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EPA Announces Plan To Inspect Contractors For RRP Compliance

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Apr 10,2014 @ 06:00 AM

EPA Announces Plan To Inspect Contractors For RRP Compliance

EPA announces RRP inspections in New Haven CT


The Boston EPA Office, in an effort to improve compliance with laws that protect children from lead paint poisoning, has announced it will be sending letters to approximately 200 home renovation and painting contractors, property management companies and landlords in and around New Haven, Conn. announcing a compliance assistance and enforcement initiative.  According to an April 7, 2014 press release the EPA letter outlines steps EPA will be taking to increase compliance by these entities with the EPA RRP Rule.


EPA says they will offer compliance assistance

According to the press release the letter EPA is sending to New Haven-area contractors, landlords and property management companies invites these entities to an information session to be held at the New Haven Health Department office on April 16, 2014 from 3 to 6 pm where EPA says it will provide an overview of the RRP Rule requirements, and introduce an expedited settlement offer for one violation of the RRP Rule. It’s not clear from the press release what the settlement will be or what violations they are referring to. 

In addition to the information session, during April and May, EPA says it will offer compliance assistance on the RRP Rule to companies and the public in the New Haven area.   The press release did not offer any details on what type of compliance assistance would be offered.


WARNING: EPA also says they will also be inspecting to verify compliance

EPA RRP Inspections warningThe letter will also notify the contractors that EPA will be inspecting a number of them in June 2014.  According to the press release EPA lead inspectors will inspect numerous renovation, painting and property management companies in the New Haven area regarding their compliance with the RRP Rule. The inspections may be followed up with enforcement.

Besides increasing protection for children’s health, EPA says it aims to ensure a “level playing field” for individuals and companies that are already complying with the RRP Rule.  To extend its reach, EPA says it is coordinating with many agencies, including the New Haven Health Department and the Connecticut Department of Public Health on this initiative.


Why New Haven CT and who might be next?

EPA says it is doing this initiative in the New Haven area because public health records indicate that New Haven has one of the highest rates of childhood lead exposure in New England. 

So, will contractors be happy about this?

The RRP Rule has caused much controversy in the remodeling industry.  Some contractors want to see the rule go away altogether.  Others are OK with the rule and its purpose, but have complained that the lack of enforcement and the ineffective public outreach efforts to date have made it difficult to compete with business that do not comply; due to the additional costs related to rule compliance. 

EPA RRP Rule EnforcementTime will tell whether this intuitive will help improve compliance in any significant way and or really have any effect on leveling the playing field.   Either way it’s likely that EPA will use the findings and enforcement of this initiative to capture the attention of contractors in the New Haven area.  Contractors outside of CT may also want to consider that this may be a test program that could eventually be put in place in other areas of the country.

If anyone reading this receives one of the letters I hope you will share it with me so I can share it here at the Design/Builders Blog.


Topics: EPA RRP Rule Updates, EPA Announcements, Government Regulations, RRP Related

Free RRP Renovation Checklist Will Help You Document Work Practices

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Dec 12,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Free RRP Renovation Checklist Will Help You Estimate And Document RRP Work Practices

RRP Renovation Checklist free


One of the requirements of the RRP rule is that the certified firm must create and maintain documentation of the work practices used on any renovation projects falling under the RRP Rule.  EPA is not doing field inspections unless someone reports a violation of the rule.  Rather, EPA checks on a firm’s compliance with the rule through the required paperwork a renovation contractor must create and keep on file.

It has come to my attention that in addition to illegally operating businesses, even many RRP Certified firms are not doing this required paperwork.   That’s a big mistake with the potential of up to a $37,500 fine for not having the documentation if EPA does an audit.   Plus, if you don’t have any documentation to prove what you did do, you may be subject to additional fines because you won’t be able to prove you used any of the required work practices while completing the work. 

Remember, the fine is up to $37,500 per day, per violation! Ouch!

Help with RRP implementation

To help contractors out with implementing the RRP rule I will be presenting a half day RRP Implementation Workshop along with Mark Paskell of the Contractors Coaching Partnership.  The first workshop will be held in Mansfield MA at National Lumber on January 7th, 2014 from 8AM -12:30 PM.  Additional dates and locations will be announced soon. 

At the workshop I will be sharing a complete set of the required RRP documentation paperwork with attendees.   The paperwork bundle will include several custom forms I created to help contractors and their team members with RRP rule compliance. 

