Frequently Asked Questions
If a property management company hires a certified firm to perform a renovation and the firm violates the RRP Rule, for example, by failing to distribute the necessary materials or keep proper records, which entity is subject to enforcement action, the property manager or the certified firm?
It is the certified firm’s responsibility to comply with the requirements of the RRP Rule, and any enforcement action taken would be against the firm.
If the demolition, cleanup, and cleaning verification portion of a renovation project is performed under the direction of a certified renovator using trained workers, can uncertified workers complete the job
If the demolition, cleanup, and cleaning verification portion of a renovation project is performed under the direction of a certified renovator using trained workers, can uncertified workers complete the job if further disturbances of painted surfaces will not occur? For example, a certified firm establishes containment and removes wall and ceiling board to the rough framing members. Cleaning and verification take place and containment is removed and properly disposed of. At that point, can non-certified firms perform electrical, plumbing, HVAC, or drywall work?
Yes. Activities that do not disturb paint, such as applying paint to walls that have already been prepared, are not regulated by the RRP Rule if they are conducted after post-renovation cleaning verification has been performed.
A property management company performs most of the clerical functions of the business, and hires plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc., for its renovation needs. Does the property management company need firm certification?
A property management company acts as an agent for the landlord and has the same responsibilities as the landlord under the RRP Rule. Therefore, if the property management company uses its own employees to do the work, the property management company must be a certified firm and one of the employees must be a certified renovator. If the property management company hires a renovation firm to perform the renovation, the property management company does not need firm or renovator certification, but the firm the property management company hires must be certified and must perform the renovation using a certified renovator that directs and provides on-the-job training to any workers that are not certified renovators.
If I rent out apartments built before 1978, do I need to get firm and renovator certification if I do my own work on it? What if I hire a renovation firm to do the work?
With respect to landlords, EPA believes that there are two circumstances where work being done in pre-1978 apartment is for compensation such that the landlord must be a certified firm and use (or be) a certified renovator. First, if the landlord does the renovation him or herself, then the landlord must have firm and renovator certification. Second if an employee of the landlord does the renovation work, then the landlord must have firm certification and the employee must be a certified renovator. However, if the landlord hires a renovation firm to perform the renovation, the landlord does not need firm or renovator certification, but the firm hired by the landlord must be certified and must perform the renovation using a certified renovator that directs and provides on-the-job training to any workers that are not certified renovators.
My firm acts as a general contractor – we subcontract the entire renovation job to other companies rather than using our own employees. Does my firm need to be a certified firm under the RRP Rule?
Yes. Beginning April 22, 2010, no firm may perform, offer, or claim to perform renovations covered by the RRP Rule without certification from EPA. A general contractor that subcontracts the entire renovation job to other firms must be certified as a firm for two reasons. First, the contractual agreement between the general contractor and the subcontractor is based on the general contractor’s offer to renovate the property of a third party for compensation. The RRP Rule requires a contractor that makes such an offer to be certified as a firm. Second, once the offer is accepted, the general contractor is obligated to perform a renovation in accordance with the terms of the contract, whether written or oral. Even if the general contractor chooses to fulfill its obligation to perform the renovation by hiring subcontractors, the general contractor is performing a renovation for purposes of the RRP rule and must comply with all the requirements of the rule that apply to firms performing renovations.
I hear new recordkeeping requirements will take effect soon. What are they and when must my firm begin to comply with them?
Beginning July 6, 2010, when the final invoice for the renovation is delivered, or within 30 days of the completion of the renovation, whichever is earlier, the renovation firm must provide information demonstrating compliance with the training and work practice requirements of the RRP Rule to the owner of the building being renovated and, if different, to the occupants of the renovated housing or the operator of the child-occupied facility. For renovations in common areas of target housing, the renovation firm must provide the occupants of the affected housing units with instructions on how to review or obtain this information from the renovation firm at no charge to the occupant. These instructions must be included in the pre-renovation education notice provided to each affected unit or on the signs posted in the common areas. Similar requirements apply for renovations in child-occupied facilities. The renovation firm is required to provide interested parents or guardians of children using the child-occupied facility instructions on how to review or obtain a copy of these records at no cost to the parents or guardians. This could be accomplished by mailing or hand delivering these instructions, or by including them on the signs posted as part of pre-renovation education.
