CONTRACTOR CHAT: Quoting jobs on pre-1978 buildings

by WOHe

One of the significant challenges with the new RRP Rule about lead-paint removal is how to bid and set up jobs in pre-1978 buildings, with the likelihood of RRP compliance in mind.

While the timing of higher bids may not be very welcome in the state of today’s economy, it is critical to make sure you’ve prepared a good estimate for the cost of site protection, materials, and removal. How you present the estimate to the client is very important, too.

First, a new change that should help: Distributing the “Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools” pamphlet to clients is now legally possible by email. Making this first step in the process easier, helps open the door to discussion about lead paint removal as a problem that needs to not only be addressed, but also billed and paid for.

This is where you will need to make an assessment of how much the RRP Rule will affect the individual job. Obviously, replacing all of the windows in a house, or removing siding with lead paint will be greatly impacted and therefore, expensive in comparison with say, doing a one-day bathroom demolition.

Remember, the job will require testing if you want to avoid using RRP, and someone will be paying for the test. You should have some guidelines in regards to quotes based on the size and parameters of the job. We consider lead paint testing to be just another preliminary issue, like design work, that needs to be covered somehow. We see three avenues to cover the cost of lead-paint testing:
1. Your company decides to absorb the cost,
2. It gets passed on to the customer in the job,
3. A flat fee is charged up-front just for the testing.

In cases where is it safe to assume that lead paint is present in the entire removal area, you can avoid any testing by just implementing RRP for all of the removal and documenting the job. Either way, the point is to prepare a quote showing either the testing, or RRP, or both.

If you use an option of quoting a fee just for testing, it is imperative to discuss the likely cost of using RRP, so that the customer is aware of all potential costs and doesn’t feel compromised when a positive presence of lead significantly increases the cost of the job.

As with all quotes and customer paperwork, we advise you consult with your business attorney on the proper wording for inclusion into your proposals and contracts.

Next Issue: Part II – Structuring the Estimation Process

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