New Lead Paint Law – Handbook for Contractors

By Todd Fratzel on Painting and Finishing, Safety

Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program

New Lead Paint LawThe EPA’s new Lead Paint Law takes effect on April 22, 2010 and there seems to be more questions than answers especially from small business owners. Many of the smaller contractors have questions about Contractor Lead Paint Certification, waivers, personnel training  and costs associated with this new law.

The EPA has created a publication to help educate small businesses about the new Lead Paint Law. The handbook for contractors is full of information about the new law including;

  • Firm Certification
  • Employee Training
  • Customer Orientation / Notification
  • Exempt Projects
  • Record Keeping

Projects & Contractors Effected By New Lead Law

According to the EPA’s publication, anyone who is paid to perform work that disturbs paint in housing and child-occupied facilities built before 1978 are subject to the new law. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Residential rental property owners/managers
  • General contractors
  • Special trade contractors, including: Painters, Plumbers, Carpenters and Electricians

Construction Activities Excluded From New Lead Law

The publication also points out some construction activities that are excluded from the new law including:

  • Housing built in 1978 or later.
  • Housing for elderly or disabled persons, unless children under 6 reside or are expected to reside there.
  • Zero-bedroom dwellings (studio apartments, dormitories, etc.).
  • Housing or components declared lead-free by a certified inspector or risk assessor.
  • Minor repair and maintenance activities that disturb 6 square feet or less of paint per room inside, or 20 square feet or less on the exterior of a home or building.
  • Note: minor repair and maintenance activities do not include window replacement and projects involving demolition or prohibited practices.

Obtaining Lead Paint Removal Waivers

UPDATE: 4/14/10 – The waiver is no longer allowed by the EPA (ref). Please disregard the information below.

Several people have been asking about getting customers to sign a waiver. Currently the EPA will allow a waiver under certain circumstances. The training, certification, and work practice requirements do not apply where the firm obtained a signed statement from the owner that all of the following are met:

  • The renovation will occur in the owner’s residence;
  • No child under age 6 resides there;
  • No woman who is pregnant resides there;
  • The housing is not a child-occupied facility; and
  • The owner acknowledges that the renovation firm will not be required to use the work practices contained in the rule.

It should be noted that there doesn’t appear to be a specific form available to download. As with anything of this nature it’s probably best that you consult with legal counsel about what type of form to use that will protect you against a lawsuit years later.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Jake says:

    Hello, I am doing a project for school, my topic is the EPA Lead Law. I was wondering if someone could give me some more definitive reason as to why or why this is not a superb law. Allso I wouldn’t mind have these questions answered thank you.
    1. Hows does this law affect home/property owners?
    2. Would the home/property owner need to hire a licensed contractor to deal with lead based paint?
    3. Would this law cause people that can barely pay their morgage to go under, due to hiring a contractor?
    4. What are the enforcement methods? Is the goverment going to have police officers lead test an old looking house? Would there be an outrageous fine?
    5. Would the home/property owners be held liable to pay a new tax to have contractors re-paint houses?

    Thank you, Also I would like to quote people who answer my questions, if you do not want me to quote you then please, say so. I am doing this topic for a class essay. Once again, thank you very much.

    – Jake

    • Todd says:

      Jake – The biggest reason this law is so bad in my opinion has to do with who pays the price. Home owner’s are going to pay the entire bill for this instead of the companies that made money selling lead based paints. The manufacturers of lead based paints really should be the ones to pay for this. Having said that the following are some responses to your questions.

      1. The bottom line here is home owners are going to pay a significant financial price to clean up someone else s pollution.
      2. Not necessarily but cleaning up hazardous waste is something that DIY’ers are going to need to prepare for and fully understand before they tackle the job.
      3. This law will most certainly force some homeowners into a financial burden.
      4. Enforcement is not clear as of yet. The EPA is the enforcement wing that would deal with this law. The fines are up to $37,500 per day.
      5. Ultimately home owners are going to pay 100% of this. Contractors will just pass down the costs.

      If you’d like to quote me please give credit to this website with the proper URL.

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