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Your Interactive Resource for EPA RRP Information

RRPedia logoLooking for accurate information about the EPA RRP rule?

RRPedia has been created by Shawn McCadden to help remodelers and others affected by the New EPA Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. 

Please read RRPedia Use and Contribution Information before using or contributing to RRPedia.


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Costs Of RRP Challenging Many Businesses And Likely To Go Higher!

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Costs Of RRP Compliance Challenging Many Businesses and Likely To Go Higher!

Renovators have justified their concerns about the additional costs of complying with the EPA RRP Rule based on two different but interdependent reasons.  First is the cost to the business.  Businesses that do comply have to pay to become a certified firm, pay training fees for the required certified renovator training, pay the wages of the certified renovator while he/she trains non-certified workers, pay the wages of employees while they attend training, and must purchase all of the tools, related equipment and personal protection equipment needed by workers to do the work.   Second, they cite the additional labor and material costs to perform the work.  

RRP Challenges and RRP Problems


These additional costs might not be all that burdensome if all contractors doing RRP work shared the same burdens and where able to recover these costs through the selling prices of their jobs.  But, the additional costs become an extreme burden for many businesses if and when they are in competition with illegally operating businesses that avoid the additional costs and therefore are offering lower prices to consumers.  Many contractors are reporting that the additional costs are putting them out of business.


Ready for some more bad news?   The costs of compliance are likely to go up even higher, for complying businesses as well as for consumers. 

  • First, the proposed dust wipe amendment, if approved, will definitely increase projects costs and will result in delaying when the consumer can get back into the renovated space. 
  • Second, in addition to the costs related to the dust wipe testing, because contained areas cannot be re-inhabited until the tests show no lead dust, consumers may need to seek alternate living arrangements while waiting for test results to come back from laboratories. 
  • Third, because of the lack of a cost effective lead test kit that will recognize lead based on the legal definition of lead equal to or in excess of 1.0 mg/cm\2\ or 0.5% by weight, many projects that would not require lead safe practices must still be performed using lead-safe practices. 

Here is excerpt from the final rule preamble:

RRP Costs“Number of events and individuals affected: In the first year that all of the rule requirements will be in effect, there will be an estimated 8.4 million renovation, repair, and painting events where lead-safe work practices will be used due to the rule. As a result, there will be approximately 1.4 million children under the age of 6 who will be affected by having their exposure to lead dust minimized due to the rule. There will also be about 5.4 million adults who will be affected. After improved test kits for determining whether a painted surface contains lead-based paint become available (which is assumed in the analysis to occur by the second year of the rule), the number of renovation, repair, and painting events using lead-safe work practices is expected to drop to 4.4 million events per year. No change in the number of exposures avoided due to the rule is expected because the improved test kit will more accurately identify paint without lead, thus reducing the number of events unnecessarily using the required work practices.”

So, because the EPA falsely assumed that the improved test kits would be available by September 2010, 4.4 million RRP projects will bear the additional cost of lead-safe practices that would not be required if the improved test kits were available.  That one bad assumption by EPA, based on the bogus and underestimated average additional cost of $35 per project, will result in $140 million in additional costs for projects “unnecessarily using the required work practices”.   What do you think about that?   What would consumers think about that?

Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, Estimating Considerations, Statistics, Amendments, Tools and Supplies, Lead Test Kits and Testing

RRP Rule Interior Containment General Requirements

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 @ 08:43 AM

RRP Rule Interior Containment General Requirements:

Lead Test KitThe RRP rule requires that dust and debris be controlled in the work area while working in homes built prior to 1978 unless all effected components of the renovation are properly tested and lead is not found.  You can find information about the legal definition of lead paint and the accuracy of testing methods here.


In general, renovations that involve only a small amount of paint disturbance create less dust than jobs that involve larger areas of paint disturbance. However, in addition to the size of the area of paint disturbed, the work practices (e.g., sanding) and equipment used will also affect how much dust is created and how the dust migrates. The location of the work activity also has a bearing on the amount of dust that is distributed. For example, small areas of ceiling work can spread dust over the entire room and are very difficult to control.

