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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pending Sprinkler Regs Has Minnesota Homebuilders Upset

Here is part of an article in the Duluth News Tribune that makes a valid point for fighting sprinklers in new home construction. 

A home indoor sprinkler system mandate would hurt middle-class families looking for their dream home by adding thousands of dollars to their purchase price. A sprinkler system costs $2.30 per square foot with a municipal water system. For homes without municipal water, which includes many in northern Minnesota, the cost goes up to $3.72 per square foot. For a 4,500-square-foot home, we’re talking about a range of $10,000 to $16,000 or more of additional expense.
If fire safety in modern Minnesota homes was a significant problem, the Builders Association would stand with the sprinkler-manufacturing industry and the Department of Labor and Industry to support this mandate. But the measure has been studied carefully by the Department of Labor and Industry’s own code technical advisory committee, in a Minnesota state survey, and by the Minnesota Legislature. Across the board, all groups opposed the indoor home sprinkler system mandate, calling it unnecessary, expensive and burdensome.

And there is one cost no one can estimate: What happens when a home indoor sprinkler system malfunctions and soaks the house when there is no fire? It gets cold here in Minnesota. Whether or not insurance is willing to cover the damage, why should Minnesota families face that hardship when our new homes are the national model for safety?

READ the entire article 

3 comments:

Douglas Gorman said...

The cost for a malfunction will most likely be a total loss of the home. Even a small fire that otherwise would have been contained, will likely result in a total loss if sprinklers are present. If I were building a new home today I would not want a sprinkler system as a gift much less pay $10,000+ so they could destroy my home. Insurance companies I have visited with oppose them for the same reason. Another example of someone getting rich while politicians refuse to let consumers make their own decisions.

Anonymous said...

Dueling lobbies and the Fire Marshals win. Oh, bet the NHBA thinks that this will further push their modular red headed step child further to the curb so lets not oppose because we just add the cost to the consumer. Where did the NHBA stand on the issue in the "Minnesoda" legislature.....hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

The problem is much deeper than just the cost of the sprinkler systems and the damage they may cost when or if they malfunction. As many know Pennsylvania had legislation in place to mandate sprinklers in all new home construction. The State HBA put together a very active campaign involving members of various locals to reach out to the legislators and put some points out for them to consider.
First let's deal with the the supply of water to the system and what would happen in the event a home owner got underwater on the house and the water utility shut off the domestic water to the house? What happens in the event there is a fire in that house and the houses around it get damaged, who will be responsible? Secondly lets deal with the appraisal process and where the comps will come from showing the value of proposed system? With the lack of comps would that mean that the consumer has to shell this money out of pocket for the suppression system, further lessening their ability to buy this new home? Next , what are the actual statistics that the NFPA calculated for lives saved by having a sprinkler system in new home construction ? Finally, most states derive revenue from Transfer taxes applied to the sale of new homes, would enactment really help that revenue source?
I know first hand having fought the battle in PA that it takes concessions to the Firefighters. There is no one that wants to see these devoted group, be hurt in any way while fighting a fire or trying to save lives when doing so. So their concerns mixed with some pragmatic thinking on the part of the legislators has to for this to end well for all parties.