A Small Victory

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

I just received a letter in response to an E-Mail to the Mayor. He must have delegated Jenifer Gilliland, Building Division Manager, City of Boise to respond. Here is what I wrote:

I am a General Contractor in town and am interested in having a slight change applied to the residential building application. As of April 22, 2010 there is a new federal rule that involves Lead Based Paint Hazard control for all homes built prior to 1978 and child occupied facilities. The EPA has maintained enforcement of the rule called RRP in Idaho and to date, there has been little awareness or information put out by the EPA. The Boise City Building Departments mandate is to protect the citizens of the community through building code enforcement but they are stuck. I would like to make a few recommendations and open a dialog about the subject. I believe your guidance will set the tone for how this community deals with RRP. I write as a NARI member and EPA certified Risk Assessor. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

Here is her response:

Although the Response does not directly answer the question, or invite a dialog, it is a small victory for me because on the 3rd bullet point it clearly states that they will add a sentence stating that work done on pre-1978 homes must be done by an EPA certified renovator.

I applaud the City Of Boise for taking this baby step forward! There are those in the Building Department that understand the federal rule and are taking it upon themselves to educate and pass out information and tho them I say BRAVO! They sent employees to the RRP Training and to them I say BRAVO! I see this as a small victory of sorts because it is difficult to affect change in government and to the extent that we got the ball rolling it is much easier now to keep it rolling. (One need only to look at the Middle East)  The list of things that could be done without cost to the city is extensive. I do not expect the Building Department to come up with ideas to add work to their plate without being compensated, however precedence has been established with any number of requirements see responsible person. Requiring folks to followbuilding codes etc.  The building department’s mandate is to protect the citizens, Lead paint is a hazard to health, and it exists in older homes. Surely a Blue Ribbon Panel on the subject could be assembled and discuss the city’s response to the situation. I am happy that some progress has been made, I am disappointed that the initiative to update our processes does not currently dwell within the Building Departments walls. Other cities have instituted ordinances to deal with lead based paint issues already so there are plenty of role models out there. Unfortunately, I was told that the city’s attorneys are advising the city to take no action in an effort to sidestep enforcement of the Federal Rule. As a temporary strategy I can see it working ( the old head in the sand routine). As a city government that is charged and responsible to care about its citizens, I believe it is flawed. I will continue my efforts and hope to attract others to join in  the debate.