As Deadline Approaches, Maryland Towns Put off Sprinkler
The 2009 International Residential Code includes a mandate
for single-family homes to include automatic fire suppression
sprinkler systems. Many coastal states have already opted to
remove the sprinkler requirement when adopting the model code.
Maryland code authorities have adopted the 2009 IRC with the
sprinkler mandate intact - but towns have the option of
removing the requirement at the local level.
But the deadline for towns to decide is January 1, 2011 -
the day the new code will take effect statewide. And according
to press reports, some local officials are on the fence about
how to proceed. In Berlin, the town council held hearings in
November, but put off a vote until mid-December, reports the
Ocean Pines Independent
"Sprinkler decision put on hold
," by Charlene Sharp).
Worcester County Fire Marshal Jeff McMahon told the Berlin
council that sprinklers would activate to suppress a fire
within 90 seconds, far faster than a fire department could
respond, and use less water to put the fire out than a fire
department would require. But Patricia Taylor of the Coastal
Association of Realtors and John Kotoski of the Eastern Shore
Builders Association argued against the requirement, saying it
would drive up the cost of housing.
The story was much the same in Hagerstown, reported the
City Council still divided on sprinklers
," by Kate S.
Alexander). In October, Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II
vetoed a council measure to require sprinklers only in
single-family homes larger than 3,000 square feet, arguing that
the rule would raise the cost of homes and was an overreach by
Bruchey vetoes mandate for sprinklers in new Hagerstown
," by Kate S. Alexander).
A watered-down version of the measure, which would require
sprinklers in two-family homes but not in single-family homes,
passed the Hagerstown council by a 3-2 vote. Mayor Bruchey has
not said whether he will sign or veto the modified measure. But
for any towns that fail to act by January first, Maryland code
will require sprinklers in all new homes, even small