Thursday, April 19, 2018

Oregon Passes Lead Legislation for Demolitions

oregon sb 871 lead poisoning prevention

Last year, Oregon tightened its laws on lead exposure and lead safety by passing Senate Bill 871. The bill was twofold - it required the Oregon Housing Authority (OHA) to develop a list of Best Practices for projects containing lead, and resulted in a new rule that requires demolition contractors to have proper lead certification.

The new Best Practices can be adopted by Oregon cities through ordinance when they create or revise their demolition program. The bill does not force cities to opt in, but it grants them the authority to establish such safeguards. Oregon lawmakers are confident cities will follow in suit.

"They just want the statutory authority to be able to do that. There's a lot of concern," Oregon Senator Michael Dembrow said in a recent press release.

The concern is valid as lead paint plagues older housing stock common in Oregon. When lead paint is disturbed through renovation or demolition, the dust can get into the air or leech into groundwater. Exposure to lead can cause bone, blood and hormonal disorders, as well as cognitive and physical impairments. Acute exposure can be fatal, but small exposures over a period of time can be just as dangerous. Chronic lead poisoning often affects children and can persist long before anyone notices the irreparable symptoms. Reducing childhood lead poisoning has been a task of importance at both state and federal levels.

"This is about protecting people's health," Oregon Senator Michael Dembrow said in a recent press release.

The bill also closed a glaring loophole where Oregon renovation crews were required to be lead certified, but demolition crews were not. Oregon law requires lead certification for any work disturbing lead paint or properties built before 1978; however, the legal language did not specify total demolitions. Technically, as it was argued by developers, a total demolition is not a renovation or remodel. However, residents argue that both demolitions and renovations can expose people to toxic lead dust.

One such example involved two Southeast Portland neighbors and a local developer. The case exposed this exact loophole.

"None of those agencies actually regulate home demolitions. Every agency I talked to I just got passed to another one. Every person I talked to was sympathetic. Every person thought this was a problem," Kelly Campbell, one of the neighbors involved in the Southeast Portland demolition, said in a recent press release.

Now, municipalities can withhold demolition permits until developers are lead certified.

A tremendous effort to reduce lead poisoning, some Oregon cities are already using SB 871 to create their own ordinances. Portland is one such early adopter. Their new demolition rules apply to all buildings occupied by one to four families and are at least 200 square feet. Demolition crews must be lead certified and take extra precautions to make sure their site controls the toxic dust.

"I see a real model for the rest of the state. If the city of Portland can do this right, I can certainly see other cities taking this up and taking this on because their residents are equally concerned," Oregon State Senator Michael Dembrow said in a recent press release.

To learn more about Senate Bill 871, visit the Oregon Legislative website. To learn more about lead poisoning and how you can help prevent it in your city, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage. Zack Academy offers a variety of lead certifications both in-person and online.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New Partner: Sargent Strategic Academy to Offer Restoration Business Courses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 11, 2018) -
Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national marketplace for certification and training classes, announced today that it has partnered with Sargent Strategic Academy to expand its cleaning and restoration business schedule.

Based in South Weber, Utah, Sargent Strategic Academy offers online business training for cleaning and restoration professionals. The current catalog includes Water Damage Business Marketing Strategies Online, as well as the comprehensive, Water Damage and Carpet Cleaning Business Academy, which offers students 14 online courses for the price of one. Students will learn industry-insider knowledge on how to run a successful restoration business. This course covers everything from administrative practices, management practices, and marketing practices to help your business stand out from the competition.

Additionally, Sargent Strategic Academy founder Gregg Sargent will be touring the country this year providing a series of in-person half-day seminars on Building a Better Cleaning and Restoration Business in partnership with Aramsco. This course is perfect for restoration professionals looking to maximize their business with industry-specific marketing, management, networking and negotiating strategies.

