The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead paint rule has dominated the headlines since 2010, and has had residential window installers and other remodeling companies, struggling to keep up with the costs and burdens of the regulation. The EPA also has been looking at extending the rule into commercial applications, which has the commercial sector awaiting what effect, if any, this would have on their industry. However, the EPA announced it has postponed the lead paint rule for public and commercial buildings until July 1, 2015.

The EPA also revised an August 2009 settlement agreement with some litigants to merge the interior and exterior Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule for commercial buildings and take final action by January 1, 2017.

A proposal for exterior renovations for public and commercial buildings was originally slated to be issued by September 14, 2012 and finalized by February 2014, according to an announcement from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). In its latest efforts, NAHB petitioned the agency to revise the residential rule and economic analysis in the absence of an “improved” pre-renovation test kit and has continued to express concern about the enforcement of the residential LRRP rule.

Industry associations, including the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) have been heavily involved in this issue and weighed in on the decision today.

“WDMA strongly supports the intent of the rule in protecting pregnant women and small children from the hazards of lead paint; however, EPA still needs to provide a report to Congress on lead-based paint hazards in commercial buildings before issuing any new rule on lead for those structures,” says Ben Gann, WDMA director of legislative affairs and grassroots activities. “We agree with EPA’s decision to hold public meetings to gather information on renovation activities and possible lead hazards in commercial buildings and are encouraged by its response to congressional oversight.”

“AAMA is in full support of the EPA’s decision to postpone the LRRP rule for the exterior of public and commercial buildings by three years,” adds Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO. “As it stands, LRRP regulations require contactors to be trained in lead-safe practices. However, extending the current LRRP rule to public and commercial buildings is unnecessary in instances where the risk of lead exposure is low, causing a costly disincentive for contractors to follow LRRP compliance. This extended timeline will allow the EPA to collect a larger sample of data on how commercial buildings are renovated and repaired, allowing for a better understanding of the potential lead hazards that may exist. While it is necessary to protect those who are most at-risk for lead poisoning, the LRRP rule should not be extended to commercial buildings without proper justification.”


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