It is not unusual for families to rely on the services of a professional nursing home to provide the medical care that their loved ones need, especially since this is often complicated care that cannot be provided by people without expert training. Families rely on the services of nursing homes to provide this care; however, residential care facilities/assisted living facilities will now be required to be in compliance with the HUD’s new radon testing requirements. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that typically exists at low levels that don’t cause substantial harm to human health. On the other hand, some locations are high in radon that can cause detrimental effects on the health of elderly individuals. It is important that all parties involved in the purchase/refinance or new construction of a residential care facilities are up to date on the new radon testing requirements published and go into effect on January 5, 2017, by the department of Housing and Urban Development.
New Radon Testing Requirements
There are a handful of requirements that everyone should be aware of. The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released new standards for radon testing/mitigation for all new loan applications, as well as other transactional requests for existing Section 232 projects. Per HUD’s lean 232 Program Handbook 4232.1 Rev-1 PUBLISHED, a new section has been added to address radon.
- A Radon Report must be provided
A radon report is required for all mortgage insurance applications; unless an exception listed in Section 7.8B.3 applies. The radon report shall include the results of any testing performed, the details of any recommended mitigation, and the timing of any such mitigation. The radon report must be signed and certified as to its compliance with the requirements by a Radon Professional certified with either the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) or The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB).
- All Radon Testing and Mitigation Must Be Performed by an AARST or NRSB Radon Professional.
Many organizations used to test their radon levels on their own. This is an obvious conflict of interest because the organization doesn’t want have to spend the money to clean up the radon; however, this is a chemical that can be harmful in excessive levels. Now, the testing must be performed by a radon professional. The Radon Professional must be certified from either American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) or National Radon Safety Board (NRSB); and certification licensure from the state in which the testing or mitigation work is being conducted, if the state has a requirement. This has additional implications because a radon professional has to be certified by the proper supervising authorities and have a valid license or certificate from the state. These regulations ensure that every radon professional has passed the necessary exams and has the qualifications necessary to be performing the testing and mitigation of radon.
- Radon Testing Must Follow ANSI/AARST Protocol MALB- 2014 Protocol for Conducting Measurements of Radon and Radon Decay Products in Schools and Large Buildings.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has set forth important protocols that govern how organizations can test their radon levels. There were organizations that used outdated or flawed radon testing levels that could return inaccurate levels. This could place the health of the building’s occupants at risk. Now, the government has indicated that there are certain radon testing protocols that need to be followed. The radon testing must follow the protocols set by the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, protocol for Conducting Measurements of Radon and Radon Decay Products in Schools and Large Buildings (ANSI_AARST MALB-2014), or most recent edition. Failure to test for radon using these methods leads to noncompliance with government regulations and can lead to a lender declining a loan.
- Mitigation Requirements:
Should the radon levels be above the 4.0 picocuries per liter (4.0 pCi/L), then the applicant has two options. 1: Mitigation in 100% of ground level units/rooms or 2. Test 100% ground level units/rooms. If during 100% ground level test, any units/rooms test above 4.0 pCi/L level, then applicant must follow the above standards
Radon resistant construction is required for all new construction, and radon mitigation is required for existing construction where testing has revealed that radon levels exceed the threshold for unacceptability. Radon mitigation must follow ANSI-AARST RMS-LB-2014, Radon Mitigation Standards for Schools and Large Buildings. New construction must follow Radon Prevention in the Design and Construction of Schools and Other Large Buildings EPA 625-R-92-016, June 1994.
Ultimately, the health of the occupants and employees at assisted living centers depend on the proper testing and mitigation of radon levels. Be sure you are following the new requirements and that they are part of you or your client’s loan application.
Excessive levels of radon can be hazardous to the health of people. Patients and their families should be assured that their center is in compliance with the new radon requirements for HUD Lean 232 Programs