If the certified renovator assigned to the project is assigned by the subcontractor, the certified renovator is responsible for preparing the records demonstrating that the renovation was conducted in compliance with the work practice standards, including training provided to non-certified workers. All renovation firms involved in a project are jointly responsible for retaining and making available to EPA all records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the RRP Rule for a period of 3 years following completion of the renovation.
If a certified renovator is an employee of the certified firm, can the firm maintain all required records
If a certified renovator is an employee of the certified firm, can the firm maintain all required records (those required of the firm and of the certified renovator); understanding that the certified renovator must also keep a copy of his certification as well as employee training records/documentation on the jobsite?
The renovation firm is the entity responsible for retaining and making available to EPA all records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the RRP Rule for a period of 3 years following completion of the renovation. The certified renovator is responsible for preparing the records demonstrating that the renovation was conducted in compliance with the work practice standards.
Certified renovators must have with them at the work site copies of their initial course completion certificate and their most recent refresher course completion certificate. Certified renovators are also responsible for providing training to non-certified workers on the work practices they will be using in performing their assigned tasks. The renovation firm must keep records showing what training was provided to workers, but these records need not be available at the work site.
Under the RRP Rule, is composite sampling acceptable for clearance in lieu of cleaning verification?
Typically, interior clearance is achieved by means of dust wipe sampling by a certified inspector or risk assessor using single surface dust wipes. This is required on all HUD jobs. EPA rules at 40 CFR 745.227(e)(8)(ii) allow for composite sampling in clearance testing. Under the RRP Rule, is composite sampling acceptable for clearance in lieu of cleaning verification?
Yes. Under the RRP Rule, cleaning verification need not be performed if the contract between the renovation firm and the person contracting for the renovation or another Federal, State, Territorial, Tribal, or local law or regulation requires:
- The renovation firm to perform dust clearance sampling at the conclusion of a renovation covered by this subpart.
- The dust clearance samples are required to be collected by a certified inspector, risk assessor, or dust sampling technician.
- The renovation firm is required to re-clean the work area until the dust clearance sample results are below the clearance standards in 40 CFR 745.227(e)(8) or any applicable State, Territorial, Tribal, or local standard.
Clearance must be performed following the procedures in 40 CFR 745.227(e)(8), which allow the use of composite sampling. Not all laboratories will analyze composite samples, so check with your laboratory before collecting them.
If a renovator uses the required practices to remove containment and clean a work area, then performs successful cleaning verification, can the balance of the project then be done using uncertified workers
If a renovator uses the required practices to remove containment and clean a work area, then performs successful cleaning verification, can the balance of the project then be done using uncertified workers and without reference to the work practices required by the RRP Rule?
Yes, as long as the balance of the project can be completed without disturbing a painted surface.
Under the RRP Rule, what type of container is adequate for on-site storage of debris? Must the container be covered and locked? Must it be placed behind a locked barrier?
At the conclusion of each work day and at the conclusion of the renovation, waste that has been collected from renovation activities must be stored under containment, in an enclosure, or behind a barrier that prevents release of dust and debris out of the work area and prevents access to dust and debris. Using a covered container is one way to prevent release of dust and debris. Locking the container and placing it behind a locked barrier are good examples of ways to prevent access to the dust and debris.
Why are gloves, which are exposed to large amounts of lead dust, not required to be disposed of under the RRP Rule?
The RRP Rule requires the renovation firm to use precautions to ensure that all personnel, tools, and other items are free of dust and debris before leaving the work area. Workers with contaminated clothing can take that contamination home to their own children, and taking contaminated equipment to another jobsite could potentially create a lead hazard at a new site. There are several ways of ensuring that gloves and other clothing are free of dust and debris before leaving the work area. For example, tacky mats may be put down immediately adjacent to the plastic sheeting covering the work area floor to remove dust and debris from the bottom of the workers’ shoes as they leave the work area. If workers wear shoe covers, they may remove them as they leave the work area. Clothing and materials may be wet-wiped and/or HEPA-vacuumed before they are removed from the work area. While the rule does not specifically address gloves, if they are contaminated with lead dust or debris that cannot be removed, EPA recommends that they not be removed from the work site during the job and that they be disposed of as part of final cleanup.
How do RRP requirements apply to pressure washing? What containment and other preparation are required?
Pressure washing is not a prohibited practice under the RRP Rule. Pressure washing is subject to the same containment requirements as other permissible work practices. Before beginning the renovation, the firm must isolate the work area so that no dust or debris (including in the waste water) leaves the work area while the renovation is being performed. In addition, the firm must maintain the integrity of the containment by ensuring that any plastic or other impermeable materials are not torn or displaced and taking any other steps necessary to ensure that no dust or debris leaves the work area while the renovation is being performed. The firm must also ensure that containment is installed in such a manner that it does not interfere with occupant and worker egress in an emergency. In addition, it is important to properly dispose of waste water used during pressure washing. Check with your local water treatment authority for more information.
