Representative Tim Bishop (left) meets' with Gorell's Charles Dorsey.

“I am determined to do whatever I can to delay this lead rule.” Those weren’t the words of contractors who this will affect, but rather the voice of Congressman Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), who spoke before a group of contractors who gathered at the Capitol Hill today to call for some changes regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead paint rules.

Many of the contractors in attendance were part of the Long Island chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). They traveled to Washington, D.C., today to make their voices heard about the impending lead paint rule. The group is calling for a delay of the April 22 implementation date so more contractors can be trained as well as preservation of the opt-out rule. (If the opt-out rule stays in, then homeowners who live in homes built prior to 1978 who don’t have children under the age f six or pregnant women living in the home can opt-out of the lead paint regulations.)

In addition to the contractors present, representatives of Gorell Windows and Doors played a large role in the organization of the event and several representatives from the Pennsylvania-based window manufacturer were present, including the company’s Mike Rempel. He urged attendees to immediately contact their elected officials to let them know how vastly they will be affected by these regulations.

“You’ve heard others speak to you today about how this will affect them and what I want to do is tell you what to do about it,” he said.

Rempel reported that he and other members of the Northeast Window and Door Association had meetings with elected officials throughout this week.

He also advised contractors not to be concerned if they couldn’t get right to an elected official.

“Often times it’s the high-level staffer who handles this issue. Get to someone in the office,” he said.

Other speakers included Kevin Seiling from VEKA, who spoke on behalf of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. Like many contractors, he told attendees he doesn’t feel EPA’s certified renovator training is being conducted properly. He likened it to AAMA’s Installation Masters program, which utilizes a 365-page manual and five days of training; the EPA training program for the lead regulations, however, cover 288 pages in just eight hours, he said.

And while many people spoke about the effect this will have on contractors, many also pointed out that it will have a huge effect on the homeowner.

“The saddest part is this will affect Middle America the most,” said Seiling.

While the EPA estimates that these rules will add only $35to the cost of a window, contractors say it is much higher. Seiling estimates it at an extra $121 per window.

“People will spend their money elsewhere,” he said. “It will hamper the recovery.”

Seiling also said Homestar won’t help offset these costs as, “Homestar is a temporary credit while this [lead paint rules] is a permanent cost.”

Jim Lett of A.B.E. Windows and Doors, a window contractor in Allentown, Pa., echoed Seiling’s comments and spoke of the impact it will have on his business.

“I have no problem of following the law as currently written,” said Lett. “I do have a problem with the EPA removing the opt-out.”

Lett said only nine percent of his customers would fall into the category of pregnant women or women with children under the age of six.

“What I do have a problem with is putting this burden on the other 91 percent of my customers,” he said.

So where do we go from here with only one week until April 22?

“I truly hope the powers that be will listen to reason and preserve the opt-out provision,” said Lett.

Bishop urged his fellow Congressional members to join him in his opposition to the rule.

“Don’t impose this in a way that will put contractors out of work,” said Bishop.

“I know that vast majority are not trained and we have to be practical.”

For more photos fromt eh event check out our DWM page on Facebook.

DWM Magazine, News

4 Comments

  1. I assure you, I will not be paying extra for windows in my home to satisfy EPA’s bureaucratic meddling. These are the same people who want to control your healthcare. They complicate every rule they touch for no valid reason. The opt out provision is a reasonable attempt to minimize the cost impact of protection for those families who need it. Get the government out of the lives of every day folks!

  2. My comment! People get sick from lead. Lead awareness has been around in construction for at least 25 years. There are a lot of facts about lead. Lead is hazardous to children and pregnant women–Period!
    I had a brother-in-law that had lead poisoning. To top it off, he had a pregnant wife and came home from work with his dirty contaminated clothes from work. The twins were effected in the womb.
    To be lead compliant is simple–keep the dust down and contained. Change your clothes before you get in your truck and come home and get the family you work for sick. Contractors need to quit fighting change.
    Do it right or stay home!
    Marc

  3. Marc, I’m a contractor and I welcome change, like better tools, new materials and even better ways to perform certain projects. You stated it perfectly about keeping the dust down and contained, changing one clothes before getting into thier truck to go home, perfect. What we’re not happy with is wearing a hazmat suit to install a replacement window or change some molding and facing a fine of $37,500.00 if we make a mistake. Your brother in law didn’t use the best judgement and unfortunitly it effected his family, but I’ll bet that is because it was happening continuosly not one isolated incident. We do it right and don’t want to lose jobs to those who don’t. We are all in this together and the more contractors that receive the trainig the better and hom owners need to be educated too. Doug

  4. Hi Doug. The hazmat suit? OSHA 1910 and 1926 are pretty clear on lead work. EPA has information on lead work. I just completed another lead safe renovator refresher course a few months ago. Its not that complicated. Fines? Every contractor should be, or start, using hazard assessment check list on every job. Basically, identify hazard type, hazard description and hazard controls. This for the purpose of safety for everyone. Fines are tools to get peoples attention. We are a country of rules and laws. Show a little effort or attempt to do it right. I think the EPA dragged their feet enough on this issue, and basically had to make a decision to get all contractors on board. Recently my State Building and Safety Division implemented an emergency order requiring all contractors to be licensed or certified because too much work was being performed not to code. Bad construction effects every American. Marc

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