Builders Vs. Firefighters in National Battle Over Sprinklers

A fierce battle is brewing over new requirements for sprinklers in homes. Firefighters say the sprinklers are needed, but builders say the Sprinkler Code Coalition is having undue influence on code development.
July 28, 2009, 11am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"According to the National Fire Protection Agency, an international nonprofit established in 1896, the fatality rate in homes with sprinklers is 80 percent lower than homes without sprinklers. The National Association of Home Builders counters that the survival rate for homes with operating smoke detectors is nearly 99.5 percent, and thus the added protection addresses a tiny proportion of fire-related deaths. The National Fire Protection Agency endorses the use of sprinklers in homes.

The home builders' association estimates the cost to install a sprinkler system in a roughly 2,200-square-foot home at $5,573. When factoring in financing costs, brokerage commissions, and other related costs, the builders estimate costs of nearly $6,700 per home - and up to $10,000 per home in rural areas, Toalson said."

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Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 in The Center for Public Integrity
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