Does the RRP rule require people working on a renovation to wear respirators, Tyvek(R) suits or other personal protective equipment (PPE)?
EPA would like to clarify the requirements for personal protective equipment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has requirements for personal protective equipment, EPA does not.
For many years, EPA has recommended the use of personal protective equipment as a way to protect workers and to help ensure that leaded dust and debris does not leave renovation or abatement work sites. EPA recommends that renovators make use of the minimum respiratory protection recommended by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for environments where lead is present, but respiratory protection is not required by the EPA regulations. In addition, disposable clothing, if removed and disposed of before the workers leave the work site, can provide additional protection for workers’ families by ensuring that no leaded dust or debris is carried home on worker clothing. However, EPA does not require this and allows renovators to use other methods to ensure that dust and debris does not leave the work area, including the HEPA vacuuming of clothing, tools, and other items before they leave the work area.
During exterior power washing, instead of plastic, can landscaping fabric or a similar material be used to capture any paint chips or other debris, but permit the water to seep through?
No. For exterior renovations, before beginning the renovation the renovation firm must cover the ground with taped-down plastic sheeting or other impermeable material in the work area 10 feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation or a sufficient distance to collect falling paint debris, whichever is greater. Landscaping fabric is not an impermeable material.
Yes, if exterior window removal creates dust and debris on the interior of the building. Before beginning the renovation, the firm must isolate the work area so that no dust or debris leaves the work area while the renovation is being performed. If removing windows from the exterior creates dust and debris on the interior as well as the exterior of the building, then the firm must follow the requirements in the RRP Rule for both interior and exterior containment. Window replacement typically disturbs paint on both the interior and exterior of a building.
I have heard that if I use the warning signs EPA recommends in its model course I will be in violation of OSHA rules. Is this true?
The picture of a warning sign in the EPA model course is not intended to satisfy OSHA’s requirements.
However, a firm subject to both rules can satisfy both the OSHA requirements and the RRP Rule requirements by posting only the OSHA sign.
Firms must post signs clearly defining the work area and warning occupants and other persons not involved in renovation activities to remain outside of the work area. To the extent practicable, these signs must be in the primary language of the occupants. These signs must be posted before beginning the renovation and must remain in place and readable until the renovation and the post-renovation cleaning verification have been completed.
How should a firm comply with the pre-renovation education requirements if a homeowner wishes a renovation to begin immediately?
The Rule provides that a firm must simply provide the owner with a copy of the pamphlet, and either
- obtain, from the owner, a written acknowledgement that the owner has received the pamphlet, or
- obtain a certificate of mailing at least 7 days prior to the renovation.
Will EPA issue a final rule removing the opt-out and if it does when will the rule become effective?
On April 22, 2010, EPA issued a rule revoking the opt-out provision of the 2008 Lead RRP rule. The rule was published in the Federal Register on May 6, 2010, and takes effect on July 6, 2010.
If a property is tested by a certified renovator, inspector, or risk assessor and found to be free of leadbased paint, does any testing need to be done again if work is done on the property several years later?
Where a certified renovator uses an EPA-approved test kit to determine that a component is free of lead-based paint, or a lead-based paint free determination is made by a certified inspector or risk assessor, firms performing renovations on the same components may rely on these results as long as the records are still available. Lead-based paint free determinations by a certified inspector or risk assessor are valid for both the tenant disclosure exemption from 1018 and the RRP Rule and they do not expire.
If a certified inspector or risk assessor determines that a component was installed post-1978 and is therefore free of lead-based paint, can the renovation firm rely on this determination?
Yes, as long as the renovation firm has obtained a copy of the determination. The firm must retain a copy of the determination for three years after completion of the renovation.
I am an owner/agent for an apartment community built prior to 1978. In 2004, testing of a random sample of units was completed by a certified testing firm.
I am an owner/agent for an apartment community built prior to 1978. In 2004, testing of a random sample of units was completed by a certified testing firm. The results were negative for lead paint but positive for lead dust. With the positive lead dust result, are we required to comply with the RRP Rule?
