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Sprinklers Could Be Added to New Homes

Sprinklers could be required in all new homes if Illinois legislators pass a bill they’re currently considering.

Proponents say the sprinkler system requirement would help reduce deaths from fires, but opponents think it will do more harm than good. 

Right now all of the cities in Illinois are on different code cycles. The 2012 cycle mandates sprinklers to be put in new homes, but most cities are on the 2009 cycle that makes sprinklers optional.

“It’s up to each city here locally to decide how they want to do that, enforce that or not,” says Julie Awkerman, executive officer for the Quad Cities Building and Remodelers Association.

Right now Milan is the only city in our area that is enforcing sprinkler systems. Everyone else is waiting to see how legislators vote.

“We have Iowa communities that have already pushed it back through their local meetings until August so a lot of things are up in the air right now,” says Awkerman.

She says she has no problem putting sprinklers in new homes, but she thinks it should be the homeowner’s choice.

“We obviously want to build the safest affordable home for people in new construction but on the same note we want it to be a home owner’s choice, we don’t want it to be mandated by the government,” Awkerman said.

She also says it would make new homes more expensive, saying, “It increases the home price when building between anywhere from $2,500 up to over $10,000 just depending on the size.”

Awkerman says this cost isn’t worth it, since less than one-half of one percent of fires occur in new homes.

She hopes everyone can come together to find common ground.

“We want everyone to be safe but we also want affordable housing too, so if we can come together and do it together and find a solution for that, that’s great.”