“Containment” is a system of temporary barriers used to isolate a work area so that no dust or debris escapes while the renovation is being performed.  There are many degrees of containment, ranging from simple plastic sheeting on the floor surrounding a small work area to a fully enclosed space. Some types of containment are more effective than other types. Lead renovator containment is governed by the Environmental Protection Agencies Renovate, Repair, Painting rule. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Lead Safe Housing rule may also apply when working in federally assisted target housing. Containment protects residents, and helps prevent the spread of dust to the rest of the house or building and neighboring properties and it makes for much easier cleaning at the end of the job.

What do the rules require for interior containment?

This will depend on the surface of the floor where the work will be taking place. If the floor is a hard surface, the minimum containment requirement is six feet in each direction. However, the ground containment must contain any dust being produced. If the floor is carpeted, all of the carpet must be covered with plastic. If the room is extremely large, it may make sense to build a vertical containment to minimize ground containment.

All of the doors leading into the work area must be covered with plastic. The door that will be used to exit and enter the work area must be covered with plastic. Warning signs must be posted at the work area entrance, and all of the entrances leading into the property. All furniture must be covered or removed, and the HVAC system should be covered with plastic and turned off.

What do the rules require for exterior containment?

Exterior containment requires that you have at least ten feet of ground containment in each direction, all doors and windows are closed within 20 feet of the work area, a perimeter with signs at each approachable side established 20 feet away from the edge of your ground containment.

Do you have any tips for containment?

Consider how much dust the renovation will generate. Containment design is a function of the work practices to be used and the expected amount of dust to be generated during the renovation. Plan the size and configuration of containment to keep the generated dust within containment. Remember, you are responsible for making sure dust does not migrate out of containment.

For more information on the Renovate, Repair, and Painting Rule please click the links below:

Renovate Right Brochure
EPA Lead Renovate Forms
Register for EPA RRP Lead Renovator Initial Certification