Pennsylvania repeals automatic sprinkler requirement
In an effort to lower new home prices, Pennsylvania has repealed a requirement for automatic sprinkler systems in most new residences. However, builders must still offer the systems as an option.
The new law, the first to be signed by the state’s new Gov. Tom Corbett, relieves builders of one-family and two-family dwellings of the automatic fire sprinkler system requirement of the International Residential Code of 2009. Corbett called it a “common sense” measure that will help keep new home prices within the reach of Pennsylvania’s working families. “Whether or not new homes are equipped with sprinklers should be a decision left to individual consumers and not the government,” Corbett said. “While there are arguments on both sides of this issue, I believe the sprinkler mandate is wrongheaded.”
Corbett’s office said in a statement that home construction industry groups claim that the 2009 mandate would have boosted home construction costs by thousands of dollars. Builders also say that the state’s construction code already requires hard-wired smoke detectors.
Along with keeping the option for automatic fire sprinkler systems, builders in the state are required to provide buyers with information that explains the initial and ongoing costs, as well as the benefits, of such a system. The law also makes technical changes to Pennsylvania’s Uniform Construction Code.