An Overview of the Rule, Work Practices
And Some Important Business Considerations
NOTE: Be sure to visit the RRPedia page of this site for more specific information about the EPA RRP rule organized by topic.
The EPA RRP Rule and Your Business:
On April 22, 2008, the EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning in April 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects for compensation that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Decide to do the work or not
Make a conscience and informed business decision regarding your willingness to do the work and do it legally. If you choose to go forward, get your business and employees prepared. If you choose not to do the work, plan accordingly to replace the lost volume. If you choose to do the work illegally, be aware that the EPA will fine and or send to jail those who blatantly violate the rules.
Certification is required
Beginning April 22, 2010, firms working in pre-1978 homes will need to be certified before offering or performing the work covered under the rules. The application form, instructions and information about the related fees for firm certification are available on the EPA web site. Along with the firm certification, at least one employee will also need to be certified as a Certified Renovator. This employee will be responsible for on-site job supervision, training of other employees, overseeing work practices, cleaning and cleaning verification. Firm certifications are valid for five years. Firms must apply for re-certification. The EPA has up to 90 days to certify or recertify a firm once it receives a complete application, plan accordingly.
Under the new EPA RRP Rules, all renovation personnel must be Certified Renovators or trained and supervised by Certified Renovators
The training class for EPA RRP Certified Renovators is an eight-hour class which includes two hours of hands-on training and a 25 question final exam. Certified Renovator certifications are valid for five years. A Certified Renovator must take a four-hour refresher course before his certification expires to be recertified or retake the initial certification training if the certification has already expired.
The Certified Renovator is responsible to provide on-the-job training for non-certified workers in the work practices required by the rule. The Certified Renovator must document the specific work practices each employee working under him/her has completed before allowing employees to work unsupervised. Keep in mind that certain activities require the presence of a Certified Renovator on the job site at the time they are performed.
EPA RRP Notification Requirements
Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renovating six square feet or more of painted surfaces in a room for interior projects or more than twenty square feet of painted surfaces for exterior projects in target housing, child care facilities and schools built before 1978. The certified firm must maintain documentation describing how and when notification procedures were accomplished.
For homeowners and tenants, renovators must give both parties the pamphlet titled "Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Provider and Schools" before starting work in their living area(s). The firm must get a signature proving receipt of delivery or document the attempted method(s) and reason(s) when a signature was/could not be obtained. If mailed, the pamphlet must be sent a minimum of 7 days in advance of starting the work and a certificate of mailing is required to document it was mailed. Otherwise, you may deliver the pamphlet anytime before the renovation begins so long as the renovation begins within 60 days of the date that the pamphlet is delivered.
If the work is to be done in a common area of a tenant occupied dwelling, the certified firm must also notify tenants individually and or post signs describing the renovations including how to get a free copy of the pamphlet, the location(s) of the work, the scope of the work and the timing of the work. Any changes must also be communicated to tenants in advance and, again, must be properly documented.
For child care facilities, including preschools and kindergarten classrooms, and the families of children under the age of six that attend those facilities, a variety of considerations apply. Check out Flow Chart #2 on page 8 of the EPA's Small Entity Compliance Guide for specific details
EPA RRP Work Practices
Once work is ready to start on a pre-1978 renovation, the Certified Renovator has a number of important and required responsibilities:
- 1. First, before the work starts, this person will post warning signs outside the work area and perform and/or supervise setting up containment to prevent spreading dust. The rule lists specific minimum containment procedures as well as additional performance guidelines for both interior and exterior projects.
- 2. Next, the Certified Renovator will supervise and or train employees to perform the required work practices they are allowed to perform if not certified themselves.
- 3. The rule also lists specific requirements for the handling and storage of debris, inside and outside of the work area, as well as transportation of the debris off the site.
- 4. The rule forbids certain work practices including open flame or torch burning, use of a heat gun that exceeds 1100°F, and high-speed sanding and grinding unless the tool is equipped with a HEPA exhaust control. Again, the Certified Renovator is responsible to ensure that these practices are not used at the jobsite.
- 5. Once the work is completed, the regulation specifies cleaning and waste disposal procedures. Clean up procedures must be supervised by a certified renovator.
