Dealers were among the lead organizers and hosts for certification training under the lead-paint law when it took effect five years ago, but whether up to 200,000 remodelers will need to return to your sites for recertification is a question the federal government has only begun starting to answer.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began the formal process to permit renovators certified under the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule to take recertification classes entirely online. The current standard 4-hour recertification course calls for two 20-minute hands-on sessions—sessions that mean they’d have to travel to a facility like yours to take the course.

EPA officials want a 100% online recertification course because they believe it will make it easier to get recertified without reducing the course’s value. The National Association of Home Builders applauds the move, saying hands-on training has “resulted in significant travel costs.” Companies that run training courses have opposed the move, saying hands-on training is crucial.

The first step in getting a rules change is for the federal Office of Management and Budget to review the EPA’s desired amendment and decide whether the document can be published and a public comment period launched. OMB can take up to 90 days for its first review. That step is followed by a minimum of 60 days spent taking in comments and the EPA submitting a final proposal. Then there’s another 90 days of OMB review and approval of the final rule, followed by a 60-day waiting period before the rule takes effect. 

All that adds up to roughly 10 months before the final rule allowing online classes could launch. And on July 1, the NAHB estimates that upward of 200,000 people will need to have recertification papers in hand or else they’ll have to start getting certified from scratch. All told more than 135,000 businesses and roughly 500,000 individuals have been certified. 

In fact, the real deadline for some businesses is April 1, because RRP requires that companies mail in an application for recertification at least 90 days before the current certification expires. Failure to meet that rule could mean the company must stop doing dust sampling or renovations once its certification expires, and it may need to start the certification process all over again.

See more PROSALES articles on the lead-paint rule.