RRP Workshop for contractors


The RRP paperwork bundle will include all the forms a renovator needs:

  • Non-Certified Worker Training Documentation Form
  • Lead Test Kit Documentation Form
  • Paint Chip Sample Collection Form
  • Occupant Pre-Renovation Notification Form
  • Common Area Renovation Notice
  • Record of Tenant Notification Procedures form
  • Renovation Recordkeeping Checklist Form


About the free RRP renovation Checklist

The form that I think will be most valuable to attendees is the Renovation Recordkeeping Checklist Form.  When I created this customized 3 page form I did it in a way such that the same form can be used in three different ways as follows:

RRP Checklist Form
  • The estimator can use it to help assess what work practices will need to be included in his estimated costs, for both interior and exterior projects.
  • The production manager can then use the same form to go over RRP work practices and containment requirements with the team doing the project.
  • The certified renovator can then use the same form to document what work practices were actually used.
  • Because of the design of the form, employee are less likely to miss or forget what needs to be done to be in and prove compliance.


At the workshop I will be going over the forms and how to use them to properly and accurately prove compliance with the rule.    After doing so at previous workshops many of the attendees said they found that RRP compliance and completing the required documentation was nowhere near as hard or as time consuming as they had imagined.  Plus, they found my forms to be easier to use and much more intuitive that the EPA sample forms.

download free RRP checklist

Shawn McCadden speaker for remodeler events

Click here for information about the workshop

If you would like to Shawn to conduct the RRP Implementation Workshop at your place of business email Shawn or call him at 978-726-6531




Topics: Free Stuff, RRP Training, EPA RRP Lead Rules, RRP Related

Get Ready, Complying With the RRP Rule Will Get Much More Expensive

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Nov 15,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Get Ready, Complying With the RRP Rule Will Get Much More Expensive

EPA to raise RRP fees

EPA to increase RRP fees


Businesses complying with the EPA RRP Rule should plan ahead for increased costs.  Because of EPA's mismanagement and lack of accountability regarding the RRP Rule, the actual costs to administer and enforce the rule have so far dramatically exceeded the fees collected from complying firms.   To address the shortfall of funds EPA plans to raise the fees related to the rule.  This will likely mean that the cost of firm certification and firm re-certifications will dramatically increase.  And, because the RRP rule is required to be self funding, it looks like EPA will need to raise the fees high enough to offset their losses since the program began, as well as their ongoing costs going forward.

The increased costs will definitely add to the advantages non-complying firms have been enjoying so far, further punishing legitimate businesses for complying.  I also predict the increased fees will promote more illegal work, therefore more kid will be needlessly poisoned because many in our our government are incompetent.


The amount of the EPA RRP fee increases is not yet known

rrp firm certification fees going upBecause EPA did not do an accurate estimate of program costs and revenues when they set their original fees, money coming in to support rule administration is not coming anywhere close to the actual costs.   If EPA were a for profit business they would already have gone out of business when it comes to RRP.   But, because the EPA and its leadership are not held to the same standards as for-profit businesses and business leaders, not only will they be allowed to continue operations, those at EPA who are responsible for the RRP rule get to keep their jobs and paychecks, despite such dismal performance.   And, rather than concentrate on fixing their business plan to create financial health, EPA can simply charge their customers more money.   The problem is that their customers, those who must comply with the rule, do not have any other options they can choose from to do business with.  


Here is a summary of information to help you understand what has happened and what to expect going forward

Note: Info below is from an EPA Office of Inspector General Report dated 2/20/13 titled "EPA Is Not Recovering All Its Costs of the Lead-Based Paint Fees Program”

