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.”

No comments:

Post a Comment