"As Zack Academy has grown to offer IICRC training nationwide, we’ve come across many students looking to get a firmer grasp on the business side of things. These new courses from Sargent Strategic Academy are the perfect option for students looking to amp up their restoration business. Even better, the courses are offered either online or nationwide so all our students will be able to take advantage," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

About Sargent Strategic Academy:
Sargent Strategic Academy contains over 100 strategies for water damage and carpet cleaning businesses. The Academy’s founder, Gregg Sargent has more than 18 years of experience in the carpet cleaning and restoration industries after building and selling his successful companies. He also has more than 21 years converting cold leads into profitable jobs and was named the Worldwide Franchise Marketer of the Year and Worldwide Entrepreneur of the Year.

About Zack Academy: 
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Congress Passes Budget and Increases Healthy Homes Funding


Recently, Congress agreed upon a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill, allotting a substantial increase to lead and healthy home funding. This comes as a relief to activists who were concerned last month when the Trump administration proposed drastic budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Now, some $230 million will go toward lead hazard reduction and healthy home programs.

Under the Omnibus Bill, HUD will receive $230 million toward lead poisoning prevention - up from $145 million in last year's budget. The $230 million includes a $45 million budget that goes directly to HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative. Beyond lead poisoning prevention, HUD works to help undeserved communities with carbon monoxide exposure, fire risks, and other home hazard risks.

EPA also received level funding for their lead programs, which were originally up for elimination as proposed by the administration.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received $35 million for its Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program - an increase of $18 million from last year's budget.

A large part of the good news is owed to activists who called for more funding. These activist groups include the National Center for Healthy Housing, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, and Earthjustice.

"One thing clear in the omnibus spending bill released tonight is that Congress, heeding the outrage of millions of Americans, soundly rejected the draconian budget cuts President Trump proposed for the departments and agencies charged with protecting public health and the environment," Martin Hayden, Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation, said in a recent press release.

A great win for public and environmental health, the results of the Congressional budget can only mean good things for lead poisoning prevention.

To learn more about the omnibus, view the bill here. To learn more about lead poisoning prevention and how to get involved in this important field, visit Zack Academy's lead homepage.

Friday, March 30, 2018

USGBC Introduces LEED v4.1

LEED v4.1

This month, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) unveiled LEED v4.1 - an update to its LEED rating system. The update provides more opportunities for new and existing projects to earn LEED certification by changing its scoring system and streamlining its requirements.

One of the biggest changes is the new scoring system: LEED v4.1 gives more consideration to credit requirements that are directly measurable. For example, the Water Efficiency category increased in overall points while the Regional Priority category decreased in overall points. Now, 90 of the 100 possible points for LEED certification are awarded to credits that have a calculated performance score - based on actual data from the project. Realtime data is a facilitated through the incorporation of Arc, a platform for LEED associates that tracks building performance over time.

Credit requirements are also more streamlined. Some credits have been totally removed, while others have been umbrellaed under a broader credit. More flexible credit requirements mean that more projects can get LEED certification. One example is the broadened Water Efficiency category, where projects will receive more credit for water performance overall versus installing the latest low-flow pipes or cooling tower. This is important for existing projects and international projects, where alternative solutions are often seen but were not explicitly credited in previous LEED scoring systems.

Another interesting feature is LEED certification for spaces within buildings. This is another effort from USGBC to consider non-traditional markets and allow LEED certification for more projects.

With these changes, LEED v4.1 is poised to be a bigger, better and more inclusive update to one of the most widely used building performance rating systems in the world. As USGBC pushes to be a global force in sustainability, we're excited to see what new projects can be developed under LEED v4.1.

To learn more about LEED v4.1, visit USGBC. To learn more about LEED certification and how to get involved in this dynamic field, visit Zack Academy.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

When the Lead RRP Rule Applies: Defining Qualifying Work

When working on a pre-1978 house or child-occupied facility, it is important to take careful assessment of the work you will be performing and the potential scope of your project as it applies to the EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule.

Below we will discuss the EPA definitions of qualifying work under the RRP rule, and discuss an area often overlooked - what the EPA refers to as "demolition of painted surfaces" - which could require compliance for putting even a small hole in the wall!

