Fire sprinklers set to become a standard feature in all new homes.

Members of the International Code Council’s Residential Building Code Committee (RBCC) made it clear fire sprinklers will become a standard feature in all new homes; the fire sprinkler requirement was added to the International Residential Code (IRC) last year, and is scheduled to become effective Jan. 1, 2011, in states that adopt the latest version of this code. Currently, 48 states use the IRC as a basis of regulating residential construction, although some states lag behind in adopting updates.

At a hearing held in early-November, the National Association of Home Builders had petitioned the ICC (publisher of the IRC) to repeal the fire sprinkler requirement, but the RBCC rejected that request by a vote of seven to four.

“This vote is significant in two ways,” announced ChiefRonny J. Coleman, president of the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition and former fire marshal for the state of California. “Not only did the RBCC reject the homebuilders’ request to repeal the sprinkler requirement, but if you look at the vote, every member of the committee, other than the four who are appointed by NAHB, voted to uphold the fire sprinkler requirement.”

Following the committee vote, NAHB made an attempt to use a new procedure in the ICC process that allows members assembled at the hearing to overrule the committee decision. However, the 1,000 ICC members in attendance voted to affirm the RBCC’s decision.

“ICC’s message on this matter is pretty clear,” saidJeffrey Shapiro, P.E., executive director of the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition, in the affirmation announcement. “Their membership has now supported the home fire sprinkler requirement at both the 2008 and 2009 annual hearings, and each of those votes passed by more than a two-thirds margin.”

Founded in 2007, the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition has grown to include more than 100 international, national and regional public safety organizations, including associations representing 45 states who support the mission of promoting residential fire sprinkler systems in new home construction. The Coalition was formed to educate public policymakers on the value of residential sprinkler systems and to support related legislation.

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Source: IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition