HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE MARKETPLACE?
By James F. McClung, Jr., President
AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIALISTS, INC.
EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program (RRP) became effective for implementation and enforcement on April 22, 2010. However, on June 18, 2010, the EPA announced that the effective date for enforcement has been extended to October 1, 2010. The extension does not change or delay the implementation of the RRP Rule. It only delays enforcement penalties (up to $32,500 / day / violation). The rule impacts many construction trades and requires firms and individuals conducting renovation activities to be certified. The date was extended for the purpose of allowing individual contractors, rental property owners, maintenance personnel, and others to become enrolled in a certified renovator class. They must now be enrolled by September 30, 2010 and complete the class by December 31, 2010.
The purpose of the RRP Rule is to prevent lead poisoning, which in the past has primarily affected children under the age of six. Lead-containing dust, even in small amounts, can affect the health of children, pregnant women, and adults.
Lead can potentially cause health related problems i.e., high blood pressure, learning problems, depression, aggressive behavior, growth problems in children, and many other health issues. There is currently a heightened interest and concern due to recent media coverage pertaining to toys, candy, and various other imported items that contain concentrations of lead.
The RRP Rule is a federal regulatory program affecting the rental housing marketplace, along with schools, day-care centers, child occupied facilities, and many times our own homes built prior to 1978. The rule pertains to anyone who disturbs paint (sanding, cutting, scraping) where children under the age of six may be present. This will include most repairs, remodeling, maintenance activities, window replacements, and renovation programs involving mold and asbestos. There are even issues pertaining to fire clean-up activities in structures built prior to 1978 where children may be present in the future.
Regulations pertaining to lead-based paint renovation activities and lead-safe work practices in structures built prior to 1978 have been in existence for many years in California.
The RRP Rule requires the following:
• Renovation firms must be EPA-certified. Renovation is defined as any activity that will disturb paint. Activities disturbing paint can include, paint prep work, repairs, remodeling, some maintenance activities, window replacement, and others.
Managers and owners will need to ensure and document that each vendor hired to conduct renovation activities meets requirements of the RRP Rule. A 4-hour refresher training and re-certification course will be required every five years.
• Worker certification / training: An individual who will be overseeing the lead-safe work practices must attend an 8-hour RRP Certified Renovator course. The certified individual must be assigned to each renovation and is responsible for work activities on-site. The Certified Renovator can conduct on-the-job training (lead safe work practices) for workers.
• Education requirements: A lead hazard information pamphlet must be provided to owners, tenants, and child-care facilities before commencement of work activities as well as posted signage. The Certified Renovator must document compliance with this requirement. The EPA has suggested forms that can be utilized for information and documentation purposes. For work in common areas of multi-family housing or child-occupied facilities, a renovation notice must be provided to the tenants or parents / guardians of child occupied facilities or informational signage must be posted. There are similar requirements for single family residences.
• Recordkeeping: All documentation pertaining to renovation activities must be maintained for a period of three years.
Listed below are some of the many questions that have arisen pertaining to the new RRP Rule.
Where do I go for training? Many schedules are sold out.
There are qualified training providers in Southern California conducting the 8-hour Certified Renovator class. Suggested training providers:
I only own a single family rental home. Does this rule apply to me and do I need to be certified?
The rule applies to “Target Housing” (pre-1978) and child occupied facilities whereby more than twenty (20) square feet of paint will be disturbed on the exterior, and more than six (6) square feet per interior room. It applies to any individual or company that will be compensated for the job. The rule is effective even for those owners doing the work themselves as they are compensated through rental income.
Are there any Residential Exemptions?
The rule does not apply to the following:
• If the surface to be painted is not sanded, scraped, or damaged in any way that may cause dust.
• Zero bedroom units (dorm rooms, studio apartments)
• Housing for elderly or disabled persons not considered a child-occupied facility.
• Housing that has been tested by a California Lead Inspector / Risk Assessor and found to be lead free.
• Renovation activities less than six (6) square feet per interior room and less than twenty (20) square feet on the exterior.
• Emergency Work where lead-based paint needs to be immediately cleaned up. This would apply where a child has been found to have an elevated blood level and require activities to be performed on an emergency basis by a Certified Lead Abatement Contractor.
• Homeowner’s primary residence (not rental property) and not child occupied.
Who can perform lead testing?
The rule requires that paint must be tested prior to a disturbance in Target Housing or it will be assumed that the paint contains lead, if built prior to 1978. In California only a Certified Lead Inspector / Risk Assessor may perform testing.
Does a Certified Renovator need to be on-site during painting activities?
A Certified Renovator is required to be on-site whenever any renovation activity may disturb paint (scraping, sanding, and cutting) in Target Housing that was built prior to 1978. During this time, the Certified Renovator must be present at the property site, and cannot leave to conduct other work activities at other sites.
What is required for cleaning verification?
Each contractor is required to conduct a cleaning verification to ensure that any potential lead dust has been cleaned up. This includes all renovation activities and contractors covered by the RRP Rule. In California, a Certified Lead Inspector / Risk Assessor must perform the testing. As an example, if a painting contractor in prepping of the painted surface conducts any activity involving scraping, sanding, etc., the cleaning verification is required prior to commencement of painting activities.
How is compliance determined and what happens if a violation is discovered?
The EPA will use several methods to ensure compliance with the RRP Rule. They include inspecting work sites, reviewing documentation for current and past renovation activities commencing with the implementation date of April 22, 2010 and the extended enforcement date of October 1, 2010, and responding to tips / complaints.
Where can I get more information?
Additional information is available at EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program” website http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm In addition you may contact a qualified Certified Lead Paint Inspector / Risk Assessor who has extensive knowledge of the new EPA Repair Renovation & Painting Rule.
Are there additional changes proposed for EPA’s RRP Rule?
The first change has already been implemented with the extension of the enforcement date to October 1, 2010. There also may be changes ahead pertaining to clearance testing requirements. At this time, the EPA is considering including public and commercial buildings in the RRP.
To learn more, go to http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-10097.pdf
As with any environmental issue i.e. asbestos, mold, and now lead-based paint, it is always wise to be well educated so that you can make sound business decisions in the best interest of your tenant, properties, and investment.
James F. McClung, Jr., President
American Environmental Specialists, Inc.
American Environmental Specialists, Inc., (AES) is a veteran owned environmental consulting firm specializing in Mold, Asbestos, and Lead-Based Paint. AES technicians are Certified Lead Paint Inspectors/Risk Assessors with expertise in the 2010 Renovation, Repair & Painting Rule.