  • EPA had not conducted a formal cost study to determine its actual program costs before establishing fees.
  • According to the report, EPA is losing money on the RRP program.
  • Based on the agency’s estimates since the RRP rule went into effect in 2010, the total loss will amount to around $16.4 million by 2014.
  • Fiscal year 2010, the first year of the rule, actually netted a profit of $8.9 million, but costs are exceeding fee collections by $25.3 million for 2011 through 2014.
  • RRP fees to increaseThe report pointed out three issues contributing to the EPA’s unrecovered costs.
        1. The agency has not conducted recommended biennial cost reviews to ensure that fees are in line with costs.  (Think WAG: "Wild Ass Guess")
        2. The fee structure also does not take into account all the indirect costs needed to recover the cost of administering the RRP program.
        3. RRP firm participation is lower than the EPA projected.
  • The report says that by not recovering all of its program costs, “the federal government did not collect funds that otherwise could have been available to offset the federal budget deficit.” (In business speak this means they contributed to the deficit by operating beyond their means.) 
  • The OIG recommends that the March 2009 fee schedule for the lead-based paint program be adjusted “to reflect the amount of fees necessary for the program to recover the costs of implementing and enforcing the program.”
  • The report indicated that the EPA agrees with the recommendation and "intends" to take “corrective actions".  
  • According to the report EPA agreed and plans to conduct a biennial cost review of the RRP program in Fiscal Year 2013.


Wrapping this up!

Here is what the EPA Inspector General had to say:

“The President’s Budget Message for FY 2012 states that reducing the long-term federal deficit must be a priority. The federal government is looking for ways to save money and cut unnecessary costs. We believe that EPA could help the federal government in this endeavor by collecting more lead fees to recover more of its costs"

So to save money and cut unnecessary costs, does your business raise its prices too?


Topics: New Business Realities, EPA RRP Rule Updates, Effects of the RRP Rule, Government Regulations, Shawn's Predictions, RRP Related

Finding the Perfect Customers For Your Remodeling Business

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Sep 24,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Finding the Perfect Customers For Your Remodeling Business

Perfect customers for remodelers


Most contractors I meet are attracted to the trades and running their own businesses because they love the work.  But, when contractors allow the wrong customers to buy from them those customers can quickly take all the pleasure and reward out of being in business and working with the tools.

At the Remodeling Show last year I asked a group of seminar attendees if they had their choice of customer types who they would prefer to work for.  One contractor said he only wanted to work with “nice people”

His answer drew some laughs, but we all agreed it would be nice if all customers were nice.  I also asked him what he meant by nice.  His response included characteristics like pay on time, make and stick to decisions, and being kind to him and his employees; treating them with the respect and dignity they deserve.  Wouldn’t that be nice!


There are many characteristics about customers that can be used to differentiate between them.  

Remodeling customer demograficsEach characteristic can make a difference regarding who they are and what it will be like to work with them.   If you think back on past projects you can probably identify a variety of characteristics that make up the ideal customer type for you and your business.  Who they are as people, and their personality traits, are definitely important.  Also though, just as important as the personality of customers, can be other differentiating characteristics called demographics.  Used in combination with personality traits, demographics can help contractors target market prospects who are also most likely to buy what they are selling. 

Demographics are the quantifiable statistics of a given population of people.  Smart and strategic business owners seeking to work with a specific customer type will combine several demographic variables to define the demographic profile of those customers.  Then, using that profile as a guide, they do marketing in ways and places where their target customers can be found.


Here is a partial list of customer demographics contractors can use to target their ideal customers


      • Target marketing for contractorsMarital Status
      • Gender
      • Age Ranges
      • Number of People in Household
      • Income Information
      • Actual Home Market Value (predefined ranges)
      • Home Equity Loan and Amount
      • Year Home Built
      • Owner vs. renter
      • Family Composition
      • Length of Residence
      • Fuel type
      • Dwelling Type: Single vs. Multi-Family
      • Occupation


So, give me an example of how to use customer demographics:

Here is an example of a fictitious remodeling company’s target customer description using demographics. For this example we will assume the remodeling contractor is looking to offer smaller repair type projects at high margins.

Target customers for remodelersThe goal of this marketing campaign is to build a customer list of people who will continually need more work due to the age of the home they live in, and or will refer the company to other people just like them who are willing to pay more to get the comfort and quality offered by a professional and legal business.  We want and will use this customer list so we can market additional services to the same homeowners in the future.

To accomplish this goal the company is looking to work with married couples who either have very young children (no time to do the work themselves) and or empty nesters (been there, done all that, want to keep my free time for outdoor activities).  Combined household income should be at least $150K so we know they can afford the work.  Target home must be built after 1977 so the RRP rule will not apply.  Target customers must either have no mortgage or a home equity loan with at least a $100K available balance so it is likely they have money to do larger projects in the future.   

Oh, and we don’t enjoy working for engineers who want to tell us how to do our jobs so will eliminate them from our mailing lists.


