Minnesota Builders Try to Block Sprinkler Law
The Builders Association of the Twin Cities has gone to court in an attempt to roll back a new law that requires fire sprinklers to be installed in all new houses of 4500 sq. ft. or more, according to a post at ConstructionDive.com.
In its request to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the builders’ group said that installing sprinklers can add as much as $10,000 to the cost of building a house–even more if the house doesn’t have municipal water services. Local fire chiefs had pushed for the change.
The requirement for fire sprinklers is among a number of code changes being introduced in January and February. The provision requiring sprinklers took effect on Jan. 24 and made Minnesota the fourth state in the country to require fire sprinklers in at least some single-family homes. California, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., require them in one- and two-family homes, ConstructionDive reported, while Massachusetts requires them in one- and two-family homes of more than 14,000 sq. ft. In eight other states, sprinklers are required in new town houses.
A statement posted at the website of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities quotes past president Shawn Nelson objecting to amendments to the International Residential Code and International Energy Conservation Code that were adopted in Minnesota. Collectively, the code changes will add up to $20,000 for a 4500-sq.-ft. house that also needs a sprinkler system, he said.
The statement said that the builders group worked with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for more than two years on scheduled code changes and agreed with most of the revisions. But some of the changes, it said, will “create expensive product and technique requirements and remove project flexibility.”
“Adding tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home, when equivalent, cost-effective options exist in the areas of safety or energy efficiency just doesn’t make sense,” Nelson said. “For every $1000 in price increase for a home, another 2000 potential buyers are priced out of the market. Home builders should have the flexibility to work with customers to build their dream homes, rather than be required by government to choose only the most expensive solutions.”