June 18th, 2008 by Residential Fire Sprinklers .com
By Dan Clawson
Home fire sprinkler systems save billions of dollars while saving lives of countless occupants and firefighters. Sprinklers typically cost one-half percent to 1 percent of a new home’s price, but more than pay for themselves in reduced insurance premiums and other savings. A September 2007 study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that “failing to install sprinkler systems in residential dwellings is no longer supported on economic grounds, at least from a homeowner’s perspective.” Residential sprinklers are being added to building codes around the country.
Yet on May 19, the City Council approved fire code standards proposed by the administration that exempt newly constructed single-family homes from sprinkler requirements. The reason is simple. Preventing such requirements is a top legislative priority for the Master Builders Association, as shown on its Web site. Sprinklers can cut into builders’ profits. The MBA regularly lobbies Renton elected officials, publicly and privately. This time it worked.
When developers’ profits are weighed against the safety and financial interests of Renton citizens, the welfare of the citizens must come first. The mayor and council should take a second look at the fire code and do the right thing for the people they represent.
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