Zip Wall containmentRequired containment is similar for all jobs, but jobs that generate more dust and debris may require protection of larger areas. While the Rule does not require vertical containment, such systems may be helpful in limiting the size of the area affected by the work and may reduce the area that must be cleaned at the end of the job. Pre-engineered containment systems (purchased and home-made) are very helpful in cutting time spent on the job erecting containment and are easier to install than hanging plastic sheeting with tape. These systems also allow the contractor to create a sealed room within a room where the dust can be completely contained to a limited and controlled area.   Click here to download a helpful list of tools and supplies for RRP work.

Remember, you are responsible for making sure that dust and debris remain inside of the contained work area. When planning containment, keep in mind how, how much, and where the work practices to be used will create dust, and plan accordingly.  This information should also be considered when estimating the cost to do the work.

General requirements for interior containment:

Warning signPosted signs: These must be posted on all sides of the work area to define the work area, must be in the primary language of occupants, must be posted before the beginning of the renovation, and must remain until cleaning verification is achieved.
Contain the work area: Before renovation, isolate the work area to prevent the escape of dust. During work, maintain the containment integrity and ensure that containment does not interfere with occupant and worker egress from the home or work area.
Remove or cover furniture/objects: Remove (preferred) objects like furniture, rugs, window coverings; or cover them with plastic sheeting with all seams and edges taped.
Cover floors: Cover floors including carpets in the work area with taped down plastic sheeting or other impermeable material to 6 feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation or to a distance sufficient to contain dust, whichever is greater.
Close and seal doorways and close windows: Close and seal doorways and close windows in the work area with plastic sheeting or other impermeable material. Doors used as entrances to the work area must be covered with plastic sheeting that allows workers to pass through while confining dust to the work area.
Cover duct openings: Close and cover all HVAC vents in the work area with taped down plastic sheeting or other impermeable materials (e.g., magnetic covers).
Remove dust and debris from everything leaving the work area: Use precautions to ensure that all personnel, tools and all other items are free from dust and debris before being removed from the work area.

If you are looking for forms and signage to help you with comply with the EPA RRP rule, I recommend you check out what The Lead Paint Forms Store has to offer.

Topics: Production Considerations, Estimating Considerations, Work Practices, RRP for Dummies, Containment Considerations, Tools and Supplies

For Large RRP Remodels; Renovate or Tear Down and Start Over?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 @ 07:19 AM

For Large RRP Remodels; Renovate or Tear Down and Start Over?

Question from an RRPedia User:

Renovate, tear down or start over?
“Shawn, We have met a number of times, most recently at the Rings End event, which was great, informative and overwhelming. I'm not sure where to go for the answer to this question and thought maybe you could direct me. We are bidding a sizable remodel and the architect has note for that bidders are to follow RRP guidelines. Its pre-1978, we will be disturbing 75%+ of the existing structure and it is unoccupied. I'm thinking that we don't need to address the tarping and cleanup because of the magnitude and vacancy. If we do then we need to consider a tear down. Any guidance you can give would be appreciated. I'm sure you get this all the time so I understand if you can't get to it. Best regards, 
Ray Gaines Sr, Gaines Construction Co. Inc.


Thanks for your message. This question has come up several times already from other contractors like you who are trying to do the right thing and interpret the EPA RRP rule correctly.

The fact that the property is unoccupied during the renovation makes no difference regarding whether the EPA RRP rule applies. This is confirmed on the FAQ page of the EPA web site. Because of the removal of the opt-out provision in July of this year, any residential property where people live or will live (referred to as target housing) now requires the lead-safe practices unless the home tests out negative for lead under the EPA guidelines.

Also under the EPA RRP Rule, unless the entire interior of the structure is gutted down to bare wood, with no coated or painted surfaces remaining, the project must be treated as an RRP project and again the work must be done using lead-safe work practices.  A full removal of all exterior finishes however does require the RRP Lead-safe work practices.  Again, this is confirmed on the FAQ page of the EPA web site.  Keep in mind, all documentation requirements apply as well.

As a side note, your message does say the building is pre 1978; however you do not say whether the property was tested for lead.  If it hasn't been tested, one option to the owner would be to test it.  Of course, if there is no lead, the rule would not apply.

