A couple of months ago I posted an article on the Jantek Windows blog that stressed the importance of consumers vetting any contractor that they are considering for their replacement window and patio door project. Last month a very high profile event occurred in the replacement window and door industry that underscores the intent of that article. Caveat Emptor.
A very large, national, Home Improvement “big box” retailer agreed to pay a fine of $20.75 MM, the largest such fine settlement ever, to the EPA and US Department Justice, for its failure to follow the EPA’s Lead Paint Rules in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Specifically, the settlement resolves the company’s repeated violations of the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting or RRP Rule. The rule requires all contractors (yes ALL) to test for the presence of lead based paint before conducting home renovations for homes built prior to 1978. The company that was the subject in this case uses subcontractors exclusively in their remodeling and installation work nationwide. In violation of the law, they utilized sub-contractors that were not EPA certified. They did not test the job site for lead based paint before doing the work as required. They did not follow EPA lead safe work practices to avoid spreading lead dust and paint chips during the work. They did not perform a lead clearance after completion of the work. These violations put the company’s customers, especially small children in these buildings and homes, at risk of exposure to lead inhalation or ingestion.
Checklist items #6 and #7 in my blog article for Jantek Windows “The Ultimate Replacement Window Contractor Vetting Checklist” have the consumer specifically asking for copies of the contractor’s and subcontractor’s required EPA Lead Certification credentials and appropriate information about the how the contractor is supposed to test and complete the work should lead paint be found.
The facts in this high visibility case illustrate that Consumers should do their homework. Certainly, they should not be so enamored with the big corporate names to the extent they are moved to blind trust and do not ask the important questions up front.
You can download a copy of “The Ultimate Replacement Window Contractor Vetting Checklist” at www.jantekwindows.com.