Building Code Passes Requiring Fire Sprinklers in New Homes Effective Jan. 1, 2011
The International Code Council (ICC), the leading building code body in the U.S., passed a building code requirement to include residential fire sprinklers in new homes during a code hearing in Minneapolis on Sept. 21, 2008. The vote, supported by an overwhelming 73% of attending members, represents an unprecedented step in advancing home fire safety in the United States. The code requires that sprinkler systems be installed in all single- and two-family homes and townhomes starting Jan. 1, 2011.
About the International Code Council (ICC)
The ICC, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states that adopt codes choose the International Codes developed by the ICC. They are dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes.
Implications of the ICC Vote
The code proposal, RB64, was passed by the ICC with 73% of members in favor. As a result, the following phrase will be included in the 2009 International Builders Code: "Effective January 1, 2011, an approved automatic fire sprinkler system shall be installed in new one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses in accordance with NFPA 13D".
Although the listed requirement date is about two years away, this ruling encourages many jurisdictions around the country to quickly join the cities, counties and communities who have already proactively adopted fire sprinklers as part of their residential building codes. In fact, hundreds of installers, builders, inspectors and fire marshals across the U.S. already routinely oversee the installation fire sprinkler systems to safeguard homeowners against the destruction and devestation of home fires.
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Uponor’s Fire Safety System
Uponor is an international manufacturer of fire safety systems with its North American headquarters located in Apple Valley, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. With years of experience in the fire safety industry, Uponor’s focus on community education and outreach sets us apart from other fire safety providers. We partner with fire departments across the U.S. to provide communities with life saving education, arming homeowners with tools to help them prevent death and destruction due to unexpected fires.
Uponor’s Residential Fire Safety System is an extension of a home’s plumbing system, which is installed quickly and affordably by a licensed contractor or plumber. Installing an Uponor Fire Safety System costs less than 2% of the total price of a home — roughly the same as an upgrade like stainless steel appliances or granite countertops. And a sprinkler system is the only upgrade that’s designed to save lives and property.
Benefits of a Multipurpose Fire Sprinkler System
- Combines the home’s cold-water plumbing system with the fire sprinkler system which ensures fresh water is available to the sprinklers if it is ever needed in the event of a fire
- Eliminates stagnant water problems and the need for check valves and backflow preventers
- Sprinklers activate in response to heat, not smoke
- Features concealed sprinklers which are hidden behind a plate to better flow with home décor
- A cost-effective upgrade that adds value and costs less than 2% of the total price of a home
- Conserves water — uses only 10 to 15 gallons of water per minute to control or extinguish a fire compared to 250 gallons a minute from a fire hose
- Can potentially save on homeowners’ insurance costs
- Uponor’s multipurpose system is backed by a 25-year limited warranty when installed by an Uponor-trained plumbing contractor
Jayson Drake, senior product manager, Fire Safety, Uponor North America
“Research makes a compelling argument to mandate fire safety systems in residential building codes. Sprinklers put out most fires in seconds, before the fire department arrives and before there's major damage. And Uponor’s fire sprinkler responds to heat, not smoke, and draws water from a home’s main cold-water line. Our system can be installed quickly and affordably, and it is the most reliable and cost-efficient system on the market.”
Eric Skare, volunteer firefighter, Lakeville, Minn., Fire Department
“As a firefighter, I regularly see the devastation to families and their property due to home fires. Many of these people live right in my own community, and their losses are seared into my memory. When I build my next home, I will absolutely install a fire safety sprinkler system to ensure that I have done everything in my power to protect my family and my investment from fire’s destruction. It really is an important home feature, and one that I don’t want to live without.”
Jim Lindahl, State Farm Insurance
“A fire sprinkler system is an investment that safeguards families and homes against the dangers and costs of home fires. State Farm recognizes the monetary savings associated with residential fire sprinklers, and we reward homeowners with reduced rates when they install a fire sprinkler system in a new home. Fire reports show time and again that property damage is nine times lower in homes equipped with sprinkler systems. State Farm homeowners with a fire safety sprinkler system save 10% off their yearly insurance premium so it amounts to significant savings over time.”
An Uponor Fire Safety System saved this townhouse from major damage when a fire broke out in the garage.
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