Another well intended unfunded mandate is about to turn the residential construction industry up side down. By now, many readers of this blog know of the impending EPA RRP Lead Law effective on 4.22.2010. Needless to say the EPA doesn't have the funding for the appropriate enforcement. There are many comments on the forums, saying the EPA is looking for contractors to report on other illegal contractors. Then they will fine the violator and publicize the offense. How does that sound for an enforcement plan?
Maybe there are additional ways.
Grass root enforcement influenced by contractors
How can contractors, remodelers and the trades influence RRP enforcement on the local level?
To answer this, ask yourself the question who is empowered to insure that local state and federal codes are enforced in your city or town. In many towns these powers are entrusted to the local inspectors who know people in the community they serve. They also know the contracting community that works in their community.
What if remodelers and contractors utilized the following approaches;
1. Identify the towns and cities that you work in. Find out the names and addresses of the local building inspector, health inspector, board of selectman, town managers, mayors, town lawyers, and town administrators. Then write a letter asking them how they are going to implement oversight of the new lead law. Ask them what are their procedures going to be when issuing permits. Let them know that you are going to comply and you want to make sure you understand how they want you to provide the required information. Chances are they don't know about the law yet based on what we are hearing from the same people in several Massachusetts towns. Then help them learn about the law by offering to meet with them. In some areas there are quarterly building inspector meetings. Offer to come in and show them how you will use your professional training to protect homeowners and children in their community. Show them what EPA approved protection protocol is all about.
What do you think they will do if you offer to help them learn from a pro, you?
2. Next, call up your local newspaper and ask them if they are doing a story on the lead law. Let them know that the town officials are unaware of this unfunded mandate because the EPA failed to budget enough money for education of the public. Let them know that you have written letters to the officials about the lead law offering assistance. Let them know that the law will impact every homeowner in town who has a home that is built before 1978. Let them know that every contractor working on pre-1978 homes has to comply or risk fines over $30,000.00 for exposing homeowners to unsafe lead dust control. Explain that when a contractor is fined it will likely bankrupt the company and result in an incomplete project hurting the homeowner. The home will be reported as a site with an EPA violation. Where that information will go after that is anybodies guess.
3. Offer to do a seminar at the local home show or fair to educate consumers and send out a press release. If there is a local radio station offer to go on and teach the audience about the rule.
What else can we do to help spread the word in a pro-active way in our communities?