New homes (and probably remodels) to get more expensive. Safer? Who knows.

From the South Jersey Times:

Home sprinklers touted by South Jersey fire officials; construction, synthetics major risks

True or false? Recently built family homes in the United States hold up better in a fire than those built 50 years ago.

If you thought “True,” you’re very much in the dark, fire officials say. And if more people don’t learn otherwise, the consequences could be deadly.

The South Jersey Times recently spoke to some area fire service leaders who, like others nationwide, argue that modern light weight construction and the synthetic materials used in home furnishings make home fires exponentially more dangerous. And that, they say, means sprinkler systems inside homes are critical to protecting the lives of residents and firefighters.

Fire officials say sprinkler systems contain fires before they become a major threat, often canceling out the dangers posed by current construction and furnishings.

With that in mind, many are staunchly supporting a bill making its way through the state legislature that would require fire suppression sprinkler systems to be installed in all newly built single and two-family homes, with certain exceptions.

The bill, known as the New Home Fire Safety Act, passed the Assembly by a 44-30 vote in January. It has not yet come to the Senate floor for a vote.

The bill would not require sprinkler systems for manufactured homes or those not connected to a public water system.

“Fifty years ago, the average American home had furniture made of natural materials — cottons, wools, things like that,” he explained.

“Now, everything is synthetic. It’s hydrocarbon-based, like crude oil. Things in homes are burning at higher temperatures than ever before, with higher fuel loads than ever before.”

Such synthetics, burning hotter and faster, compound the dangers firefighters face, Scardino and colleagues argue.

They also add to the potential hodge-podge of chemicals and compounds created in the burning process.

Add to that the typically weaker wood structures modern builders use. Among them are particle board, which is made from wood chips or shavings bound by resin.

Light-weight wood used in a truss, an arrangement of beams or bars supporting a structure, can give way quickly, leading to deadly roof or floor collapses.

As for the cost to install a system, estimates vary. The Times spoke to several contractors for a previous article in March on the sprinkler system issue.

Of course, the cost varies with the size of the home. Contractors’ estimates ranged from perhaps $6,000 to even $10,000.

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17 Responses to New homes (and probably remodels) to get more expensive. Safer? Who knows.

  1. Libtard at home says:


  2. Anon E. Moose says:

    Re: Title Post;

    And the water damage to residents? Including false alarms? Currently most house damage due to fire is not the smoke or flames, but the water used to put it out.

    If sprinkler systems make it safer for firefighters then we should need fewer of them, and get a nice cut in property taxes to offset the risk and costs being pushed on the homeowner, no? Lower taxes? Fewer gubminnt employees? That’s crazy talk.

  3. cobbler says:

    Property insurers would be up in arms against the proposal if accidental sprinkler discharges were a meaningful problem. They almost never happen in the inhabited houses (you need to either freeze the water pipe, or hit the sprinkler itself with the hammer). As for the firefighters’ costs, (a) most of suburbia is volunteer FF anyway, and (b) staffing is based on the demands of a feasible multi-alarm fire (hotel, senior housing, large office building, flammable storage, etc.), not a single-family. In the end, it is how much we are willing to spend for a life saved: do you really need 12 airbags per car?

  4. grim says:

    From the Woodbridge Patch:

    Macy’s at Woodbridge Center had to close temporarily on Tuesday afternoon at around 12:30 p.m. after a sprinkler burst on the second level of the store, according to employees.

    During the closure around 12:30 p.m., many of the store’s employees were standing outside the Macy’s entrance near Dick’s Sporting Goods.

    Signs were posted on both the outside and indoor entrances to the department store saying “Temporarily Closed, Sorry for the inconvenience,” and “Macy’s will open at 3 p.m. today.”

    However, at roughly 1:30 p.m. the store was able to open its doors again. Although the women’s shoes section on the second level was cautioned off with tape, while a crew cleaned the area.

  5. cobbler says:

    I don’t know the sprinkler design for the large commercial spaces like Macy’s. The “normal” heat-activated ones like in the hotel rooms, etc. – we never hear about any problems with those. Again, if the insurance likes them, it’s for a reason (saves them money).

  6. Grim says:

    My concern is that they become mandated for renovation.

    For example, my town required that I install whole house interconnected/hard wired smoke, CO and heat detectors.

    This is easily a $1,000 to $2,000 expense in a 2 story house with 4br and a basement.

    Required separate fire inspection too.

    I could understand if those walls were opened, but they weren’t. In new construction this wouldn’t be more than a couple of minutes, but snaking wired through walls? Not so easy.

  7. chicagofinance says:

    Believe it or not, it is more likely that the planes are takeoffs from JFK rather than arrivals to EWR…….the line for EWR usually starts just around Sayreville/Woodbridge….

    Juice Box says:
    May 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm
    Only noise at my new place is the planes flying into Newark from the south, will be very quite at night very much unlike Hoboken. I will be out back smoking the occasional cigar enjoying the quiet life listening for the caterwaul.

  8. chicagofinance says:

    Also, keep a crossbow handy for the occasional deer……or else drop the deductible on your car insurance…..

  9. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    Nom hope your boys kick the pens backsides. Let me know when your close to Morristown I’m going to be on west coast and Europe most of this year nothing even close to you.

  10. Anon E. Moose says:

    Pain [10];

    Nom’s last known whereabouts: stuck in Pike County, PA. I fear for his safety. ;-)

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