Minnesota lawmakers have passed new requirements for fire sprinklers in new homes larger than 4,500 square feet, effective Janaury 24, 2015.
“This is a great move to keep our residents safer in single-family home construction,” George Esbensen, chief of the Eden Prairie Fire Department, and legislative chair of the Minnesota Fire Chiefs Association told CBS Minnesota.
Chief Esbensen says houses today are built with lighter materials and furnished with more synthetics than older homes. “It burns literally like gasoline or petroleum when it gets under fire,” he told CBS Minnesota.
Another sprinkler supporter is Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who has twice vetoed anti-sprinkler legislation and was recently vocal about a bonding bill that included a repeal of the new legislation.
A representative of the local builders association tells CBS Minnesota that the requirements are "unecessary".
“We are all for safety, but we know that this really not going to save lives and it’s going to cost people $9,000 to $20,000 a home, " said Builders Association of the Twin Cities executive director David Siegel.
According to a Fire Protection Research Foundation national study in 2013, the average cost per sprinklered square foot is $1.35. That would put the cost of sprinklering a 4,500 square foot home at $6,075.
Related: Ken Peterson and Scott McLellan of Minnesota's Department of Labor and Industry talk about their push to expand residential sprinkler use in the state. (NFPA Journal®, January/February 2014)