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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Get the Lead Out! What You Should Know About Lead-Safe Building Practices

In 2010, new rules by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency went into effect regarding lead safe practices in the remodeling and renovation industry. The purpose of the new regulations is to protect building inhabitants, particularly children, from the dangers of air-borne particles and lead dust. The goal of the program is to implement practical changes to work practices to decrease the potential for contamination. The EPA’s new Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule requires that renovations must only be conducted by EPA Certified Firms and Renovators.

The new process has a number of steps that must follow a certain sequence.
  • The first step in the process is to determine if any part of the structure was built prior to 1978, when the use of lead paint in construction was officially banned. We do this by verifying when the structure was built through public records. If a building is deemed to possibly contain lead paint, then we must proceed as if lead exists and notify the owners in writing.
  • Before actual works begins we must post warning signs.
  • During the construction phase, we must remove or cover any items within the work area and then isolate the area with plastic wrap and sealant tape. All surfaces in the immediate work area, such as the floor, ground on the exterior, vents, windows and doors, must be covered or sealed.
  • At the end of the each work day the area must be thoroughly cleaned to ensure no areas are contaminated with lead dust.

Following the completion of work we must certify the area is clean and contaminate free.
  • We must first clean the area according to the rules of the RRP program.
  • We must then test and document different areas with approved swab kits.
  • At the end of the project we must produce a Post-Renovation Report.
There are hefty fines for failure to follow these guidelines, so we take them very seriously!

While there are many more details of the regulations that are too lengthy to summarize here, we wanted to provide our customers with the reassurance that we are certified in these measures and insure compliance. Many of these steps we have taken for years, but these rules produce verifiable guidelines and documentation. We are sincerely concerned about the safety of our customers and our workers, so non-compliance is not an option!