Credit: Matt Wood

As April 22 came and went, companies that install replacement windows saw their last hope for reprieve from across-the-board enactment of the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule vanish when the Environmental Protection Agency indicated it was eliminating the law's opt-out provision. That provision would have allowed homeowners to waive lead-safe renovation rules if no children live in the home or visit it. The agency also indicated it would require contractors to provide homeowners with documentation of RRP compliance.

Taking Steps

Home improvement company owners were in a compliant, not defiant, mood. Joe Zisman, president of Ambassador Home Improvements, in Mechanicsburg, Pa., says that his company is doing "whatever it takes" to comply. Others expressed a similar willingness. "Our philosophy is to go above and beyond what's required," says Chris Cardillo, president of Castle Windows, in Mount Laurel, N.J. To make sure that subcontracted installers know what is expected, Castle Windows brought in lead-safe training firm Kachina Contractor Solutions, in Elkins Park, Pa., to conduct a training class for 40, including project managers.

President and co-owner Paul Panagiotidis of Total Home Construction, in Plainview, N.Y., on Long Island, says that he, his business partner, and the company's foremen took the eight-hour Kachina Contracting course. Panagiotidis estimates that 50% of the homes his company will work on this year will require lead-safe renovation procedures.

Costs Per Opening Vary

By getting an early start on lead-safe renovation, Panagiotidis was able to figure out that lead-safe procedures added roughly $75 per opening in window replacement jobs. Kyle Kark, sales and marketing manager for America's Window, in Charlestown, Ind., says that his company had estimated as much as $150 per opening in retail cost, and that intensely cluttered households would probably be ruled out altogether.

In April, Architectural Testing issued its own estimated cost per opening of $121, based on a two-man crew replacing six windows in a day. John Jervis, president of the American Window and Door Institute, in Juno Beach, Fla., says that AWDI calculated that lead-safe renovation practices would add 56 extra minutes and $36 worth of materials per opening. "So if you're not budgeting $50 to $100 more per window," Jervis says, "you're going to have a hole in the bottom of the boat."