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Blog: 5 Things Remodelers Should Know About Lead Paint Regulation

1.    If you think you can ignore the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead paint regulation, you can’t (unless the home being remodeled was built in 1978 or later). To work legally in pre-1978 homes, remodelers must submit an application and a fee to certify their firm with EPA, undergo lead-safe renovator training, follow lead-safe work practices and keep records of these jobs. Because EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) regulation went into effect April 22, 2010, remodelers without firm certification or an EPA lead-safe-certified renovator on staff should avoid working in homes built before 1978.

2.    Every five years, EPA requires remodelers and the companies who work on homes built before 1978 to be recertified. Unless you work in one of 14 states that operate their own lead-safe program. In that case, check with your state for additional requirements. EPA granted a one-time certification extension in 2015 to certain remodelers who were initially trained on or before March 31, 2011, providing more time for them to complete the required refresher training course. 

3.    EPA is enforcing the lead paint rule with fines of up to $37,500 per violation. Between the three years of records required for jobs in pre-1978 homes and the multistep cleanup and decontamination requirements for the jobsite, this rule is complicated and violations are costly. 

4.    Legislation to improve the lead paint rule for homeowners and remodelers is pending before Congress. Responding to ongoing concerns from NAHB and affiliated trade groups, H.R. 2398 and S. 1987 were introduced in Congress to make much-needed improvements to EPA’s LRRP rule. Both bills would reinstate the opt-out provision and allow homeowners without small children or pregnant women residing in the house to decide whether to require LRRP compliance. They would also allow remodelers to correct paperwork errors without facing full penalties and provide an exemption for emergency renovations.

5.    Lead-paint test kits are not affordable and reliable. Here’s how to fix that. EPA could limit the scope of housing stock covered by the regulation to homes built before 1960, which have a greater likelihood of containing lead-based paint, or revisit the opt-out provision as described in the legislation above. Both options were suggested by NAHB in testimony before EPA. EPA has estimated that once reliable test kits were available on the market—which it thought would occur by 2011—the number of work sites covered by the rule would be cut in half from about 14 million to 7 million. 

To help you cross every "t" and dot every "i," check out NAHB’s lead-paint rule compliance resources at nahb.org/leadpaint.


Robert Criner, GMR, GMB, CAPS, a remodeler from Newport News, Va., is the 2015 chair of NAHB Remodelers. NAHB Remodelers is the remodeling arm of the National Association of Home Builders, representing more than 55,000 members who are involved in the remodeling industry. Learn more at nahb.org/whynahbr.

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