As previously reported by DWM, remodelers who are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on homes that may contain lead paint under the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule now have the option to complete refresher training online, according to an EPA announcement. However, EPA re-certifications obtained via an online refresher course will be valid for only three years, versus five years for hands-on training courses, and can only be exercised every other recertification cycle.

While the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says it’s a step in the right direction, its members don’t think the new rule goes far enough.

“As a longtime advocate for a simplified recertification process, NAHB Remodelers appreciates that the EPA’s changes provide some flexibility, but the limited and convoluted parameters of the online training option are unnecessarily complicated and could affect the number of renovators who opt to become recertified,” says NAHB Remodelers Chair Tim Shigley, a remodeler from Wichita, Kan. “Whether they choose to refresh their training online or in person, with the March 31 recertification deadline looming for over 100,000 remodelers, and thousands more later in 2016 and 2017, remodelers are left with precious little time to meet their recertification obligations.”

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) came out in support of the change but also offered suggestions.

“WDMA supports EPA’s changes to the refresher training and has worked closely with EPA to provide needed simplification to the recertification process,” says president and CEO Michael O’Brien. “While it would have been better to allow online learning for all re-certifications, we hope this change will provide needed flexibility to window and door installers, remodelers and others involved in the retrofit industry.”

Additionally, certified renovators who were grandfathered in under a U.S. Housing and Urban Development or EPA lead-based paint training course before the RRP rule was adopted must attend a refresher course with a hands-on component. The rule also made several streamlining and clarifying changes to RRP provisions that apply to training providers. The EPA’s changes only apply to those states where EPA administers the program; the 14 states that administer their own programs will have to take legislative or regulatory action to adopt the online refresher course option.

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