The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is exploring new regulations that would create rigorous lead abatement practices in commercial buildings, similar to those that exist for residential properties. These potential new rules would apply to a myriad of real estate industry practitioners. The EPA announced on December 31, 2012 that they will begin collecting information from property owners and managers, construction and real estate contractors, and other industry professionals. This information will assist the EPA in the rule-making process with regard to LBP and commercial buildings.
The EPA would like to receive information on the manufacture, sale, and use of LBP post-1978; use of LBP in/on public and commercial properties; how often renovations were done on public and commercials properties and the practices used in such renovations; and estimates of the amount of dust created and possibly transported from the outside of the building to the inside.
It is expected the EPA will move forward with the process of creating formal rules and will be releasing a proposed rule no later than July 1, 2015. Final rules are to be completed by December 31, 2016.
IREM has been following this important issue for several years and has anticipated possible changes to the EPA regulations. Despite the limited power of the EPA (can only issue regulations with regard to the renovation/repair/painting of these buildings), granted by the U.S. Congress, the agency continues to move beyond its scope of power. IREM has been active in a coalition to focus on fair and practical regulations pertaining to LBP in commercial buildings and will continue to monitor this issue.
For more details of this request for information, please see the complete Federal Register announcement here.