Lead test kitsThe EPA approved test kits sold by LeadCheck are very accurate.  These tests reliably determine the presence or absence of lead.  If you use these tests the owner would know if any lead is present at all.  However, under the RRP Rule, the EPA says the rule exempts renovations that affect only components that a certified lead inspector or certified risk assessor has determined are free of paint or other surface coatings that contain lead equal to or in excess of 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2) or 0.5% by weight. EPA further explains that the determination that any particular component is free of lead-based paint may be made as part of a lead-based paint inspection of an entire housing unit or building, or on a component-by-component basis.

So, if the property owner wants to know if there is any lead at all, the EPA approved LeadCheck test kits could be used to do so.  If the owner chooses to use the EPA's action level of lead paint amount to determine if the lead-safe practices would be required, then currently the only way to test for amount of lead would be to use a certified lead inspector or certified lead risk assessor.  

Nice fishOne way to think about this might be to relate it to eating fish.  The government often says that if you fish in certain bodies of polluted water, you can safely eat up to so many of the fish you catch without any health concerns.  If the government says you can eat up to 3 fish a year, how safe would you feel eating even one fish?  Using this analogy, how safe might the owner feel having renovations done if there is any lead present at all at their property?

If you have opportunity to interact with the property owner, I suggest you might find you would stand out from the other bidders if you could share what I have written here with the owners.  It is my opinion that the property owners should know the facts, know their options and then make a decision about how to move forward regarding lead at their homes.

Topics: RRP Questions, EPA RRP Lead Rules, Sales Considerations, Estimating Considerations, Health Effects of Lead, Compliance Options, Work Practices, RRP for Dummies, Containment Considerations, Lead Test Kits and Testing

EPA RRP Considerations for Demolition of All or Part of a Structure

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Jun 18, 2010 @ 09:40 AM

House demolition


Question from RRPedia visitor Dan Tibma of Tibma Design/Build"Under the EPA RRP rule, if I demo an attached garage completely, except for the foundation, what site and debris containment measures do I need to take?"

Dan, thanks for visiting my web site and for your question.  I hope you are well.  I had already started a post about this topic, so you motivated me to finish it and get it posted.  Thanks!

I had asked the EPA a similar question in the list of questions presented to the EPA Region One Office on January 6th, 2010 on behalf of the Eastern MA NARI Chapter.  Eventually, on April 7, 2010, EPA answered the question in the FAQ section of their web site.

Here is the question I asked:

Does the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule apply to demolishing and disposing of:

  • An entire pre-1978 home or building?
  • An entire, non-attached free-standing structure on the same property such as a garage, shed, or gazebo?
  • An attached but segregated section of pre-1978 home or building such as a sunroom, addition, two-story porch, or garage attached by a breezeway?

Here is the EPA's response:

Garage demolition"The RRP Rule covers renovations, which are defined as modifications of existing structures or portions of structures. The rule does not apply to demolitions of an entire free-standing building or structure.

The RRP Rule does apply to renovation activities that modify portions of existing structures. Waste from these activities must be contained to prevent releases of dust and debris before the waste is removed from the work area for storage or disposal. If a chute is used to remove waste from the work area, it must be covered.

At the conclusion of each work day and at the conclusion of the renovation, waste that has been collected from renovation activities must be stored under containment, in an enclosure, or behind a barrier that prevents release of dust and debris out of the work are an d prevents access to dust and debris.

When the firm transports waste from renovation activities, the firm must contain the waste to prevent release of dust and debris."


Topics: RRP Questions, Production Considerations, Estimating Considerations, Work Practice Exclusions, Containment Considerations

Restricted Practices and Prohibited Practices under the EPA RRP Rule

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 @ 05:15 PM

Prohibited and Restricted EPA RRP Work Practices:

The following information comes from the RRP Rule and preamble:

 No Open Flame Burning


"The final rule prohibits or restricts the use of certain work practices during regulated renovations. These practices are open flame burning or torching of lead-based paint; the use of machines that remove lead-based paint through high speed operation such as sanding, grinding, power planing, needle gun, abrasive blasting, or sandblasting, unless such machines are used with HEPA exhaust control; and operating a heat gun above 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.

