Monday, November 15, 2010

Delay Sought in Safety Mandate

The Pennsylvania Builders Association is hoping the General Assembly will pass legislation today delaying a requirement that all new one- and two-family homes include automatic sprinkler systems as of January 1st.

Melissa Etshied of the Pennsylvania Builders Association, says at issue is the right of the consumer to choose whether to install a sprinkler system that can add thousands of dollars to the cost of construction. Most do not so choose, she says. The group does support hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors that have been required by Pennsylvania’s Uniform Construction Code for several years. Etshied says most fires are in older homes that don’t have working smoke detectors.

There’s an economic argument as well, says Etshied, because building a home can involve up to 54 different types of businesses, and the extra cost of a sprinkler system may lead potential customers to decide against building. In a down economy, Etshied says government should be making it easier, not harder, to build.

The State Senate passed such legislation in late October.

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