Fire Prevention Advocates Disappointed in N.C.

An article in the Charlotte Observer from Tuesday explains the “North Carolina State Building Code Council (NCSBCC) declined to consider a request that sprinkler systems be required in large or multi-story family homes.”

As an outsider, two things came to me glaringly while reading the article:

Number 1 is the notion by the NCSBCC Chairman that it’s an unworthy notion to consider a sprinkler requirement in homes that exceed predetermined square footages or heights. In the commercial realm square footage, frontage, and height allowances are based (not solely) but in a big part, on whether a building is sprinklered or not. I agree that all homes should be sprinklered. Having said that it’s not an absurd notion to say that the bigger (or taller) the house the harder it would be to evacuate in case of a fire.

Number 2 is a statement made at the very end of the article. I am going to quote the article word for word because the statement is so crazy I’m can’t believe that N.C. Home Builders would make such a claim;

In a statement, the North Carolina Home Builders Association praised the council’s decision, saying it, ‘supports the development of an effective public fire-safety education program.’ The association argued current building requirements adequately provide for fire safety and that the costs of sprinkler systems exceed the potential property losses they might prevent.

The author of the article quotes the home builders as saying it [the NC Home Builders], “supports the development of an effective public fire-safety education program.” Then paraphrased, if you will, the builders association’s stance that current building codes are sufficient for fire safety AND (here’s the punchline), “the costs of the sprinkler systems exceed the potential property losses they might prevent.”

In my “I’m BAaaak” post a few days ago I begged the question whether or not it would be possible to spend even a Million dollars (the loss estimate of the house fire I referred to) on a sprinkler system over the life of a home. I say no way (under the current dollar value mind you). But, physical property will be the least concern in a catastrophic house fire.

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