TEN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR CONTRACTORS-2021

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   As I sit down to write my annual list of resolutions for contractors, I am amazed at how much things changed in 2020. Construction was going well and then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. At first, we thought it was going to be a disaster for the construction industry. States, cities and towns shut down projects and many applied for PPP loans. Then, something amazing happened. Construction was considered an essential service and everyone was back to work.  That said, the work world changed: companies were donating their PPE to frontline workers, COVID-19 protocols had to be followed and paperwork had to be filed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to comply and keep their businesses going. So, you may or may not ask, what was I, as a construction lawyer doing? I spent March and April thinking about the new risks contractors/construction companies were facing and developing contract clauses to protect the industry. I wrote a number of blog posts with clauses to add to your contra

The Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Law-A Letter to Homeowners

Homeowners who are considering doing a renovation must know that if their homes were built prior to 1978, their contractors are required to follow certain procedures if they are going to disturb more than 6 interior square feet of paint or 20 exterior square feet of paint.  This law requires that the general contractor must become certified with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and that the contractor himself take an eight-hour class in order to become a certified renovator and learn lead-safe practices that contain lead dust.

Although the EPA claims that it will be doing a publicity campaign to inform homeowners about the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule), I have heard very little about it outside of construction circles.  So, I feel that it is important for me as a construction lawyer to educate the public about this rule.

First of all, the preparation and education needed to comply with the law are going to cost the contractors more money.  This will be reflected in an increase in the cost of jobs.  The contractors must pay at least $300.00 to certify with the EPA, $200-$300 on average for the certified renovator training, the costs of training their workers and/or subcontractors, and additional costs for materials (plastic, protective suiting, masks, duct tape) and very expensive HEPA vacuums.  

Homeowners who ask contractors to circumvent these practices and operate in violation of the law are doing these contractors an extreme disservice.  This law is in place to protect homeowners and their families (and more particularly, pregnant women and children under six) and the contractors from potentially toxic lead dust.  Lead poisoning is a real problem with potentially tragic results, and following the lead-safe practices has been shown to significantly reduce the exposure to lead for all involved.

Please understand that your contractor is doing the right thing by giving you a lead-paint brochure and following the rules.  He could also face significant fines ($37,500.00 per infraction, per day) for failing to comply with this law.  So, please do not blame the messenger.  Respect your contractor and do not ask him to break the law.  

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