Staying compliant with Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program Final Rule can be a tall order for many contractors. In fact, many firms have found themselves on the wrong side of an EPA settlement for noncompliance with lead-safe work practices. In light of these citations, contractors find themselves reflecting on the home improvement shows on television that appear immune to these lead paint certification regulations. Now, it seems that the noncompliance has caught up to at least one of these programs.
Magnolia Waco Properties, LLC, which does business as Magnolia Homes, is a renovation firm that remodels homes in the Waco, Texas area. The firm specializes in renovations that require extensive remodeling of older homes while preserving historical design elements. The activities of Magnolia and similar renovation firms came to EPA’s attention from their depiction on popular television shows. Magnolia’s renovations were depicted on the HGTV series “Fixer Upper” and regularly viewed by well over 3 million households.
Unfortunately for Magnolia Homes, coming “to EPA’s attention” meant having their lead-safety violations be broadcast nationwide. After reviewing footage of the firm’s remodeling of older homes throughout the series’ five seasons, the EPA found evidence of noncompliance on the renovation of 33 properties. There was a large range of violations, including not obtaining a firm certification, assigning a certified renovator to the jobs, distributing the Renovate Right pamphlet, posting warning signs, or following lead safe work practices. Once notified of their noncompliance, however, Chip and Joanna Gaines of Magnolia Homes were quick and responsive to remedy the situation.
After EPA contacted Magnolia with concerns about the company’s compliance, Magnolia took immediate steps to ensure compliance with the RRP Rule, including to obtain RRP certification and training for the firm and its staff and to ensure active compliance across all ongoing renovation projects.
Following obtaining the proper EPA lead certification and adjusting work practices to meet EPA standards, Magnolia addressed lead based paint hazards on multiple segments to improve public appreciation of and amplify the message of lead safety. Additionally, the company will pay a civil penalty of $40,000 and has committed $160,000 toward a supplemental environmental project to abate lead-based paint hazards in target housing and child-occupied facilities in its local community of Waco, Texas.
Read the full release here.