I just read in Fine Homebuilding that, effective 2011, all new homes must have a fire sprinkler system installed. The author dismisses concerns about cost, estimating that they’ll amount to at most 2% of total construction costs. Well that may be only a few thousand dollars in Oklahoma, but in Greenwich where everything is oversized including construction costs, I’d be surprised if it didn’t add a lot more than that. Maybe insignificant when estimating affordibility of a $10,000,000 mansion but more of an issue at the low end.
There’s no question that a sprinkler requirement will save a few lives – in Greenwich, maybe one every year? But like land use regulations and all building safety codes, there’s a price to pay. I’m not necessarily arguing against this regulation but I’ve never heard of a home buyer voluntarily ordering this equipment when building a house, so it sounds to me like one more instance of people who know better dictating to those who don’t. Keep that helmet on.