Turn em in.
By The Paul
Its clear we are forming the “turn ’em in” group and the “there has to be a better way group”. Turning in non EPA certified contractors has come down to a line in the sand that clearly lets your colleagues know where you stand on the turn them in or not position.
The shoot yourself in the foot group.
Without getting into it, snitching for the EPA would be like shooting yourself in the foot. So you turn in non compliant companies and we get what out of this? Homeowners can legally hire non compliant contractors, so if the job calls for following the RRP guidelines a non compliant contractor could get reported, caught and end up fighting for his business, but where does this leave the homeowner?
A job stopped because a non compliant company was ticketed will likely result in loss of down payment, a situation that forces the homeowner to start the remodel process over and another homeowner with a complaint against their contractor and the person who reported to the EPA. Its not difficult to see this having a negative effect on the reporting company and professional groups as well. If I’m a member of ABC National Contractors group then as defined by law the offending party has the right to face his accuser and I’m not sure any group needs this kind of recognition.
Is it McCarthyism all over again?
Most of us are too young to remember McCarthy and his crony Roy Cohn, they had a group that identified and reported suspected communists, they were quite active and succeeded in ruining the lives of many suspected communists, this also caused many people to think the cure was worse than the disease. Key here is the word suspected, as was found out later that because of perceptions some innocent people had their professional lives ruined because of assumptions made in their regard.
In a nutshell.
Turning in people will take time and effort, the EPA and local officials don’t have this on their agenda. There isn’t the staff or the budget to make this happen. If you turn in people your on your own and your time and money will be spent trying to get a disinterested and understaffed group of people to consider that you, not the offenders are a problem.
We consider ourselves to be professionals and qualified to do the work we do by virtue of possessing a high level of experience and knowledge about an industry that is both complicated and poses risks to the public if not done correctly.
Those who proclaim that ‘there has to be a better way’ and then expect the regulating agencies to devise those procedures for us are either abdicating their responsibilities as professionals or knee deep in wishful thinking.
Either way, it is nothing more than a continuation of a policy that led to the need for an outside group to mandate for us what our best practices will be.
For decades we knew (or should have known) the serious dangers in disturbing lead paint. We ignored them and operated as if they didn’t exist. In doing so the results of our labor constituted a risk to the public. An agency charged with protecting the public health instituted policies to protect the public from the activities of our industry. They had to do this because we showed no intention of doing it ourselves, and in fact show an inclination, even now, that we have no intention of cleaning up our act.
The only options or alternatives I have seen put forth by our industry have been either delay or repeal. So far that seems to be our definition of ‘There has to be a better way.’
As to the argument that the RRP will somehow create a shadow corps of illegitimate contractors, the incentives for this are already in place. A homeowner can already hire contractors who are unlicensed, carry no workmen’s comp, pay illegal immigrants substandard wages, forgo building permits and build with complete disregard to code or safety practices. They can also ignore asbestos, mold, and aluminum wiring.
These tactics will reduce their costs more substantially than any costs associated with RRP.
In survey after survey, Contractors rank near to the bottom in public trust and respect. It’s time that we quit depending on Government agencies to police our industry and started doing it ourselves. Other professional groups do this and have reaped the rewards of legitimacy that go with it.
We either develop standards and practices from within our industry or continue to have them imposed by consumer protection groups from the outside whose agenda does not place a high priority on our concerns.
These standards mean nothing without some meaningful effort at enforcement and only serve to penalize the reputable contractor who makes the effort and incurs the expense of operating in a responsible manner.
I am no fan of McCarthyism, but we are not being asked to swear a loyalty oath to the EPA.
We are being asked to stop poisoning pregnant women and young children.
If I see someone using unsafe lead practices, you’re darn right I’ll turn them in.
And yeah, it will take time and effort and money. I expect that I’ll have to make a lot of noise to get the bureaucracy to listen to me.
Being a responsible citizen was never meant to be cheap or easy.
Dan-o says: I’ve returned to the ‘to each his own’ stance. While still annoyed by the lack of compliance in the market around me (we follow RRP) and generally bitter about the costs RRP has incurred on my business I no longer care about what other contractors are doing in terms of RRP or even pricing.
We’re slammed, up 40% over last season with lower marketing costs (last years heavy marketing paying off now) and I’m 100% focused on keeping the dream alive. I sure as hell won’t waste a second enforcing the EPAs rules.
I’ve spoken with 3 local health inspectors and every one basically said “i don’t get paid to enforce EPA rules so they can ****Â themselves”. I’ll continue to follow the regs to cover my ass but the motivation is purely self-preservation rather than fighting the good fight.
nEighter says: Spoke with a RC/PT member tonight and he said NO ONE has been doing it. He lives up bout 65 miles from DC. Says he is the ONLY one that is mentioning the new law to homeowners.
RCP says: I agree with Dan-o, to a point. I doubt I would turn anyone in, and then maybe only if I had made an attempt to educate and then saw blatant disregard for the rule and the safety of others.
I do think we are all responsible for upholding the spirit of the rule, just as we should for licensing, code compliance, good business practices.
bconley says: If you’re going to make rules, enforce them!
This just perpetuates the idea that the “rules don’t apply me me” attitude that has caused so much trouble in the U.S. lately.
Might as well deregulate everything while were at it.
Look where it has gotten us.
Banking, Big oil, campaign finance, corporate rights and insurance companies, are a few examples of what happens when there is no accountability.
EIEIO says: While I agree with you partially here is the biggest problem.. No one wants to be a snitch, no one wants to call the cops and get involved, no one sees nothing…
Even with the proper enforcement “The Law” can’t be everywhere, so as citizens and contractors we have to do our part to help..
Its it hard, is it frustrating? of course but if it matters you do it any way..
I am going to give it a few more months and after that I am ratting everyone out…
Len says: I see this ‘enforcement’ like any law. It comes down to a belief system. Laws that the general majority does not believe is right will never get enforced or possibly even recognized.
Take drunk driving for example. Many of you may be old enough to remember when you could get wasted and not have a second thought about driving yourself home. If you got stopped by the police you likely got a ride home. Forward to today and not only will you be spending some time in jail and have huge penalties but you will be looked down on by society.
Not until the public education of the possible affects of drunk driving were accepted and started to become beliefs by the general public that this behavior was not acceptable did these laws enforcement and penalties increase. (first drunk driving law was in New York 1910)
Until the general public becomes more aware/educated of the issue I think there will be general disregard for complying. I’m not a contractor and this is the ONLY place I’ve have seen it mentioned.
Here we have the opinions of a few contractors, all licensed, all EPA renovators.
What’s your opinion?