By Ed Roskowinski, CR
On July 28, 2014 Minnesota lawmakers passed requirements for fire sprinklers to be included in the construction of all new homes larger than 4,500 square feet, including unfinished basements. The effective date for this change will be January 24, 2015.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this new requirement;
How much will a sprinkler system add to the cost of a Minnesota home?
A home indoor sprinkler system will increase the cost of a new four bedroom, three bathroom home by about $9,000. If the home uses private well water, the costs could exceed $13,000 once water pump and well improvements are considered. This cost does not include annual maintenance or the repair costs if the home indoor sprinkler system were to malfunction.
Weren’t newly built homes in Minnesota already safe?
Yes. Improved building standards and the home smoke detector law have greatly improved home safety. There have been ZERO residential fire deaths in newly built homes in Minnesota since interconnected smoke alarms were required a decade ago.
Do other states have home indoor sprinkler mandates?
41 states have rejected a home indoor sprinkler system mandate, and only one other state has adopted it as a statewide requirement (California). All of Minnesota’s neighboring states have rejected a home indoor sprinkler system mandate.
Has the public weighed in on this issue?
In 2011, a statewide poll revealed that 87% of Minnesotans opposed a home indoor sprinkler system mandate.
You might ask, “A homeowner can spend thousands of dollars on granite countertops, why not require that they make a similar investment into a safety feature that could save lives?” I guess it was my hope, and the hope of many in the building industry, that we would continue to allow the homeowner to choose whether they wanted to invest in additional safety features for their home.
Ed Roskowinski is General Manager and VP of Vujovich Design Build, Inc., a 37-year design build firm specializing in building and remodeling unique Twin City homes for unique homeowners.