Government Affairs and EMNARI
Our government is busy at work writing and implementing new regulations impacting the residential construction industry. Staying abreast of all the moving regulations could be a full time job and requires a good deal of patience and objectiveness. Most remodelers have better things to do with their time -- like running your business and improving your processes.
One of the benefits of being part of EM NARI and National NARI is the advocacy that we do on behalf of our members and trade partners. Here is an overview of some of the things that have happened in the past few months.
National NARI has successfully built bridges with both the EPA and OSHA. Through the lobbying efforts, NARI has a seat at the table with the EPA and is consulted for ideas and advice on RRP related matters. One would hope that the EPA would do a better job with RRP, however NARI is there at each turn to vocalize the interests of the remodeling industry. As of now the EPA has backed off requiring RRP for commercial building until 2015. EPA enforcement on RRP is still very poor. However, they have fined 40 plus companies in the past year. The companies are small, medium and large concerns -- several from New England.
NARI is currently in discussion on how we may be a source of employment for our returning veterans. National NARI Government Affairs members and our lobbyist have met with the Department of Defense and OSHA with the hopes that our veterans can find work with NARI remodelers.
NARI, OSHA and Silica; much has been written about OSHA’s proposed New Silica Rule reducing the permissible exposure limit from 100 U/gr to 50 u/gr per cubic meter. This rule change has the potential to cost our industry over one billion if enacted. If the rule becomes effective, it will impact any contractor producing silica dust. Full OSHA required compliance would be required for drilling concrete, cutting concrete, cutting stone, sanding plaster, form and flat work, cutting shingles and more. This may mean exposed workers will be required to have medical monitoring, respiratory training, personal protective equipment and the OSHA required training under the respiratory standard. It is widely understood and accepted that workers jack hammering, cutting concrete walls, cutting block walls, and cutting masonry should have the proper protections and engineered controls in place due to the large amount of silica produced in these activities. However, can you picture full PPE for anyone sanding plaster or drilling into the top of foundation walls?
NARI opposes the change and has publicly written a response through our lobbyist in Washington DC.
Mass RRP; Shawn McCadden and I attended the open meeting on proposed changes to the Mass RRP Law (454 CMR 22.00) in February. We learned that Massachusetts is adopting the EPA amendments and adding some additional, more stringent requirements to the Mass. RRP. One notable change proposed is that RRP practices would be required on minor renovation work under the current 6 square foot per room trigger amount.
RRP License Renewals
2015 is coming and contractors and trades who work on pre-1978 properties will be required to take the RRP 4-hour renewal class. The class will be required to include the new amendments and changes adopted by Massachusetts. On a side note the current list of contractors on the state RRP License List is still around 3500 with most contractors in the state choosing to not become a Licensed Lead Safe Renovation Contractor.
RRP Fines in Mass
The Department of Labor Standards is aggressively citing and fining non-compliant contractors. The fined contractors are posted on the DLS website under enforcement actions. They recently changed the License type from RRP to Lead.
The BBRS approved the 2012 IEC and it will become effective in July of 2014. Until then, remodelers may use the 2009 code or build to the 2012 version. The Stretch Energy Code is still in effect in the towns and cities that adopted it, and I am told will be meshed with the new energy code. Take a deep breath, the 2015 revised code is right around the corner.
OSHA Fall Protection Stand Down Day
I spoke with Tim Irving form Region 1 OSHA and he informed me that OSHA is conducting OSHA Fall Protection Awareness Seminars from April to June. These 90 minute overviews are a repeat from the ones offered in 2011 and 2012. Tim shared that fall protection compliance is still lacking in the residential construction industry. In June OSHA is asking companies to participate in the national Stand down Week. For more information go to https://www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/
Stay tuned for more news on the regulatory front in our next newsletter.
Want to get involved in EM NARI Government Affairs? Contact Mark Paskell
Mark Paskell, President EM NARI
The Contractor Coaching Partnership, Inc