Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule

As promised, I have been spending the last few weeks learning about the new Renovation, Repair and Painting Program that is going into effect on April 22, 2010. Contractors are scrambling to become certified and make themselves familiar with the law's requirements. It is my responsibility to read the law and try to predict where the legal issues will arise so that construction companies can protect themselves.

The first question is, in which situations does the Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule apply? Directly from the EPA’s literature on the subject:

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) addresses lead-based paint hazards created by renovation, repair, and painting activities that disturb lead-based paint in target housing and child-occupied facilities. ‘‘Target housing’’ is defined in TSCA section 401 as any housing constructed before 1978, except housing for the elderly or persons with disabilities (unless any child under age 6 resides or is expected to reside in such housing) or any 0-bedroom (studio for example) dwelling. Under this rule, a child-occupied facility is a building, or a portion of a building, constructed prior to 1978, visited regularly by the same child, under 6 years of age, on at least two different days within any week (Sunday through Saturday period), provided that each day’s visit lasts at least 3 hours and the combined weekly visits last at least 6 hours, and the combined annual visits last at least 60 hours. Child-occupied facilities may be located in public or commercial buildings or in target housing. In addition, it applies in residences where pregnant women reside.

It applies to interiors where more than 6 sq. ft. of painted surface or 20 sq. ft. of exterior painted surface will be disturbed.

The Rule does not apply to those who are not doing work for compensation, so homeowners renovating their own homes are exempt. It does not apply to post 1978 buildings, new construction, minor repairs or facilities not occupied by children under 6 or pregnant women. It also would not cover minor repairs or work that does not disturb painted surfaces. Contractors need to be careful however, because they cannot simply rely on homeowner assurances that there are no children under 6 or pregnant women who reside at the premises, or that the home was built after 1978 if there seems to be evidence to the contrary.