In general, the RRP Rule applies to "renovation" work, which EPA defines as the following:

"Renovation means the modification of any existing structure, or portion thereof, that results in the disturbance of painted surfaces, unless that activity is performed as part of an abatement as defined by this part (40 CFR 745.223). The term renovation includes (but is not limited to):
  • The removal, modification or repair of painted surfaces or painted components (e.g., modification of painted doors, surface restoration, window repair, surface preparation activity (such as sanding, scraping, or other such activities that may generate paint dust)); 
  • the removal of building components (e.g., walls, ceilings, plumbing, windows); 
  • weatherization projects (e.g., cutting holes in painted surfaces to install blown-in insulation or to gain access to attics, planing thresholds to install weather-stripping), and interim controls that disturb painted surfaces. 
  • A renovation performed for the purpose of converting a building, or part of a building, into target housing or a child-occupied facility is a renovation under this subpart. 
  • The term renovation does not include minor repair and maintenance activities.

The RRP Rule excludes "minor repair and maintenance activities," so what does that entail? Let's refer again to the EPA Rule to get the exact definition:
  • Activities, including minor heating, ventilation or air conditioning work, electrical work, and plumbing;
  • That disrupt 6 square feet or less of painted surface per room for interior activities or 20 square feet or less of painted surface for exterior activities;
  • Where none of the work practices prohibited or restricted by § 745.85(a)(3) are used; 
  • And where the work does not involve window replacement or demolition of painted surface areas. 
  • When removing painted components, or portions of painted components, the entire surface area removed is the amount of painted surface disturbed. Jobs, other than emergency renovations, performed in the same room within the same 30 days must be considered the same job for the purpose of determining whether the job is a minor repair and maintenance activity.

So while there is the exclusion from the RRP Rule for work that is less than the minimum square footage listed above, it is important to note that the exclusion does not extend to any activities defined as window replacement or "demolition of painted surface areas" and this type of work would require compliance with the RRP Rule. 

In this scope, the EPA defines "demolition" to mean "an activity that removes or otherwise disrupts a painted component in a way that destroys or ruins the component."


Here are a few FAQs quoted from the EPA website which further illustrate the demolition provision and overall scope of the RRP rule: 

Question (23002-18383): If a renovator removes less than six square feet of crown molding, is that considered demolition? Does it matter whether the molding will be discarded, replaced with new molding, or reinstalled?
  • Answer: It depends on how the molding is removed. If a renovation activity removes or otherwise disrupts a painted component in a way that destroys or ruins the component, the activity is a demolition. 

Question (23002-18515): If I use a hammer to make a hole is a wall that is two feet on each side, does the RRP Rule apply?
  • Answer: Yes. Although making the hole disrupts less than six square feet of painted surface, using a hammer to make the hole is demolition of the surface, so the minor repair and maintenance exception does not apply. Making the hole using a cut-out technique that does not destroy the section of the wall that is removed is not demolition, and the minor repair and maintenance exception would apply.

Question (23002-18381): If a renovator disrupts six square feet or less of painted surface per room in several rooms inside one property, does the RRP Rule apply?
  • Answer: No, as long as no prohibited work practices are used and the work does not involve window replacement or demolition of painted surfaces. The exception to the RRP rule for work that disrupts six square feet or less of painted surface applies to each individual room and is inclusive of all work done in the room in any 30-day period. 

Question (23002-32366): Please provide guidance on how the Agency will interpret the term “minor repair and maintenance activities.”
  • Answer: “Minor repair and maintenance” is defined in 40 CFR 745.83 as activities that disrupt less than 6 square feet or less of painted surface per room for interior activities or 20 square feet or less of painted surface for exterior activities where none of the work practices prohibited or restricted by § 745.85(a)(3) are used and where the work does not involve window replacement or demolition of painted surface areas. 
    • Even if an entire window measures less than six square feet, the replacement of any size window is a renovation, not minor repair and maintenance, because it is specifically excluded from the definition of “minor repair and maintenance.” 
    • Similarly, for example, because torch burning is prohibited by 745.85(a)(3), no activity involving torch burning can be considered minor repair and maintenance. 
    • For the purposes of the definition of 31 minor repair and maintenance, EPA considers demolition to be an activity that removes or otherwise disrupts a painted component in a way that destroys or ruins the component. 
    • The definition of “minor repair and maintenance” provides some guidance on how to measure the surface disrupted: 
      • “When removing painted components, or portions of painted components, the entire surface area removed is the amount of painted surface disturbed.”
      •  In other cases, when painted surfaces are being disturbed or disrupted, but not completely removed, the disrupted surface area is the area being actively disturbed. 
        • For example, when spot sanding to prepare a surface for painting, the area of the surface that was actually sanded is the surface area disrupted. 
    • Finally, the definition of “minor repair and maintenance” states that “jobs, other than emergency renovations, performed in the same room within the same 30 days must be considered the same job for the purpose of determining whether the job is a minor repair and maintenance activity.” 
      • Therefore, sanding five square feet of paint in the same room on two different days within the same 30-day period must be considered the same job, which would be a renovation because it does not meet the definition of “minor repair and maintenance.”

Monday, March 26, 2018

New Partner: Advanced Aquatic Training to Offer CPO Training

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (March 26, 2018) -
Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a national provider of certification and training courses, announced today that it has partnered with Advanced Aquatic Training to expand its rapidly growing pool management category.

Based in Wellington, Florida, Advanced Aquatic Training offers Certified Pool Operator (CPO) Training in Boynton Beach, Florida. The course teaches individuals the basic knowledge and skills needed for pool and spa operations and is required in 25 states and several local jurisdictions.

"This partnership with Advanced Aquatic Training helps to expand our pool management training down through a massive market in southern Florida. We are excited to work with Advanced Aquatic Training’s CEO, Roberto Marquez, an accomplished entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the pool industry," said Zachary Rose, founder and CEO of Zack Academy.

Zack Academy’s CPO training covers public bathing codes, water chemistry, filtration and circulation, seasonal pool care, pool management strategies and requirements, energy management, calculations and testing pool water and making adjustments, maintenance and operational problems, renovating and modernization of pool facilities, and disease and accident prevention.

About Advanced Aquatic Training:
Advanced Aquatic Training was founded in 2015 by Roberto Marquez, a bilingual Industrial Engineer with an MBA. In 2007, Roberto decided to move from his home country to Florida and started a landscaping company. With hard work and dedication he was able to grow the business and find success. During this process Roberto diversified his business and began to offer pool services as well. After 8 years of managing and operating his company, in 2015 he decided to pursue his passion for teaching and help others become successful.

About Zack Academy: 
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Nearly 500,000 Deaths Connected to Lead Contamination Yearly


According to a new study, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle and a CNN Report U.S. deaths may be 10 times higher than originally thought.

The new study tracked more than 14,000 adults over a period of 20 years and found that individuals with an initial blood concentration in the 90th percentile had a 37% increase in all-cause mortality. They also had a 70% increase in cardiovascular disease mortality compared to those with a blood lead concentration at the 10th percentile.

According to Dr. Bruce Lanphear, a professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University and a leading author of the study, "Nobody had even tried to estimate the number of deaths caused by lead exposure using a nationally representative sample of adults. But if we're underestimating the impact of lead exposure on cardiovascular disease mortality and other important outcomes beyond IQ, then it might have a big impact on the way we make investments in preventing lead poisoning exposure."

The article went on to say, "The researchers relied on a nationally representative sample of 14,289 adults ages 20 years and older who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1988 and 1994. The survey is administered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year. Of the initial 14,289 survey respondents, 4,422 had died by 2011. The researchers calculated that approximately 18% of those deaths could have been prevented by reducing blood lead concentrations to 1.0 micrograms per deciliter."

While many lead contamination issues stem from drinking water, it's still important for contractors and painters to remember their importance in lead mitigation. Even if the numbers mentioned above are off by 50% - which is unlikely - it's still a staggering number and should give contractors and painters pause when improperly handling lead paint. If you would like to remove lead paint you must complete a course in Lead Abatement. If you plan to perform any repairs, renovations, or painting on pre-1978 homes or child occupied facilities, you must become a certified Lead Renovator.