In April 2008 the US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued a rule requiring contractors renovating certain pre-1978 buildings to use specified practices aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Non-complaint contracts are subject to fine. The rule took effect on April 22, 2010, although last month a bi-partisan group of legislators persuaded the EPA to delay enforcement until October 2010.

The rule requires contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by EPA and that they use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices. Individuals can become certified renovators by taking an eight-hour training course from an EPA-approved training provider.

Contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures: 1) contain the work area; 2) minimize dust; and 3) clean up thoroughly.

Under the rule, child-occupied facilities are defined as residential, public or commercial buildings where children under age six are present on a regular basis. The requirements apply to renovation, repair or painting activities. The rule does not apply to minor maintenance or repair activities where less than six square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed in a room or where less then 20 square feet of lead-based paint is disturbed on the exterior. Window replacement is not minor maintenance or repair.

Contractors can find information regarding the requirements here, at the EPA’S website.