THE MORE YOU KNOW


Your Guide to Understanding the RRP Rule
(Source: EPA Renovation, Repair & Painting Rule Frequent Questions
https://toxics.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/sections/202407547-Renovation-Repair-and-Painting-Rule)


CERTIFIED FIRMS & RENOVATORS
LEAD PAINT TESTING
RENOVATIONS SUBJECT TO RRP RULE
LEAD PAINT DISTURBANCE
INTERIOR RENOVATIONS
MINOR RENOVATIONS
EXTERIOR RENOVATIONS
RECORDKEEPING
NON-CERTIFIED WORKERS
WASTE HANDLING




CERTIFIED FIRMS & RENOVATORS


Q: If I am a handyman working alone do I need a Firm certification for RRP jobs?

A: Yes, to work on pre-1978 structures, you will need both the individual RRP Certified Renovator training and certification and the RRP Firm Certification.


Q: Is it a violation of the RRP Rule for a homeowner to hire a firm that is not certified?

A: The RRP Rule does not impose requirements on homeowners unless they are performing renovations on rental space. However, the hired firm would be in violation of the RRP Rule if it was uncertified and performing a covered RRP renovation. Without certification and by not following approved practices, firms found to be in violation of the RRP Rule may be subject to civil penalties of up to $37,500 per offense per day.


Q: If I have three apartment buildings, each it’s own LLC, and I work on each of them as the owner, do I need three RRP firm certifications?

A: Only one firm certification and only one project overseer needs to have the 8 hours of Certified Renovator (RRP) training for the apartment maintenance unit regardless of the number of apartments handled.


Q: If a general contractor hires a subcontractor to work at a renovation site, does the subcontractor need to be a RRP Certified Firm if the subcontractor does not disturb any paint?

A: Firms performing tasks that do not disturb painted surfaces whatsoever do not need to be RRP-certified. However, since conditions at the job site may be difficult to predict, the EPA strongly recommends that all firms involved in the renovation be RRP-certified and use personnel who are properly trained and certified in RRP lead-safe work practices. Since every renovation job is different, it is up to the general contractor to determine what activities are within the scope of the RRP Rule and to ensure that other firms and personnel on the job are properly trained and RRP-certified for the tasks they will be performing. All firms, including the general contractor, are responsible for making sure the renovation is performed in accordance with the RRP work practice standards, including keeping containment intact and making sure lead dust and debris do not leave the work site. General contractors should keep in mind that, if a hired subcontractor fails to follow the RRP work practice standards or otherwise violates the RRP Rule, both the subcontractor and the general contractor will be held responsible for the violation(s). By not following approved practices, firms found to be in violation of the RRP Rule may be subject to civil penalties of up to $37,500 per offense per day.


Q: 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?

A: Yes, a general contractor that subcontracts the entire renovation job to other firms must be certified as a firm for 2 reasons. First, the contractual agreement between the general contractor and the subcontractor is based on the general contrator’s offer to renovate the property of a third party for compensation. The RRP Rule requires a contrator 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.


Q: 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 to comply with the RRP Rule?

A: 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 RRP work, the property management company must be a RRP Certified Firm and one of the employees must be a RRP Certified Renovator. If the property management company hires a firm to perform the RRP renovation, the property management company does not need RRP firm or RRP renovator certification. However, the firm the property management company hires must be a RRP Certified Firm and must perform the renovation using a RRP Certified Renovator who will direct and provide on-the-job training to any non-certified workers.


Q: I have a for-profit business where I purchase residential properties and renovate them. I initially try to rent the property, but if I can’t find tenants, then I try to sell the property. I pay for and perform all of the work myself and keep all profits. Does the RRP Rule apply to me?

A: Yes. Individuals who buy, renovate, and sell (house flippers) or lease (landlords) pre-1978 residential properties for a profit, and do the renovation work themselves are performing renovations for compensation and are, therefore, subject to all requirements of the RRP Rule. You must be a RRP trained and Certified Renovator in order to perform the work and also RRP certified as a lead-safe firm. Similarly, businesses that buy, renovate, and sell pre-1978 residential properties and use their own employees to do the renovation work are performing renovations for compensation and are subject to all requirements of the RRP Rule. The business must be a lead-safe RRP Certified Firm and employ at least one RRP Certified Renovator to perform and/or supervise the covered renovations. However, individuals or business that buy, renovate, and sell pre-1978 residential properties (house flippers) do not need to be RRP certified (as a firm or individual) if they hire an outside firm to perform all the work. The hired firm must be a lead-safe RRP Certified Firm, perform the renovation using a RRP-trained Certified Renovator, and is responsible for meeting all of the RRP Rule work practice and recordkeeping requirements.


