The RRP Year in Review: What I've Noticed

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since RRP went into effect. I've seen a definite change in the overall influence of lead-safe renovating during the course of the last twelve months, since the EPA mandate took effect.  Customer awareness and concerns are dramatically heightened, and renovators have made many types of adjustments to their presentation, marketing, job performance and outlook.  Some have incorporated the certification into their website design, business cards, and other forms of advertising and stationery, as well as stating it in job presentations.  Other noticeable observations stem from comments to this very forum, ranging from outright criticism and bitter opposition, to a desire to have some issues worked out with governmental bodies and acceptance of the inevitable.  Perhaps we can all agree that decreasing the likelihood of lead poisoning is admirable and there is a willingness to comply within reason, but there is room for improvement in the RRP implementation and how it is impacting small business. A more healthy work environment and finished jobsite is a worthwhile benefit. Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of using expensive vacuums in lieu of a broom, and large amounts of plastic and tape are used, which seems environmentally irresponsible.  This point has come up quite frequently, and is something that should be evaluated, since the production of so much plastic and its disposal into landfills is a concern. We've all heard about business suffering during this past year with new regulations, which coincides with economic pressure created previously by two very large driving forces: the overall state of the economy complete with difficult bank lending practices, and the virtual collapse of the entire industry of new construction.  It has forced more competition in renovation jobs with contractors who typically built new housing being forced into remodeling. Even larger commercial contractors have shifted emphasis, and a very large segment of the labor force that was laid off due to the economic shortfall has become available to the public as repair, renovating, and general carpenters.  They are doing their best to manage while not able to secure other employment.  This situation has created the environment for a large presence of uncertified renovators capturing business while complying businesses struggle to compete and stay afloat. I have observed that even with a perspective of trying to generate some profit while performing RRP jobs, most contactors have mentioned that the jobs are hard to estimate and full compliance is a very costly procedure.  Worth mentioning also is an outright, willful ignorance of the rule.  There are contractors who have either neglected to become certified, or have gotten that far but decided not to follow through with RRP procedures on the job.  This is still pretty commonly mentioned in off-the-record conversations over a cold beer. With additional changes in RRP on the horizon, I think it is safe to say it is here to stay.  Over the last few months, we have seen more reports of fines being levied on firms that are not complying with RRP and adhering to lead-safe practices.  We would welcome some adjustments to rules of containment, disposal and record-keeping as it would help ease some of the regulations.  At the same time, as business owners, we need to make the appropriate decisions to keep our doors open.  It has been nice to have this forum as a location to share information, criticism, and suggestions on how we can choose to use RRP to our business advantage, or choose to opt-out of any RRP job.

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