RRP Nightmare-General Contractor and His Subcontractor Both Get Nailed By EPA
Unfortunately, complying with the EPA’s RRP rule is not simple. And, attending the required RRP Certified Renovator Training class will not adequately educate a business owner on all of the business and production practices that must be put in place to keep the business from becoming yet another victim of the RRP Rule due to violations.
Contractors need to keep in mind that ignorance about the details and requirements of the RRP rule are considered by EPA to be excuses, not reasons for non compliance. An EPA RRP Violation press release about your business and the fines that come with it can be a real nightmare!
On Monday this week the EPA released a press release announcing that James J. Welch & Co., Inc. of Salem MA is facing a penalty of $28,125 for allegedly violating the RRP Rule’s requirements.
The press release alleges that the violations occurred while James J. Welch & Co., Inc. was acting as the general contractor performing renovations on a project at the former Frisbee School in Kittery, Maine. At the time of the renovation the Kittery site was a child-occupied facility and therefore was subject to Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.
Three things stand out to me as things all general contractors need to be aware of:
- The violation was brought to EPA’s attention via an anonymous tip.
- The work that was in violation was being done by a subcontractor.
- Both the GC and the subcontractor are facing separate fines for the violations
In Feb. 2012, after receiving the anonymous tip, the EPA and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection performed an inspection of the site. Based on the inspection, EPA determined that the general contractor did not ensure that a company hired as a subcontractor to replace windows at the school, New Hampshire Glass, was complying with the required work practices required under the RRP Rule. (EPA press release about New Hampshire Glass violations and fine)
The violations included:
- Failure to assign a certified renovator to the work site
- Failure to cover the ground with plastic sheeting
- And, failure to contain waste from the renovation activity
Learn from their mistakes
The nightmare both of these businesses are going through should serve as a warning for other business owners. Both general contractors and sub contractors need to know each other’s responsibilities when it comes to compliance with the RRP Rule. By understanding the rule the GC and the sub can then come to an agreement about who will do what and when they will do it to make sure that both of them are in compliance while doing the work, as well as creating and maintaining all required paperwork and documentation. If you do not already have these things under control at your business I suggest you read my September 3, 2010 RRPedia blog titled: Contractors and Subs Doing EPA RRP Work Will Need to Work Things Out