Q: How does the RRP Rule affect the work of non-profit groups? Will the rule apply, for example, to church groups who, as part of their missionary work, are making improvements for low-income residents?

A: The RRP Rule applies to renovations performed for compensation which includes: pay for work performed (such as that paid to contractors and subcontractors); wages (such as those paid to employees of contractors, building owners, property management companies, child-occupied facility operators, State and local government agencies, and non-profits); and rent for target housing or public or commercial building space. Donations, including donations of materials or the time of volunteers, are not compensation. If the organization is compensating anyone for the work (such as a paid supervisor), then the renovation is covered by the RRP Rule even though the organization has non-profit status. The organization my also need to become certified as a firm. An organization that performs, offers, or claims to perform renovations covered by the RRP Rule must be certified by the EPA. Therefore, a nonprofit organization that offers to renovate the property of a third party for compensation, or that performs the renovation, must be certified as a firm. The non-profit must comply with all the requirements of the rule that apply to firms performing renovations including having a Certified Renovator direct the work and provide on-the-job training to all uncertified workers (such as volunteers).


Q: If a homeowner removes all the painted surfaces in a room and then hires a RRP Certified Firm to remodel the room, does the renovator need to follow the RRP Rule?

A: No, projects that do not disturb a painted surface are not subject to the RRP Rule.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




LEAD PAINT TESTING


Q: Is lead paint testing required under the RRP Rule?

A: No, you may always assume the presence of lead-based paint in any un-tested, pre-1978 structure and proceed in accordance with all RRP requirements.


Q: Are third party lead-based paint inspections required before beginning RRP jobs?

A: No, third party inspections are not currently required. However, contractors must assume that any un-tested pre-1978 structure contains lead-based paint and, therefore, perform the required lead-safe work practices set forth by the RRP Rule.


Q: What must be tested if a renovator uses test kits to determine if lead paint is present for a RRP job?

A: A Certified Renovator, using EPA-recognized test kits to determine if the RRP work practices apply, must test each building component affected by the work even if the components are in the same room. For example, if a room contains three windows and paint will be disturbed on each window, the renovator must test each window to determine if lead is present. Interior building components include:

  • Ceilings
  • Crown Molding
  • Walls
  • Chair Rails
  • Windows
  • Window Trim
  • Stairs
  • Doors
  • Door Trim
  • Floors
  • Fireplaces
  • Radiators
  • Shelves

The only exception to this requirement is when components make up an integrated whole. For example, the components of a window can be grouped as window assembly and window trim. Window assembly components include the sashes, stops, head, jambs, sill or stool, and trough. So, for an interior job where the window assembly and trim will be disturbed, it’s necessary to test both the window assembly and the window trim.


Q: I’m a certified renovator using an EPA-recognized lead test kit to determine whether or not I have to follow the RRP Rule work practices. What components must test negative for lead-based paint in order to qualify for the exclusion?

A: Generally, a certified renovator using an EPA-recognized test kit must test each building component to be disturbed. The only exception to this requirement is when the components make up an integrated whole. In such a case, one or more components may represent a system of components, unless it is obvious to the renovator that the components have been repainted or refinished separately. A staircase, for example, is made up of numerous repeating components which can be grouped together as integrated wholes for testing purposes. For these purposes, staircase components can be grouped into the following integrated wholes:

A single individual staircase component (such as a baluster) may represent the remaining staircase components of the same group (the rest of the balustrades on the staircase) unless it is obvious to the renovator that the components have been repainted or refinished separately. Therefore, where an entire staircase is to be disturbed, it is necessary to test 5 surfaces: 1 tread or riser, 1 balustrade, 1 newel post, 1 railing cap, and 1 exposed stringer. So long as it is not obvious that the components have been repainted or refinished separately, a negative test for lead-based paint on an individual staircase component in each of these groups would mean that a renovation on that particular staircase could be performed without regard to the RRP work practices. It is also appropriate to apply the integrated whole concept to windows and doors. For testing purposes, window and door components can be grouped into the following integrated wholes:

