NFPA staff joined the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) at this year's International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. During the show's expo, HFSC enticed industry experts to its booth by offering free, face-to-face discussions on home fire sprinklers. Matt Klaus, NFPA's principal fire protection engineer, tackled this group's misconceptions head-on, which he wrote about in the recent issue of NFPA Journal.
"Some homebuilders we talked to, despite never having gone through the process, were adamant that sprinklers would cost as much as $10 per square foot for new construction," Klaus writes in his "In Compliance" column. While NFPA places the national average at $1.35 per sprinklered square foot, it's not uncommon for installation costs per square foot to exceed $5 due to authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) adding additional features not found in NFPA 13D, Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellngs and Manufactured Homes, he added. "It is important that AHJs understand the purpose of [sprinklers in accordance with NFPA 13D] and that adding bells and whistles does not necessarily improve life safety—but will drive up costs," states Klaus.
Klaus was also able to counter the notion that "sprinklers are ugly" and complicated. Using a mock-up mimicking home fire sprinklers, Klaus explained at the expo that sprinklers are incredibly similar to a domestic plumbing system. "It is my hope that, as we continue to educate people, there will be an even greater level of acceptance of home fire sprinklers," he states.
Read the full article in NFPA Journal, and watch this video of Matt underscoring one of the biggest sprinkler myths: