For at least two decades, builders and fire-safety experts have disagreed about the need for sprinkler systems in residential construction, with each side adhering to a familiar script. Both camps acknowledge that the widespread adoption of smoke alarms has led to a sharp reduction in fire deaths. But fire officials argue that the 3,000 fatalities still recorded each year are far too many and can best be reduced by adding a residential-sprinkler requirement to building codes.
Builder organizations — spearheaded by the NAHB — counter that sprinklers would add thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home and price many potential first-time home buyers out of the market. The NAHB also claims that sprinklers are subject to accidental activation and freeze damage, and require regular maintenance that many homeowners...
to read the full article.