On September 30th, the EPA Lead Act will take effect, with all contractors required to comply with the new legislation. While the rule only applies to houses built in 1978 and earlier, the EPA estimates that this will affect approximately 70 million homes, a significant number by any measure. In order to be eligible to work on these houses, installers must enroll or apply for an EPA-approved certification course by Sept. 30, and must complete their training by Dec. 21. The course takes 8 hours to complete, and costs between $150 and $400. Those who pass the written and hands-on portions of the test receive the title of Certified Renovator and are qualified to work on all projects affected by the EPA rule.

To help installers understand the requirements and consequences of this important legislation, this issue of Floor Covering Installer presents the first article to specifically address how the Lead Act will affect installers. In “EPA Lead Act – The Installer’s Responsibility,” Tony Buckhardt, chairman of the CFI certification committee, gives an in-depth explanation of the steps installers will need to take to attain the certification, as well as a detailed review of the process that must be followed when working on lead-containing job sites. While it cannot substitute for the actual training materials, this article is a good primer for those who are interested in learning about lead-safe job practices.

Continuing with the theme of certification, long-time FCI columnist Michael Hetts addresses the issue of ANSI installation standards, which are currently under development, in this edition of his column. When these standards are implemented, they will signal a major shift in the installation business, as manufacturers will require that ANSI-certified installers are used for their products. Although this shift to requiring certification for installers will likely result in a temporary shortage of qualified workers, the long-term benefits should far outweigh this and other negative influences. Wages for installers, which have been declining relative to inflation for many years, will likely see a strong recovery. In turn, this will attract more new recruits into the labor pool who previously would have turned away from this profession. ANSI certification will also create a sense of pride among those who achieve it, and greater confidence from consumers.

If you haven’t completed the lead certification course yet, what are you waiting for? In today’s competitive economy, can you afford to miss out on any work? If you miss a job because you don’t have the necessary certification, you have no one but yourself to blame.