EPA has concluded that these practices must be prohibited restricted during renovation, repair, and painting activities that disturb lead-based paint because the work practices in this final rule are not effective at containing the spread of leaded dust when these practices are used, or at cleaning up lead-based paint hazards created by these practices. Thus, the work practices are not effective at minimizing exposure to lead-based paint hazards created during renovation activities when these activities are used."

Dry hand scrapingNote: The final rule does not prohibit or restrict the use of dry hand sanding or dry hand scraping. EPA has concluded that it is not necessary to prohibit or restrict dry hand sanding or dry hand scraping because the containment, cleaning, and cleaning verification requirements of the rule are effective at minimizing exposure to lead-based paint hazards created by renovations and the migration of dust-lead hazards beyond the work area when dry hand sanding or dry hand scraping is employed.

The following information is from the HUD Booklet titled Lead Paint Safety, A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance and Renovation Work


EPA RRP Restricted Work Practices

EPA RRP Prohibited Work Practices


Topics: Production Considerations, Estimating Considerations, Definitions, Work Practices, Tools and Supplies

How much will it cost contractors to comply with the EPA RRP Rule?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 @ 10:06 AM

How much will it cost contractors to comply with the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (EPA RRP) Rule?

Firm applicationFirst, there are up-front costs including firm certification (required to offer, sell and or be under contract to perform the work) and the cost of Certified Renovator training for those doing and or supervising the actual work.  Other up front costs can include tools and equipment needed to perform the work including a HEPA vacuum, cleaning equipment, personal protection equipment for workers, specialized tools and containment related equipment such as products like Zip Walls.

Zip wall example

There will also be job related costs specific to the kind of work performed.  Examples could include additional labor, tape, plastic sheeting, cleaning solutions, sprayers, staples, disposable wipes, HEPA filters, trash bags, tack pads, etc. Click here to request a tools and supplies shopping list.   Contractors will need to consider new estimating categories/divisions as well as matching job costing categories to help verify and or improved estimated cost assumptions.  Time cards and labor tracking codes should also be considered.

Contractors should also be aware of related overhead costs.  These costs could include employee time to fill out and maintain required documentation, training of non-certified workers, delivery and documentation of pre-education materials, marketing and sales related expenses, time trying to get answers from the EPA, recertification costs, employee health testing, updating contracts, legal advice, insurance costs, continuing education, law suits, etc. 

Contractors should devise ways to separate out EPA RRP related  job costs and overhead expenses within their financial system in a way that gives them the ability to determine how RRP related compliance affects their costs of doing business.

Here is how the EPA answers this question:

"Information collected by EPA for the purposes of the rulemaking indicates that many contractors already follow some of the work practices required by the rule, such as using disposable plastic sheeting to cover floors and objects in the work area.  These estimates do not include the costs of those practices.

EPA estimates that the costs of containment, cleaning, and cleaning verification will range from $8 to $167 per job, with the exception of those exterior jobs where vertical containment would be required.  This includes:
·     Costs of equipment (for example, plastic sheeting, tape, HEPA vacuums and tool shrouds - the equipment varies by job).
·     Costs of labor (for example, the time required to perform cleaning and cleaning verification).

In addition to work practice costs, your costs will include training fees and certification fees.  The costs include:
·     Training costs to individual renovators working in pre-1978 housing or child-occupied facilities who must take a course from an accredited training provider (cost is set by the training provider; estimated to be about $200 for a 5-year certification).
·     Certification costs to firms to obtain certification from EPA ($300 fee to the U.S. Treasury for a 5-year certification.  (This fee is required by law to cover program administration)." 

Topics: Business Financials, RRP Questions, Legal Considerations, Estimating Considerations, Business Considerations, Tools and Supplies

What is a "Dust Room" and why consider using one for EPA RRP work?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sat, Apr 17, 2010 @ 02:24 PM

Sticking doorIf you are a certified renovator trying to figure out innovative, efficient and time saving production methods to protect profits on EPA RRP related projects you might want to consider a dust room.

Building a dust room, particularly on very dusty and or longer duration projects might be well worth the time and material costs to build one.  Lets say you need to re-fit existing doors because they bind or maybe change the hardware on a bunch of interior doors. A dust room can contain the dust in one space and prevent the work area in each particular room from exceeding the 6 square foot minimum. 


