Advise & Consult, Inc. – October 2, 2012
Commercial buildings now have until 2015 to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.
This rule has been surrounded by controversy, basically since its inception. Originally, it was to include all contractors doing any renovation on pre-1978 residential and commercial buildings with the hopes of cleaning up lead based paint, dust and exposure during that renovation process. While the intentions were to keep people safe as the increasing knowledge of damage caused by lead paint dust – especially to children.
The controversy started when it created a competitive dis-advantage for those trying to comply with the new regulations and the added cost of the expensive procedures when compared to those contractors that couldn’t, wouldn’t or for some other reason didn’t comply with the new regulations.
The controversy continues with a voluntary legal settlement with environmental groups including the Sierra Club. In this settlement the EPA agrees to propose a significant and costly expansion of the existing residential lead paint rule. It also agrees to eliminate the “opt-out provision” allowing homeowners without children who live in homes built prior to 1978 to choose exempt remodelers from following these specific practices and the required recordkeeping.
The agreement also would require all remodelers of pre-1978 housing projects to perform expensive third-party lead dust clearance testing before completing the renovation. The National Association of Home Builders has successfully convinced the EPA to withdraw this after petitioning the White House.
The final aspect of the agreement is to accelerate the development of the commercial buildings rule and to have that completed by September of 2012. The NAHB also had a say on this as they charged that the agency has failed to perform the prerequisite studies on the potential of harming adults with the dust during the renovation process. Under federal law, the EPA is required to perform these studies and has yet to complete this study.
Surely this is not the end of the story and the controversy and enforcement of this will continue to kick up the dust – pun intended.