The way we renovate and restore our homes is about to change. A recent meeting of the Greensboro Remodelers Council of the Greensboro Builders Association worked to clarify the issue for area contractors.
Thanks to new federal laws related to lead paint, homeowners will see changes in the way contractors approach projects in pre-1978 houses, child care facilities, and schools. For example, contractors will now be required by law to distribute an Environmental Protection Act (EPA) published pamphlet entitled “Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and Schools” to so mentioned individuals and institutions before beginning any contracting job that encompasses more than six (6) square feet of interior space or twenty (20) square feet of exterior area. This could include simple jobs such as adjusting a threshold or weatherizing a door. Contractors that do not distribute the pamphlet are subject to fines. All homeowners remain free to work on their own homes without regulation.
The pamphlet reviews the dangers of lead paint, and outlines the procedures that should be taken by contractors in order to limit occupants to lead poisoning. Procedures include containment of dust by sealing doors and ventilation systems, minimizing dust through vacuuming and wet mopping, and site testing for traces of lead.
Although this process will involve no burden of responsibility on the part of homeowners …the extra time involved in preparation adds a great deal of time – and consequently money – to renovation projects. Contractors must now have EPA Certification, either through their firm or as individual renovators, in order to work on projects involving pre-1978 residences. Smaller projects, in particular, could see higher preparation times as specially-trained contractors seal rooms with plastic to contain dust and keep careful records as required by the EPA.
How this process impacts contractors, homeowners, and the health of children has yet to be determined. The new law go into effect nationally in April, but North Carolina has been authorized to police itself beginning on January 1st, 2010…so rules are currently already in place.
For more information on these new rules, who is impacted, and what is required, you may visit the EPA website. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on lead safety, its impact on contractors, and the impact you experience in terms of historic preservation.
Written by Benjamin Briggs
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