By Barbara S. Williams, Editor Emeritus
The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC
"Advocates of a life-saving fire sprinkler mandate for new residential construction in South Carolina won a critical, very hard-fought battle last week. What's now in question is whether S.C. lawmakers will allow that victory to stick. Unfortunately, an effort to overrule that win already is under way in the Statehouse.
According to accounts, a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 heard some five hours of pro and con testimony before Wednesday's 6-3 decision by the S.C. Building Codes Council to adopt the national code provision that includes the mandate.
S.C. sprinkler advocates know from years of experience on the national level just how hard it is to overcome the opposition of the homebuilders' powerful lobby. In 2008, the International Code Council's convention delegates finally approved the residential sprinkler mandate, with a 2011 effective date. Fortunately, subsequent attempts by the homebuilders' lobby to undo that decision have failed. But the 46 states that adhere to the ICC codes also have to approve the change, which triggered a lengthy adoption process in this state."