Will You Babysit My House?



Our house is pre-1978.  All houses built before that time were painted with  products that contained lead.  Lead can cause all types of learning disabilities and disorders.  There’s lead in them damn walls.  Photo: freakingnews

The new RRP Lead Rule. If a home was built before 1978, the new lead rule in-acted this year in April 2010 says that if you disturb any painted surfaces,  you must control and contain any air-born contaminants that could migrate to other parts of a home, child-care facility, or school.  A contractor must be certified by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and also that they use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices.  You become a certified renovator by taking an eight-hour training course from an EPA-approved training provider.  Under the rule, beginning in April, originally included an opt-out provision that allowed owner-occupant of pre-1978 homes to “opt-out” of having their contractors follow lead-safe work practices if there weren’t any children under 6 years of age living in the home.

However, beginning July 6, 2010, a new rule removed the opt-out provision, and now all contractors must follow lead-safe work practices.

What does this mean to contractors?  Most will need to go back to school and get a refresher course to learn these abatement procedures.  For me, this lead rule is flawed.  Companies will start adding “lead paint abatement” charges to their contracts for customers to sign off on.  The extra time it takes on a project to duct tape, add plastic, add a hepa filter/air exchanger, and thoroughly quarantine an area is subjective.

According to the U.S. EPA, 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 are likely to contain lead paint, and that number climbs to 87% for homes built before 1940.

“Uh-oh..wad I doo?..”

bubbleboypicThis “boy in a bubble” wrap-up must certainly be recouped through receipts from your business; which translates to added charges.  You are in business to make money.  The cost of taking the necessary schooling (roughly $200 to $450 bucks) and the added labor cost of the containment set-up for each job is reluctantly charged to our clients and customers.  Photo: reelingreviews

A little background of the situation. The Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) is a federal regulatory program affecting contractors, property owners and managers, and others who disturb painted surfaces.   It includes pre-renovation education requirements as well as training, certification, and work practice requirements.  As a contractor, you are required to supply your customer with a lead-safety pamphlet before starting any renovation work, and getting a signature from them in return after they read and understand it.

Lead-safe practices need to extend both inside and outside a home, depending on the project.  For example, when installing windows, you must cover everything up in heavy plastic and seal off the room, and also, you need to cover the ground outside around the windows so that lead chips from the windows won’t get into the soil.

Renovation is broadly considered by the EPA as any activity that disturbs painted surfaces and includes most repair, remodeling, and maintenance activities, including window replacement.  So if you’re scraping that old paint off a client’s walls and sanding and cuttin’ into it, you need to contain the dust storm.  Anyone who is paid to perform work that disturbs paint in housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978 must follow the lead rule requirements.

A breakdown of who must follow the RRP law:

  • general contractors
  • painters
  • electricians
  • plumbers
  • residential property owners & managers
  • carpenters

The kinds of projects subject to the RRP law:

  • window replacement
  • remodeling and repair
  • electrical
  • plumbing
  • painting
  • carpentry

Protecting the general public from lead poising is a serious proposition and we agree with.  Kids and young adults are the most at risk.  Getting certified will further add to any good contractor’s repertoire of reasons to hire your company.  But the way in which the law is written and implemented is inherently wrong.  I won’t rant this post out with common opinion though..

There will always be hacks who will undercut a legitimate contractor’s prices — not being skilled, licensed or insured, working under the radar, and so on.  It is the duty of the few others who fly straight to add value to a consumer’s property and educate them on why their remodeling company is the one more qualified to properly handle their project correctly.

“Now tickle ma toes..”

Baby-Al-SharptonPhoto: freakingnews

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