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Topic # 245620 13-Feb-2019 16:40
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Is this level of lead paint control acceptable from a professional painting firm? For example, they removed the paint from one side of the house over a door, every time the door opens a bit more lead paint comes inside.

 

They're collecting the big bits in drop sheets and vacuuming up what they can. They then wash down the house, which reduces the risk for us, but puts the lead into the environment. Because we're not connected to waste water it goes out onto council land, down a bank.

 

The guys wear very thin masks, one layer of fabric. They have better masks but they're too hot. So they're burning off lead paint, inhaling fumes all day, unprotected. Some of the fumes get into the house sometimes as well, so I try to avoid it when it smells and air it out as much as possible.

 

This isn't ideal given we have a toddler. Fortunately he's away on holiday with his grandparents this week, but he's back on Saturday. I'm not keen on him inhaling these fumes. The painters will be done removing paint in a few days, so limited exposure, and he's at daycare most days.

 

 

 

Outside our main door

 

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In the drains

 

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On the driveway

 

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More drains

 

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  Reply # 2177821 13-Feb-2019 17:35
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Disposable plastic sheets are a better option than a drop cloth. In the drains is definitely not OK as that will get into the environment, waterways etc.

 

I don't think there are any actual "laws" - IANAL, but there are definitely guidelines.

 

Worksafe link.




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  Reply # 2177826 13-Feb-2019 17:47
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The cowboys I've hired definitely haven't read that guide. I wonder if OSH would be interested, or if it's too small / common practice. Cheapish firm, no doubt paying little to their workers who end up with lead poisoning. 





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  Reply # 2178070 14-Feb-2019 08:52
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I'd be very concerned - especially as you've got a toddler.  As well as being particularly susceptible to lead poisoning - with harmful effects at low levels that might not show any acute symptoms - they're also vulnerable because they are on the ground and have a tendency to put things including contaminated fingers and thumbs in their mouths.

 

Council should also be concerned if there's potential lead contamination in runoff to council land.  If that's happened, I'd expect that the contractor would be sued to cover the costs to remediate/decontaminate.


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  Reply # 2178077 14-Feb-2019 09:08
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Absolutely not acceptable.

 

Lead poisoning (even at low levels) can have some pretty serious and life-long consequences for brain development and exposure (particularly where there are very young children involved) should be avoided.

 

Apart from the dust in the house, which is bad enough, imagine if they put one of those larger flakes into their mouth.

 

You should probably take professional advice from an expert about what needs to be done (I'm not one). But I'm guessing at a minimum you are looking at a clean up of the outside, deep cleaning of all fabrics and carpets etc that might be holding dust, and safe removal and sealing of the remaining painted surfaces. At worst, you might also be looking at replacement of carpets, drapes and soft furnishings in contaminated areas.

 

 




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  Reply # 2178078 14-Feb-2019 09:10
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The house stinks of paint fumes when I come home, and I assume those fumes contain lead. My son gets home from daycare by 5pm, I don't think it's ok for him to be in a house smelling of lead paint fumes. The painters don't finish until 6pm usually, so I'm going to have to have them finish two hours earlier to clean up so the house can be aired out before he gets home. I can't air the house out until they've removed all the dust that can drift inside. That's not going to be popular, given I want them to clean up better each day too. That'll make them less productive, which isn't really my problem.

 

We're going to have to keep him inside and away from stuff until the paint removal is done. It's just very lucky he happens to be away this week.





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  Reply # 2178079 14-Feb-2019 09:16
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JimmyH:

 

Absolutely not acceptable.

 

Lead poisoning (even at low levels) can have some pretty serious and life-long consequences for brain development and exposure (particularly where there are very young children involved) should be avoided.

 

Apart from the dust in the house, which is bad enough, imagine if they put one of those larger flakes into their mouth.

 

You should probably take professional advice from an expert about what needs to be done (I'm not one). But I'm guessing at a minimum you are looking at a clean up of the outside, deep cleaning of all fabrics and carpets etc that might be holding dust, and safe removal and sealing of the remaining painted surfaces. At worst, you might also be looking at replacement of carpets, drapes and soft furnishings in contaminated areas.

 

 

We'll keep him well away from the large flakes, he won't be outside until a full cleanup is done. The painters know they need to do a very good clean before he gets back.

 

Given this painting is outside, why do you think such extensive cleaning inside is required? Fumes do get inside, but they're easily removed by opening windows once the area around the window is clear of dust and fumes. A little but of dust comes in on shoes, which we vacuum promptly, and a little may blow in windows if it's not carefully cleaned.

