Local Home Builder Associations Prepare for Lead Paint Regulation
According to results from a new NAHB survey of home builder associations’ executive officers, 219 (of 221) respondents are aware of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule on Lead Paint: Renovation, Repair and Painting.
In fact, 74 percent of survey respondents have already held or plan to host lead certification training sessions before the rule goes into effect on April 22. NAHB members should contact their local home builders’ association to find out about training offerings.
To help local home builders associations prepare their members, NAHB hosted a webinar on February 23 to outline the requirements of the rule, provide information on training, and give updates on rule implementation.
More than 100 locations joined the webinar with additional participants at many sites.
“The recent lead paint webinar really helped me understand what our members need to do to comply with the changing EPA regulations,” said David Ellis executive officer for the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Chairman of the Executive Officer’s Council. “It was also a great tool to aid my association in developing our strategy and a program to meet our members’ educational needs.”
NAHB environmental policy analyst, Matt Watkins, and NAHB assistant vice president for environmental policy, Michael Mittelholzer, gave an overview during the webinar about the rule to be implemented in April.
The Lead Paint: Remodeling, Renovation and Painting regulation goes into effect on April 22nd and sets requirements for training, certification, work practices, cleaning verification, consumer education, and record keeping for anyone working in pre-1978 homes, day care facilities, or schools with children or pregnant women residing.
All renovations that disturb painted surfaces in these target buildings must be performed by a certified firm with a certified renovator on staff. Such activities may include modification, repair, sanding, scraping, and removal or replacing of components such as windows and doors.
Buildings constructed after 1978 are exempt from the rule. Additionally if less than six square feet of surfaces is disturbed inside or less than 20 square feet on the exterior of the home, the rule does not apply. If a risk assessor or lead paint inspector can determine that the house is lead-free, then the rule does not apply. Remodelers can also use an EPA-approved pre-renovation test kit to determine of the component needing renovation contains lead. If the test shows the component is lead-free, then the rule does not apply.
The rule currently contains an “opt-out” provision, which allows home owners in single-family dwellings living in target housing without children or a pregnant woman to sign a release that waives the demands of the rule. However, EPA has proposed to remove the “opt-out” provision and NAHB expects this waiver to be removed before April 22nd.
In order to work for compensation in pre-1978 homes after April 22nd, remodelers must obtain firm certification and become a certified renovator. The firm certification can be completed simply by submitting a form and payment to EPA. A remodeling firm must also have a certified renovator on site for key responsibilities. To become a certified renovator a worker attends eight hours of training (six hours in a classroom and two hours of hands-on) on the lead rule and its requirements.
All firms conducting renovation for compensation in buildings that fall under the regulation must apply for certification from EPA. Firms must complete an application and submit a fee of $300. Firm certification lasts for five years. Applications for firm certification can be submitted prior to receiving training as a certified renovator.
NAHB recommends submitting the application to become a certified firm as soon as possible because it can take up to 90 days for EPA to process and approve the firm certification applications.
Under the rule, certified renovation firms must hand out pre-renovation education by giving the home owners a copy of “Renovate Right” and obtaining the home owner’s signature to confirm receipt. Signs must also be posted in common areas and a copy of the education pamphlet should be available. The firm must also ensure that work practices outlined in the rule are followed and that complete records are kept for at least three years.
By April 22, certified firms must also employ at least one certified renovator. This individual must complete an eight-hour training course and receive a certificate of completion from the training provider to become EPA-certified. The certification lasts for five years and can be renewed with a four hour refresher course.
The certified renovator completes or oversees many of the responsibilities dictated by the regulation. The certified renovator performs pre-renovation lead spot testing, post signs outside the work area, ensures that proper containment is set up around the work area, trains and oversees the work of uncertified workers, ensure compliance with the work practices established in the rule, performs cleaning verification, prepare the records, and maintains a copy of their certification.
EPA reports they have about 133 approved training providers for the certified renovator training classes. Many of the providers are available for traveling nationwide. Visit this link for EPA’s list of approved trainers.
A schedule of training courses offered can also be found on the National Center for Healthy Housing website.
Many local home builder associations are contacting approved trainers to schedule classes for their members. NAHB recommends checking references and background of the trainers to make sure they are competent trainers and knowledgeable about the regulation.
Some home builders associations have started the process to become a training provider or have a staff person training to become instructors. This process requires submitting an application to EPA, meeting training provider requirements (such as training experience and demonstrated lead expertise), and completing 16 hours of EPA-accredited training on lead-based paint. Visit this link for more information about becoming an approved trainer or training provider.
States Begin to Adopt Lead Regulation
States have the option to take over the rule and manage it in their jurisdiction, providing that the state regulation is at least equivalent to the EPA’s regulation. Some states are making the rule stricter, such as raising training requirements and fees.
Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Iowa have taken over the lead rule. NAHB expects other states to follow and suggests that home builder associations and members may wish to contact their state health or environmental agencies to find out if regulation on lead paint renovations is under consideration.
If states choose not to administer the program, then it will fall to EPA to continue training and enforcement of the federal regulation.
EPA continues to stress that April 22 is the compliance deadline for the lead paint rule, despite a shortage of approved trainers and the unlikelihood of training enough remodelers by the deadline.
NAHB continues to inquire about any enforcement guidance EPA can provide before the rule goes into effect. At this point, NAHB has heard fines will be $37,000 per infraction per day and expects enforcement will be rolled out by requesting records for review.
Many remodelers have also expressed concern over lack of consumer awareness about the rule and its additional costs. EPA says it is working with a marketing firm to roll out a consumer-awareness campaign about the requirements of the rule and why it is important to hire a certified firm (instead of a fly-by-night contractor or attempting remodeling work themselves). Much of the success of this rule will depend on home owners seeing the value of lead-safe remodeling and being willing to spend on the additional costs.
For more information about the lead paint rule, e-mail Matt Watkins, call 800-368-5242 x8327, or visit www.nahb.org/leadpaint.
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