Rep. Reis Opposes Mandated, Home Fire Sprinkler System Regulation

Rep. David Reis
State Representative David Reis (R-Ste. Marie) is joining fellow lawmakers and local residents in voicing strong opposition to a proposed regulation by the Illinois State Fire Marshal mandating fire sprinkler systems be installed in all new residential home construction and existing places of assembly.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) proposed the new regulation on June 28, 2013, requiring the installation of fire sprinkler systems in new one-and-two family homes.   Existing churches and other places of public worship are also affected by this rulemaking.

“Right now families are working hard to save enough money to purchase or build a home, and with this mandate, they will be required to pay thousands of dollars more,” Rep. Reis said.  “Additionally, many homes downstate rely on wells for fresh water that cannot accommodate these increased demands, which will lead to additional well drilling costs.”

Rep. Reis continued, “Home owners will also pay costs for annual inspections and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems.  Bottom line, current law allows home owners to install sprinklers in new home construction if they wish. However, this mandate places an unfair financial burden on families to install and upkeep a complex sprinkler system when smoke detectors offer a high level of safety and protection against home fires.”

Depending on a new home’s size, the cost to install a fire sprinkler system can range from $7,000 to over $18,000, according to the Home Builders Association of Illinois.  Due to the substantial financial impact, 40 states have turned down statewide fire sprinkler mandates.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, Illinois ranks 50th in the nation in per capita new home construction, and last year, neighboring Indiana built more new homes than Illinois with less than half the population.

“This proposed mandate is one of the most egregious things I have ever seen,” Rep. Reis said.  “This along with the coming septic tank requirements will just about snuff out new home construction in rural parts of the state.”

ACTION ALERT - As part of the administrative rule making process, public comments are very important and residents, churches and business owners are encouraged to voice their opposition to the proposed rule.   Written comments can be mailed or faxed no later than August 12, 2013 to Ken Wood at OSFM at the contact information below:

Ken Wood, P.E. EFO
Director, Division of Technical Services
Office of the State Fire Marshal
100 W. Randolph St., Suite 4-600
Chicago IL 60601

Please reference in your comments the rule change to 41 Ill. Adm. Code 100, published on First Notice in Vol. 37, Issue 26 of the Illinois Register on 6/28/13.

OSFM will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 6th at the State Fire Marshal’s Springfield headquarters at 1035 Stevenson Drive in Springfield. Rep. Reis encourages concerned citizens to submit written comments to the State Fire Marshal or attend the upcoming hearing.