Volume 11, Issue 5 - June 2010

WDMA Update

No Rest for the Weary
Lead Paint Challenges Mount
by Jeff Inks

The cliché “no rest for the weary” seems particularly applicable for the current challenges being faced by the door, window and skylight industry.

The more traditional arena of national model codes and standards now includes a number of rapidly evolving green building and sustainability codes and standards, fervent pushes for ever more stringent energy and building code requirements, development of independent state code requirements, development of new Energy Star® program requirements, EPA lead paint rules and future OSHA dust rules, among others. All are now a part of the mix on a list that is growing.

Adding to the complexity is the almost overnight involvement—in relative terms—of Congress through current legislation for tax credits, Home Star and Building Star economic stimulus and climate change.

Making all of this particularly challenging and equally frustrating are the countervailing impacts some of these issues have on one another.

That’s especially the case with EPA’s current intent to add new, more stringent lead paint dust cleaning and clearance testing requirements (applicable to all door and window replacements in pre-1978 housing) to the existing, already onerous certification, record keeping, and special renovation work practices that must be followed by a firm or anyone engaged in the business of renovating pre-1978 housing. EPA’s intent to expand the scope of the rule to cover public and commercial buildings is equally disturbing.

Both stand to further discourage the critical energy-efficient retrofits of existing homes and buildings being promoted by Energy Star®, voluntary programs and federal legislation, as well as renovations of any kind in pre-1978 housing and public and commercial buildings, especially replacement of doors, windows and skylights. In turn, this further impedes our struggling economic recovery.

Making all of this particularly challenging and equally frustrating are the countervailing impacts some of these issues have on one another.

These actions come on the heels of EPA’s implementation of its initial lead paint rule on April 22 despite widespread calls by our association, and many other allied associations and their members with interests in the renovation industry, and members of Congress to delay the rule because of EPA’s failure to ensure that adequate numbers of certified renovators, firms and trainers are available to effectively implement the rule.

EPA also has refused to budge on its decision to remove the “opt-out” provisions from the rule. The initial rule was limited to renovations in pre-1978 where children aged six and under and pregnant women reside. That becomes effective on July 6.

Making matters worse, the proposed final rule for dust-wipe and clearance testing will require those performing many types of renovations, including replacement of doors and windows, to take dust wipe samples and have them tested by an EPA-approved laboratory before the project can be verified as performed in compliance with the law. Those results also must be provided to the homeowner or occupant.

The WDMA always has supported efforts to protect pregnant women and children from risk of potential lead poisoning that can result from lead paint dust generated if lead based paint is disturbed during renovations. However, it has strongly opposed implementation of the initial rule until there are sufficient numbers of certified firms, renovators and trainers, and has equally opposed removal of the “opt-out.”

WDMA will continue to advocate for commonsense implementation of the rule to minimize its impact on our fragile economic recovery and in impeding the energy retrofit of existing homes and buildings. Our association is coupling that with new efforts to oppose EPA’s intent to add even more stringent requirements and expand the scope of the rule to public and commercial buildings. Comments on both are due to EPA by July 6.

Jeff Inks serves as vice president of codes and regulatory affairs for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. His opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.


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