Last day before the RRP goes into effect: The 6/20 Exemption Limits

Well this is it – tomorrow the EPA’s new regulation goes into full effect. While there are plenty of misconceptions out there, we tried to concentrate on some of the biggest ones in the closing days. On day 5, we covered misconceptions concerning Certified Firms, while on day 4 we covered Certified Lead Renovators. Unfortunately, we missed day 3, so not only did we double on day two with info on Testing & Pricing but we also threw in a bonus on the Logos. In our final article in this series, the biggest one I see left revolves around the 6/20 exemption aka the Minor Repair and Maintenance exclusion.

§ 745.83 Definitions – Renovation…The term renovation does not include minor repair and maintenance activities.

Minor repair and maintenance activities are 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.

As I have mentioned, in the prior article “25 Days to Go: RRP Work Practices – Clearing up some misconceptions” article, you cannot ignore the “or demolition” part. If you perform any demolition, you have just nullified the exemption. Unfortunately, the EPA did not define “demolition” anywhere in the regulation, so that also caused even more confusion. The 6/20 exclusion is basically confined to dismantling & reassembling the same components. Based on some of the EPA FAQ’s drilling holes or trimming wood you are fine. Now if you utilize a hammer to open up a hole, or remove crown molding so that is not reusable, you have tripped the demolition portion even if you fall under 6/20 portion.  

One would think that they would define or clarify the issue better, unfortunately though, they leave the question open on a few items. Two of those revolve around what happens if a plumber cuts in an access panel, or an electrician has to cut an opening for a new outlet? Is that considered demo or does it fall under the 6/20? Per the EPA

If an electrician or plumber, working in a different room from the contained renovation project, needs to drill or cut a hole six square feet or less in size to chase a wire or pipe, does the RRP rule apply to that work?

As long as 6 square feet or less of painted surface in that room is disrupted with 30 days, including the work done by the electrician or plumber, and the job does not use prohibited practices or involve window replacement or demolition of painted surfaces, the minor repair and maintenance exception to the RRP rule applies.

Well wasn’t that just helpfull? Based on my reading, if the piece is being removed & you are reusing it, you are not doing demo work.  However, if you toss it or are replacing it with something different – I would opt to be on the safe side and follow the RRP regulations. Is that 6’ piece of plastic worth $37,500 and a permanent black mark?

Windows:

As almost every window replacement company knows, there are no exemptions for them unless they test everything and prove that lead is not present. They specifically pointed out that window replacement companies must follow the RRP regulation. The flip side of this though, is plenty of people think that this also applies to repairs made to an existing unit or the replacement of a pane of glass. By carefully reading the regulation, you will see that it does not. In case there is any doubt, I will leave you with this last FAQ from the EPA. Happy Earth Day everyone…

Is replacing a pane of glass or fixing a broken window balancer a renovation covered by the RRP Rule?

It depends.  Replacing a pane of glass or fixing a broken window balancer can disturb paint.  If the job disrupts more than 6 square feet of painted surface per room, the job is not considered minor repair and maintenance and it is covered by the RRP Rule.  When removing a component, calculate the 6 square foot area based on the surface area of the component.