Alexandra Whiteside, “The Lady Contractor" describes herself as "both a professional interior designer and Virginia Class A building contractor."http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0133f2e3c24b970b-pi
http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0133f2e3c4c7970b-piIn a recent blog entry she cites the recent fire in Virginia Beach, VA that I covered here in a previous post to dispel the myth that new homes don't burn and to emphasize the importance of home fire sprinklers. The title of her blog post is "EVERY HOME should have a fire sprinkler system!"
She owns Chelsea Custom Contracting, a Virginia Beach based design-build firm, conducting residential and commercial remodeling and new construction projects, including custom homes and modular homes.
In my opinion, the "tipping point" in the struggle to mandate fire sprinklers in all new homes will only come when more builders like Ms. Whiteside are convinced that fire sprinklers are vital to the protection of life and property in their communities. It is also something that will benefit them in the long run. Having one of your custom built homes touted as being "fire proof"burn to the ground negatively impacts that builder's credibility and image.
Homebuilders are crucial stakeholders in the home fire sprinkler initiative and it is vitally important to reach out to them with education and examples such as the fire in Virginia Beach, along with numerous others happening out there every day.
While writing this blog, I realized that the only encounter most home fire sprinkler advocates have had with homebuilders and their representatives is during code and legislative hearings. These interactions are, for the most part unpleasant and adversarial. I have come to the conclusion that there are many others out there like "The Lady Contractor" who we may not know about and who can become converts to our cause if we just reach out to them.
The HFSC has developed an educational piece for homebuilders. I encourage all field advocates to take advantage of this free resource from HFSC to reach out to the builders in your communities.
I dream of the day when homebuilders and life safety advocates will stand together touting home fire sprinklers in every new home.