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Unlicensed Contractor Causes Problems for Homeowners

You could waste a lot of time and money if you don’t make sure the company you hire to remove lead-based paint from your home is certified and licensed by the State of Oregon to do so safely and in compliance with all regulations.

Both federal and state authorities certify and license lead-based paint service providers for different activities. Most homeowners are not aware of the differences in these certifications and licenses. It can potentially cost them a great deal of hassle, worry, and expense.

Such was the case with a couple who contacted us with concerns about lead-based paint remaining in several locations of their single-family home after a lead abatement job performed by an unlicensed contractor was not completed properly.  

Removing Lead-Based Paint During a Home Renovation Project

It started during a home renovation project. The homeowners knew lead-based paint was in their home’s door systems (door, trim, jam) and window systems (window, sill, etc.). The renovation presented an opportune time to remove the harmful paint.

The removal of lead-based paint from a home or building by a professional is called “lead abatement.” Lead abatement was particularly important for this couple because they were expecting a baby.

The homeowners received bids from several firms licensed for lead abatement. The couple also asked the contractor who’d assisted with other aspects of the home renovation project if he could perform the lead abatement.

The renovation contractor submitted a bid for the job at a much lower rate than the licensed abatement firms. Thinking they got a great deal and the dangerous paint in their home would be removed safely, the homeowners hired the renovation contractor to perform the lead abatement.

Lead Abatement is Not Done Properly, Homeowners Exposed to Risks

The results were not what the couple expected. The contractor said he’d finished the project, but the homeowners could see that lead-based paint still remained in many of the window and door areas. 

They were also worried about potential hazards arising from disturbing the lead-based paint. If the contractor had not followed lead-safe work practices, lead dust could still be lingering in their home, which could pose potential health hazards.

We listened to the homeowners’ story. The renovation contractor was not certified or licensed by the State of Oregon to perform lead abatement. The renovation contractor had not followed regulations for lead abatement with regard to proper engineering controls, clearances, and disposal of the lead-based paint.

The couple was still at risk for harm from lead-based paint and dust in their home.

State Certification and Licensure are Required for Lead Abatement

A company and its professionals must be certified by the Oregon Health Authority and licensed through the Oregon Construction Contractors Board to properly remove lead from a home in a lead abatement project.

The contractor the couple chose for the abatement job was certified by the EPA under its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule), which requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978:

  • have their firm certified by EPA (or an EPA authorized state),
  • use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers, and
  • follow lead-safe work practices.

The EPA’s RRP certification provides the proper training for renovation purposes only.

The EPA’s RRP certification does NOT provide the training or certification necessary for the safe stabilization and abatement of lead-based paint.

Professionals Who Are State Certified and Licensed Perform Quality Abatements That Meet Safer Standards

A company and its professionals who are certified and licensed by the State of Oregon for lead abatement will follow all regulations for the safe removal and disposal of lead.

Dust wipe clearance sampling must also be performed after abatement activities are completed. Controls and regulations are in place by federal and state regulatory agencies to ensure the entire process is completed thoroughly and safely.

Where to Find Certified and Licensed Lead-Based Paint Service Providers

Homeowners can contact the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Construction Contractors Board to confirm whether a company or contractor is properly licensed to perform the work they say they can do.

Healthy Home is an experienced, certified and licensed lead inspection and sampling services provider.

If you are planning home renovations or are currently renovating your home and suspect the presence of lead-based paint, follow these general guidelines:

  • Call Healthy Home to schedule a Lead Inspection or a Lead-Based Paint Risk Assessment.

A comprehensive (HUD-level) lead-based paint inspection provides representative readings of interior and exterior components per the Housing of Urban Development’s (HUD) guidelines. These components include representative doors, windows, walls, etc. Readings are collected utilizing an XRF device. The XRF direct-read device is an accepted resource for lead inspections by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/Housing of Urban Development (HUD). This nondestructive method does not require collecting paint chip samples or scoring the surface. We provide immediate feedback on whether components contain lead-based paint. The inspection takes approximately two hours. An electronic PDF report will be emailed to you in three to five business days following the site visit.

A Risk Assessment will identify whether potential lead hazards exist.

A full Risk Assessment includes representative dust wipe samples from your home’s interior and soil samples from outside your home. If you’re not concerned about the outside your home, we can simply collect dust wipe samples from the interior without taking soil samples from outside.

  • If the dust wipe samples indicate elevated levels of lead, we provide recommendations for the next steps for mitigation.

If you need further guidance on stabilization, abatement, and/or removal of materials containing lead-based paint, we are here to help. As the homeowners in this story learned, you can rely on Healthy Home to provide the highest quality services in everything we do.

Dan Rouse

Dan Rouse

Principal at Healthy Home
Dan is a Principal at Healthy Home and is a Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant and a Certified Mold Consultant.
Dan Rouse

One response to Unlicensed Contractor Causes Problems for Homeowners

  1. […] Using an unlicensed contractor to deal with lead-based paint in your home can waste a lot of unnecessary time and additional expenses. We have a team of Oregon certified and licensed lead-based paint inspectors and risk assessors available to help homeowners and home renovation firms meet governmental requirements and follow safe practices. Contact us today to schedule your lead-based paint inspection. […]