Fire Sprinkler Mandate

Mandatory Fire Sprinklers

Home Builders Oppose Mandatory Fire Sprinklers

The home building industry is dedicated to the safety of the communities in which they build. Whenever changes are proposed to the building codes, we make sure that these proposals are necessary and that they are cost effective so that homes stay affordable. Fire sprinklers are expensive to install, can be difficult to maintain and do not represent a cost-effective safety improvement over smoke alarm systems. Indiana Builders Association supports programs that encourage the installation and maintenance of smoke alarm systems in all homes rather than measures to mandate fire sprinkler systems.

Fire Sprinklers Are Not Required in One and Two-Family Dwellings in Indiana YET

The requirement for mandatory fire sprinklers in all one and two-family dwellings and townhomes made its debut in the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC). Indiana reviewed this code for adoption in 2010 and the State Budget Agency did not approve any changes to the current residential code, except for Ch. 11 Energy Efficiency due to the significant fiscal impact.

What IBA is doing
  • IBA is forming alliances with other organizations that support the installation and maintenance of smoke alarm systems in all homes rather than measures to mandate fire sprinkler systems.
  • IBA is gathering information on the true costs of installing sprinkler systems.

Costs vary significantly, ranging from $2.66/ sq ft to $6.88/ sq ft, depending on a home’s location, layout, number of stories, and other factors – particularly access to water. Since much of Indiana is rural and many homes are on wells, typical costs are even higher because of the need for additional components such as storage tanks and larger pumps. Homeowners with wells must consider how the sprinklers will operate if the power goes out or if water pressure is a problem.

  • IBA commissioned a survey to determine Hoosier homeowners’ opinions regarding residential fire sprinklers. According to a Public Opinion Strategies Survey of 500 likely voters in Indiana conducted January 12-13, 2010:

* Nine out of ten Hoosiers believe smoke detectors do an adequate job of protecting their family from house fires.

* 57% believe that fire sprinkler systems should be optional for homebuyers that want them.

* Hoosier new homebuyers would prefer a free finished basement and even a free home security system over a free fire sprinkler system.

* Almost half of those surveyed do not want a fire sprinkler system regardless of cost.

What YOU Can Do

NAHB’s Fire Sprinkler Action Kit provides you with the information you need to know in opposing mandatory fire sprinkler requirements for one- and two-family dwellings in the IRC. The Action Kit covers a wide range of topics from concerns about residential sprinkler systems performance, installation, cost, and the arguments made by sprinkler proponents.

Direct questions about this critical initiative to Carlie Hopper at Carlie@BuildIndiana.org or 800-377-6334 x206.

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