 

I'm planning to get the carpets cleaned fairly soon anyway, but hadn't planned on drapes or furnishings. Given our son's on the floor a lot I'll probably get the cleaning done ASAP after the painters have finished. Should I get the carpet cleaned as soon as the painters have finished the stripping / sanding part and start painting, or wait until they're completely done? I think carpet cleaners need doors and windows open to dry the place.





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  Reply # 2178082 14-Feb-2019 09:21
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timmmay:

 

The cowboys I've hired definitely haven't read that guide. I wonder if OSH would be interested, or if it's too small / common practice. Cheapish firm, no doubt paying little to their workers who end up with lead poisoning. 

 

 

Now this may sound harsh, and don't take it the wrong way but.....

 

 

 

You are the client, if you are not happy with the work they are doing tell them about it.... 

 

Don't pussy foot around saying "I wonder if OSH might be interested" and complain on a internet forum,  own the problem.....

 

If you don't say anything to them nothing will change....

 

If you don't get a good response, sack them and get someone better...

 

 




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  Reply # 2178100 14-Feb-2019 09:37
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I'm talking to the owner about this, as the painters barely speak English. Since there are guidelines not rules it's difficult to say "you must do this". So I'm taking action, just looking for advice and direction here.

A proper cleanup could take them an hour each day, which means the job can take longer, which isn't really my problem. I suspect they avoid doing too much as they're lower than average price.




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  Reply # 2178104 14-Feb-2019 09:43
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Thats pretty poor in general, lead paint or not. they are filling your drains and dropping bits everywhere on your property.

 

Worksafe only cares about the safety of the workers, and has no mandate to care about you the owner, so they won't. Neither will the council, but I'm sure they will be happy to tell you off for letting workers you employed pollute the drains etc.

 

Tell them it's not good enough.

 

How are they getting it off? stripper or burning with a gun? because burning lead paint releases a LOT of wonderful fumes that will have you kissing the sky





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  Reply # 2178117 14-Feb-2019 09:51
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timmmay: Is this level of lead paint control acceptable from a professional painting firm?

 

timmmay: I'm talking to the owner about this, as the painters barely speak English. Since there are guidelines not rules it's difficult to say "you must do this". So I'm taking action, just looking for advice and direction here.

A proper cleanup could take them an hour each day, which means the job can take longer, which isn't really my problem. I suspect they avoid doing too much as they're lower than average price.

 

It is your problem. I suspect you mean that they should have to cover the cost of the additional work. Whereas, I see both the initial conditions, the potential consequences and cost increase as falling within your responsibility.

 

The problem is that you didn't clarify the standard of work you wanted when you took their low price. You're an intelligent person who could have been expected to foresee the need to specify the standard of lead paint removal in the contract.

 

The question I have is whether you're prepared to pay for that omission?

 

https://worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/hazardous-substances/guidance/substances/managing-lead-based-paint/




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  Reply # 2178122 14-Feb-2019 10:02
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I specified in advance that lead paint precautions must be taken and they assured me they could and would do this. I suspect the owner tells them what to do but the guys can't be bothered. So they priced knowing it was required.




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  Reply # 2178133 14-Feb-2019 10:10
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timmmay: I specified in advance that lead paint precautions must be taken and they assured me they could and would do this. I suspect the owner tells them what to do but the guys can't be bothered. So they priced knowing it was required.

 

Right,

 

You obviously had an idea whet you wanted, and its clear you don't think they are living up to that so

 

, tell then they are not doing what they said they would do .. and if you want to really push the point, withhold some of their payment,,,




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  Reply # 2178138 14-Feb-2019 10:18
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Yes I'm asking the owner to come over this afternoon as the guys do clean up, but she doesn't seem to want to.

Payment is 100% on completion so I can't withhold interim payments to encourage good behaviour. The contract is just the quote on builders crack, no signed contract. I asked for one but they don't just one, and this is a 15 - 20 person firm. Not ideal but I didn't find that part until after I accepted the quote, but many great reviews and good but not crazy low price




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  Reply # 2178196 14-Feb-2019 11:17
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I would honestly get rid of them and find a more competent firm




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  Reply # 2178198 14-Feb-2019 11:21
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dfnt:

 

I would honestly get rid of them and find a more competent firm

 

 

This isn't practical. The house is 50% stripped and needs things like gap filling between weatherboards and painting fairly promptly to avoid problems. In summer the wait for a painter can be months.

 

The owner of the firm has agreed to come by at 5pm. I'll be discussing lead paint control and finish time in order to remove fumes in the house before my son is home. Other than this issue they're fine, and I think they'll work with me to resolve it. They want to get paid, and even if it takes a little more effort than the originally expected they'll still make a very good profit.





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