Saturday, April 12, 2014

Illinois Home Builders Face Off with State Fire Marshall Over Sprinklers

A new mandate from the State Fire Marshal is being debated at the Statehouse.  Those opposed to new regulations are hoping lawmakers will make the final decision in this battle between the State Fire Marshal and home builders.

While organizations and lawmakers point out the thousands of dollars this mandate could potentially cost home builders, fire fighters here and across the state, ask, can you put price on a life-saving device?  That's the question being debated in the House.
The State Fire Marshal is pushing for a mandate that would force the installation of fire sprinklers in all new home construction.

"Life safety is huge and if we can prevent the fire, or hold the fire in check, prior to the fire department's arrival, that gives our citizens a better chance to escape that building that may be on fire," said Springfield Fire Chief Ken Fustin.

But, some area organizations are calling the mandate unnecessary.

"The homes built today all have smoke detectors that are wired and we have the national statistics that show that 99.4% of lives are saved because you're awake, you're woken up, you get out of the house," said Dean Graven, representative with the Springfield Area Home Builders Association.

They also call it unfair.

"You're looking at a minimum of $6,000, to as much as $15,000, to have that put in,"  said Graven.

Read The Article....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The cost fire suppression systems is not the real issue. The real issues will be the lack of preparedness on the part of the banking, appraisal and building world. We fought off this same issue in PA a few years back. The fire marshals had some well founded concerns, the least of which was the loss of life. I am not saying this to be flip[ but the NFPA's own statistics on the projected number of lives that would be saved in a newly constructed home with a fire suppression system were so small it made no sense at all. everyone has to remember that we added smoke and heat detectors to the code years ago and this early warning system does much to get souls out of the house in time. There are other devices such as VOICE alarmed smoke/heat detectors that can be installed that have been proven to do an even better job than the conventional ones used today.
Back to my original point. Where will the comps come from when an appriasal is done to support the extra costs of a suppression system? How will banks view this lack of comps and the additional costs? Will they require this cost to be put up in addition to the deposit? How many potential home buyers will get knocked out of the marketplace by this requirement? Are the municipal water systems set up to handle the additional water supply required and will it be done via separate tap fees? What happens when a home gets reprocessed and someone at one of the super regional banks forgets to make the water tap fee payment and a fire starts?and the fire spreads to an adjoining residence, who will be responsible? How much will this cost the states in lost revenue via transfer taxes being reduced as a result lower number of home sales?
Look the fire fighters have some great concerns. Is the floor they would be walking on while doing a search for souls fire rated? How they be sure that a house is safe to enter after upon arriving at the site? But these are minimal code changes that can be put in place to arrest their concerns.
In short the idea of requiring single family detached new home construction to have fire suppression systems is more than just the cost of the systems. The impact is much greater. In Pennsylvania we were fortunate enough to have a legislature that listened to our arguments and verified our statements, then made rhte right choice.