RRP Rule – It affects everyone

My business is profoundly affected by the EPA’s Repair, Renovation and Paint Rule, and so are you.

Never heard of it, you say?  Oh, you will.

Starting January 1st of this year, here is what is going on:

“Under the North Carolina Rules (PDF), beginning January 1, 2010, dust sampling technicians, firms, and individuals performing renovation, repair and painting projects for compensation that disturb lead-based paint in homes and child-occupied facilities built before 1978, must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Child-occupied facilities include, but are not limited to, child care facilities and schools with children under the age of 6 years of age that are built before 1978″

So, anyone who undertakes repair, renovation or paint work for pay – even your uncle Joe or the neighborhood kid down the street – must pay the state $300.00 and become a Lead Certified Firm.  In addition, your uncle Joe, must have paid an additional $200 (+/_) for an 8 hour training course to become Certified Lead Renovator.

If a company or individual you hire for even basic maintenance  is not on this list, and they undertake renovations covered by the rule, they are breaking the law and are subject to fines of up to $32,000 per day for non-compliance.

My company is on the list and we have certified personnel on staff.  Unfortunately our prices have gone up due to the extra time and costs required to comply with the new regulations.

My prediction is that once the public finally figures out how much these regulations are going to cost them, there will be a tremendous outcry.

If you are a contractor or a homeowner, you might want to check out these great discussion on the new rules.  The former topic opens with this…

I became a EPA certified contractor today.

I must say that nothing since I started a contracting business have I run into that has been what I feel is a deadly hammer blow to the ability of a contractor to run a profitable business as this new RRP rules.

After sitting through 8 hours of this and listening to the questions and answers and asking some very specific ones myself, I personally believe that no legitimate contractor will be able to be 100% compliant to these new rules and regulations, AND remain a viable business.

In my opinion – on April 22, the EPA will essentiall turn every single person in the home improvement field into a criminal no matter how well intentioned an individual is to comply with these regulations.

After taking the certification I am personally appalled that this legislation was allowed to get to where it is.”

There is a movement afoot to delay the implementation of the RRP Rule to help contractors avoid obscene fines for non-compliance of a law that most of them have never heard of.  American Public Media’s “Marketplace” recently aired a segment on the issue.

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  1. Posted March 27, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Hogg, I agree that state/federal rules do disservice to small business (I understand that your post isn’t about state contracts, but hang with me). When we send proposals for (mostly) state RFPs, we see repeatedly that small businesses, perfectly capable of doing a job that may be $1 over the $5K max (when an RFP is required, although state agencies can send them out for any amount), the conditions of the RFP that have nothing to do with building and supporting the projects are simply unimaginable for any business with under 150 employees. I am lucky to have a handy lawyer who has done government contracting and he grinned (last time I asked, but he took a big chance with that smirk) and said that that’s a large part of the story of his business life: interpreting/advising firms about gov’t regs.

    He sympathized and told me frankly that the state/federal rules are decidedly not in favor of small business and this isn’t new (no Obama blaming here, please). It’s been around for multiple decades. Consequently, we rarely bid on state contracts because it takes about 3-4 days to gather everything, send it in and then, with all their darned nit-picking rules applied to US, they don’t even respond to the bid (as they are required to do by their own rules) and we never hear another word about it (unless that word is, “we canceled the RFP for now.”)

    When the City of GSO asks what they can do to be more small-business friendly, tell them to help set up consortiums of small businesses with some buying power who can then afford the required elements of these contract regulations. We have a ton of construction small businesses like yours, dozens of online design firms like mine. If we could get them together legally and bargain for lower rates on insurance, health insurance, whatever, then the City would be pro-small business. And this is a small business town.

    (BTW, the local Chamber of Commerce is legally enjoined by NC state law, they tell me, from negotiating health insurance rates for their members – to get a lower rate for, say, 1000 small businesses as members. That’s exactly what kind of professional organization of small businesses I’m referring to – we need group buying power. If the City is serious about helping small business, they’ll look into it.)

  2. Posted March 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Hogg, you’re right that this is a huge issue. At the Triad Apartment Association (www.mytaa.org) we’ve been running certification classes the last couple of months and they’ve been sold out. We’ve tried to schedule the trainers for more classes but they’re booked solid so we’re only able to get one or two sessions over the next couple of months. FYI, the realtors association and the builders association are running classes too. This really is a huge issue.