Renovator Corner - Lead-Related Regulations

  • Administrative Rule DHS 163.* Certification for the Identification, Removal, and Reduction of Lead-Based Paint
    (Wisconsin Legislature; (PDF, 374 KB) created in 1999 as an amendment to Ch 254. In addition to the federal disclosure requirements, this act specifies the disclosure of lead in real estate for sale in Wisconsin (709.03).

  • Wisconsin Legislature - Created in 1999 as an amendment to Ch 254.

    • Appendix A, Obtaining Applicable Federal, State and Local Government Requirements

    • Appendix B, HUD Guidelines for Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing

    • Appendix C, Cleaning When Lead-Based Paint has Been Disturbed

    • Appendix D, Paint Removal: Commercial and Residential

    • Appendix E, Random Selection Table for Lead Hazard Screens, Lead-Safe Investigations, Risk Assessments, and Clearance Only

    • Appendix F, Random Selection Table for Lead Inspections and Lead-Free Inspections Only

    • Appendix G, Conducting a Visual Inspection

    • Appendix H, Protecting Occupants

    • Appendix I, Working Lead-Safe

  • Administrative Rule DHS 181, Reporting of Blood Lead Test Results (PDF, 20 KB)

Regulations Questions and Answers

Q:  Does the state follow the federal guidelines?

For the most part, Wisconsin ’s Lead-Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule follows the federal regulation.  Two major differences are in the definition of lead paint and the basic certification requirements. 

Wisconsin defines lead-based paint at 0.06% lead by weight or 0.7 mg/cm2, while the federal definition is 0.5% lead by weight and 1.0 mg/cm2.  Since there is currently not a lead test kit that can test to the Wisconsin defined limits, any paint testing in the state needs to be done by a certified lead inspector or risk assessor who uses an XRF analyzer to test painted components on site or takes paint chip samples for testing in a laboratory. 

Both EPA and Wisconsin require individual renovators and their companies to be certified, but have somewhat different requirements beyond that.  EPA considers an individual renovator to be ‘certified’ upon receiving that person's training certificate after completing the one-day training class.  Firms (or companies) must apply to EPA for firm certification and submit a $300 firm certification fee.  EPA certifications (individual and firm) are good for five years.  Wisconsin requires BOTH individuals and their companies to become certified by submitting applications to the Department of Health Services.  Individual Lead-Safe Renovator certification is $50 and Lead-Safe Company certification is $75.  Both are good for two years.

Q:  I am going to be doing a renovation in an unoccupied home. I have not had anything tested for lead yet; however, the house was built in 1948. Are lead-safe practices required in unoccupied homes?
A:  The RRP rule covers all homes built pre-1978.  There is no exemption for a home that is unoccupied. If you have any further questions, please feel free to let me know.
Q: If a public entity (village, city) would like its employees to be able to renovate buildings where paint is found that may contain lead at a public building or park structure, what requirements apply?

The RRP requirements apply to all pre-1978 residential structures or child-occupied facilities. Some public buildings could be considered child-occupied if they meet the definition of child-occupied (see below), such as buildings for camp or summer school.  If the facility being worked on meets the definition, then that facility or the portion occupied by children would fall under the RRP rule and would then require the people doing the work to be certified as lead-safe renovators.

Please be aware that old painted playsets have been found to contain lead as well and that even if a child does not occupy the building under the requirements of “child-occupied,”  children and adults can be poisoned with a single exposure to lead dust.   

Per DHS 163.03 (13), child-occupied facilities are defined as follows:
(13) “Child−occupied facility” means a building or portion of a building constructed prior to 1978, and including common areas, that meets any of the following: (a) A facility licensed or certified to provide day care services. (b) A public or private school or preschool attended by a registered child younger than 6 years of age, including a state−operated residential treatment center. (c) A building or portion of a building, visited by the same child under 6 years of age, on at least 2 different days within any week, Sunday through Saturday, provided that each day’s visit lasts at least 3 hours and the combined annual visits last at least 60 hours.

Q:  One of our gutter installers had a question, and I am hopeful that you can clear it up for us. If he is removing gutters with no lead from a fascia board that tests positive, is he or is he not "disturbing" enough to require L S W P?
A:  If the gutters are attached every few feet by nails or screws, then the areas of disturbance would likely be just the nail/screw holes and would not add up to 20 square feet.  However, if the gutters themselves are painted, then they must be counted in the square footage determination and would most likely meet the 20-square-foot minimum for the rule to kick in.

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Last Revised: May 4, 2015