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Hawaii Fire chiefs want sprinklers in all new single-family homes

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  • Hawaii Fire chiefs want sprinklers in all new single-family homes

    Fire chiefs want sprinklers in all new single-family homes
    The construction industry balks at the expense of the safety requirement

    By Andrew Gomes
    http://www.staradvertiser.com/busine...ily_homes.html

    POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 05, 2011

    Protecting single-family homes with fire-protection sprinklers makes good sense when it comes to safety, but is it worth the cost?

    That's the question local government and building industry officials are wrestling with in an initiative to require sprinkler systems in all new single-family homes and duplexes built in Hawaii.

    A state panel responsible for updating building codes in Hawaii is considering adopting the regulation, which would make homes safer but could add $5,000 to $6,000 to the cost of a 1,000-square-foot house.

    The State Fire Council, which represents Hawaii's four county fire chiefs, is trying to broaden public support of the issue through a legislative resolution asking the Building Code Council to adopt the sprinkler requirement. The House Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs passed the resolution Thursday with an 8-0 vote. The resolution advances to committees on Housing and Water, Land and Ocean Resources.

    Local county fire chiefs testified in favor of the measure. The Building Industry Association-Hawaii testified in opposition, suggesting that sprinklers could be an option for homebuyers. A trade alliance between contractors and the Hawaii Carpenters Union supports the intent of mandatory sprinklers in new homes, but expresses concern over its impact on affordable housing.


    FOR MORE INFORMATION
    ...on fire sprinklers in homes, visit firesprinklerinitiative.org.

    To see simulations of burning homes with and without sprinklers, visit youtube.com/watch?v=CXZQWQfI1iU.


    The effort is part of a national movement. Now as the debate heats up locally, there are sparks that suggest the issue could become contentious considering that housing costs in Hawaii are already exorbitant.

    Hawaii is one of 16 states where sprinkler systems in single-family homes aren't required in at least one city or county, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

    Hawaii regulations require sprinkler systems in new construction of high-rises over 75 feet, townhomes and most large commercial buildings. Townhome sprinkler systems were mandated by the state in 2009, though a lag in adoption by counties might still allow some townhomes to be built without sprinklers until later this year.

    Extending the requirement to single-family homes should be the next step, said Lloyd Rogers, administrative assistant for the State Fire Council. "It's proven that sprinklers are going to reduce fire loss and fire deaths and injuries," he said. "It really comes down to cost."

    The Building Industry Association-Hawaii opposes a single-family home sprinkler requirement and argues that sprinklers will further inflate high prices for new homes that are already built with dramatically superior fire-safety features compared with older homes where sprinklers would make a bigger difference.

    "Mandating fire sprinklers in new homes does not target the homes and issues where fire deaths are occurring," the trade association said in a written statement. "As a society, we cannot afford to deny needed housing for the sake of new requirements without proven benefits."

    Evan Fujimoto, president of local homebuilder Graham Builders, said that before endorsing a sprinkler requirement, he needs more specifics about costs, designs and other information including how regulations would apply to homes not connected to a water utility system.

    However, the Honolulu Fire Department has made what Fujimoto called a compelling case for sprinklers. "This is something we'll be following closely," he said.

    Nationally, the movement to require sprinklers in new single-family homes has been growing since an organization in charge of updating U.S. building code standards, the International Code Council, added sprinklers to its minimum safety standards for single-family homes in 2009.

    Since then the standard has garnered strong support from local fire departments and the National Fire Protection Association, which have pushed to have the ICC standard adopted by state, city and county building codes.

    The NFPA says sprinklers are an affordable, unobtrusive, reliable and maintenance-free way to significantly reduce property and life loss.

    Sprinkler systems, which have been in use for many years, activate automatically in reaction to significant heat change but not to smoke, steam or smoke alarm activation. Often, only one sprinkler will deploy in response to a fire and can extinguish flames before spreading. Other times, sprinklers give occupants more time to escape and avoid injury or death. Sprinklers also can reduce the number and duration of responses by firefighters.

