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The Real Story About Residential Fire Sprinklers in Minnesota

  • Blog Post by: Reuben Saltzman
  • April 2, 2014 - 5:40 AM

Yesterday's April Fools Day blog post got a lot of folks whipped up about residential sprinkler systems.  

It contained several "tells", such as a quote from local firehouse Captain Charles “Chuck” DeFries saying "I'm lovin' it", as well as a section at the end that said we may need to start installing ball bits on the edges of decks over 30" high for fall protection.  I gotta assume most folks who got upset about this never read the whole thing, because I got a call from someone at the state shortly after 7:30 am, saying they were already receiving phone calls about this issue, so I promptly updated the post saying it was a joke.

Nevertheless, there was a little touch of truth with that post.

Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems Will Likely Be Required in New Minnesota Homes Very Soon.

The truth of the matter is that Minnesota will be adopting the 2012 IRC, which really does have a section that requires sprinkler systems for all new construction homes.  The plan is not to adopt the IRC "as-is", however.  When Minnesota adopts the IRC, Chapter 1309 of the Minnesota Rules will largely consist of a bunch of amendments to the IRC.  To see a draft of the amendments, click here: https://www.dli.mn.gov/PDF/ccac/1309_draft100312.pdf .

At the bottom of page 20 of that document, there's a section on "AUTOMATIC FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEMS".  The amendments carry on to the top of page 22.  The short version is that fire sprinkler systems will likely be required for new single family homes that are 4,500 sf and over.  This includes the unfinished areas of the home.

None of this is "new" news; I shared this information on the Structure Tech Facebook page nearly three months ago, and KSTP reported on this over five months ago: http://kstp.com/article/stories/s3204951.shtml .

A web site with a petition to fight the sprinkler mandate was created by several builders associations as well as the Minnesota Association of Realtors® in response:  http://nosprinklermandatemn.com/ .  Click that link for more information about the upcoming sprinkler mandate.  According to David Siegel, Executive Director of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, we're actually just weeks away from the sprinkler proposal becoming a reality.

No joke.

Author: Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

          

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