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When remodeling older buildings, following EPA regulations a must

July 25, 2014
By SYLVIA HELDRETH - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

QUESTION: Our condo association is in the process of remodeling the community building at the pool. It was built in 1975 and hasn't been updated since then. Our association has committees for everything and I'm on the renovation's paint committee.

We aren't having any difficulty choosing colors or resolving any of the usual differences of opinion. The only problem is that someone said we have to be careful about the law regarding lead paint. What is she talking about?

ANSWER: Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint that can be harmful to adults and children. One of the roles of the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, is to minimize these ill effects. The law that she is referring to was originally passed in 2008 but some of the provisions of the law were not put into place until more recently.

The EPA requires that firms performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 buildings, child care facilities and schools be certified by EPA and that they use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices. The law applies to all contractors working on homes including condominium associations and HOAs built before 1978.

The specific regulations require a new certification, substantial safety precautions and impose huge fines for non-compliance. Contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures. They must contain the work area, minimize dust and clean up thoroughly. Individuals become certified renovators by taking an 8-hour training course from an EPA-approved training provider.

Unlicensed laborers who offer a discounted price, cut corners and who may choose the least expensive paint available may not know or care about these legal issues.

Using a licensed, certified contractor will minimize your association's potential for liability.

If the committee has questions about any of the legal issues of remodeling, you should seek the advice of an attorney who is knowledgeable about these aspects of the law.

Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a certified specialist in real estate law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar St., in Cape Coral.

This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting upon any matter involving the law.



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