If you’re a dealer out there who is taking a “wait-and-see” attitude regarding the EPA’s upcoming lead paint regulations, “you’re playing Russian roulette,” said Tyson Schwartz, vice president of sales and marketing for Gorell Windows and Doors. Schwartz addressed this message to attendees of Fenestration Day held on March 16 in Schaumburg, Ill., and told manufacturers and dealers what they need to do to prepare for upcoming changes.

“Ignorance is not a defense,” said Schwartz. “It can put you out of business.”

He also stressed that attendees need to work together to get their voices heard regarding this important issue. Many associations are working together to get the April 22implementation date delayed and to get the opt-out provision to remain.

“The industry is working together more than ever and I’m proud of that,” says Schwartz.

CLICK HERE to view Schwartz’s presentation.

Jim Lett told attendees how the lead paint regulations will affect dealers such as his company and others.

Jim Lett of A.B.E. Windows and Dooors in Allentown, Pa., talked specifically about how these regulations will affect dealers. As an owner of a 22-employee firm, Lett has had 19 of those employees certified and stressed that not only the installers need to go through the EPA-certified training.

“We’ve had salespeople certified as well,” said Lett. “That way when they talk to the homeowner they are knowledgeable about the regulations.”

He also said that it is difficult for an employee to remember eight hours worth of material.

“I have good-quality employees, but you just can’t remember it all,” said Lett, who added that this is another reason to have several employees trained.

Lett also reminded attendees of the fine–$37,500 per violation per day–for non-compliance. But Lett said he “doesn’t have time or desire to monitor the competition.”

He added, however, that EPA can do this easily by going through SIC codes to see what companies have gone through the training and he hopes they take this approach.

While EPA estimates that the cost of these regulations will add $35 to the cost of a window replacement job, Lett stressed that the costs are much higher and he gave attendees some examples of costs he has incurred thus far:

• Pollution insurance–$3,200. Lett told manufacturers to advise their dealers to purchase this insurance;

• Register your company with EPA–$300. Lett reminded attendees that sometimes people forget that they must not only go through the training but also get their company certified;

• Certified renovator class–$250-$300 per person; and

• HEPA vacuum–$350-$700.

Lett estimated that an extra $120-200 will be incurred for each small job and $60-$90 per window for larger jobs.

Other challenges have nothing to do with cost.

Lett warned dealers in attendance that the jobs will definitely take longer to complete.

“We’re very inefficient the first time around,” he said.

“If you’re working on a job that has an open room, you have to build zip walls. We worked on a room recently with cathedral ceilings. Where do you put the zip walls?

And what do you do if you are working on a windy or rainy day? There is just one issue after the other that no one has thought through,” said Lett.

According to the EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation Repair and Painting Program, before a contractor begins work on a pre-1978 home, the home must be tested for the presence of lead. However, Lett has made the decision that he won’t even test.

“If I’m working on a pre-1978 home, I’m going to follow these lead safe work practices,” he said.

Others in attendance said they plan to do so as well and a few attendees reported that EPA trainers even offered this same advice.

Both Schwartz and Lett stressed that of course neither wants the homeowner to be at risk for lead exposure. However, both are in favor of having the opt-out provision remain in place so homeowners can make an informed decision.

“I’ve reduced my workforce by 33 percent since 2008,” said Lett. “We need to be building it back up not tearing it down, due to the effect these [regulations] will have on businesses such as mine.”


1 Comment

  1. Good points all around. Truly apepcraited.

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