No. As long as the determination that the units are free of lead-based paint was made by an inspector or risk assessor certified by EPA or by an authorized State or Tribal program, renovations in the building are not covered by the RRP Rule.
Is a lead-based paint inspection, performed by a certified inspector or risk assessor, that includes a written determination that various building components are free of paint or other surface coatings containing lead equal to or in excess of 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2) or 0.5% by weight sufficient to determine compliance with requirements of the RRP rule?
The RRP Rule does not apply to target housing where a certified inspector or risk assessor has determined that the components affected by the renovation are free of regulated lead-based paint or that a property is free of lead-based paint for the purposes of the Lead Disclosure Rule.
The RRP Rule does not require certified inspectors or certified risk assessors to test each and every component that will be affected by a renovation. Certified inspectors or risk assessors are free to conduct representative sampling, so long as the components to be tested are chosen in accordance with documented methodologies, such as the HUD Guidelines. However, because certified renovator training does not cover sampling protocols, certified renovators using EPA-recognized test kits to determine the applicability of the RRP Rule must test each and every component that will be affected in order to determine that the RRP Rule does not apply to a particular renovation.
When repainting rental housing, if the landlord supplies the paint and materials, and the tenant does the labor without receiving money, credit toward rent, or other compensation, does the RRP Rule apply?
No. The RRP Rule only applies to renovations performed for compensation.
Does the RRP Rule apply to installing replacement windows, in other words, removing the old sash and installing a new vinyl window in the opening, without sawing or sanding?
Yes. Window replacement does not qualify for the minor repair or maintenance exception.
When installing a roof, my firm does not create dust by directly sanding or cutting painted surfaces, but we do hammer the unpainted side of the lumber from above. Does the RRP Rule apply to this work?
The RRP Rule applies to work that disturbs painted surfaces. If hammering painted components, even on the unpainted side, disturbs paint, creating dust or chips, the RRP Rule applies.
If a homeowner removes all the painted surfaces in a room and then hires a certified firm to remodel the room, does the renovator need to follow the RRP Rule?
No. Projects that do not disturb a painted surface are not subject to the RRP Rule.
As a general matter, EPA believes that activities that create dust or paint chips are activities that disturb paint. There is no definitive list of activities that disturb painted surfaces. Some examples that can disturb painted surfaces include, but are not limited to:
- Making cut-outs in walls.
- Replacing a window from the inside or outside.
- Removing paint with a heat gun.
- Scraping paint.
- Removing kitchen cabinets.
- Removing paint by abrasive sanding.
- Removal of large structures, including demolition of interior plaster walls.
- Window replacement.
- HVAC repair or replacement, including duct work.
- Repairs resulting in isolated small surface disruptions, including drilling and sawing into wood and plaster.
These activities and other activities which disturb paint could be relevant to many trades, such as (but not limited to) renovation, remodeling, general repair, general maintenance, plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, window installation, painting, weatherization work, and more.
Does the RRP rule apply to simple painting activities that occur when rental properties turn over? Approximately half of the rental units in the country get new tenants each year. This means a large number of properties are being repeatedly painted, thus further covering any surfaces that may contain lead-based paint.
If there is no surface preparation that disturbs the existing paint prior to painting, the RRP Rule does not apply. If you disturb paint by scraping or sanding while preparing the surface, the RRP Rule applies.
The RRP Rule covers activities that modify an existing structure and that result in the disturbance of painted surfaces. All types of repair, remodeling, maintenance, modernization, and weatherization projects are covered, including projects performed as part of another Federal, State, or local program, if the projects meet the definition of ‘‘renovation’’. The term “renovation” includes (but is not limited to):
- Removing, modifying or repairing painted surfaces or painted components. Examples include modifying painted doors, surface restoration, window repair, and surface preparation activity like sanding and scraping that may generate paint dust.
- Removing building components such as walls, ceilings, plumbing, or windows.
- Weatherization projects such as cutting holes in painted surfaces to install blown-in insulation or to gain access to attics, or planing thresholds to install weather-stripping.
- Interim controls that disturb painted surfaces.
The RRP Program rule only applies to persons who perform renovations for compensation.
Does the RRP Rule apply to renovations that disturb ceramic tile where the glaze on the tile contains lead at regulated levels?
Yes. Renovations that disturb paint or other surface coatings that contain lead at regulated levels must be performed in accordance with the RRP Rule.
My firm is performing a renovation in an unoccupied home that will be put up for sale when work is done. Does the RRP Rule apply to this renovation?
