100 days of RRP Part 2

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The RRP rule has its proponents and detractors. Why this rule is causing so much chatter is partly due to its unprofessional approach to an important change in the way we will do business. whether you support the RRP or not it is clearly heading in a direction that will impact how we see our industry and how we choose our friends.

The RRP Rule is divisive, its still being changed and some people question if it won’t just make things worse. Regardless, we at Remodel Crazy feel compelled to publish opinions from our industry. Today we have 2 more opinions, welcome Sean Lintow and Bob Hanbury.

RRP 100 days after

By Sean Lintow of SLS construction

July 31st, should have been a momentous day for the EPA & the RRP, instead the halls were silent except for the arguments over whether the amounts of dispersant used on the oil spill was healthy or not. On this day, more people celebrated or sent their best wishes to JK Rowling on her 45th birthday, than actually knew or had even heard about the RRP. That’s right, 100 plus days since the regulation went into effect and we still have the same issues we started with. Education & Leadership: For an agency that claims the market place has failed everyone because there is a lot of “Incomplete/Incorrect Information…” and it will be corrected by: “by providing information to the consumer and contractor about the risk associated…“you would expect that said agency would make sure that informing the public would be one of its primary focuses. Well on the consumer front, all we have is one new web site dedicated to lead safety that does not even rank under any common search terms including “painting house safely.” Oh well, at least we have HUD & CPSC to get the word out instead. They happen to hold the #2 & #3 spots on Google for that term. On the contractor side, when you consider that less than 3% of the licensed builders, remodelers, and trades are certified in this state alone – I think we can also safely call that a failure.

Enforcement: Well after being caught in a few lies, the EPA has effectively had its hands tied on the enforcement part. Supposedly, October 1st they are going to start enforcing certain provisions, but that appears highly doubtful; as word has been trickling out about them having their hands tied until after the new Congress comes into session.

Sean is a serial blogger and owner of SLS Construction

Another look by Bob Hanbury of House of Hanbury a Connecticut remodeler.

RRP – The First 100 days How is it going?


First- Awareness of Rule is not where it should be. Single digit awareness by homeowners and only slightly better awareness by the masses of contractors. Remodeling association members are most knowledgeable but in general contractors are not even passing out the Renovate Right booklet never mind follow LSWP’s.

Second- EPA says hundreds of thousands could have been trained if every class that was scheduled to be offered was full. In reality the number of firms certified is the real measure of EPA’s efforts at public outreach to both contractors and homeowners.

Third- EPA communication to the regulated community gets an F grade. Their announcement regarding delay of enforcement of the Rule was so vague and confusing that it had to have been a Machiavellian publicity stunt to build awareness. The enforcement guidance document was incomprehensible to anyone but an EPA Office of Compliance and Enforcement Office. It led to confusion and anger in the regulated community.

Fourth- how are homeowners reacting to the new Rule? My fellow contractors have had about 50% of their normal customers tell them to forget it, and these are jobs they typically would have gotten. We are actually going to do the testing and if needed LSWP’s work for some fellow contractors so they will be legit since they hired a certified firm.

Fifth- do we have a handle on the additional costs involved? It is still too early without enough projects done (we have none yet other than two demonstration projects for Fine Home Building Video) to be conclusive but I know that the popular EPA concept that it is only $6 -$167 dollars extra for compliance is the biggest lie since the check is in the mail. A simple pull 20 sf of claps and one window frame on the first floor took 4 hours. Without the Rule it was a 25 minute job.

Sixth- the Lead Paint advocacy groups are not done with our industry by any means. They sued EPA and got them to roll over on everything they asked for and more. Thus the impact of the Rule would have been cost effective and would have focused on homes with child under 6 present.

Seventh- The promised low cost accurate test kit that keeps the costs low according to EPA will not be there as promised in their economic analysis. Thus we will be saddled with inaccurate test kits that give false positives 76% of the time. That means that customers will be asked to pay too much 76% of the times because the EPA accepted test kit is ridiculously inaccurate. That is a tragedy for homeowners. Should they have to hire a third party Risk assessor or other liscensed individuals to get an accurate test result which will cost $400.

Eight- The future looks very poor when you study what EPA has recently proposed for homeowners of pre 78 houses. Their proposal requires dust sampling and clearance testing for most common remodeling tasks. Essentially we will either be held to cleaning levels that only abatement contractors are held to currently and we need to charge either for a third party dust sampling technician or other approved licensed person at about $450 for three samples required for each work area. Worse still, we will be responsible for the sins of the past, you buy these problems when you win the remodeling project contract.

Ninth- the advocates are busy asking for further changes. They are proposing to lower the blood lead levels (BLL’s) from 10 level of concern and 20 for action levels. This will make the number of kids “poisoned” grow in hopes of propping up their propaganda that we have a national crisis still when the number of kids has dropped from 5 million estimated in 1992 when enabling statute for the Rule was passed of less than 250,000 kids today. Interestingly the precipitous drop was accomplished without a single LSWP requirement in place other than the education requirement to distribute Renovate Right and the previous Blue book version of Lead and Your Family.

Lastly- Lead exposures are clearly a socio economic issue. In CT if you are a minority family, you have a 5 times greater chance of having a family member with an elevated level. If you are on welfare you have a 5 times greater chance of having a family member with an elevated level. 80% of the elevated BLL’s are reported in the 7 oldest poorest cities in CT. The other 200 kids are spread out among the remaining 152 towns and boroughs in CT. Both these statistics point to a terrible problem for poor minorities living in old urban cores on welfare.

How is it going?

The Rule has no sunset or oversight provisions so we will be stuck with this ineffective and very costly Rule untill there are big political changes in DC.

Bob Hanbury CGR

1 COMMENT

  1. Sean and Bob both make some excellent points. I like Bob’s list, however I have a problem with his seventh topic. Bob, and the NAHB, leave out an important detail concerning accuracy of the current EPA approved test kits when they make this point. I beleive doing so can be misleading to those renovators who might not be familiar with this topic. EPA would like to have a test kit that can measure the presence or not of lead using the EPA’s legal definition of lead and the amount EPA says becomes dangerous. (Lead equal to or in excess of 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2) or 0.5% by weight) Using that definition, the current test kits do not give accurate readings for above or below the legal definition. However, the test kits are accurate for testing the presence of any lead or not. Will you or your customers be safe if there is less than the legal definition and you create leaded dust? I discuss this topic and provide insight regarding the decision to test or not here:

    http://www.shawnmccadden.com/rrpedia/bid/45007/NAHB-Article-Regarding-EPA-Lead-Test-Kits-Could-Be-Misleading-To-Some

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