Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 9:08 am
By Jim Crawford
For the August 2012 Issue of FireRescue
The fire and life safety community is well aware of the benefits of residential fire sprinklers. What’s painfully clear is that the general public doesn’t share our level of concern. The public policy debate has been taking place across the nation since the model codes (first NFPA and then the International Code Council (ICC)) required fire sprinklers in new construction for one and two-family dwellings. The real impetus for this debate stems from the adoption of those requirements in the body of the International Residential Code (IRC). You’d have to be hiding under a rock to avoid noticing that the homebuilder community has been actively, and successfully, opposing this requirement ever since—with two notable exceptions.
California adopted the IRC with the requirement for residential sprinklers intact. I’ve previously written about how California has long addressed the issues in a collaborative fashion, removing barriers all along the way so that when State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover and her partners in the state moved for adoption, it was approved.
Lesser known efforts have been under way in Maryland, which uses a more “bottom up” approach to mandating residential fire sprinklers. I recently had a chat with State Fire Marshal Bill Barnard, who explained their approach.
Maryland has been requiring sprinklers, community by community, for several years; in fact, it has had a statewide sprinkler requirement for all townhomes constructed since 1992.
Read the full article here.