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New building code changes mandate sprinkler systems in new homes.

Mandatory Sprinkler Systems Drive Up New Home Costs

As more states vote to adopt the 2009 International Residential Code changes that mandate sprinkler systems in all new one- and two-family homes, builders worry that the additional cost could scare off potential new homebuyers.

According to this recent article in Builderonline.com, some builders in Pennsylvania--the latest state to adopt the changes--see the decision as a "loss for the housing consumers in Pennsylvania." The decision to install a sprinkler system should lay with the consumer, these builders believe.

The cost to install a residential sprinkler system can be anywhere between $8,000 to $10,000--a cost that will be passed on to the buyer. Will this depress an already hurting housing market?

Proponents see the issue as bigger than simple economics. Homeowner safety, firefighter safety and even community safety comes into play. Mandated sprinkler systems will save lives, homes and potentially entire neighborhoods.

While no one wants to see the housing industry take anymore hits, it's hard to argue against fire safety. And where current generation residential sprinkler systems are not the eyesores that they once were, aesthetics is hardly a point of contention for the opposition. The new systems' sprinkler heads install in a ceiling like recessed lighting, with a simple cover that sits flush and pops down in the event of a fire.

Where do you stand on the matter? Are you willing to pay the extra money for a sprinkler system in your new home?

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