You are not alone out there in the run up to new lead paint laws that take effect on April 22 of 2010. For us the law won’t alter the way we do business on a whole bunch of jobs since the majority of our projects are on homes born after 1977–homes to which the law does not apply. We work mostly in the suburbs, and considering the enthusiasm with which this city sprawled through the last quarter of the 20th century, there is no shortage of 15-30 year-old homes that need help. However, the small number of projects that we do on older homes tends to account for a disproportionally large percentage of our gross revenue so that means we have to pay attention.
There are two types of certification
An examination of the guidelines reveals a distinction between who must become certified for what: Renovation companies that are not sole proprietorships must be certified as both a “firm” and as a “renovator”, while sole proprietorships require only the “renovator” designation. To become a Certified Firm, you have to apply to the EPA www.epa.gov/oppt/lead/pubs/toolkits.htm and prove that a representative of your company has completed the proper training–for us that is Tommy, our VP of Construction Operations—and pay $ 300.00 (registration is good for five years). This can take up to 90 days so you better get started today!
The representative who has completed the training is the renovator. Renovator training involves attendance at an 8-hour class (better than defensive driving, but not as cool as concealed handgun training), with lots of technical procedures, pretty good pizza and a very nice certificate. Tommy learned that if children under the age of six are present on a regular basis in an older home where more than 6 square feet of lead-based paint are to be disturbed in a room (or 20 sq. ft. of lead-based paint on the exterior), testing must be done. The testing is not difficult, and it is not technical, but like everything else related to compliance and CYA it requires comprehensive documentation.
We deal with the small jobs and sub out the big stuff
If a swab comes back the wrong color, we have to do two things: use more swabs to see how widespread the issue is, then decide if the cure is something we want to tackle ourselves or not. It will be something we want to do if it involves, for example, limited removal and repair of some baseboards and window sills. Anything more than that, though, means we hire someone to do it the dirtiest work for us—an independent contractor who is a full-time specialist. And we are no more interested in becoming a lead-paint expert than in becoming a master plumber, electrician, or watchmaker. What we are very interested in is orchestrating the specialists and managing the new regulations. We must adhere to important new standards and document every single step along the way whether we do the remediation ourselves or not.
Share your leaden war stories with Tommy, our lead Renovator or Michael, President of our Certified Firm!
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