Everett Sprinkler Mandate Repeal Legislation Passes House

Legislation contained in House Bill 377 that repeals a government mandate to have automatic sprinkler systems installed in newly constructed homes after Jan. 1, 2011 was approved by the House today by a vote of 154 to 39, said the prime sponsor, Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming). 

“The requirement that would have residents building new homes to spend between $5 thousand and $20 thousand for these automatic sprinkler systems represents a massive government overreach, and should be repealed,” said Everett. “This bill accomplishes that. This is something that should be purely optional on the part of a new home buyer, a consumer choice, not a government demand.” 

In addition to the cost of the systems, there are also concerns about water pressure and infrastructure in some municipalities that would be strained by a sharp increase in the use of automatic sprinkler systems. In rural areas, the problem becomes acute in that many residents are wholly dependent on well water. Nearly one-third of Pennsylvania residents live in single-family homes in rural areas dependent on wells.  

Another factor in the repeal effort is the damage that a sprinkler system failure can bring to a home. Frozen or otherwise damaged pipes in a system can ruin walls, floors and belongings. 

Also contained in House Bill 377 is a provision that adds alternative energy proficiency standards to log homes. Log walls with a minimum average wall thickness of 5 inches or greater will be permitted in residential buildings if they meet energy efficiency standards. 

The bill goes to the Senate for consideration. 

State Representative Garth Everett
84th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Raymond Smith