    The NFPA, based on a 2008 sampling of home sprinkler installations in 10 cities, said costs ranged from 38 cents to $3.66 per square foot of house area covered by the system, or $1.61 on average. Local advocates estimate the cost in Hawaii would be $5 to $6 per square foot.

    The national organization has lobbied hard to make sprinklers mandatory in single-family home construction, producing dramatic video demonstrations, publishing a list refuting arguments against home sprinklers and suggesting that opponents don't value the price of saving lives and preventing injuries.

    The risk of dying in a home fire is reduced by 50 percent using smoke alarms compared with 80 percent for sprinklers, the NFPA said. The organization also said sprinklers reduce the average property loss by 71 percent.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 377,000 home fires in the United States in 2009 which killed 2,565 people and injured another 13,050, not including firefighters.

    The NFPA said four states have adopted the requirement for sprinklers in new single-family homes, though 34 states have at least one county or city requiring home sprinklers. California leads the way with 146 cities and counties requiring home sprinklers.

    However, opposition, largely from homebuilders, is fighting the initiative in a countermove that has led to anti-sprinkler legislation introduced in 14 mainland states this year.

    Those against sprinklers say they are expensive, difficult to maintain, can accidentally activate and aren't a cost-effective safety improvement over smoke alarms.

    No anti-sprinkler legislation has been introduced in Hawaii.

    Instead, the State Building Code Council has formed an investigative committee that includes building industry representatives to produce a consensus on the issue.

    The investigative committee has recommended that sprinklers be required in new homes effective January 2014. The council has yet to vote on the recommendation.
    “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”― Mark Twain

  • #2
    what are the stats in HI?

    It's not a matter of requiring them.. it's a matter of deleteing the IRC requirement for them.

    so I ask.. what are the statistics regarding loss of life for NOT having them? (my guess is really none. .. if there are operable smoke detectors .. a much better idea.. my humble opinion only)..
    (PE)ach
    some days are just that.. :banghd

    Comment


    • #3
      For some reason Hawaii has the lowest in the nation, 10 times lower than the highest.
      If you own a Tesla, have solar panels on your house, and eat Gluten Free, how do you decide which one to shove in people's faces first?

      Comment


      • #4
        3000 people die in fires in the US (year 2000).

        6000 pedestrians died in the same year.

        Perhaps pedestrians should be more regulated.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by GHRoberts View Post
          3000 people die in fires in the US (year 2000).

          6000 pedestrians died in the same year.

          Perhaps pedestrians should be more regulated.
          Hell 13,000 people a year commit suicide with handguns.

          Comment


          • #6
            $3,000 to $10k, a cheap insurance policy to keep your kids/grandkids alive
            The average price of a new car sold in the United States is $28,400
            “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”― Mark Twain

            Comment


            • #7
              It would be interesting to know how many sprinkler advocates have installed sprinklers in their existing homes or the existing homes that their grandkids live in. It may be existing but still far less cost to install than a new car, hot tub or boat. And no BS about sprinklers not being required in existing homes, this is the LIVES of YOUR KIDS and GRANDKIDS that are at risk in an unsprinkled home. I'm guessing talk is cheap and most sprinkler advocates are hypocrites.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by incognito View Post
                advocates are hypocrites.
                Maybe, not "are".
                There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be an exception to the rule."--Charles Osgood,
                American radio and TV commentator
                “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”― Mark Twain

                Comment


                • #9
                  canadian-study.jpg

                  If you want to save lives put the money where it will do some good, the 2001 Canadian Government study - updated 2005 should have put this sprinkler fraud to bed a long time ago, if it weren't for the massive kickbacks from the sprinkler manufacturers' coalition to the firefighters' unions it would have been dead a long time ago. With all the press about firefighters' exorbitant salaries and pensions you'd think that they would keep their stupid mouths shut.


