The EPA today announced changes to the Renovation Repair and Painting Rule's firm certification requirement. The EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the rule until October 1, 2010.
The announcement also states that EPA won’t enforce against individual renovation workers if that person has applied to enroll in, or has enrolled in, by September 30, 2010, a certified renovator class. Renovators must complete the training by December 31, 2010.
Both remodeling industry associations -- NAHB and NARI – which, along with other associations and organizations in the building industry, have been lobbying for months to have the rule changed applaud the action. “This is what we’ve been asking for since before April 22 [the original deadline] when we went to Congress and walked the halls,” says Dave Merrick, chair of the government affairs committee for NARI national and owner of Merrick Design and Build in Kensington, Md.
“This is really good news,” says Donna Shirey, chair of the NAHB Remodelers and owner of Shirey Contracting, Issaquah, Wash. “It allows contractors and companies to have more time to be certified. And they’re not putting companies in jeopardy because of the lack of trainers—which has been an issue. Some states have no trainers at all.”
However, remodelers need to observe caution. While the wording appears positive on the surface, attorney DS Berenson, whose Washington, D.C.-area firm Johanson Berenson serves many in the building industry, worries that this may lead to unnecessary risk exposure. "There’s a conudrum now. A contractor is still suppsed to test and do lead safe work practices but doesn’t have the registration to do that," Berenson says. "Now he or she is libel for doing lead safe practices even though he or she is not licensed to do lead safe practices. It opens you up to liability exposure from the EPA, the homeowner and the 1-800-sue-your-lawyer."