At the end of March, Window World of St. Louis paid $39,577 to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — including a fine and make-good work — for failing to distribute the “Renovate Right” pamphlet on lead-safe renovation to clients. Two weeks prior, Permanent Siding and Windows, in Milton, Conn., paid a fine of $30,702 to the EPA's Region 1 (in New England) for similarly failing to inform 17 property owners of possible lead hazards.

To consultants, such as Mark Paskell, who has trained more than 4,000 contractors as Certified Renovators qualified to do lead-safe renovation work, these fines indicate the beginning of more stringent enforcement of lead-safe renovation rules, which have been on the books, and enforceable, since April 2010.

While enforcement efforts vary by state, or (with the EPA) by region, even certified firms are assumed to be noncompliant if they fail to document practices governing renovation in houses built before 1978.

WHAT YOU NEED Avoid trouble by having every document required in the event that your company is subject to an audit. Those documents should include:

  • Proof of owner-occupant awareness. If the house was built before 1978, include in the job folder a signature from the homeowner on a form saying that he or she received the “Renovate Right” pamphlet from you or your subcontractors. It is “step one on every job,” says Paul Toub, vice president of lead-safe training company Kachina Contractor Solutions.
  • Proof of certification. Have on site: copies of your firm's Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule certification, as well as the name of the Certified Renovator on the job and a copy of that person's certification, with originals filed at the office.
  • In states that license companies as lead-safe contractors — e.g., Massachusetts and Rhode Island — you'll need copies of those licenses as well.

  • Training documentation. All workers on the job who are not graduates of a lead-safe renovation course are required to be trained in lead-safe practices specific to the types of jobs they do. You'll need proof that they were trained and in what, as well as who did the training.
  • Test results. If you test a house for lead (using EPA-recognized test kits), the results must be in the job file. You are also responsible for making the homeowner aware of the results, so a form indicating that is essential.
  • Cleaning verification. Similarly, the results of a wet-wipe cleaning test, and any subsequent re-testing, need to be on file, according to remodeling consultant Shawn McCadden. (See his list of necessary paperwork at