I can’t think of any other way to say it, especially when it’s been said this succinctly: New Home Sprinkler Requirement Improves Safety .19%.
About 3000 Americans die in house fires every year. Beginning in January 2011, a change to the International Residential Code (IRC) aims to reduce that number by making fire sprinklers mandatory in all new single-family residences. Sounds good, but home-building lobbies from Texas to Georgia have defied what they call an impractical, expensive mandate, convincing legislators to pass bills overriding the requirement.
The fire survival rate in homes with working smoke detectors is 99.41 percent, according to the NFPA. Toss in a sprinkler, and the rate rises to 99.6 percent. “Consider how little it costs to install smoke alarms,” Orlowski says. “For the cost of the sprinklers, you’re really not getting a significant increase in safety.” But you are, for better or worse, buying a house that’s built to the latest code.
Why not let the buyers choose?
Rather than mandate a $5k increase in building costs, why not focus on the smoke detectors? Courteney Stuart at The Hook has been writing about the smoke detectors for years.