Remodeling Show 2013I'll be back at the Remodeling Show again this year. 

If you come to my sessions be sure to say hello!

"Choosing and Targeting The Right Customers and Project Types for Your Business"

"Success Starts With a Business Plan"




Topics: Success Strategies, Marketing, Marketing Ideas, Lead Generation, Marketing Considerations, Creating Referrals, RRP Related

RRP Nightmare-GC and His Subcontractor Both Get Nailed By EPA

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Aug 15,2013 @ 06:00 AM

RRP Nightmare-General Contractor and His Subcontractor Both Get Nailed By EPA

RRP Nightmare


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!

Click here for my EPA RRP Summary for Remodelers

What happened?

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.

Child Occupied FacilityThe 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:

  1. The violation was brought to EPA’s attention via an anonymous tip.
  2. The work that was in violation was being done by a subcontractor.
  3. Both the GC and the subcontractor are facing separate fines for the violations

RRP anonymous tipIn 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

RRP and SubcontractorsThe 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


Related articles:

If a Lead Test Indicates No Lead, Can A Non-Certified Firm Do The Work?

Do My Sub Contractors Need To Be RRP Certified?

Do my subs need to be EPA RRP Certified Firms?

Insurance Companies Rethinking Coverage Due to EPA RRP Rule



Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, Production Considerations, Subcontractor Considerations, Business Considerations, RRP Related

NARI Sends Out Call To Action To Remodelers Regarding RRP

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Jul 03,2013 @ 06:00 AM

NARI Sends Out Call To Action To Members and Other Remodelers Regarding RRP

Bruce Case, chairperson of the NARI Government Affairs Committee


Recently I received an email from Bruce Case, chairperson of the NARI Government Affairs Committee.  In the message Bruce put out a call to action to get NARI Members to send a letter to their representatives in support of the recent amendments to the RRP Rule.   I asked Bruce if contractors other than NARI members could join in and help out.   He encouraged that support, so with his permission I am sharing this call to action with you.  I hope you will consider adding your voice to this call to action.  Feel free to share this with other contractors you know and encourage them to participate as well.


I have mailed letters to my MA representatives; I hope you will do the same.


Here is what Bruce and NARI is asking you to do

NARIIf you have not already done so, there is still time to send a letter.  Just follow the instructions below.

Copy the text from this letter onto your company letterhead.
Modify the letter to address your representative. To find your representative, type in your address to this Website.
Describe your company in the highlighted areas of the letter.
Print the letter and sign it.
Fax a copy to the representative's office, also found on this Website.
Fax or e-mail a copy of that letter to NARI National office, (847) 298-9225 or



U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 2093U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 2093, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013. Similar to the Senate bill introduced in March, this bill would:

  • Restore the opt-out provision to the EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting (LRRP) rule.
  • Prohibit the EPA from expanding LRRP to commercial and public buildings.
  • Provide an exemption for renovations after a natural disaster.
  • Suspend LRRP if the EPA can't approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation's requirement. 


 Why it's important for all contractors to participate:  

  • The introduction of this bill keeps the pressure on the EPA to enforce the current LRRP regulation.
  • This bill keeps legislators focused on the EPA's struggle to implement the LRRP rule, which will prove important as the EPA examines extending LRRP to commercial construction.
  • 92% of NARI members asked NARI to support legislation that reinstated the "opt-out" provision last year. 
  • To date the EPA has fined only 36 firms under LRRP.
  • Remodelers need a seat at the table with the EPA -- let's continue to put pressure on the EPA rather than being a "victim" to their regulations and lax enforcement.


NARI Call to action

 "We must hang together, or surely we shall hang separately"

Benjamin Franklin


Topics: Future of the Remodeling Industry, Letters to send to Politicians, Opt Out Related, RRP Related

EPA Finally Going After Firms Not Certified Under RRP Rule?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Mar 31,2013 @ 06:00 AM

RRP Rule updatesEPA Finally Going After Firms Not Certified Under RRP Rule?

The EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP) came into effect in April of 2010. Since that time over 100,000 firms have been lead-safe certified by EPA, and about 20,000 more have been certified or licensed in the twelve states authorized by EPA to take over the rule.  And, approximately 450,000 individuals are now Certified Renovators after having been trained in lead-safe work practices.

These numbers might sound impressive to the lay person

Even EPA has continuously touted these numbers as great progress.   However, there are at least 650,000 businesses in the United States that claim most of their revenues from renovation work.  And, many other businesses from industries other than construction and many landlords also perform work that falls under the RRP rule.   I estimate there are at least one million entities that should have been certified to do RRP work by now if EPA was actually enforcing the RRP Rule intended to protect children from lead poisoning.  


Report card update

Lead poisoning effects on children



Last year at this time I posted a blog on RRPedia that was a report card on how I thought EPA had been performing regarding the RRP Rule.  I just finished re-reading it and, unfortunately, not a whole lot has changed in the past year.  

The lack of adequate enforcement leaves a false sense of protection for parents and citizens who believe their government is protecting our young children from the dangers of lead.  Many contractors and others believe EPA’s lack of enforcement has actually caused an increase in the poisoning of children as a result of the rule.  This very same consideration was shared with EPA by stakeholders well before the rule went into place.  Their argument is that illegally operating businesses are getting an unfair competitive advantage because they can sell jobs at a much lower price by avoiding the required work practices.  Homeowners unaware of the rule and or the real dangers of lead poisoning, looking to save money, buy from these illegally operating businesses.


Here is one contractor’s way of assessing the situation and his opinion about the rule:



Has EPA finally taken action?

Recently EPA has finally publicly recognized that too many firms are still operating without the required certification, have not following the required lead-safe work practices and “may” be putting children at risk for lead exposure. 

EPA RRP Enforsement updateEPA claims it wants to level the playing field for those contractors who are already certified. But, rather than go after these firms and bring them into compliance, EPA has decided to send them a post card.  You heard that right, rather than do enforcement, they are sending out a post card.

EPA is mailing a postcard to non-certified contractors in target areas around the country in states that have significant amounts of older housing.  According to EPA, their goal is to “remind” these contractors of their obligation to become certified.  I guess EPA assumes they forgot to become certified so they need to be reminded. 

How effective do you think their “reminder” campaign will be?


Note: Thanks to Paul Lesieur for his musical talents and humor in the video above. 

Topics: Videos, Opinions from Contractors, RRP Related

RRP Amendment Introduced in Senate, Will Opt-Out Provision Return?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Mar 12,2013 @ 06:00 AM

RRP Amendment Introduced in the Senate, Will Opt-Out Provision Return?

Senator James Inhofe introduces RRP Opt out amendment


On March 6, 2013, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and six cosponsors reintroduced a bill in the Senate titled “The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 “  to help ease the burden of the LRRP Rule on Contractors and home owners, while at the same time would also protect pregnant women and small children from lead hazards. (See Senate bill sent to Congress here)

 These Videos About The EPA RRP Rule Offer Good Refresher Info

According to Inhofe’s web site The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 would accomplish the following:

  • Restore the “opt-out provision” which would allow homeowners without small children or pregnant women residing in them to decide whether to require LRRP.
  • Suspend the LRRP for homes without small children or pregnant women residing in them, if EPA cannot approve one or more commercially available test kits that meet the regulation's requirements.
  • Prohibit EPA from expanding the LRRP to commercial and public buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such an action.
  • Provide a de minimus exemption for first-time paperwork violations and provides for an exemption for renovations after a natural disaster.
  • Eliminate the requirement that recertification training be "hands on," preventing remodelers having to travel to training facilities out of their region.


amendment to restore the opt-out provision

Good or Bad?

Many contractors have been looking to have the Opt-out Provision restored after it was removed in July 2010.  Under the original RRP Rule, the Opt-out Provision granted homeowners the right to forego the use of the required RRP work practices if pregnant women or children under six did not live in the home.  According to the EPA’s own math, removing the Opt-Out more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP Rule, and is estimated to add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community, which includes homeowners.  Also, without a test kit that can accurately test for the amount of lead present on a surface, many homes are assumed to have lead paint and homeowners are unnecessarily paying for RRP compliance because EPA assumed a test kit would magically appear by September of 2012.   We are all still waiting and may be waiting for quite some time.  Scientists I spoke with about this say creation of such a test kit is not impossible, just not achievable at an affordable price with current knowledge and technology.


