Austin Builders Defeat Fire Sprinkler Mandate
Armed with data from the NAHB Research Center, builders in Austin last month defeated a residential fire sprinkler mandate.
The Home Builders Association of Greater Austin has traditionally sparred with city governmental agencies over the fire sprinkler issue, but the most recent mandate challenge arose over a proposed requirement from the Travis County Emergency Services District (ESD) #3 — a precedent.
Supported by taxes and governed by a county-appointed commission, the 261 ESDs in Texas provide emergency services within their geographic areas. They were created to improve rural fire protection areas and to build a partnership with municipalities to ensure the adequate delivery of services.
Responding to the information provided by the local association, the ESD board on Jan. 28 voted unanimously to adopt a “mandatory option” standard requiring fire sprinkler systems to be offered to home buyers as an option.
At the time the building permit is obtained, owners who do not want the sprinkler system can submit a waiver to opt out and refuse it. If the home is a spec, the system can be accepted or waived by the builder. The district will provide potential buyers with material promoting a sprinkler system.
The Austin HBA also recently succeeded in turning back mandated fire sprinkler systems in the City of Cedar Park.
For more information, e-mail Harry Savio at the HBA of Greater Austin, or call him at 512-454-5588.