After the required cleanup activities have been performed, the certified renovator must verify the cleaning by matching a cleaning cloth with an EPA Cleaning Verification Card (CVC). If the cloth appears dirtier or darker than the card, the cleaning must be repeated following specific cleaning guidelines until it meets specific verification requirements.
A complete file of records on the project must be kept by the Certified Firm, and certain records must be kept by the Certified Renovator if not an employee of the firm. These records must be kept for a minimum of three years. These records include, but aren't limited to:
- 1. Verification that the owner and or occupants have received the Renovate Right pamphlet or what attempts were made to provide the brochure
- 2. Documentation of the scope of work
- 3. Documentation of work practices used to complete the work
- 4. Proof of valid certification of the Certified Renovator
- 5. And, Proof of worker training in the required work practices
As of July 6, 2010 there are also new requirements regarding documentation. Beginning July 6th, 2010, when the final invoice for the renovation is delivered, or within 30 days of the completion of the renovation, whichever is earlier, the renovation firm must provide information demonstrating compliance with the training and work practice requirements of the RRP rule to the owner of the building being renovated and, if different, to the occupants of the renovated housing or the operator of the child-occupied facility.
Enforcement and Inspections
The EPA will use a variety of methods to determine whether businesses are complying with the RRP Rules. Pre-notification of work activities is not required and local building departments are not required to be involved in any way. The EPA may review a firm's required records, maintained for all renovation jobs the firm has done. The EPA may conduct work site inspections and can issue subpoenas to ensure compliance.
Penalties of up to $37,500 per violation, per day can be assessed. Those committing willful or knowing violation of the rules can also be fined an additional $37,500 per violation or risk imprisonment, or both. EPA may suspend, revoke, or modify a Firm's certification. Conditions of recertification are specific depending on why the firm lost it.
EPA will be responding to citizen tips and complaints. Contractors should be aware that record keeping will be a major enforcement tool used by the EPA. Renovators can contest EPA's allegations and proposed penalty before an impartial judge or jury.
Exemptions to RRP Work Practices
The required work practices may be waived under the following conditions:
- The home or child occupied facility was built after 1978.
- The property is used as housing for the elderly or persons with disabilities, unless any child who is less than 6 years of age resides or is expected to reside in such housing
- The property is a zero-bedroom dwelling, such as studio apartments or dormitories.
- The renovations are performed by the home owner(s) themselves
- The renovations are performed without compensation (Examples might include friends, brother-in-law, or volunteers)
- The repairs are minor, with interior work disturbing less than six square feet of painted surfaces per room or exteriors disturbing less than 20 square feet of painted surfaces on the entire envelope.
- The work practices do not apply if the entire house or specifically affected components, as described within a scope of work for the project, test lead free by a Certified Risk Assessor, Lead Inspector or Certified Renovator
- In the case that renovations are for emergency or interim control purposes, the work practices do not apply. However, in these situations, the cleaning practices and cleaning verification are still required.
Compliance with this rule and protection of your business will require rethinking existing business practices. Remodelers and others considered renovators under the RRP rule will need to identify what parts of the rule they can support using existing systems, what systems will need modification, what systems will need replacement, and, finally, what new systems will be required that do not already exist. Considerations can include your sales process, contracts and specifications, estimating, production management and methods, project scheduling and critical path, and employee selection just to name a few.
New business administration activities will also need to be considered. Creation, collection and storage of required documentation will be critical for rule compliance and to manage business liabilities. Occupant notification requirements and business recertification requirements are date specific and also require documentation. Effective use of technology will be a critical factor for ensuring compliance while at the same time controlling overhead costs. Businesses with a high dependency on people, rather than technology in these areas, face additional payroll costs and risk increased liabilities due to possible human error.
The New EPA RRP rules will be a game changer for most businesses that perform work that disturbs paint. I'm not saying this rule and these new considerations are show stoppers, but I am saying that it's a whole new show. How you used to do business, who you hire, how you manage them, and how you will produce your work will all be very different from the world you have been living in.
You can't pretend not to know about or wait for this to go away. Smart business owners and managers can not only be ready for April 22nd, but can also use these new requirements in a variety of ways to separate their businesses from the competition. This is a great opportunity to get ready, or, get out. It's also a great time and reason to invest in or replace your workforce if you plan to stay.