Corbett signs bill repealing sprinkler mandate

By Samantha Elliott Krepps | April 26, 2011 | 2 min. read

Gov. Tom Corbett signed House Bill 377 into law repealing the mandatory sprinkler law in new residential construction at the Capitol on Monday afternoon. Act 1, formerly HB 377, is the first law the governor has signed.

Credit: Commonwealth Media Services

Consumers will now have a choice whether to install sprinkler systems in one- and two-family newly constructed homes.

“This is a great victory for consumers and Realtors® and we thank Gov. Corbett and the legislature for their hard work,” said PAR President Guy A. Matteo, GRI, SRES.

Gov. Corbett called it a “common sense” measure that will help to keep new home prices within the reach of Pennsylvania’s working families.

“Whether or not new homes are equipped with sprinklers should be a decision left to individual consumers and not the government,” Corbett said. “While there are arguments on both sides of the issue, I believe the sprinkler mandate is wrong-headed and I’m glad the General Assembly sent this bill to my desk.”

Matteo, who represented PAR at the bill signing ceremony with Past Presidents Don Roth and Greg Herb and Treasurer Kim Skumanick, said that Realtors® were diligent in getting this legislation passed. PAR worked with a statewide coalition, which included the PA Builders Association, to urge legislators to repeal this mandate.

Credit: Commonwealth Media Services

With the elimination of the sprinkler mandate, builders must now offer a buyer the option of installing sprinklers. They must also provide the buyer with information made available by the State Fire Commissioner on the possible benefits of installing a sprinkler system.

In addition to repealing the mandate, Act 1 increases fire protection for lightweight floor assemblies; includes energy efficiency trade-offs for log home manufacturers and builders and retro activity for homes with building permits that would require sprinklers.

Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming), who authored the bill, said, “This legislation came about through the efforts of many people, with a great deal of input coming from all stakeholders. This is a victory for all Pennsylvanians seeking to building and buy new homes.”

Credit: Commonwealth Media Services

Sprinklers are still mandated in newly constructed townhomes; Act 1 will not change this requirement.

“It was vitally important that this legislation passed,” Matteo added. “Mandatory sprinklers would have greatly increased the price of a new home and Pennsylvanians simply can’t afford it.”

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