Reno vation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule), which was implemented in 2010 and regulates how renovations can be completed on residential homes, apartments and child-occupied facilities such as schools and daycares.
Lead was an ingredient commonly used in paint up until the 1970s, and the EPA has deemed it a serious health risk for children who ingest it through deteriorating old paint. The consumption of lead can adversely affect the nervous system creating growth and learning disabilities.
The RRP Rule is no ordinary regulation, and the EPA has come down with a heavy hand fining companies who do not follow their lead paint protocol in renovations.
In the first quarter, the EPA assessed huge fines across the country to remodeling companies who did not have their employees properly trained or who failed to document their procedures. The fines have spooked remodelers across the country.
Essentially, before any work that disturbs the paint of a home constructed before 1978 is commenced, the home’s paint must be tested for lead. The scopes of work include remodeling and repair, electrical, plumbing, painting preparations, carpentry and window replacement. All firms conducting the lead paint test and renovations must complete an eight-hour program to be properly certified by the EPA. The firm must remain up-to-date on documentation and training.
Minor work on a home with lead, which requires less than six-square feet per room, or 20-square feet or less on the exterior, can be done without following the RRP Rule. This does not include window replacement.
Work beyond square-foot guidelines for lead requires very specific steps, including total confinement of the work area; cleaning with a HEPA vacuum; construction site posting; controlled debris removal; and special protective equipment for all workers. The process is very structured and costly.
As a result of the EPA’s RRP Rule, many remodelers and installers will not work on properties older than 1978 due to the cost and exposure to EPA fines. Remodeling companies trained in lead abatement renovations are emerging, but the cost and availability are treacherous. Families will be faced with hard decisions when it comes to remodeling Grandpa’s old home.
For many, the allure of owning an older home and renovating it has been a dream, but the EPA RRP Rule could make it cost prohibitive. Great thought must be given to a home older than 1978, especially if it is in need of repair.
There are many older homes in Lake and Sumter Counties that have lead, and homeowners should insist that a simple lead test be done before purchasing it. Do-it-yourself kits are available at most home centers, and qualified home inspectors can typically perform these tests. Lead paint in the home is a serious issue and homeowners should not underestimate the potential costs.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Radio Show heard every Monday at noon on My790AM WLBE in Leesburg.