Local businesses fighting against indoor sprinklers in homes

There’s a push to require those building new homes to put in sprinkler systems. Safe, but also pricey leaving some local businesses to team up to try to make sure homeowners have the final say.

While it sounds like a good idea on paper, some argue it would do more harm than good. The right to decide whether or not a home needs an indoor sprinkler system.

Right now, it’s up to the cities to decide the law, but many are moving towards making it mandatory in new homes.

“Trying to convince the local municipalities that we do not want a mandated fire sprinkler system,” said Gean Holst, CEO for the Quad City Area Realtors Association in Bettendorf.

The Quad City Area Realtors Association is just one of the businesses that have teamed up against mandatory sprinklers in homes. They’ve created a website called Let Us Choose, where the public can go on and fill out a survey. In recent weeks both Eldridge and Bettendorf voted not to make the sprinklers mandatory.

“It makes us feel that we were very successful in getting the message out and we think we have done a tremendous service for the general public,” said Holst.

Habitat for Humanity which is also involved are worried about cost. It could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 to put the sprinklers in, which could mean less homes being built in the QC.

However, their battle isn’t over yet, Holst says he’s concerned that both the state of Iowa and Illinois could make it a state law, overriding the decision of the cities.

“So even though we may have won this first go around, the fight might not be over,” said Holst.

The issue is important in border communities like the Quad Cities, because what one state does could affect the housing market in the other state.