What you should know about the Environmental Protection Agency’s new RRP Law and effects

Beginning April 22, 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency’s new RRP ruling will take effect which will have a significant impact on the residential remodeling  industry. Any homes built prior to 1978 will be considered target housing as well as any other child occupied facilities and schools. Prices on larger jobs can be expected to increase as much as 10-15% although the impact on smaller jobs would be less drastic.

Homes targeted by this ruling would require very stringent practices involving the containment of lead based paint dust during demolition and construction in order to prevent, or minimize, further risk of lead poisoning.

Unfortunately very little has been done to inform the public even though this law was passed in April of 2008 and planned implementation was then set for April of this year. Considerable price increases could have been avoided if work was completed earlier on.

Contractors who will be working on these target dwellings are now required to get certification from the EPA which involves completing an 8 hour course on lead based paint containment ($200-$250) and submitting the required application to the EPA with a $300.00 processing fee. We will then be required to purchase tools and equipment needed for compliance with the regulation. The EPA originally estimated processing of this application to take no more than 90 days although the lack of public awareness has created a last minute frenzy to get certified which has the processing backlogged for up to 160 days. Fines for non compliant contractors and maintenance workers will be as much as $37,500.00 for each day a violation has occurred. After certification, contractors will be authorized, at the owners request, to perform limited lead testing to be done with EPA certified test kits. Any non certified employees are required to be trained on the job by the certified renovator. Documentation for employee training, lead testing, containment, and cleanup is required and should be kept on hand for three years after job completion.

What Homeowners need to know;

After the ruling takes effect, any contractor performing work on target housing which disturbs more than 6 square feet, (interior), or 20 square feet, (exterior), of lead based paint will be required to be certified.

No more than 60 days prior to the start of construction, your contractor is required to give you the EPA pamphlet “Renovate Right”, which contains information about the effects of lead poisoning in children and adults as well as a brief process overview for the containment of lead based paint dust.

Areas to be worked on are to be sealed and off limits to the homeowner and warning signs are to be posted around the entry to the contained area.

A thorough cleaning must be performed at the end of any work which disturbs lead based paint which requires passing a cleaning verification test.

For more information visit the EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/lead

Other related articles;

See a video on lead containment procedures http://bit.ly/a60JE7

Washington Post http://bit.ly/9zMmu7

More Info http://wondermakers.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-u44UnT3sDE%3D&tabid=71

Social Media Networking

Without a doubt one of the biggest technological break throughs in this decade has been the advancement of social media networking. The ability to gather information and resources and share them with our peers has advanced our ability to educate and learn exponentially.
Some of the most successful companies in the world are embracing social media tools and implementing them in a variety of ways to enhance productivity. Companies like Intel, Dow, Oracle, IBM, and Emergent Solutions have encouraged the use of blogs, wikis, microblogs, and podcasts for daily use to allow technicians, engineers, and sales personnel to network and share ideas in order to grow. Intel has actually implemented a program model called ”Follow the Sun” where employees around the globe can hand off information to others to allow for work on projects 24 hours a day. Educational Institutions are using wikis to collaborate between students and teachers to allow for information exchange 24/7. The ability to do this was virtually non existent 10 years ago. Being able to gather, use, and store information transparently while making it accessible to anyone who needs it any time opens up a realm of possibilities never before thought of.
A wiki, which is really a website where anyone who is granted permission can access, add, or edit information any time without any web language skills, thus making for ease of information exchange. Most out of the box wiki development sites use text editors similar to “Microsoft Word”,  thereby making it simple for any computer novice to input information. You can also easily add files, links, photos, blogs, and discussion forums to the site. This instantly becomes a one stop shop for information relating to the project.
This allows you to blaze a trail for others who might join the network later on and need to catch up on the progress. Some of the more popular free wiki development sites are wikispaces.com and pbwiki.
With the proper integration, different social media tools can be implemented for internal information sharing or getting your message out to the public. With the use of wikis, (internal), and facebook, Twitter, and blogs, (public). The possibilities are endless.
If anyone is in the business or social field that requires information collaboration, you owe it to yourself to search out the tools that will benefit your network.

Fair Oaks Old Town Renovation

Have you ever been to Saratoga? Or Los Gatos, the Santa Cruz Pacific Garden Mall, or the alphabet district in Portland Oregon. Think of the way these places made you feel. With their eclectic mix of shops providing hand made crafts, kitchen supplies, bicycle/hiking shops sprinkled with just the right mix of culinary offerings ranging from Italian to Mediterranean to great brew pubs. Some outdoor patio seating to provide a nice summer evening walkabout with a family friendly environment. This is what I’ve always seen happening some day in the Old Town of Fair Oaks.
I always like to tell the story a friend of mine shared with me awhile back about when he was walking out of the hardware store in Fair Oaks and there was a younger woman walking out in front of him with a man presumed to be her father. “What’s the name of this place” he asked.
“This is the Old town of Fair Oaks.” She replied. After a quick glance down the street the man said “This is the worst looking old town I’ve ever seen.”
I have a vision of a great place with a warm old town welcome feeling and I think Fair Oaks has all the potential. However I think it would take some whole hearted commitment and creative thinking by pro-active people who know how to make things happen. I would love to be instrumental in the process. I thought this might be a good place to start. Just to throw it out there and see what comes back. I have some ideas to share and I would like to hear yours.

What to Expect From Your New Home

After reading this article,(link below), by John Lemon in Fine Home Building Magazine,  I immediately clipped  and made several copies and declared it a must read for all of my clients. The article was published in 1999 and maintains a spot in my job completion folder to this day. This is a comprehensive overview of some of the things that can be expected after moving into your new home or remodel and how to handle them.

” Now that the punchlist is completed and the troops have departed I want to wish you luck in your new home”

Click here to read the .PDF

The Trend Toward Smaller Homes.

I keep hearing about trends with prospective homes buyers being more inclined to buy smaller homes these days. Is this really a preference or just a result of our economic conditions. A little of both I’m sure. This trend may also be the result of the “green push” being so prominent in the government agenda. The desire to conserve energy. Another important factor could be all of the baby boomers becoming “empty nesters” thereby decreasing the need for larger homes. What are your thoughts? Bigger with more amenities or smaller, more function oriented plans? Here’s an interesting article I found on the subject. http://bit.ly/cFD75B

Researching Haiti Rebuilding Opportunities

I’ve recently begun researching opportunities available in the Haitian relief efforts. Realizing that the actual rebuilding is  a little ways down the road I wanted to stay on top of any opportunities that may become available. I was hoping to share some ideas here on how I/We might get involved. Architecture for Humanity‘s web site has a lot of valuable information on this topic and I will continue to monitor their efforts. If anyone knows of any positions available for people like me I would love to hear about it. I have 30+ years experience building custom homes and remodeling with  18 years experience designing with various cad programs including Autodesk Autocad Architecture and Revit. I am a Certified Green Building Professional and willing to relocate.