Certified firms and renovators have continued to show concern about RRP compliant record keeping. It’s no surprise! There are several requirements in just the handling of paperwork. As you know, records are required to be kept and shared with the homeowner and occupants; kept on hand for 3 years according to the EPA; and provide the only accurate record of compliance. The record-keeping requirement has even been expanded to include all occupants of a building where there may be apartments or condos, etc. It could be said that the record-keeping aspect is the finger-print of all RRP work.
Based on my business experience, I recommend keeping a finished “Job Jacket’ where all the forms are collected and kept for each job. It is your best control and safety net for enforcement, legal responsibility, and maybe even insurance needs.
RRP Lead-Safe Work Practices is not only methods and materials. It is activities, specific to the job and residents. The EPA wants to know when the items being disturbed were tested, where on those items you tested, and the test results.
Additionally, they want to know who was assigned as the certified renovator. They want to know if the certified renovator trained anybody on the job; what the training involved, the results of that training, and confirmation that there was some hands-on education. In short, they want to know how you specifically readied the workers for that specific job.
What are they looking for? The EPA wants confirmation that you set up the job correctly, and managed the debris and dust (inside and/or outside) according to the rules. Once completed, EPA wants to know what final clean steps were needed and used, and the final clean-up results.
Keep in mind, all of your records and testaments need to be in writing. Most importantly, these records need to be written down in a complete explanation that details how you complied. In the RRP Rule, they call it “narrative.” See our additional information about narrative in our previous article “RRP and Record Keeping: What you NEED to know but were never told.”
When you get to the place in the form with a “yes/no” checklist, it’s not enough to “check off” “yes,” your workers were trained. You should add a notation that explains, “They were trained in putting down the plastic, etc.” And, “Yes, we tested the jamb, the sill, and the header of the old window with the swab.” Furthermore, “Yes, we used three wipes to clean the area and found that it matched the lead cleaning verification card.”
We all received various forms when we went through the training. However, many contractors are questioning the completeness of these forms and wonder how acceptable they are without the narration.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that if you have the proper forms and you organize the information according to and including the narrative found in the specific sections of 40 CF §745.86, it can become a simple tick off. You can prepare a list of appropriate narratives to accompany the “check off” sections so your paperwork provides all necessary written details. I feel this is also a legal verification that you did exactly what you were supposed to do, no missed steps, no shortcuts.
Records can also help with the answer to how the EPA will monitor compliance with the lead containment rules. All indications right now, due to manpower shortages and access to the most firms, compliance enforcement will come down to records. Rather than go job to job, they are more likely to come in and ask to see your records, i.e., your finished “Job Jacket”. If you have your ducks in a row, you should have no problems.
Accurate records will also allow you to avoid liability claims. Though RRP is containment and not abatement, it is still assumed that you will contain, collect, dispose and clean the lead dust you create from the job. But, because it is not abatement, when you leave there still is probably lead dust elsewhere. You are not responsible to leave the residence lead-free, just clean up the dust you made. If the records support your thoroughness in cleaning up the dust you made, and the forms exhibit strict narrative compliance, you should have no problem avoiding any legal issues for causing any harm to the residents after your job is completed. Your attorney will advise you on how to use this approach.
It’s not that how you did the work isn’t important, but proper records will illustrate that you have controlled your responsibility, while making it easier for you to be sure nothing is overlooked on every job.
There are a few good sources for RRP Record-keeping Forms, starting with the EPA. They make their checklist of required records available for download. While this checklist is useful, it is not a form per se as it does provide the requisite narration.
A full complement of forms is available in the Certified Renovator Training Manual and from the Small Business Compliance Guide from the EPA website.
There are some independent companies providing help with forms such as Kachina Lead Paint Solutions and Lead Records which was recently endorsed by the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA).
Because the EPA has not stipulated where the records are to be stored, you may want to explore on-line storage through a major business management software company such as MarketSharp.