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Residential Fire Sprinkler Requirement Receives Landslide Support

September 23, 2008
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International Code Council vote confirms need for life-saving technology in new homes.

Voting members of the International Code Council overwhelmingly (73 percent) supported a residential fire sprinkler requirement for all new one- and two-family homes and townhouses. Fire service and building code officials united to approve the requirement and countered opposition. According to code officials, the code proposal, RB64, easily overcame a procedural requirement that mandated a super-majority of two-thirds approval. This represents an unprecedented step forward in advancing home fire safety in the United States, ICC reported.

The IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition, an association of more than 100 fire service, building code official and safety organizations representing 45 states, assumed a leadership position and secured unified support for this issue over the past 18 months.

“Our team worked hard to rally support throughout the United States for a residential fire sprinkler requirement, but our supporters deserve the recognition for showing up en masse in Minneapolis,” said Ronny J. Coleman, president of the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition, in a statement. “They know from experience that sprinklers are the answer to the nation’s fire problem.”

The sprinkler mandate will first appear in the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC), which will be published by the end of the year. A total of 46 states use the IRC as the basis of regulating new home construction.

“The vote was a historic moment in residential fire safety – and is a significant step in a long journey before sprinklers are installed in every new home,” noted Coleman. “We’re now going to move forward at the state and local level to ensure new code requirement is adopted.”

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