Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Lead RRP Rule

This is a copy of a letter I recently sent to local newspapers.
Good afternoon, my name is Chris Haught, and I own and operate RC Painting in Cedar City, Utah. We primarily focus on residential and light commercial painting.
Part of my success in the painting business has come from not only sharing my knowledge with others but also learning from other contractors via the internet who share my passion of doing things "right". One of the most pressing issues that legitimate contractors are just starting to learn about is the EPA's new Renovate, Repair, and Painting (RRP) regulation that takes effect April 22nd.
A recently completed survey has shown that 9 out of 10 affected contractors (remodelers, plumbers, electricians, painters, etc...) do not know about this new regulation. The other scary part is that most of those contractors, could find themselves in trouble for not complying with part of the regulation that is already in place – namely the notification aspect effective December of 2008. The fines are well in excess of $30,000 for non- compliance.
I will be taking the required certification class and have applied for Firm Certification as required by the EPA. It is a complex regulation that will affect every single homeowner, nationwide with a home built prior to 1978. This will hit them right in their pocketbooks and they will have no choice as to whether they comply or not. Currently, there is an "opt-out" clause in the regulation. Due to a court settlement with the Sierra Club and others, it is most likely going to be removed prior to the regulation's start date on April 22, 2010.
We, as contractors and even homeowners working on their own rental properties, face major fines if we do not follow the regulations exactly. The process we must follow is rather complex even for simple "in and out" projects like a simple vinyl window replacement. This will add significantly to our costs, which we will then pass on to our customers.
Many of us are questioning not only the procedures that are sometimes contradictory, but even if they will even benefit the homeowner. There are also a few interesting issues still outstanding; namely will the local inspection departments request proof of certification in order to pull a permit for older houses. How will the insurance companies handle claims on older homes? How many contractors are going to be surprised, when they find out that their policies exclude issues dealing with lead? How many contractors will have to stop working on an existing remodeling project or postpone one because they have not gotten their Firm Certification back in time? Should a homeowner unknowingly hire an unqualified contractor and a fine is levied, what are the chances that the contractor will complete any unfinished work?
Here are a few news clippings of other newspaper, and additional links that you may find of use
Kansas Article
NY Times Article
I feel it is imperative that the public be made aware of this immediately since there are many homeowners who are currently planning projects that will be affected by this rule. Please note that contractors who have not yet applied to the EPA can expect to wait 90 days for their certification to become valid, and we are less than 80 days away from the rule taking effect. Unfortunately many of these homeowners may have already signed
Although cases of reported Lead Poisoning in children are rare in Utah, there is still a risk when improper procedures are used during renovation, whether it is a homeowner or a professional.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Email me!