Window assembly components include the sashes, stops, head, jambs, sill or stool, and trough. Door assembly components include the door slab(s), jambs, head, sill, and threshold. As a practical matter, it is likely that interior and exterior surfaces of window and door assemblies were repainted or refinished separately and should be tested separately. Therefore, where both the window or door assembly and trim will be disturbed (such as a full-frame window or door replacement), it is necessary to test 4 surfaces: 1 interior window or door assembly component, 1 interior window or door trim, 1 exterior window or door assembly component, and 1 exterior window or door trim. However, if you only disturb paint on the interior or exterior of a window, then you only need to test the assembly and trim on that side. If it is not obvious that the components have been repainted or refinished separately, a negative test for lead-based paint on a component in each of these groups would mean that a renovation on that particular window or door could be performed without regard to the RRP work practices. Each window, door, and staircase to be disturbed must be separately tested, even if in the same room. Also negative testing results must still be documented in accordance with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the RRP Rule.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.


RENOVATIONS SUBJECT TO RRP RULE


Q: Are DOE weatherization projects covered under the RRP Rule?

A: Yes, the RRP Rule defines renovation to include weatherization projects such as cutting holes in painted surfaces to install blown-in insulation or to gain access to attics, planing doorway thresholds to install weather stripping, and window replacements.


Q: Are renovations performed on detached garages, sheds, and other detached outbuildings on the property subject to the RRP Rule?

A: Yes. The EPA interprets target housing to include pre-1978 buildings or structures that are located on the residential portion of the property and associated with the residential use of the property. As a practical matter, the entire property of most urban and suburban residential lots is normally considered to be associated with residential use. In the case of real property that is used for nonresidential as well as residential purposes, a judgment should be made as to which part of the property is associated with residential use. For example, if the structure is in such close proximity that the renovation would pose a risk to those using the property for residential purposes, the structure would be considered associated with the residential use of the property and the RRP Rule would apply.


Q: Does the RRP Rule apply to contractors working on homes damaged by a hurricane or other natural disaster?

A: Damage from a major storm or other natural disaster could result in the need for emergency renovations. Certain requirements of the RRP Rule do not apply to emergency renovations, which are renovation activities that were not planned but result from a sudden, unexpected event that, if not immediately attended to, presents a safety or public health hazard or threatens equipment and/or property with significant damage. The RRP information distribution requirements do not apply to emergency renovations. Weather-based emergency renovations are also exempt from the RRP warning sign, containment, waste handling, training, and certification requirements to the extent necessary to respond to the emergency. However, these emergency renovations are not exempt from RRP cleaning, cleaning verification, or recordkeeping requirements.


Q: Are renovations in short-term lodgings, such as hotels and motels, time-share properties, and homeless shelters covered by the RRP Rule?

A: Yes, if the property renovated is not a zero-bedroom dwelling. A zero-bedroom dwelling is a residential dwelling in which the living area is not separated from the sleeping area. The term includes efficiencies, studio apartments, dormitory housing, military barracks, and rentals of individual rooms in residential dwellings. The short-term nature of a property’s occupancy does not, in itself, exempt it from the RRP Rule.


Q: Does the RRP Rule apply to renovations done in an apartment that is temporarily vacant?

A: Temporarily unoccupied or vacant rental housing is not exempt from the requirements of the RRP Rule.


Q: Are prison facilities and juvenile detention centers built before 1978 considered target housing?

A: Target housing means any housing constructed prior to 1978. Certain parts of prison facilities and juvenile detention centers that house incarcerated persons are housing. However, as a practical matter, the EPA concludes that most parts of prisons and juvenile detention centers that would be considered housing are also zero-bedroom dwellings (residential dwellings in which the living area is not separated from the sleeping area) and, therefore, not subject to the RRP Rule.


Q: Are public schools subject to the RRP Rule?

A: Yes, the RRP Rule applies to all schools public, private, and alternative.


Q: Are sleeping areas in buildings built before 1978, such as those in fire and police stations, considered target housing subject to the RRP Rule?

A: Firehouses and police stations are not target housing. Therefore, places of temporary rest for employees in these buildings, such as sleeping rooms, are not subject to the RRP Rule.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




LEAD PAINT DISTURBANCE


Q: Can you list specific activities deemed a disturbance of painted surfaces under the RRP Rule?

A: Generally, the EPA has determined that activities which create dust or paint chips are activities that disturb paint. There is no definitive list of activities that disturb painted surfaces. Examples of activities that can disturb painted surfaces include, but are not limited to:

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, roofing, siding, and weatherization work.


