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“A New Jersey state bill called the New Home Fire Safety Act would require
fire suppression systems in all new construction homes in the state."

New Mandates May Drive Up New Home Costs in NJ

A New Jersey state bill called the New Home Fire Safety Act would require fire suppression systems in all new construction homes in the state. Under the bill, officials would be prohibited from granting occupancy certificates to any new construction homes until such fire suppression systems were in place.

What is a fire suppression system? Essentially, it is a system of heat sensitive sprinkler heads that are placed throughout a structure. These sprinkler heads are attached to a system of pipes, through which water is delivered should heat be detected. The pros to such systems are simple: fire is detected and extinguished quickly. Not only does such a system help to protect a homeowner and his or her property, but it makes the jobs of firefighters in the area much safer, too.

The New Home Fire Safety Act was turned over to a Senate committee in early February. It has not yet reached the Senate floor for a vote, but may. The act would place the new requirements on all new single or two-family homes in New Jersey.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, ninety-two percent of deaths caused by fire in 2011 were the result of fires within the home. The number of deaths in 2011 due to in-home fires was 2,520 – not to mention 13,910 injuries caused by home fires. This figure refers to those deaths that were caused to citizens, in other words, not emergency responders. Many feel that if the technology exists to prevent such deaths, it should be put in place and should eventually become commonplace in any new construction project.

State officials, including John S. Wisniewski, who sponsors the bill, are of the general opinion that the installation of such systems is a no-brainer. The systems work to protect citizens, and once they are installed, they are highly effective. However, such a requirement would drive up the cost of new construction real estate in the area. For an industry that’s still struggling to revive itself after taking a hard hit when the housing market plummeted in recent years, the added stress is not exactly welcomed.

The New Jersey housing economy experienced a major plummet along with the national housing market in the mid-2000’s. The apprehension toward the New Home Fire Safety Act is that it will drive up costs of new construction homes. Installation of these new systems will require additional professionals on every construction job, driving up the cost of building a home in the state.

Housing costs aside, the bill’s aim is to protect not only the citizens living within New Jersey homes, but also the firefighters who are sent into a blaze once one has started in a home. Home fire suppression systems cut down on the danger to a firefighter entering a home dramatically and therefore, these systems have the potential to save a lot of lives.

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