Explaining the Jobs of Lead-Safe Certified Contractors
You’ve already taken the first step in securing your family’s health and safety by testing your home for lead paint, pipes, or soil. If the results came back with the detection of lead, the next step you’ll want to consider is where to look for help in resolving the lurking toxic living in your home.
Numerous authoritative sites on the topic of lead exposure do not recommend the homeowner or residents to try and resolve the problems themselves. It is highly recommended that you seek out a contractor that is EPA or state-certified lead-safe to perform the job of lead removal.
Importance of Lead Safety
The type of renovations needed to rid the home of lead can cause a significant amount of dust, which leads to further exposure. This dust is generated through the process of uncontained scraping, sanding, water blasting or flame-torching the contaminated areas.
Not all contractors are certified to perform a lead abatement. Removing lead from home is a treatment that requires specialized techniques that most residential contractors do not use. The EPA conducts a lead-based activities program for certification and has strict procedures to follow for any company starting the abatement process.
Contractors that are lead-safe certified should minimize, contain and clean up all paint chips and dust regardless of the size of the project. Should the abatement project exceed more than six square feet inside and 20 square feet outside, the contractor is required to follow lead safety requirements, as well as document a Cleaning Verification process.
RRP Program Requirements for Contractors
Conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the RRP Program, stands for renovation, repair, and painting. This program ensures that any company performing a renovation, repair or painting project in a home with lead-based paint be certified by the EPA or trained by EPA-approved training providers.
The RRP Program offers pre-renovation education and provides training, certification, and work practice requirements. Any firm, including sole proprietorships that plan on lead abatement work, is required to be certified before beginning the job.
Any activity that requires disturbance of lead-based paint in a home or child-occupied facilities requires certification through the RRP Program. Some of these activities include:
- Remodeling and repair/maintenance
- Electrical work
- Painting preparation
- Window replacement
How to Find the Right Contractor
Before hiring a contractor to remove or replace any lead-based paint from home, you’ll need to screen several before deciding on who to hire. There are several key factors that you should consider when searching for the right firm to do the job.
- Use only contractors that are EPA RRP lead-safe certified. The EPA maintains a list of Local Lead-Safe Certified Contractors. Be sure to ask the site supervisor to see their certification card.
- When you meet with the contractor, pay attention to how they answer your questions. Just because a company carries the certification, does not mean that they will work with the necessary lead-safe protocols. If they provide short, incomplete answers or are unable to describe the proper clean-up process; they may not have been properly trained.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t settle for vague answers. Some questions to consider include:
- How do you keep the lead-based paint chips off the ground?
- Do you have a HEPA vacuum cleaner?
- Do you conduct a Cleaning Verification?
- How will you clean up the contaminated area?
- How do you plan on preparing the painted surfaces?
- Conduct a careful search of the company’s website and customer reviews.
- Verifying the company has insurance against workman’s compensation, property damage and personal liability is also an important question.
- Be sure the company has prior experience in removing or restoring lead-based paint. Read through their customer reviews, and even reply to a few clients about their process of clean up to see if it falls in line with their claims of service.
If you need lead abatement project done in your home, it is important to do your research and find the right contractor for the job. The individual or company must be lead-safe certified by the Environmental Protection Agency through the RRP Program.
Making sure that they have the right training and certification to tackle a serious and potentially dangerous job, will lead to the desired results and safe removal of a toxic substance from your home.