Q: Does the RRP Rule apply to simple painting activities that occur when rental properties turn over? Approximately half of the rental units in the United States receive new tenants each year, so, a large number of properties may be repeatedly painted.

A: 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.


Q: Are renovations that disturb stucco subject to the RRP Rule? Does it matter whether the stucco has been painted?

A: The RRP rule applies to work that disturbs painted surfaces. Therefore, renovations that disturb stucco are subject to the RRP Rule only if the stucco has been painted.


Q: Does the RRP Rule apply where no paint at all is present, such as in a 100-year-old unfinished basement?

A: No, the RRP Rule applies to activities that result in the disturbance of painted surfaces. Where there is no paint to disturb, the RRP Rule does not apply.


Q: While the RRP Rule specifically mentions surface coatings such as paint, varnish or shellac, it does not mention stain. Are stained surfaces subject to the RRP Rule?

A: Yes, stained surfaces are considered to be surface coatings.


Q: Does the RRP Rule apply to renovations that disturb ceramic tile where the glaze on the tile contains lead at regulated levels?

A: No, ceramic tile glaze is not considered a surface coating nor a painted surface. Therefore, renovations that disturb ceramic tile glaze are not subject to the RRP Rule.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




INTERIOR RENOVATIONS


Q: If I mist and HEPA vacuum the plastic sheeting used by my firm for interior containment, can I move and reuse the plastic sheeting on the same day and job?

A: No, the RRP Rule does not contemplate a permissible method of moving and reusing plastic sheeting used for interior containment.


Q: If a door is outside of the RRP work area but used by workers to enter and exit the room, does the door need to be covered with plastic?

A: If the RRP work area is smaller than the entire room and the door is not within the work area, you do not need to cover the door with plastic. However, all personnel, tools, and other items, including the exterior of waste containers, must be free of dust and debris when leaving the work area.


Q: When I work on RRP jobs, do I need to cover a closet door with plastic?

A: Yes, if the door is inside the RRP work area. When containing the RRP work area during an interior renovation, the renovator must close windows and doors in the work area and doors must be covered with plastic sheeting or other impermeable material.


Q: For purposes of cleaning the work area following a RRP renovation, is the interior floor of a garage considered interior or exterior space?

A: Generally, the interior floor of a garage is considered an interior space for purposes of RRP post-renovation cleanup. It may be difficult to meet all of the cleaning and verification requirements for garage floors that are composed of dirt or gravel. In such a case, the EPA recommends that you document and keep records of the specific circumstances surrounding the impossibility. You must make your best effort to collect and remove all paint chips, dust, debris, and residue, comply with all feasible RRP work practice standards, and take precautions to ensure that the work area is properly contained.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




MINOR RENOVATIONS


Q: Does drilling holes in window frames to install window treatments such as shades and shutters qualify as minor repair and maintenance under the RRP Rule?

A: Yes, as long as the installation does not disturb more than 6-square-feet of painted surface per room within a 30-day period.


Q: If a renovator disrupts 6-square-feet or less of painted surface per room in several rooms inside one property, does the RRP Rule apply?

A: No, as long as no prohibited work practices are used, the work does not involve window replacement or demolition of painted surfaces, and the 6-square-feet or less includes the total area of all work done in the room in any 30-day period. The exception to the RRP Rule for interior work that disrupts 6-square-feet or less of painted surface applies to each individual room and is inclusive of all work done in the room in any 30-day period.


Q: If a renovator disrupts 20-square-feet or less of painted surface per side on several sides of the exterior of one property, does the RRP Rule apply?

A: Yes, to qualify for the RRP exception for minor repair and maintenance activities, the total amount of exterior paint disrupted must be 20-square-feet or less. In addition, the job must not use prohibited practices or involve window replacement or demolition of painted surfaces.


Q: Does the minor maintenance exception mean that if I drill 1-inch holes in a painted surface to blow insulation into an enclosed wall cavity, I could drill 864 holes in the interior or 2,880 holes in the exterior before I had to comply with the RRP Rule?

A: The exception is based on the area of paint disrupted, which, in this example, is based on the combined areas of the holes drilled in the wall—6-square-feet or less of painted interior surface per room in a 30-day period and 20-square-feet or less of painted exterior surface in a 30-day period.


Q: As a floor covering installer, I use an undercut saw to remove a small amount of wood at the bottom of baseboards and door casings. I am only disturbing the paint in the 1/8-inch cut of the blade. How do I calculate the area of the paint that is affected for the RRP rule?