Here are a few pull quotes regarding the amendment:

“Currently, the EPA requires contractors to follow extensive safety practices in a one-size fits all approach. Even if the home does not have lead paint or there is not an individual of the at-risk population residing in the home, contractors are required by the EPA to follow the LRRP safety measures which in turn dramatically increase the costs of renovation work.  My bill would allow homeowners to opt out of the rule if the home does not place those in the at-risk population in direct harm of lead exposure. It would also require the EPA to develop working test kits to ensure that contractors have the ability to determine whether lead paint actually exists in project homes.”  

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)

"While we support the goal of protecting pregnant women and small children from lead hazards, EPA's effort to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original intent, its aggressive pursuit of paperwork violations, and its failure to approve a lead test kit meeting its own rule has been an extreme burden on a residential market that is just starting to recover from the recession. We commend Senator Inhofe for his continuing leadership on this issue and will make the legislation a focus of our upcoming Legislative Conference in Washington."

NLBMDA chairman Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Ga


"The Inhofe bill is a common-sense response which will refocus efforts on protecting pregnant woman and small children and we applaud Senator Inhofe for his leadership on this issue."

WDMA President Michael O'Brien


Lead test kit problems


(Read this RRPedia post for clarification regarding the legal definition of Lead paint and why the test kits currently recognized by EPA cannot be used to accurately determine if lead paint is present; based on how lead paint is defined by EPA)


In addition to Senator Inhofe, the cosponsors of the amendment include Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and David Vitter (R-La.).

Topics: Government Regulations, RRP Related

Videos About The EPA RRP Rule Offer Good Refresher Info

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Mar 10,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Videos About The EPA RRP Rule; RRP Information For Renovators

RRP Instructor Shawn McCadden


Back in 2010 when the RRP Rule first went into effect I completed a series of seven videos about the EPA RRP rule. The RRP videos were done for Remodeling magazine. They are posted to the Remodeling TV area of Remodeling’s web site.

The series is titled “The Insider's Guide to the EPA's Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule”. It covers critical information about the Environmental Protection Agency's RRP rule and certification process, and explains how the rule can or will affect your contracting business.


Below is a list of the videos, with a brief description of what is discussed in each one as well as links to view them:

Video One: The EPA RRP Rule and Your Business

This video covers the business responsibilities, associated liabilities and risks related to the RRP Rule. Kermit Baker, Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies stresses that remodelers need to become experts in this area or leave the work to others who are. Attorney Mike Sams of Kenney & Sams, P.C. warns about the legal liabilities for failure to follow the regulations. Shawn McCadden discusses the firm and worker certification process, related fees as well as certified renovator and firm responsibilities.


Video Two: RRP Training

This video covers the worker training requirements of the rule and the content of the EPA Certified Renovator training class. Shawn McCadden also discusses the importance and benefits of choosing a training class conducted by a training instructor with real life renovation experience.


Video Three: EPA RRP Notification Requirements

The EPA RRP rule specifies certain notification requirements depending on where the work is done and who occupies and or visits the building being renovated. This video covers these requirements, related firm documentation requirements as well as the information and documentation that must be given to property owners and others. Shawn McCadden also discusses many of the important details that must be included in the required documentation.


Video Four: RRP Work Practices

This video includes a summary of the required lead-safe work practices required under the RRP Rule. Shawn McCadden walks through critical considerations related to the rule that must be followed to stay in compliance with the rule, protect occupants and workers and to control costs. Shawn also discusses interior and exterior cleaning and cleaning verification requirements.


Video Five: RRP Record Keeping

Inspection of the required documentation under the rule will be a major enforcement tool used by EPA. In this video Shawn McCadden discusses the required documentation related to worksite activities as well as many business administration activities. Mark Paskell of the Contractor Coaching Partnership shares a few of the many methods EPA will have at their disposal to inspect and verify a firm’s compliance with the rule. Shawn adds several more methods to Mark’s list and also discusses the penalties and fines EPA can assess on violators.


Video Six: Exemptions to RRP Work Practices

In this video Shawn McCadden gives examples of when, where and why the RRP rule and work practices are not required under the rule. Shawn stresses that even if the work practices are not required under the RRP rule, your business will still be liable if lead poisoning and or contamination results from the way work is performed. Shawn and contractor insurance expert Tom Messier of Mason and Mason Insurance both stress the importance of verifying proper and adequate insurance coverage to protect your business, available coverage options as well as related costs for coverage.


