Saturday, March 18, 2006

Customer Protection

As previously discussed OSHA concerns itself with worker protection while EPA concerns itself with protecting the public. In the remodeling business the public is the customer or occupants. Concern for protection of occupants of housing units where remodeling activities are taking place is increasing. EPA has recently released the so called Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule. The stated goal of the rule is to ensure that no lead-based paint hazards are left behind after the completion of a remodeling project. Protecting occupants from lead dust hazards is another laudable goal; however, as with most federal regulations, the proposed RRP has its challenges. Setting those challenges aside let’s look closer at the idea of customer protection.

Anyone would agree that keeping a jobsite clean and orderly is probably a good thing. We all know what is next to Godliness. The degree to which the RRP establishes work practices to reach its stated goal goes too far for most remodeling projects. But, when looking for a model by which a remodeler can design systems for dust control, the RRP certainly fits the bill. The setting up of isolation systems or dust containment systems as spelled out in the proposed rule would certainly protect occupants on a project. That which customers are being protected from is not necessarily the potential negative health effects that may develop from exposure to the hazardous dust from a remodeling project which was already present in the house before the project was even started, but rather protection against customer dissatisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is directly linked to how well the remodeler keeps their project neat and clean. In the July 2005 issue of Qualified Remodeler results of their customer satisfaction survey found that there is a direct relationship between keeping a jobsite clean and the level of customer satisfaction. Customers were more the twice as satisfied on those projects that were kept tidy than those projects that were not.

So, when looking at dust control in remodeling, one must work through the regulatory issues with focus on the satisfaction of their customers. Protecting this satisfaction is best accomplished by paying close attention to how well the job site is kept clean.


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