Proposed lead paint legislation could curb remodeling costs
Updated: March 29, 2012 3:33PM
Remodelers and construction workers may soon get what will surely be a much appreciated break because earlier this month, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced legislation that, if passed, would improve the lead paint rule for homeowners and remodelers. The rule currently states that for homes built before 1978, renovator training and certification is required for lead-safe work practices.
The main concern about the spread of lead concerns young kids under six and pregnant women, and another thing to consider is that pets walk in the lead dust too. On pre-1978 homes, common renovations that require sanding, cutting and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips from lead-based paint.
Currently, the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule requires firms performing work disturbing lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes be certified by the EPA. It also states that firms use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices.
However, if Inhofe’s bill passes, those who don’t have pregnant women or small children living in the home would be able to opt out and make the decision as to whether or not to comply to the rule. It would be up to the homeowner to decide what they wanted to do in their home.
Oak Park has a lot of old homes, and there’s a lot of lead-based paint around, said Peter Bovey, owner of Oak Park Renovations. For a while, post clean-up required an independent contractor coming in, which would add a couple of hundred more bucks to the job costs, said Bovey.
“This will eliminate that problem,” Bovey said of the opt-out provision. “Painters can’t afford it in this down, down economy. I’m for it.”
A recent Professional Remodeler survey asked hundreds of remodelers about the impact of the EPA’s rule, and 65 percent of respondents reported that the regulations have lost them business. The EPA estimates the extra costs to comply with the regulation at $35 to $376, depending on the job, but 37 percent of remodelers said the current regulation actually adds more than $1,000 to the average job, while 81 percent estimated that it adds more than $400.
However, more than 75 percent of the remodelers agreed on one thing: that the opt-out provision would definitely help their business. Only 7 percent said it wouldn’t.