8th April 2010

New EPA Law Affects Owners & Work Performed In Pre 1978 Buildings

contractors1 This blog covers all metro Atlanta property owners, landlords, builders, realtors, investors, property managers,   contractors, electricians, plumbers and painters who engage in any level of renovation…even turn-key between tenants.

Any renovator, owner, landlord, contractor, painter or other workmen, who disturbs lead paint while working in a pre-1978 home, school or day care center, now must be Lead-Safe Certified. If you’re not, you can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Plus, you put the health of yourself, your workers and your children at risk, which could result in lawsuits.

Beginning April 22, 2010, there are new Federal rules regarding how you perform any work that disturbs lead-based paint in homes, child-care facilities and schools built before 1978. You or your workers or contractors, now must be EPA certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination in pre 1978 properties. And, the EPA defines “disturbing lead” very broadly.

Failure to follow the new rules can result in federal fines of up to $32,500 per day or up to 5 years in federal prison, or both.

The EPA’s new regulations on lead paint take effect on April 22, 2010. The regulations are contained at Title 40, Part 745 of the Code of Federal Regulations. There are some very important highlights:

Effective April 22, no owner, firm, or individual may perform repairs or renovations in “target housing” without certification (40 CFR 745.81). Target housing means any housing constructed prior to 1978, so agents & brokers, landlords, owners and investors working in homes, apartments or condominiums built prior to 1978 should take this seriously.

There are only very limited exceptions, such as where a certified inspector has determined the project is free of lead paint beyond permitted levels (40 CFR 745.82). Private homes with no children or pregnant woman that are owner occupied may also qualify for excluding coverage, but only if the owner signs off that the firm is not required to meet the regulatory practices (40 CFR 745.82).

* Anyone performing renovations has extensive obligations to give disclosure and notice to building occupants in writing prior to renovation, including providing mandating EPA publications (40 CFR 745.84)
* The regulations further include specific work practice standards, so watch out for potential employee personal injury claims and OSHA inspections and violations as well (40 CFR 745.85)
* Even relatively minor work is included in the requirements: generally work disrupting more than 6 square feet of painted area is regulated. (40 CFR 745.80, 745.83) This includes most “turn-key” painting and touch-up unless extremely minor!
* Persons and firms performing work in this arena must provide their customers the EPA’s brochure, Renovate Right (40 CFR 745.81)(note: the publication requirement is already in effect, so if you are not doing that now, you need to start immediately!).

If you or your contractor own or work on pre 1978 properties, make sure you or they have taken and passed an EPA recognized course of instruction to become an “EPA CERTIFIED RENOVATOR”. These are typically one day courses and upon completion you will receive an EPA-approved color photo ID attesting to your certification. These certifications will be good for 5 years according to EPA rules.

For more detailed info on this new law, go to:


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