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Commercial Contractor Settles Lead Case

Monday, June 10, 2013

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A Kansas-based commercial general contractor and renovator has been slapped with a $27,286 fine for failing to use lead-safe work practices during a renovation project in Kansas City, MO.

In the recent Environmental Protection Agency enforcement action, the agency alleged that HarenLaughlin Construction Company, of Lenexa, KS, violated the agency’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule while performing renovation activities at an apartment building.

HarenLaughlin Construction Company Newsletter

Founded in 1932, HarenLaughlin Construction Company has an extensive portfolio of multi-million dollar projects. The company has been fined by the EPA for failing to abide by lead-based paint regulations.

The company did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

HarenLaughlin agreed to complete a lead-based paint abatement project at another apartment complex in order to satisfy a significant portion of the settlement.

Inspection Details

An August 2012 inspection revealed workers renovating an unoccupied 65-unit apartment building originally built in 1922, according to the administrative consent agreement and final order.

However, at the time of the inspection, the company had not applied for renovator certification under the law.

Further, the company did not utilize lead-safe work practices or notify property owners about lead-based paint risks before the company or its subcontractors performed renovation work at the site, EPA said.


Specifically, EPA said HarenLaughlin failed to:

  • Post signs clearly defining the work area;
  • Warn occupants and other persons not involved in renovation activities to remain outside the work area;
  • Close and cover all duct openings in the work area with taped-down plastic sheeting or other impermeable material for the interior renovation;
  • Close windows and doors in the work area, and cover doors with plastic sheeting;
  • Cover the floor surface with taped-down plastic sheeting or other impermeable material in the work area six feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation or a sufficient distance to contain the dust for the interior renovations.

HarenLaughlin also failed to provide owners of the property with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet before starting renovations, the EPA said.

EPA Lead Safe

Firms that perform renovations for compensation must apply to EPA for certification to perform renovations or dust sampling, according to 40 C.F.R.§ 745.89(a)(l).

The Renovate Right pamphlet helps homeowners and tenants understand the risks of lead-based paint, and how best to minimize these risks to protect themselves and their families.

The Settlement Details

Under the agreement, HarenLaughlin will complete a supplemental environmental project valued at $24,500 to remove lead-based paint from an apartment complex in the area.

The company has 120 days to complete the work, the agency said.

HarenLaughlin will pay the remaining $2,786 in the form of a cash penalty, EPA said.

RRP Requirements

The RRP rule requires that general contractors and subcontractors that work on pre-1978 dwellings and child-occupied facilities are trained and certified to use lead-safe work practices.

EPA finalized the RRP rule in 2008 and the rule took effect on April 22, 2010.

The EPA is currently considering whether to expand the oft-criticized rule to include public and commercial renovation activities. A comment period on the proposed expansion is open until July 12, according to the agency's notice in the Federal Register.

About the Company

Founded in 1932, HarenLaughlin Construction is a third generation family-owned commercial general contracting firm serving the south and midwest regions. The company’s project portfolio includes an array of multi-million dollar commercial projects.

On its website, the company notes that it has “earned a well-deserved reputation as a firm that holds integrity, value and craftsmanship above all else.”


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Commercial contractors; Enforcement; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Lead; Lead paint abatement; Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP); Maintenance + Renovation; Renovation

Comment from Catherine Brooks, (6/10/2013, 11:06 AM)

$28,000 certainly won't put this multi-million dollar company out of business. A 10-month cycle from EPA inspection to fine settlement is a very reasonable turn around time for any case - government or private. When the EPA RRP enforcement funds focus on these larger companies, we citizens get the biggest bang for our taxes and reduce the lead poisoning risks for the larger number of children. Good job.

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