Video Seven: Business Considerations and Summary

Shawn Mccadden stresses that this new rule is a game changer. Shawn tells us businesses must take this new rule seriously and adjust their business practices accordingly to protect profits and control liabilities. Mark Paskell of the Contractor Coaching Partnership stresses that contractors should verify that the documentation forms they use will comply with the rule and also assist the business in managing and performing the work. Gerry McGonagle of Belfor Property Restoration offers his advice on qualifying the right employees to do the work. Shawn also discusses some of the new responsibilities the rule brings with it for employees in all positions within the business.

Topics: Videos, Success Strategies, Legal Considerations, RRP Related

RRP Conundrum: To Test or Not to Test for Lead Paint.

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Feb 24,2013 @ 06:00 AM

RRP Conundrum: To Test or Not to Test for Lead Paint.

RRP Lead test considerationsSince the EPA RRP rule came into effect in April of 2010 renovation contractors have debated and bantered the topic of doing lead testing before they offer to sell and or perform renovations at pre 1978 properties. Due to lead testing disclosure requirements many contractors and properly owners have concerns about doing the testing.  Once a property is identified as containing lead many other laws, legal considerations (page of related articles) and potential liabilities kick in for both.   The catch 22 on this subject is that, under the RRP rule and the OSHA lead in construction regulations, if testing is not done before work begins, contractors must assume there is lead present.   It’s only natural under this scenario then that renovation workers, property owners and tenants at those properties are also left to assume, and worry, that there is lead and conducting renovations may leave them exposed.

Should I test for lead paintOften discussions on these topics get passionate when contractors express their concerns about the liability they feel the rule exposes them and their businesses to even if they follow the rule and comply with all of its lead safe work practices and documentation requirements. Many contractors feel the EPA should have written some level of protection from liability into the rule for those renovators who abide by it. 

Recently I discussed these considerations with John MacIssac of ASAP Environmental.  John is MA State Certified Lead Inspector and Risk Inspector and an expert in renovation and construction.  During that conversation John and I assembled a list of the considerations that seem to rise to the top during those discussions.  

Who pays for RRP lead testing?

If a certified renovator will not be the one doing lead testing for RRP purposes, the testing must be done by a licensed lead testing professional.  Licensed lead inspectors in Massachusetts and other states cannot accept money for lead testing from contractors under contract with a property owner.  Therefore the homeowner is responsible for payment of all services relative to the lead testing.

Are you removed from liability if RRP lead testing is done?

Depending on the contractor liability insurance that you have you may be removed from liability if you do the testing, cleaning and cleaning verification yourself.  If you do not have insurance you are not removed from liability.  If you have a licensed lead inspector do the testing and clearance you are removed from liability if the company you hire to do the testing has their own coverage.

Considerations related to doing testing yourself using test kits vs. using a licensed lead Inspector

    • Testing for lead with FRX gunTime it takes to do the testing and fill out the paperwork
    • Cost of test kits depending on number of components to test
    • Damage to components
    • The EPA recognized lead test kits are qualitative where as a XRF test is quantitative.   Under the EPA RRP rule’s legal definition of lead paint, the amount of lead present may be below RRP definition, but, if using test kits, any positive result triggers need for compliance even if below definition.

Pretesting to establish a point of reference when clearance testing will be a requirement at completion

A pretest for lead dust could establish whether the site is already contaminated or not.   If it is, who will perform and pay the related costs to get it cleaned up before the contractor starts renovation work so the contractor is only then responsible to clean up affected work areas and pass dust wipe clearance testingat completion?


Education will be key in preventing liability

RRP TrainingThere are typically no easy answers to these considerations or guaranteed ways contractors can sell and do their work to prevent the possibility of liability.  That said education about the considerations and available options is probably the best way for contractors to protect themselves and their business.

If you’re in Massachusetts and want to learn more about the RRP rule, lead testing considerations and lead testing options John will be hosting a free Lunch and Learn Session at National Lumber in Mansfield MA on March 3rd, 2013 from noon to 1PM.   The Lunch and Learn Session will be held before the start of a workshop presented by RRP Instructor and RRP Rule expert Mark Paskell titled RRP and OSHA Workshop for Contractors and Remodelers” that will also include a discussion about the differences between the EPA RRP rule and the Massachusetts RRP regulations.



Topics: Effects of the RRP Rule, OSHA Considerations, Legal Considerations, Government Regulations, Insurance Considerations, RRP Related, Lead Test Kits and Testing