While the National Association of Home Builders has a number of resources to help its members comply with the new lead paint rule, the deadline is looming for remodelers and builders who do renovation or remodeling projects in homes built before 1978 to comply with the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At least one employee in any company doing work in these homes must be certified, follow specific work practices and keep detailed records by April 2010.

To help meet the expected need, the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA), in partnership with accredited training providers, has announced that it is offering a simple and cost-effective solution for companies that must comply. In cooperation with the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) and other EPA-accredited providers, CEDIA is now offering the two-part Certified Lead Renovator course, which includes both an online component and a hands-on component. The online portion of the training will be available through the CEDIA e-Learning platform, and the hands-on lab portion of the training will be hosted by CEDIA at select locations throughout the U.S. An individual must first complete both the online and hands-on components of the Certified Lead Renovator course, then pass the final exam to become a Certified Lead Renovator.

The Lead: Renovation, Repair & Painting rule sets forth special requirements for anyone who is paid to perform work that disturbs surfaces that may contain lead-based paint. The rule applies to work done in homes built before 1978 as well as in pre-1978 buildings occupied by children under the age of six or by a pregnant woman. Any contractor completing a renovation, repair, or painting project which disturbs more than six sq. ft. of space on an interior wall or 20 sq. ft. of space on an exterior wall must comply with the rule.

Once work starts on a pre-1978 renovation, the Certified Renovator has a number of responsibilities. Before the work starts this person will post warning signs outside the work area and supervise setting up containment to prevent spreading dust. The rule lists specific containment procedures for both interior and exterior projects. It forbids certain work practices including open flame or torch burning, use of a heat gun that exceeds 1100°F, and high-speed sanding and grinding unless the tool is equipped with a HEPA exhaust control. Once the work is completed, the regulation specifies cleaning and waste disposal procedures. Clean up procedures must be supervised by a certified renovator.

Exemptions to the rule include, but are not limited, to: 1) The home or child occupied facility was built after 1978, 2) The repairs are minor, with interior work disturbing less than six square feet or exteriors disturbing less than 20 square feet being exempt, and 3) If the house or components test lead free by a Certified Risk Assessor, Lead Inspector or Certified Renovator. The rule is set to be fully implemented by April 22, 2010. Once the rule is in effect, covered renovations must be performed by Certified Renovation Firms. To become a certified firm, a company must employ a Certified Lead Renovator and must submit an application to the EPA. Beginning April 22, uncertified companies that perform applicable work are subject to penalties of up to $32,500 per violation, per day.

The hands-on trainings hosted by CEDIA in cooperation with NCHH, the Environmental Management Institute (EMI) and other accredited training providers will cover lead-safe work practices to help contractors minimize the risk of lead exposure when performing work in homes and buildings that may contain lead-based paint. The training will be available to electronic systems contractors as well as builders, remodelers and any other professionals who perform applicable work.

[Note: CEDIA is an international trade association of companies that specialize in designing and installing electronic systems for the home, www.cedia.org.]

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