6 rules and regulations for remodelers to watch in 2012

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Are you prepared for more oversight? Here are some new and updated regulations to pay attention to this year.

February 23, 2012

If it seems like every year there are more regulations and restrictions to worry about in your business, it’s not your imagination.

It’s a reality that government at the federal, state and local level continues to put more rules in place. The National Federation of Independent Businesses estimates more than 4,000 new laws and regulations that will affect small businesses will take effect this year.

While many of them come from a good idea — protecting children from lead poisoning, for instance — it doesn’t change the fact that it just makes it tougher to do business.

Here’s an update on existing rules and what you need to know about them in 2012, as well as new regulations on the horizon.

Lead paint

2012 should be a busier year for enforcement and inspections under the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) rule that took effect in 2010.

(Lack of enforcement has been a major concern for those following the rules — see our reader survey.)

Don Lott, of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a recent NAHB webinar that EPA receives 400 tips a month about unsafe practices or uncertified firms and has conducted more than 1,000 compliance inspections. 2012 will be much busier, Lott said. At this point, the EPA is relying mostly on tips to prompt inspections.

“I think EPA expects the remodeling community to police itself in this matter, which means they expect guys to turn guys in who are uncertified,” NAHB Policy Analyst Matt Watkins told Professional Remodeler.

The agency can conduct onsite jobsite inspections, as well as audit records going back three years. Record audits seem to be more common, so remodelers need to make sure they are keeping all their paperwork up to date, Watkins says.

That includes signed acknowledgement that the homeowner received the “Renovate Right” pamphlet, records that show what uncertified and certified workers were on a project and what lead-safe practices were followed and post-renovation acknowledgement from the homeowner of the work performed. If a company conducts tests or brings in a third-party inspector, it should keep not only the results, but also detailed information about the test, down to the brand and serial number.

“It’s critical they understand what records they are required to keep so when EPA shows up they’ve got a representative snapshot of what they did while they were out on the project,” Watkins says.

So far, 12 states have taken over administration of the rule from EPA, adding a layer of complications in those jurisdictions. Some states have already ramped up enforcement on their own (see Industry News on p. 16). Other states that have proposed taking over enforcement have thus far not done so, but that could change as state legislatures go back into session this spring, Watkins says.


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