Specifically, the association is pushing for government officials to delay the effective date of new lead paint regulations currently scheduled for implementation on April 22, 2010, as well as allowing the "opt-out" provision to remain.
The opt-out provision allows those homeowners without children under six or a pregnant woman living in the home would not need to have renovation or repair work in their home comply with these regulations. The EPA is considering removing this opt-out provision.
According to Walker, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule" (LRRP) brings up many issues for the industry, from costs associated with compliance and proper insurance to availability and variances in training.
"AAMA feels it is imperative to represent our members and industry in this potential detrimental issue. The eight government officials from EPA, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) we met with today were receptive to industry feedback and agreed that the timeframe is extremely short in order to take action and ensure that the guidelines are feasible," says Walker.
If implemented as scheduled on April 22, 2010, federal law will require renovation work that disturbs more than six square feet on the interior of a home built before 1978 to follow new Lead Safe Work Practices, supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm, as outlined in 40 CFR § 745.85. To become certified, renovation contractors must submit an application and fee payment to EPA, as well as attend eight hours of training.
"We support the EPA's efforts to ensure that home renovations in pre-1978 homes are conducted in accordance with the LRRP requirements for lead-based paint renovation, repair and painting, including installation of windows. We also support the spirit of the LRRP to protect the health and safety of pregnant women and small children. However, we do have concerns whether the potential upswing the industry could receive through new federal programs and incentives, such as HOME STAR, would be realized if installers are not able to access appropriate training. The limited supply of both trainers and inspectors has the potential to negate positive efforts to increase renovation business for contractors."
Walker continues, "Another concern is litigation. The dealer should protect his company with sufficient insurance, and this coverage could be substantial, especially for a company who is already struggling in a down economy. If the dealer or installer does not have appropriate insurance, the window manufacturer is the next likely target."
According to Tyson Schwartz with Gorell Windows and Doors, some dealers are choosing to wait and see. However, this is a dangerous option. Fines can reach as much as $37,500 per violation per day. This financial ramification could be detrimental to a small business, such as most window and door dealers.
Jim Lett with A.B.E Windows and Doors also attended today's meeting and reiterated that there are inconsistencies in training between instructors and a limited number of inspectors to approve the work.
"It is important to renovate the oldest, least-efficient housing stock with more efficient windows in order to save energy. However, there are immediate conflicts between the LRRP's implementation date and the stimulus funding incentivizing energy-efficient home upgrades, as well as planned efforts for a national HOME STAR residential retrofit program. All of these are targeting the same housing stock – homes built before 1978," says Walker.
Considering the potential economic impact of EPA's LRRP, Walker also warns, "It is imperative, given the already difficult economy, that contractors, manufacturers and consumers are aware of the potential increased expense of this new requirement. Hopefully, potential higher fees, estimated by those in the industry to be anywhere from from $60 to $100 per window, will not prohibit consumers from investing in more energy-efficient products."
More information about AAMA and its activities can be found at www.aamanet.org.
AAMA is the source of performance standards, product certification, and educational programs for the fenestration industry.(SM)