construction business owner education and peer group program click to learn more

The Contractor Coaching Partnership Blog

Illegal contractors win the lottery; EPA RRP Lead Law + No Permit = $

Posted by Mark Paskell on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 @ 04:30 PM

Illegal contractors are thanking the EPA all the way to the bank. The recent EPA RRP Lead Law has given illegal contractors a huge pricing advantage over legally operating contractors.  Illegal contractors (see story below) are using this advantage and in some cases telling homeowners they can save lots of money if they do not follow the the requirements on RRP jobs. Homeowners eager to cut costs are lining up all over America seeking contractors who do not follow the practices. In order to stay under the radar homeowners and contractors agree to not pull permits on these jobs.

Building Permits used for enforcement            Mass        epa badge

 In Massachusetts recent RRP enforcement actions occured when an RRP enforcement officer went to a local building department and obtained a list of 25 jobs from the permit log. Then the officer went out into the field and starting enforcing. Obviously if a contractor wanted to avoid capture the easiet thing to do would be to not pull the permit. All you have to do is tell the homeowner they will save hundreds or thousands of dollars if you do not pull the permit and do not use RRP practices.

Many legally operating contractors chosing to follow the rule  report losing numerous projects to non compliant contractors. They also report many cash strapped homeowners from all regions could care less about this law or do not even know about it.  (See Wall Street Journal Article)

Some legally operating contractors are deciding to not work on pre 1978 homes due to the added costs and risks associated with RRP work. These companies are sick and tired of going up against the growing illegal contractor population.

Contractor Wins The Lottery

In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal  (see comments) a contractor doing 3 MILLION per year bragged about the success he is having not complying with the EPA RRP Lead Law......  

"For a small company in a rural setting it may be a hiccup. For a larger company in a metro area like Los Angeles it is impractical and a complete waste of resources. My company does over 3mil a year of small jobs some are only a few hours. Our scope of work involve repairing termite and water damaged timbers. If I was to comply with this rule it would require hiring new levels of management to oversee compliance. We have opted to take our chances and not comply. This will give us an advantage to get work over those that do comply. These types of EPA regulations only hurt the small guy that can not afford the fine. These kind of laws will only make small business people think twice about staying in business or even going into business, they will most likely find solitude in working for others. Another AMERICAN dream killer."

How can this happen? A contractor from LA has the guts to report on WSJ Blog he will take his chances and not comply. He says he will use the advantage to get work over those who do comply. He admits it will cost more to comply yet he has opted to raise his nose up to the mighty EPA. He obviously is not afraid of the EPA. In fact he has just won the lottery finding a huge advantage he can use over legally operating contractors to win jobs.

EPA RRP Lead Law Lottery Formula

 Illegal contractor + homeowner + EPA RRP Lead Law + No Permit = $$$.

Directions;  Tell homeowners they will save a lot of money if they do not use RRP practices and they do not pull a permit.

This contractor is taking the winnings from this advantage all the way to the bank. He probably thinks the EPA has no intentions or ability to enforce the RRP regulation. The sad truth is illegally operating contractors all over America think the same.

To change the course the residential construction industry must work hard convincing our elected officials that the current path hurts everyone. NARI and NAHB are pursuing elected officials and urging them to re-work or remove the rule, increase enforcement, increase consumer awareness, involve building officials, homeowner compliance and more. Now more than ever our industry must unite to level the playing field.

mark the coach

"one voice for the residential construction industry" 

Tags: epa rrp lack of enforcement