If you are rehabbing an older building  (built before 1978), then new EPA rules are in place.

It is suggested that you first test the property for lead based paint.  If the building tests positive for lead based paint, you need to follow the new RRP (Renovate, Repair or Paint) Rules.

The basic rules state that if the property:

  • is Non-owner occupied
  • was Built before 1978 and Tests positive for lead paint (test MUST be performed if built prior to 1978, and test results must be filed)
  • Will disturb more than 6 square feet interior, or 20 sqft exterior
  • Will disturb the window(s)

then the property owner must follow the EPA RRP Rules.

Effective April 22, 2010 (Earth Day), the EPA implemented new rules governing lead paint removal.  The regulations dictate work-site practices, reporting  requirements, and require training and certification of contractors/workers.

The purpose of the RRP Rules is to minimize lead hazards in affected properties.  The RRP Rules have the backing of federal law and penalties are severe.

The rules dictates how to prepare an area for work, (to be sealed off with plastic to prevent dust contamination). Renovation methods that stir up dust such as sanding, scraping, power washing are prohibited. The law also dictates how the daily (and final) clean-up is to be performed.

For EPA certification,  an 8-hour training course is mandatory with a final test. At least one EPA certified “renovator” must be present at the job site. The fine for non-compliance is up to $37,500 per day.

If your property receives HUD funds (Section 8 or other HUD/Government assistance), RRP Rules must be followed.  Local and state laws also apply.

Note:   All handyman/contractors (licensed or unlicensed) performing renovation and repair that disturb painted surfaces in homes built prior to 1978 must be RRP certified.

Older buildings (built before 1978) are more likely to have lead paint:

  • 87% of homes built before 1940 have lead paint
  • 69% of homes built between 1940 and 1960 have lead paint
  • 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 have lead paint

Lead poisoning can affect anyone and the physical damage caused by lead, including impaired mental ability, is irreversible (of which children are more susceptible).

The federal government estimates the additional costs to the property owner to comply with the RRP Rules is about $170 per job.  Keep in mind that the equipment necessary to comply will be at least $200 (respirators, plastic, protective clothing, etc.)  Additional costs (labor, paperwork, permits, notification, etc) are not factored in.  Some contractors are estimating an additional $1,000 to $2,000 per job for compliance; your mileage may vary.