Written By: Barbara Miller
Brody Wilkinson PC
As of April of this year, contractors have become fully subject to lead paint regulations which were first passed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2008. These regulations apply to renovations, repair and painting projects and include work performed by general contractors, as well as specialty contractors such as painters, carpenters, electricians, plumbers and window installers. All contractors which perform work subject to these regulations must become certified by filing an application, including a fee, and by taking an approved eight hour training course. All workers at a job site must be trained by a certified renovator.
Job sites which are covered by this regulation include buildings constructed prior to 1978 which are residential homes and apartments and child occupied facilities such as schools and day care centers. Project locations which are exempt include housing for the elderly or disabled where no child under the age of six is expected to reside, zero-bedroom dwellings such as studio apartments and dormitories and areas which have been determined to by lead paint free by a certified inspector. Minor projects which impact painted areas of less than six square feet of interior space per room or twenty square feet of exterior space are not subject to the regulations; however some projects such as window replacement and demolition are not exempt. Special rules apply to emergency repairs.
For covered projects in owner occupied units, a lead paint information pamphlet must be delivered to the owner with a signed receipt or return receipt mailing. For rental units delivery of the pamphlet may be verified by delivery receipt, certification of delivery or return receipt mailing. For repairs to common areas, notification may be given by posting signs. For child occupied facilities, parents of children using the facility must be given or mailed the pamphlets or signs must be posted at the site. Records of notice must be maintained by the contractor for three years.
Before an interior project is started, the contractor must remove or cover any objects in the area and seal off the work area with plastic sheeting. Duct work must also be closed and covered. Precautions for exterior projects include shutting doors and windows and placing plastic sheeting on the ground and on nearby objects. Certain high speed equipment used during a job, such as sanders must have HEPA exhaust control. After the project is completed, paint ships and debris must be collected and sealed in a heavy duty bag. Each interior area must be cleaned with a damp cloth or mop or a HEPA vacuum and a visual verification of clean-up performed.
Compliance with these regulations will take time and money for both large and small contracting companies. Additional requirements may apply to federally funded projects and federally subsidized housing. The Environmental Protection Agency has already begun auditing contractors.