A: A job is considered minor repair and maintenance, rather than a renovation covered by the RRP Rule, if it disrupts 6-square-feet or less of painted surface per room in a 30-day period. Calculate the area of painted surface disrupted based on the surface area of the components that are disrupted. For example, cutting a 1-inch strip off a door that is 36 inches wide would disrupt 36-square-inches of painted surface.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




EXTERIOR RENOVATIONS


Q: My firm has signed a contract to replace the windows on a pre-1978 home. We have tested for the presence of lead-based paint and found the results to be positive. However, the homeowner has already scraped and repainted his house but did not follow lead-safe work practices. The result of his activity is paint chips scattered throughout the landscaping. How best should I proceed?

A: A firm working on a property that is already contaminated with paint chips, dust, debris, and residue must proceed by containing the work area for the renovation and complying with all cleaning requirements under the RRP Rule for that work area. Paint chips, dust, debris, and residue that fall within the work area during your renovation must be contained and removed. If paint chips, dust, debris, and residue exist beyond your work area and are not a product of your firm’s window replacement activities, EPA recommends that you document (with time and date stamped photographs) and keep a record of the conditions that exist before you begin the renovation.


Q: How can I use plastic sheeting in exterior RRP renovations without creating a safety hazard? Moisture on the plastic from precipitation can cause plastic sheeting to become slippery.

A: For exterior RRP renovations, cover the ground with plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material extending 10-feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation or a sufficient distance to collect falling paint debris, whichever is greater, unless the property line prevents 10-feet of such ground covering. Ground containment measures may stop at the edge of the vertical barrier when using a vertical containment system. The RRP Rule also allows you to place another, less slick, disposable surface (such as paper) on top of the plastic sheeting as long as the plastic sheeting remains intact. Remove and dispose of both surfaces upon completion of the job.


Q: How does the RRP Rule apply to pressure-washing?

A: Pressure-washing is not a prohibited practice under the RRP Rule and is subject to the same containment requirements as other permissible work practices. Before beginning the RRP renovation, isolate the work area so no dust or debris (including the wastewater) leaves the work area while the renovation is being performed. Maintain the integrity of the containment by ensuring that any plastic or other impermeable materials are not torn or displaced and are setup in a manner that does not interfere with occupant and worker egress. Setup a system to collect and contain the wastewater emitted during pressure-washing. Check with the local water treatment authority for specific requirements regarding proper collection, containment, filtration, and disposal of wastewater used during pressure-washing.


Q: During exterior power-washing on a RRP job, instead of plastic sheeting, may landscaping fabric or a similar material be used to capture any paint chips or other debris, but permit the water to seep through?

A: No, landscaping fabric is not an impermeable material. The RRP Rule requires that plastic sheeting, or other disposable impermeable material, must be used to protect and cover the ground and any objects remaining within exterior RRP work area.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




RECORDKEEPING


Q: What records will my firm be required to keep to comply with the RRP Rule?

A: The following records must be retained for 3 years following the completion of a renovation:


Q: Can the required RRP records and documentation be stored electronically rather than as paper copies?

A: Yes. The RRP Certified Firm is responsible for retaining and making available to the EPA all records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the RRP Rule for a period of 3 years following completion of the renovation. The RRP Rule does not specify the format in which records must be kept.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




NON-CERTIFIED WORKERS


Q: Do non-certified workers need to be trained in an RRP Rule task, such as wet sanding, at every job site; or after an initial on-the-job training, are they considered trained for all successive RRP jobs?

A: On-the-job training is required at every RRP job except when you can document that a non-certified worker has been previously trained on-the-job for that specific skill.


Ready to become a lead-safe Certified Renovator? CLICK HERE to enroll in a Certified Renovator–Initial RRP Course and receive the training you need to perform lead-safe work practices.




WASTE HANDLING


Q: Are components removed from the home to be cleaned and reused, subject to the waste handling requirements in the RRP Rule?

A: While components to be reused, rather than disposed of, are not considered waste for the purposes of the RRP Rule, it is likely that, even if they do not contain lead-based paint, they are contaminated with dust or debris from the renovation. Therefore, precautions must be used to ensure that these components are free from dust and debris before they are removed from the RRP work area. The EPA also recommends that these materials be stored on-site or transported off-site in a way that prevents access to dust and debris or release of dust and debris.