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Home Renovations Will Be Safer, But There's A Catch

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By : Andy Denton    99 or more times read
When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started its campaign against lead poisoning in homes, it was bent on taking it to the next level. So aside from spreading the word and continuing to educate homeowners about homes covered with lead-based paint, it strongly supports the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 that seeks to “to develop a national strategy to build the infrastructure necessary to eliminate lead-based paint hazards in all housing as expeditiously as possible”.

One rule was enforced last Earth Day (April 22) requiring contractors who renovate homes built before 1978 must prove they have the Environmental Protection Agency’s stamp of approval to do the project unless they pay fines of up to $37,500 a day. That means they’ll be undergoing a series of trainings to be certified and still continue their practice. This ensures that houses will be cleaned and made safe from lead.

But not everyone’s happy. Several interviews by the Washington Post reveals that contractors are worrying about the effect that this rule will have on their expenses. Ethan Landis of Landis Construction complains, “We’re scrambling to learn the procedures as quickly as we can. Now that the deadline is here, the real costs are going to become evident,” Landis said. “There is a huge upfront cost just for training alone.”

Vince Butler of Butler Brothers Corp. says, “The EPA has grossly underestimated the costs to comply on any job. I can see my labor costs go up by thousands of dollars. Expect to add another $500 to $1,000 for remodeling a kitchen, painting a couple rooms or replacing several windows. That is the minimal additional cost to perform lead-safe work practices and associated documentation.”

Now this is something that would irk homeowners. Business wise, these contractors have every reason to be worried about. However, what confuses me is that they’re more concerned with their financials rather than improving the quality of their service. It may be a wrong time to spend for such certification considering that there are hardly any projects coming in because of the downturn in housing markets, but there’s no substitute to ensuring that families are safe from phony renovators who couldn’t care less about protecting their clients from the dangers that lead can bring.

These contractors should put in their minds that the industry is highly competitive. They may be planning of adding $500 to the bill but sooner or later, other companies will come up with reduced or perhaps zero hike in their service fees. It’s all about restructuring their costs and taking full step ahead of the others.

So please stop whining how the certification will put your business to bankruptcy.
Andy Denton is the COO of is a real estate search portal, dedicated to connecting home buyers and sellers to trusting real estate services. Follow the blog for up to date housing news and trends. And monitor local mortgage rates at

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