Colorado’s Senate Bill 12-081, a prohibition on local governments requiring the installation of fire sprinklers in new single family construction was voted down by the Senate Committee on Local Government. In Illinois, legislation introduced yesterday, House Bill 5847, would prohibit the requirement in all new single family dwellings and requires “mandatory option” of the systems.
The Colorado bill, introduced on January 19th and sponsored by Senator Kevin Grantham of District 2 failed to garner any support in the House. It was heard in committee on February 14th and defeated by a 3-2 vote. This represents a great victory for life safety advocates in Colorado who have worked for at least three years in a task force representing major stakeholders to facilitate the requirement in the state.
Illinois' House Bill 5847 sponsored by Representative Michael Unis of the 91st District, prohibits local jurisdictions from requiring installation of automatic fire sprinklers in single family dwellings. The bill replaced the requirement with a mandate requiring builders to offer the systems as an option, also known as “mandatory option.” If passed, fire sprinklers would be presented to home buyers as an amenity, like granite counter tops and upgraded flooring; all of which cost more than multipurpose fire sprinkler systems.
Mandatory option is like “asking the fox to watch the hen house,” in view of the fact that home builders represent the biggest opponent against this minimum model code requirement in all new home construction. There is empirical evidence to suggest that objective education of consumers will not be performed, coupled with the fact that only the first buyer of a custom built home will be able to make a choice for subsequent buyers over the next 50-100 years – the number of years that major home components last - according to a study by the National Association of Home Builders. The decisions made today impact many generations of home buyers.
Visit the Legislation/Adoptions section of our website often, to stay updated on the status of anti-sprinkler legislation and other information concerning home fire sprinklers. Also, read our blog on an ongoing basis if you wish to stay informed on all aspects of this issue.