Maine's statewide building code has only been in force for a few years. So the discomforts that it brings are still news to many people. One example: Home-based business owners, who are running up against a new and unfamiliar requirement for fire sprinklers.

The Forecaster covered the story on December 5 (see: "Maine fire sprinkler rules rain on plans for new Bath businesses," by Alex Lear). Bath, Maine, code official Scott Davis explained to the paper, "If you have a building that you live in and conduct a business in, it's called a live-work unit, and the code says live-work units have to be sprinklered." Said Davis, "I've got about 14 home occupations lined up on the runway waiting to take off," Davis said. "And waiting for the sprinkler requirement to be lifted."

Davis considers the sprinkler mandate excessive, he told the paper: "Throughout Maine there are a lot of home occupations in single-family houses that are unsprinklered, and we don't have a loss history with them. ... All the codes officers I know agree with me."