Yes. Temporarily unoccupied or vacant housing is not exempt from the requirements of the RRP Rule.
The following records must be retained for three years following the completion of a renovation:
- Reports (if any) certifying that lead-based paint is not present
- Records relating to the distribution of the lead pamphlet
- Documentation of compliance with the requirements of the regulation (EPA has prepared a sample form that is available at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/samplechecklist.pdf).
The RRP rule does not impose requirements on homeowners, unless they are performing renovations in rental space. However, the hired firm would be in violation of the RRP Rule if it was uncertified and performing a covered renovation.
The rule applies to all firms and individuals who are paid to perform renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb paint in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities. This includes home improvement contractors, maintenance workers, painters and other specialty trades.
Before performing a window replacement, my firm wants to determine whether lead-based paint is present. When testing the paint on a window, do I need to test both the exterior and interior paint?
If the job disturbs both the exterior and interior paint, and if the exterior paint is different from the interior paint, you must test both surfaces.
Since LeadCheck cannot be used on plaster or drywall, what should renovators do to test for lead on those surfaces?
There are two options to test for lead on plaster or drywall. One option is to hire a certified lead inspector or risk assessor and have them perform x-ray fluorescence (XRF) readings on those surfaces. The other option is to hire a certified lead inspector or risk assessor and have them take paint chip samples and send them to a National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP) approved laboratory. Laboratory results typically do not take more than a few days once the sample is sent off for testing. To locate an NLLAP-approved laboratory, visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/nllaplist.pdf, or contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD.
If a renovator decides not to elect either of these options, they can assume that lead is present and comply with the requirements of the RRP Rule when performing the job.
Besides the state of Massachusetts kit, which can only be used by certified lead inspectors or risk assessors in the State of Massachusetts, LeadCheck is the only test kit that EPA has recognized at present. EPA is currently conducting evaluations of additional kits under its Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) program. Results of these evaluations should be available in September 2010.
When a certified renovator uses an EPA-recognized test kit to determine the presence of lead, can the results be grouped? For instance, may the certified renovator test just one window sill in a room if all will be affected?
No. The certified renovator must test each component affected by the renovation. If the components make up an integrated whole, such as the individual stair treads and risers of a single staircase, the renovator is required to test only one of the individual components, unless the individual components appear to have been repainted or refinished separately. Multiple window sills are not integrated parts of a whole. They are separate components and must be tested separately.
Older homes, child care facilities, and schools are more likely to contain lead-based paint. Homes that contain lead-based paint may be single-family homes or apartments. They may be private, government assisted, or public housing. They may be urban, suburban, or rural. You have the following options:
- Assume your home contains lead. Especially in older homes and buildings, this is the simplest and safest approach. For example, 87% of homes built before 1940 have some lead-based paint, while 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 have some lead-based paint.
- Test for lead using a lead test kit. EPA-recognized test kits are available at hardware stores. Carefully follow the detailed instructions for their use. To learn more about EPA-recognized test kits, visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/kits.htm).
- Hire a certified professional to check for lead-based paint. A certified inspector or risk assessor can conduct an inspection to determine whether your home or a portion of your home has leadbased paint and where it is located. This will tell you the areas in your home where lead-safe work practices should be used for renovation, repair, or painting jobs. A certified risk assessor can conduct a risk assessment telling you whether your home currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust, or soil. The risk assessor can also tell you what actions to take to address any hazards. For help finding a certified risk assessor or inspector, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).
Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have some lead-based paint. Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly. Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting or buying pre-1978 housing. Sellers and landlords must:
- Disclose information on known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the housing being sold or rented;
- Provide buyers and renters with any available records or reports pertaining to lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the housing; and
- Provide buyers and renters with a copy of the pamphlet entitled “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.”
In addition, sellers must give potential buyers an opportunity to check the home for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. To learn more about the lead disclosure rule visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadbase.htm.
Do test results from a certified renovator using an EPA recognized test kit (40 CFR § 745.83) become an official part of the lead-based paint testing record for that house
The results of paint testing using test kits are part of the official lead-based paint testing record for a home, and must be disclosed under EPA’s Real Estate Disclosure regulation (40 CFR part 745, subpart F). However, EPA’s regulations only provide for a certified inspector or risk assessor to conduct a lead-based paint inspection and to prepare a lead-based paint inspection report. Thus, allowing renovators to test components does not negate the requirement that a certified inspector or risk assessor follow the requirements set forth in § 745.227(b) when conducting a lead-based paint inspection.