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Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes

 
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:30 AM   #1
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Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


I'm curious. What other states do this and what have been your experiences with it?


http://www.neagle.com/topstories/x1799247741/Fire-sprinklers-required-for-new-homes

Wayne County, Pa. —
All new single family dwellings being built after Jan. 1, 2011 are required to have installed an automatic sprinkler system, according to Pennsylvania State law.
According to Don Konkle, executive director of Pennsylvania’s Fire and Emergency Institute and a former fire chief, since the 1980s there have been attempts to put this code into effect. Fire officials determined that most deaths and injuries occur in single family dwellings. In accordance with this information which has been recorded since pre-Revolutionary America.
There is an extra cost in installing a sprinkler system which approximates $1.40 per square foot in a home that has a public water supply and rises to $1.60 to $2.00 per square foot if a home gets its water supply from a well which does not have the facility of pumping out water quickly. Translated, for a 2,000 square foot home, the additional cost for construction would be as much as $4,000.
Local building associations have appealed this decision for several years as the added burden of extra money may deter a new home owner from building.
On Thursday, Jan. 6 members of the Wayne County Builders Association met at Ehrhardt’s to go over the new guidelines in a one day seminar. Approximately 50 builders, designers and architects assembled with materials to better understand and put into effect the new law. On hand was a book entitled “Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems: Design, Installation and Code Administration” put together by the International Code Council. It is an extremely detailed book that addresses many concerns and the whys and how-tos of installing the systems.
The book informs the reader that the reason for the seminar was to provide instruction not available elsewhere. The seminar was a short intensive course that discussed the issues that are the basis of fire sprinkler system design, diagrams, questions that may come up and answers as a follow up to all that attended.
“We have on hand plumbers, builders, designers, and architects,” Joseph Harcum, past president of Wayne County Builders Associated said to The News Eagle.
Kevin Coutts, also a past president said that although everyone assembled was ready and willing to put this code into action, there has been some reaction by the builders because, “we would like to see this be an option, rather than mandatory.”
“A young couple that has to put out a chunk of money on top of the building makes the house more expensive. This is additional money they must put out,” he explained as to why collectively as a group Wayne County Builders would want to see this be a selection of options rather than a mandatory law.
“We want affordable housing for all people. This, sometimes, puts a crimp on the affordability of a newly constructed house,” Harcum said.
“There are only five states besides Pennsylvania which has made this a law,” he said.
One of the problems is that where there is a well or separate water supply, there also has to be a separate tank that pumps the water very quickly for the systems.
“The sprinkler systems run for seven to 10 minutes and go on when the temperature, presumably from a fire, rises to 165 degrees,” he said, informatively.
According to Don Konkle at the Pennsylvania Fire Institute, the systems pump out 26 gallons a minute and are constructed to put out small fires immediately.
Konkle said, “We feel this is a win-win situation for everyone. There is no annual maintenance and only an initial cost.”
It is the current law that smoke alarms must be in most areas of homes. It is very important that batteries are checked periodically, according to Harcum.
Although it is a definite that the cost of building a home will be increased, Pennsylvania State Fire officials mandate that a new home must have this sprinkler system. Existing homes (built before 2011) are not effected by this law.
Pike County Builders Association has scheduled a breakfast workshop for general contractors and others interesting in the new fire sprinkler regulation, Wednesday, Jan. 26. The event is from 9 to 11:30 a.m., at the Hampton Inn, Matamoras. The cost is $10/member and $25/non-member. Reservations are needed. Reply by e-mail at [email protected] or call the office at (570)296-5589.
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:58 AM   #2
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


This will be a bonanza for equipment manufacturers.

If you see a lot of lobbyists buying new cars you'll know why.

It seems they are using the public's
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-risk_bias
to make virtually no impact on overall public safety.
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/code/pdf/...e%20Deaths.pdf

I make the same argument for AFCIs.

And suppose these sprinklers have a high false alarm rate?
How often do you want to replace your furniture and appliances and drywall and hardwood floors?
Four thousand dollars is just the beginning.

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Last edited by GettingBy; 01-14-2011 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:52 AM   #3
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


The last two houses I did before I moved out of Nassau County, NY required fire sprinklers. Don't know all the details because we were just the trim guys, but I do know that on both houses there were major leaks that ruined quite a bit of flooring and sheetrock.

I think its more of a money maker than anything else.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:54 AM   #4
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Quote:
Originally Posted by GettingBy View Post
This will be a bonanza for equipment manufacturers.

If you see a lot of lobbyists buying new cars you'll know why.

It seems they are using the public's
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-risk_bias
to make virtually no impact on overall public safety.
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/code/pdf/...e%20Deaths.pdf

I make the same argument for AFCIs.

And suppose these sprinklers have a high false alarm rate?
How often do you want to replace your furniture and appliances and drywall and hardwood floors?
Four thousand dollars is just the beginning.

I think they work when the temp. inside reaches a certain level and then go off. Not like a smoke detector.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:23 PM   #5
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Here you go:

http://http://www.jlconline.com/cgi-bin/jlconline.storefront/4d255a870917dbd027170a32100a060d/UserTemplate/69?c=d5d6a70d18501b26e831cd2828e8b7d6&p=1

Why compete for market share when you can just make the government do it for you?
Remind anyone of our friends at the Simpson company....
Our process for these things is absolutely ridiculous.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Koetter Woodworking, a local supplier of trim and hardwood mouldings. Has set up a line for fire rated raised panel doors and trim. They are anticipating ne wcode requiring a fire separation between the attached garage and house.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:36 PM   #7
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


A similar BC amendment went into effect here in Ontario as well as of April 2010. Most single family dwelling units are exempt however ( I have to check, forgot off the top of my head).