Planing a door

The following information is from the HUD Booklet titled Lead Paint Safety, A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance and Renovation Work

The booklet also includes very thorough instructions, for working lead safe, specific to performing a variety of project types.  It could be a great resource for contractors trying to collect effective and innovative lead safe work practices, just be sure to stay in compliance with RRP rules.


Building a dust room

Topics: Production Considerations, Estimating Considerations, Work Practices, Containment Considerations

EPA RRP Jobs: Pricing for profit and consistency

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 @ 02:57 PM

Understanding the costs associated with EPA RRP work will help you price this work to keep it as profitable as non-RRP work. Costs usually include job-specific materials, labor, and general supplies (like poly and tape) that may or may not be assigned to a particular job. It's important to job cost for several reasons. First, you want to be sure you're not just making money, but making enough money to cover the costs of that job, plus that job's fair share of overhead, plus that job's fair share of profit. Can you really afford to accept a lower profit margin on RRP jobs? What are the implications for your overall profit if this happens? What about profit-sharing? If your profit-sharing or bonus plan depends (as it should) on achieved gross margins, is it fair to under price RRP jobs and then pass along your loss in the form of reduced profit sharing? If you have one lead carpenter who's your certified renovator, supervising RRP jobs is going to take up most of his time. Should his profit-sharing or bonus be reduced because of this? So be sure that you price your RRP jobs according to a plan in which the true costs in materials and labor are represented. If you do, your achieved gross margin shouldn't suffer as a result of your decision to work on RRP projects.

Note:  This information was contributed by Melanie Hodgdon of Business Systems Management.

Topics: Production Considerations, Estimating Considerations

EPA RRP Rule: Value in using time cards to demonstrate RRP compliance

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 @ 02:52 PM

Contractors who have made the decision to embrace the new EPA RRP Rule requirements can gain two benefits from creating a system to track time required to perform EPA RRP-related tasks.

First, to price a job, it's important to understand the difference (as measured by employee labor hours) between replacing a window on an RRP Rule job compared with replacing a similar window on a non-RRP Rule job. For example, requiring workers to log time spent on RRP-specific activities such as setup (including taping), removal, and cleanup (including disposal and testing) will provide valuable information for estimating and pricing purposes,

Second, collecting information on time spent on RRP Rule-related tasks can help prove that the right personnel were present at the right time on an RRP targeted project. Other than running a webcam at the jobsite (a potential can of worms!), what better way to prove that your certified renovator was present to supervise during designated times than by providing an auditor with time-based reports designed to demonstrate your compliance?

The challenge will be to set up your time tracking system so it's easy to use and (more importantly) will easily generate the reports that will support you in the face of an audit. The EPA isn't going to hang out at your jobsite; if they go after you, they'll get you in your office. The more detailed and compelling the reports you provide, the more competent and professional you'll look. The more professional you look, the less likely they'll be to nitpick.

Note:  This information was contributed by Melanie Hodgdon of Business Systems Management.

Topics: Production Considerations, Estimating Considerations

EPA RRP Law Compliance: Effects on Estimating Labor Costs

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 @ 02:46 PM

Despite the fact that the EPA passed the RRP lead-safe practices law back in 2008, the word didn't get out very effectively. As a result, the EPA RRP Rule caught many contractors unprepared and scrambling to get themselves certified by the April 22, 2010 deadline. Many companies are focusing on compliance (pamphlet acquisition and distribution, company certification, RRP training, acquisition of dust containment materials and HEPA Vacs), but fewer have thought about how the new law may affect daily practices. For example, a company that's not using daily time cards may find it difficult to quantify changes in the amount of time required to complete work according to the RRP regulations. Failure to understand exactly how much additional time it might take a crew to perform a task can lead to underestimating. Underestimating can lead to under pricing. Under pricing can lead to a cash flow crisis in an already challenging economy. Consistent under pricing can lead to financial failure. On the other hand, documenting time spent on a job (particularly those blocks of time associated with RRP compliance) can not only help with estimating future jobs, but provide a CYA support system.

Note:  This information was contributed by Melanie Hodgdon of Business Systems Management.

Topics: Production Considerations, Estimating Considerations