Remodeling Firms, NARI and The EPA Seek Constructive Solutions For Protecting Children And Pregnant Women From Lead-Based Dangers

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The NARI and EPA should work together to protect children and pregnant women from lead-based dangers caused by home remodeling as a new hearing approaches. Destiny Homes, an awarding remodeling and EPA Lead-Certified construction business in the Twin Cities, cares about lead-based dangers and pending regulations.

NARI Chairman David Merrick testifies about EPA new regulations

NARI Chairman David Merrick MCR UDCP

"One of the unintended consequences so far on LRRP has been the underground economy created by those non-certified firms undercutting pricing on those following the rules." ~ NARI

A full committee hearing is scheduled tomorrow, July 12, 2012 with the on-going process of determining lead and it's use in home construction and how much regulating is needed. The hearing entitled, “The Latest Science on Lead’s Impacts on Children’s Development and Public Health,” may cause greater risks to young children and pregnant women, while impacting homeowners with added costs to home renovations and remodeling services.

David Merrick, owner of Merrick Design and Build in Kensington, Md. and Chairman of NARI’s Government Affairs Committee, testified June 25, 2012 on how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handled the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP). As the EPA looks to add similar requirements to commercial construction projects, it is a key time to balance the sum of regulations with the practical implications of implementing additional laws and the associated costs.

Merrick articulated NARI’s concern, "about the EPA’s proposal to extend LRRP requirements to work on the exterior of public and commercial buildings without first convening a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel, which is required under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA). NARI believes the SBREFA process is an important process that gives small business a voice when regulations are being enacted that might have unintended consequences."

NARI’s concerns with EPA moving forward with a public and commercial building rule are three-fold:

  • that the EPA proceeds without convening a SBREFA Small Business Advocacy Review Panel.
  • that EPA may move forward with a public and commercial LRRP rule without clear evidence and data showing lead poisoning risks to children under 6 and pregnant women from construction activities at public and commercial buildings. Homeowners will want proof when they find their projects are considerably more expensive.
  • when EPA moves forward with the rule, that the agency make the rules flexible enough to cover different scenarios, as NARI member, Kevin Nau, advised.

The National Home Builders Association says, "The EPA removed the 'opt-out' provision in the LRRP that allowed remodelers working in a home built prior to 1978 to forego more expensive work practices according to the owner’s wish if no children under the age of six or pregnant women resided there. By removing the opt-out provision, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP. The agency has estimated this will add more than $500 million per year in compliance costs to the remodeling community, and more importantly, without making young children any safer."

Destiny Homes, an EPA Lead-Certified construction firm, shares NARI's hope that we keep a balanced perspective on levels of regulation. According to the EPA, "currently 122,476 firms in the remodeling sector are considered EPA Lead-Certified Firms, out of the estimated 652,206 remodeling businesses in the United States". Both NARI and Destiny Homes hope to see more remodeling companies place a priority on gaining full certification.

NARI believes there are several reasons why only 20% of the remodeling firms are certified. "Many non-certified firms are able to under-bid those professionals who have spent the time and money to become EPA-certified. Since cost is driving our customers’ decisions to go ahead with projects, those non-certified contractors are getting more jobs. That is a troubling scenario because of the risk that presents to homes occupied by young children or pregnant women."

The OSHA Lead in Construction Advisor says, "In building construction, lead is frequently used for roofs, cornices, tank linings and electrical conduits. In plumbing, soft solder, used chiefly for soldering tinplate and copper pipe joints, is an alloy of lead and tin. Soft solder, in fact, has been banned for many uses in the United States. The use of lead-based paint in residential application also has been banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Certain trades or 'jobs' potentially exposed to lead include iron work, demolition work, painting, lead-based paint abatement work, plumbing, heating/airconditioning, electrical work and carpentry/renovation/remodeling."

Contact Destiny Homes at 952-934-5706 for your remodeling questions about lead regulations and to get construction projects completed on time, meeting all requirements, and lead-based precautions.

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