On the one hand it relaxes Fire performance rating requirements of materials/construction techniques, on the other hand...just something else to deal with.

A big win for Insurance companies...that's for sure.

I expect policy rates to be dropping annny time now
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:53 PM   #8
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Quote:
Originally Posted by Heritage View Post

A big win for Insurance companies...that's for sure.

I expect policy rates to be dropping annny time now
Don't worry, your rate for Fire/smoke damage will go down but rates for water damage will more than make up for it
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:30 PM   #9
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Just the government sticking its nose where it does not belong. People's freedom to choose it being stripped away little by little.

The part about it being only the initial cost and no annual maintenance is a joke. It will most likely not be annual but there will be future costs. Pipes, fittings, and sprinkler heads all have failure rates, not to mention poor installations that will happen.

The sprinkler industry has quite a racket going on. Many buildings required to have a sprinkler system have no possible way of burning. I am working on a school addition right now. Roughly a 35,000 sq ft gym addition. The only wood in the place will be the hardwood floor and a few pieces of trim at a few locations. The building is 99% concrete, masonry, glass, and steel. What will burn??? But I'm sure the sprinkler system will cost a pretty penny. For what? So some people can feel safe about their kids school having a sprinkler system? That is an unfounded idea that costs everyone alot of money. Rant over
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:46 PM   #10
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


In Missouri all our Home Builder Associations worked hard and succeeded in the state legislature passing a law making it a mandatory option (I have to have a customer sign a paper that shows they were offered the option for a bid if they would like) and outlawing any jurisdiction from enacting the new code standard as mandatory. The last sunsets the end of this year so now again we are trying to get the current situation extended or made permanent. All the HBA's have been gathering copies of the data provided by the customer (the homeowner) and have found that only about 1% have even wanted an estimate. It is a huge added cost that will drive prices up and make it harder for a builder to compete against existing homes...last thing we need when we are in a down market and already competing against foreclosures.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:05 PM   #11
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Try getting a 2000 sq ft home sprinklered for 4g...good luck with that. And the ones that have them complain about dripping and leaking heads -all of which are always in the worst of spots.

Also, some towns in PA require them in remodeling/additions once they reach a certain % of existing home.

The right thing to do IMO is to require builders to offer the system and/or let the customer decide if it's right. Same feeling toward RRP.

Oh well, let me get back to the herd
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:13 PM   #12
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


It's required on SFD over 5000 s/f here.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:28 PM   #13
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


It really doesn't make much sense to me.
Since smoke alarms should alert the occupants
when a fire has started,it seems that the only
thing being saved is the structure.
As mentioned,false alarms would do a
lot of damage,adding to insurance claims so
where's the savings?
Rural locations would be at risk to greater damage
because of response time,and lack of fire hydrants,but
what kind of sprinkler system would be affective running off
a well?
How many gallons a minute would you need to feed that system?
I can see it costing a lot more than just the system itself.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:38 PM   #14
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


TJI in fire will fail a lot faster than a 2x joist. I don't know what it is like in the USA, but in this region of Canada, more and more are using TJI's to frame a floor than 2x. This could be the lessen the risk of the building collapsing on the occupants during the event of a fire.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:50 PM   #15
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


As a firefighter i will say this, why would you fight this? At or below $2 a sf it is worth it. They have pex that can be used for fire sprinklers. 1 head 10 gpm will put out most fires. They only go off when the heat is above the sprinkler head temp, ie 165 degrees. There are NO false alarms. I have one and I would not live in a house without one.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:55 PM   #16
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


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Old 01-14-2011, 06:58 PM   #17
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Quote:
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As a firefighter i will say this, why would you fight this? At or below $2 a sf it is worth it. They have pex that can be used for fire sprinklers. 1 head 10 gpm will put out most fires. They only go off when the heat is above the sprinkler head temp, ie 165 degrees. There are NO false alarms. I have one and I would not live in a house without one.
You seriously think Pex would hold up in a fire?
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:59 PM   #18
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


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You seriously think Pex would hold up in a fire?
Yes, I know it does.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:06 PM   #19
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Quote:
Originally Posted by pruane
As a firefighter i will say this, why would you fight this? At or below $2 a sf it is worth it. They have pex that can be used for fire sprinklers. 1 head 10 gpm will put out most fires. They only go off when the heat is above the sprinkler head temp, ie 165 degrees. There are NO false alarms. I have one and I would not live in a house without one.
To you it is worth it. That is why it should be left up to each individual homeowner to decide. Our government has to quite mandating, if someone chooses not to have one they are taking that risk.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:07 PM   #20
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Re: Fire Sprinklers Required For New Homes


Here's one reason among MANY:

Remodels can trigger the sprinkler requirement.
Here's your conversation with the AHJ: What you have inadequate supply from the main? What the local feed off the main is only 4"? Oh no problem sir just fix all that and we'll approve your kitchen addition, while of course allowing you to retrofit sprinkler heads throughout the house... for safety.

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