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Regulatory Deadline for Contractors
EPA Certification on Lead Rules for Contractors has kicked in on April 22, 2010...
Contractors and property owners or Managers should be aware of a new EPA lead rule that applies to virtually any industry affecting home renovation. Affected professionals include painters, plumbers, contactors, window and door installers, carpenters, electricians and similar specialists. On April 22, the rule requires that all contractors have EPA certification and mandates employee training at an EPA-accredited facility.
The state government has been concerned about this issue for many years. In 2004 then Gov. McGreevy developed new standards for multi-family residential buildings (like apartment complexes). The state has even developed a web site for homeowners and property managers on issues relating to lead paint (www.state.nj.us/dca/dcr/leadsafe/ ).
NJ Contractors are in Biz4NJ's view, best served by taking a two track approach. 1. Continue to educate themselves on the problem. 2. Learn how best to cope with the regulations.
Contractors and property owners will find useful information on the web-site of the American Society of Testing and Materials where educational materials are available for purchase. The web-address is: http://www.astm.org/
According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB.com) the rule has the following problems:
•The penalty for non-compliance could be $32,500 per violation per day. •Many contractors still don’t know about the rule. Although issued in April 2008, contractors are scrambling to comply by April 22. Unfortunately, the certification process can take 90 days so companies that apply now will have little chance of being certified by the compliance date. Also, there are not enough classes being offered. •Certification could cost $1,000. Certification fees begin at $300 for anyone who does “non-painting” renovation (plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and window and door installers) and $550 for firms performing painting activities or both painting and renovating. Extra fees for additional jurisdictions apply. •Course Instruction costs $300-$500 per employee, plus wages. Employees must take an eight-hour training session at an EPA-accredited facility to be certified, and must take four-hour refresher course every five years. The employer has to pay that employee for the training day.
Here's what contractors can do:
•Request an extension: The NFIB plans to meet with EPA’s Small Business Ombudsman and officials from EPA’s lead office to express concerns with the rule and request an extension of the compliance date by at least one year. •Press for an opt-out rule: Several trade groups (including the NFIB) also request that EPA maintain an opt-out provision that currently allows homeowners to opt-out of the certification requirement if there are no children less than six years of age or pregnant women. By opting out, contractors are not bound by these lead abatement rules and can present a cost savings for the homeowner. EPA has said it plans to eliminate this opt out provision. •Fight further lead rules: Additionally, EPA is expected to propose a rule later this year that would expand these requirements to commercial and other non-residential buildings.
According to the NFIB web-site several states have EPA certified programs programs allowed to operate in lieu of this EPA program. They are Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, Rhode Island, and Utah.
In conclusion, contractors do have to contend with the new regulations. However in NJ, this could also be a source of business as there are programs that homeowners can opt for to remedy lead related issues. Most are means tested however. More information is available at http://www.state.nj.us/dca/dcr/leadsafe/finan_assist.html.
What is it they say; with every problem comes an opportunity....