New rule requiring sprinklers for large homes is extinguished


The new rule about sprinklers being required in new houses – which had elected officials, firefighters and home companies at odds – is essentially done.

FOX 9 reports the Minnesota Supreme Court said this week it would not review a request to look at the case again – meaning the appeals court ruling that struck down the requirement is the final word on the matter.

This whole saga goes back to 2014, when a new law requiring all new homes 4,500 square feet or larger be built with a sprinkler system inside – a push from firefighter groups that said it would help save lives.

The sprinklers were such a point of contention, Gov. Mark Dayton threatened to veto an entire bonding bill because of language that would have blocked the sprinkler proposal.

The law went into effect in January of 2015, but it was quickly questioned in court.

The Twin Cities Builders Association and other groups sued the state, arguing the new requirement could add up to $10,000 to the cost of building a new home of that size and would price some potential buyers out of the market.

In October, the Minnesota Court of Appeals sided with those groups and struck down the new rule, basically saying the requirements for when sprinklers were needed versus when they weren't was arbitrary.

The Builder Association of the Twin Cities declared it a victory for homeowners, the Star Tribune reports. While St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard told WCCO he doesn't understand why they wouldn't want to have the safest product possible for customers.

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Debate heats up over sprinklers in new homes

The Minnesota State Fire Chief's Association is pushing a new mandate that would require sprinklers in all new homes built in the state. The Minnesota Home Builders Association opposes the mandate, suggesting it could add as much as $15,000 to the cost of new home construction.