A measure potentially adding $10,000 or more to the cost of a single-family home will join the 2009 International Residential Code following a 1,283–470 favorable vote during mid-September International Code Council meetings in Minneapolis
Sources: CP staff; National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.
A measure potentially adding $10,000 or more to the cost of a single-family home will join the 2009 International Residential Code following a 1,283Ò470 favorable vote during mid-September International Code Council meetings in Minneapolis. In communities nationwide that adopt IRC outright, the provision will require builders to install automatic fire sprinklers in all single- and two-family homes and townhomes, likely at the expense of discretionary or trade-up features buyers select for interiors or exteriors.
A leading opponent of residential fire sprinkler mandates, NAHB noted questionable circumstances during the 2009 IRC final hearing: 900 fire service members arrived suddenly to vote on the sprinkler measure; and, despite additional roll call measures, approximately 1,200 voting devices were turned in to ICC staff following the sprinkler vote. In a press release, IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition President Ronny Coleman crowed, Our team worked hard to rally support throughout the United States for a residential fire sprinkler requirement, but our supporters deserve the recognition for showing up en masse in Minneapolis.
On their own time or public payroll, fire service officials represent sprinkler promotion groups, whose manufacturer and contractor members can profit immensely from code language favoring their products and services. The 2009 IRC, however, will not guarantee windfall. States and cities that model their own codes on the IRC can modify or strike requirements as they see fit. Homebuilder groups and affordable-housing advocates coast-to-coast will almost assuredly continue to weigh in with state and local officials on residential fire sprinklersÌ dubious cost-benefit and performance track record, as well as maintenance requirements most homeowners are ill-prepared to tackle.