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San Mateo Fire Sprinkler Rule

Here's another example of a Washington D.C. council establishing one-size-fits-all rules that don't consider variations on the size of a new home construction project or remodels.

In September 2008, the Washington, D.C.-based International Residential Code Council adopted a rule requiring fire sprinklers to be installed in new one-story and two-story family homes and townhomes effective Jan. 1, 2011. This nonprofit council creates construction codes that are adopted by a number of states as the basis for regulating home construction. San Mateo's current rule requires upgrading or adding sprinklers if more than 25% of the home's square footage is involved in construction.

The National Homebuilders Association filed a request to appeal the code, claiming that the rule was unfairly favoring fire safety officials. They also emphasized that the addition of mandated sprinkler requirements could inhibit the ability of their members to construct affordable new housing.  The U.S. Fire Administration claims that new sprinklers cost as much as $1.50 per sq. ft. 
 
Read more about it in the San Francisco Examiner.