Building owners and property managers of older properties have a long list of legal requirements for protecting against lead exposure. These guidelines are laid out in the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP Rule), which outlines the steps building owners must follow when taking on projects that may disturb lead-based paints on the premises.
Specifically, the RRP Rule requires that building owners use EPA Certified contractors when renovating apartments, schools, and child-care facilities built prior to 1978. Why? Lead paint was widely used before 1978, and young children are most susceptible to the harmful effects of exposure. Therefore, in buildings that young children are most likely to be present in, stringent procedures must be followed to properly prepare and clean up lead-based paints.
A variety of renovation and repair projects require building owners to use EPA Lead Safe certified contractors, including:
- Property maintenance
- Window replacement
- Painting preparation
- Electrical work
Simply put, if your building or property was built prior to 1978, and you own an apartment building, child-care facility, or you manage a school, these types of projects must be performed by a Lead-Safe Certified contractor.
How Does A Firm Become Lead-Safe Certified?
To earn certification, a service provider must undergo a variety of training and education programs. This includes pre-renovation education – including learning about proper site preparation, renovation and clean-up strategies for handling lead-based paint. The provider must also pass a stringent certification process.
Generally, service providers that are paid to work in child-occupied buildings built before 1978 must be trained and certified to perform these services. In fact, firms that are not certified cannot legally advertise these services. Providers that must be covered includes:
- Window Replacement Contractors
- General Contractors
- Rental property managers
- Painters, plumbers, and carpenters
Work Requirements for Lead-Safe Certified Providers
In addition to pre-renovation training and certification, Lead-Safe Certified providers must follow strict on-site work protocols while the work is being conducted. This is broken down into three criteria. Firms must:
- Contain Work Area: A Lead-Safe contractor must properly seal off the work area and provide safety information to occupants. Examples include covering HVAC systems and furniture that cannot be removed. For exterior projects, like window replacement, a ground cover must be used, and in some cases, a vertical containment device.
- Avoid Techniques That Create Excessive Lead-Based Dust: Lead dust is harmful when inhaled, and methods that generate excessive dust like mechanical sanding without a vacuum attachment must be avoided.
- Clean Area Up Properly: Once the work is complete, the contractor must thoroughly clean the site. This includes wiping down surfaces, among other protocols, and there are standards that must be met to ensure the site has been properly cleaned.
Types of Properties and Activities That Are Exempt
A few types of housing buildings and renovation projects are not required to follow the RRP Rule. Types of properties that are exempt include:
- Housing built in 1978 or after
- Residences primarily for elderly or disabled people (except those in which children under 6 will or currently live)
- Studio apartments, dormitories and other “zero-bedroom” properties
- Housing that has been found not to contain lead-based paints by a certified inspector
Additionally, some repair and maintenance projects do not require a Lead-Safe Certified provider. Yet, these projects must be small in scope (6 square feet of paint disturbed inside, or 20 square feet of paint on the exterior), but some, like window replacement and/or demolition, must always follow RRP Rule protocol.
For more information on the EPA Lead Building Certifications, read the Renovate Right brochure, as well as the EPA’s Lead-Safe website. Here at Aeroseal, we are an EPA Lead-Safe certified firm. If you have a project you need assistance with, please contact us today!