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

When the EPA Comes to Call

I received a call last week from a home contracting company in the Midwest about a franchisee who had received a letter from the EPA.  They were advised that a representative would be coming to their offices or the job site to review their procedures under the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.  Given that the federal fine can be as high as $37,500 per day, per infraction, they were quite concerned about how to handle this visit and avoid any problems.  I advised the following:

1.  Establish whether your work is covered.
   a. Is renovation work being done on pre-1978 homes?
   b. Does the work disturb at least 6 interior sq. ft. of paint or 20 exterior sq. ft.

2.  Put together a loose-leaf notebook with your certified firm and certified renovator certificates.  Include any  initial course completion certificate and the most recent refresher course completion certificate.

3.  Have a file for each homeowner with an acknowledgement that the Renovate Right booklet was received by the homeowner.

4.  Maintain documentation to show that the certified renovator was on site during posting of signs, work-area containment and cleaning verification.

5.  Demonstrate that on-the-job training was provided  to other workers (who have not taken the certified renovator training course) on the lead safe work practices to be used in performing their assigned tasks.

6 Ensure that the work practices are being followed, including maintaining the integrity of the containment barriers and ensuring that dust or debris does not spread beyond the work area.  Take pictures to provide evidence that the rules were followed!

7. When requested by the party contracting for renovation services, must use an EPA recognized test kit or
must collect paint chip samples, submit them to an EPA-recognized laboratory, and obtain test results from the laboratory to determine whether components affected by the renovation contain lead-based paint.
(For more information regarding test kits call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD
(5323), or check our web site at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm).  Note: you must assume leadbased paint is present for housing and buildings covered by this rule, unless testing is done that determines
the components affected are lead-free.

8. Show that the certified renovator was available, either on-site or by telephone, at all times the renovations were being conducted.

9. Keep documentation of the  project cleaning verification.

All documents must be retained for three years following the completion of a renovation.
Records that must be retained include:
Reports certifying that lead-based paint is not present.
Records relating to the distribution of the lead pamphlet.
Documentation of compliance with the requirements of the Lead-Based Paint Renovation,
   Repair, and Painting Program.  This information must also be given to the owner and, if different, the
occupant of the housing or unit that was renovated (EPA has a sample form that is available at

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