In two states and about 500 communities around the country, sprinkler system requirements for new homes provide a level of safety that unequipped homes can't match in the case of a house fire. That is, unless a poorly planned home modification cuts the system off from the rooms it's designed to protect. That's the argument the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are making after a Maryland fire sent one resident to the hospital. According to the NFSA, a drop ceiling installed below the home's fire sprinklers negatively impacted the system's ability to perform during the fire event. 

JLC's sister publication, Remodeling, shares more on this story and seven fire-retardant building products that can help improve homeowners' safety and egress times in case of a house fire.

While many builders, home builders associations, and state legislatures resist implementing home sprinkler requirements, about 5% of U.S. homes are outfitted with sprinklers. Knowing that, remodelers need to make sure they're aware of any regulations in their areas, as well as any fire suppression systems homeowners' may have opted for on their own, so those systems can be properly maintained during and after a remodel.

According to the NFPA, having an automatic fire sprinkler system in a home cuts the risk of fire deaths by about 80%, and cuts property loss per fire by 70%. No one wants to be responsible for diminishing those safety statistics in favor of a drop ceiling.