Is Your Contractor Qualified to Work on Your Home?


If you’re planning on remodeling your home, only qualified contractors should do the work.  As of April 2010, if your home was build before the lead paint ban in 1978, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) now requires your contractor to be certified before working in your home. The program is called: Renovation, Repair and Painting Program.  If not properly protected, renovation work can create harmful toxic lead dust.  The new rule hopes to limit exposure to lead which has been traced to health, development and learning issues in young children.  

Contractors are required to register with the EPA and take mandatory lead-safe training classes.  The 8 hour class is very thorough, and helps General Contractors (and other contractors) understand the proper way to test and mitigate lead paint prior to any interior and/or exterior work being done on your home.  The lead certification is good for 5 years. State authorized lead safe programs vary.

Work under the program includes –

  • General maintenance and repair
  • Window replacement
  • Siding replacement
  • Painting preparation
  • General carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical

More than 200-thousand contractors need to be trained under the program, but nearly 10 years in, the numbers are well short of this goal.  Not only does the rule affect General Contractors, but also –

  • Painters
  • Plumbers
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Rental property owners
  • Property managers

According to the National Association of Home Builders, two-thirds of US homes and apartments were built before 1978.  Not all contain lead, but the new rules may apply to all homes. Many homeowners don’t know about the new rule and may be tempted to hire less expensive, non-certified contractors. While homeowners won’t face fines, contractors who violate the new rule will face stiff fines and penalties.  Performing work on any home without a certificate and where lead is present can result in a fine of up to $37,500 per day.

To find out more about the rule, and the activities not covered, visit – EPA’s website.