From the Star Ledger:
A bill that would require most new single and two-family homes built in New Jersey to be equipped with sprinkler systems is on the fast track after the massive fire that ravaged an Edgewater apartment complex.
The state Senate’s budget committee today voted 9-1 to approve the “New Home Fire Safety Act,” which would require fire suppression systems — currently mandated in larger projects like hotels, apartment buildings and dormitories — also be incorporated into the smaller homes.
The bill (A1698) passed the Assembly in June but had not moved since then. But it was fast-tracked in the upper house after the Edgewater blaze, when it was transferred from the committee where it would normally start to the budget committee — its last stop before a vote in the full Senate.
The legislation was passed by both houses in the last legislative session but Gov. Chris Christie refused to sign it in January of 2014, allowing to expire on his desk through a “pocket veto.”
Jeff Kolakowski, director of government affairs for the New Jersey Builders Association, said fire safety has improved drastically in new homes without mandating sprinklers and that it would add $6,000 to the cost of a new home.
“This legislation will add thousnds of dollars to the cost of housing, slow down the housing sector … and make it more difficult for residents to realize the American dream of homeownership,” Kolakowski said.
That testimony drew a rebuke from state Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson)
“I just don’t see how you put a price tag on somebody’s life, whether it’s a resident of that structure or a firefighter arriving on the scene. I’m all for selling homes and moving the economy. But at the expense of somebody’s life?” he said.