                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by conarb; March 6th, 2011, 12:45.
                  If you own a Tesla, have solar panels on your house, and eat Gluten Free, how do you decide which one to shove in people's faces first?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mark handler View Post
                    $3,000 to $10k, a cheap insurance policy to keep your kids/grandkids alive
                    The average price of a new car sold in the United States is $28,400
                    You forgot to factor in the increased homeowner's insurance premiums.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by brudgers View Post
                      You forgot to factor in the increased homeowner's insurance premiums.
                      Once again statements without facts

                      The National Association of Home Builders determined the insurance premiums, decreased.
                      5 to 10 percent savings on home insurance premiums in most states

                      See the National Association of Home Builders chart
                      http://www.nahb.com/fileUpload_detai...ntentID=118822
                      “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”― Mark Twain

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mark
                        Once again statements without facts
                        I checked, Farmers wants 40% more even though they don't cover mold damage in the event of an inadvertent release (they do if there is an actual fire), State Farm offers a 10% decrease but only if there is full coverage, including garages, attics, and all closets. Then I called on my house, State Farm was $1,100+, Farmers was $600+, so with sprinklers 10% State Farm wold be at $990 and Farmers with sprinklers would be $840. This was a big issue at Minneapolis, one of the advocates made a big point of insurance company surcharges telling the audience that people have to shop their insurance to find a company that discounts for sprinklers. The main fact is that to get the discount you can't install a simple 13D, you have to pay more for full coverage. And don't forget the additional costs for a large enough meter, here it's $135,880 in the wealthier areas, but only $51,060 in the poorer areas.

                        If we are going to have to pay all this money to the corrupt sprinkler industry, how about calculating the amount and giving the owner the option of donating the money to the American Cancer Society or something else useful that might actually save lives?


                        If you own a Tesla, have solar panels on your house, and eat Gluten Free, how do you decide which one to shove in people's faces first?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Time for you to shop around, different insurers.

                          As to the meter size, that is based on your McMansion, and the local fire authority having
                          jurisdiction.
                          Last edited by mark handler; March 7th, 2011, 12:19.
                          “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”― Mark Twain

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mark handler View Post
                            Once again statements without facts

                            The National Association of Home Builders determined the insurance premiums, decreased.
                            5 to 10 percent savings on home insurance premiums in most states

                            See the National Association of Home Builders chart
                            http://www.nahb.com/fileUpload_detai...ntentID=118822
                            I thank you deeply because the NAHB is famous and revered for their unbiased scientific investigation techniques and lack of self-interest regarding anything that adds to the costs of homes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mark
                              Time for you to shop around, different insurers.
                              Mark:

                              I did shop around becasue of this fiasco, and it did save me money without sprinklers, I had State Farm and they had jacked my premiums up, my investigation revealed that Farmers without sprinklers was so much cheaper that State Farm without sprinklers that I insured my home and Hummer for less than I was paying for the home alone with State Farm. Obviously State Farm has jacked all of their homeowners' rates up to cover the anticipated losses from sprinklers, so it pays the average guy without sprinklers to look at the companies that don't give discounts for sprinklers.

                              You addressed neither the exorbitant rates the water companies are levying on meters large enough to handle sprinklers, nor my suggestion that people building a home being allowed to donate the costs of sprinklers to a charity where it might actually do some good and actually save lives.

                              Since both of us are in California, you are aware that also profiting on this scam are the unions, the sprinkler fitters have got a law passed through the state license board requiring anyone touching a sprinkler system have an apprenticeship certificate, which makes sprinkler installations union jobs. There is a lot of logic to the requirement, a non-union worker nailing studs together can't cause too much irreparable damage, but a non-union sprinkler fitter can cause irreparable damage if the system leaks causing mold growth.
                              If you own a Tesla, have solar panels on your house, and eat Gluten Free, how do you decide which one to shove in people's faces first?

                              Comment

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