Reis Encouraging Opposition to Proposed Sprinkler Regulations

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Published on July 22 2013 12:41 pm
Last Updated on July 22 2013 12:42 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

State Representative David Reis (R-Ste. Marie) is joining fellow lawmakers and local residents in voicing strong opposition to a proposed regulation by the Illinois State Fire Marshal mandating fire sprinkler systems be installed in all new residential home construction and existing places of assembly.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) proposed the new regulation on June 28, requiring the installation of fire sprinkler systems in new one-and-two family homes.   Previous OSFM sprinkler mandate covered multi-family housing buildings, and single-family housing was carved out from the mandate.  Existing churches and other places of public worship are also affected by this rulemaking. 

“Right now families are working hard to save enough money to purchase or build a home, and with this mandate, they will be required to pay thousands of dollars more.   Additionally, many homes downstate rely on wells for fresh water which cannot accommodate these increased demands, which will lead to additional well drilling costs.”

“Home owners will also pay costs for annual inspections and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems,” Rep. Reis said.  “Bottom line, current law allows home owners to install sprinklers in new home construction if they wish. However, this mandate places an unfair financial burden on families to install and upkeep a complex sprinkler system when smoke detectors offer a high level of safety and protection against home fires.”

Depending on a new home’s size, the cost to install a fire sprinkler system can range from $7,000 to over $18,000, according to the Home Builders Association of Illinois.  Due to the substantial financial impact, 40 states have turned down statewide fire sprinkler mandates.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, Illinois ranks 50th in the nation in per capita new home construction and last year neighboring Indiana built more new homes than Illinois with less than half the population.

“This proposed mandate is one of the most egregious things I have ever seen,” Rep. Reis said.  “This along with the coming septic tank requirements will just about snuff out new home construction in rural parts of the state.”

Reis said that as part of the administrative rule making process, public comment is very important and residents, churches and business owners are encouraged to voice their opposition to the proposed rule.  Written comments should be sent to: Vicki Thomas, Executive Director, Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, 700 Stratton Office Building, Springfield, IL  62706 by no later than August 10, 2013.  Reference (41 ILL Adm Code 100; 37 ILL Reg 8191)

OSFM will also hold a public hearing on the proposed rule at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 6th at the State Fire Marshal’s Springfield headquarters at 1035 Stevenson Drive in Springfield. Rep. Reis encourages concerned citizens to submit written comments to the State Fire Marshal or attend the upcoming hearing.

If you have additional question please contact Rep. Reis at his Olney district office at (618) 392-0108, email him at keith@davidreis.org  or stop by the office at 219 East Main Street.