Home Indoor Sprinkler System Mandate FAQs

How Much Would the Sprinkler Mandate Cost for MN Home Owners?

A home indoor sprinkler system mandate would increase the costs of a new four bedroom, three bathroom home by at least $9,000. If the home uses private well water, as many communities still do, the costs can rise up to $13,000 or more once water pump and well improvements are considered.  This cost does not include annual maintenance, higher property taxes, or the cost if the home indoor sprinkler system were to malfunction.

Are Newly Built Homes in Minnesota Safe?

Yes. Improved building standards and the home smoke detector law have been low-priced ways to greatly improve home safety. There have been ZERO residential fire deaths in newly built homes in Minnesota since interconnected smoke alarms were required a decade ago. No firefighters have died in a residential fire since detailed records have been tallied (1989). Accidents and carelessness happen, but in Minnesota the newest homes are the safest homes.

Where are the experts on this issue?

For the past two years, the state’s Residential Code Advisory Committee has recommended to not include a home indoor sprinkler system mandate from the state building because there is little or no increase in public safety over the current smoke detector requirement.  With bipartisan votes, the legislature has consistently agreed with the Residential Code Advisory Committee to remove the sprinkler mandate from the proposed code in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 sessions.

Do other states have home indoor sprinkler mandates?

41 states have rejected a home indoor sprinkler system mandate, and only 1 state has adopted it as a statewide requirement (California). All of the Minnesotan’s neighboring states have rejected a home indoor sprinkler system mandate.

Could this slow the recovery in parts of state that are likely to grow?

Some claim that a home indoor sprinkler system mandate that only applies to 4,500 square foot homes is fair. There is no evidence that larger homes are less safe than smaller homes. So instead of being fair, the home indoor sprinkler system mandate will slow the housing market in the areas of the state that should see the most activity.

Has the public weighed in on this issue?

A 2011 statewide poll revealed that 87% of Minnesotans oppose a home indoor sprinkler system mandate. Minnesotans also believe that the impact on home buyers is a more important issue than making expensive safety investments in already-safe houses.

Are home builders and state regulators working together to improve safety?

For the past several years, the home construction industry has worked with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) on a new uniform state building code.  Nearly all of this code has widespread support. However, DLI intends to issue the building code with a home indoor sprinkler system mandate – an unneeded mandate in a state with a strong smoke detector law and a history of home safety.

Could this affect the recovery of the housing market?

A strong and healthy housing market will be one of the most important factors in economic growth for Minnesota.A healthy housing market means more good jobs, more tax revenue from economic growth and more families investing in an important asset — their dream home.  Economists make it pretty clear: if the housing market doesn’t thrive, neither will our economy.