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Appeals Board Upholds Residential Sprinkler Requirement by Unanimous Vote

Requirement stays on track for inclusion in 2009 International Residential Code

CHICAGO, IL – Public safety advocates cleared a significant hurdle on the path towards having new homes protected with fire sprinkler systems when a special committee of the International Code Council (ICC) voted unanimously to reject an appeal of recently approved residential sprinkler requirements, which had been filed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The requirements, slated for inclusion in the 2009 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC), follow historic votes last September in Minneapolis, MN, where ICC’s Voting Governmental Members overwhelmingly supported Proposals RB64 and RB66 to require fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses. The IRC is a model code that regulates new home construction in 48 states plus the District of Columbia.

NAHB’s appeal had asked ICC to set aside the Minneapolis vote because of claimed procedural irregularities, including an assertion that firefighters, who had been credentialed by ICC as Voting Governmental Members, should not have been permitted to vote in the ICC process.

ICC’s Appeals Board conducted a public hearing on behalf of the ICC Board of Directors, where interested parties were permitted to provide input on the merits, or lack thereof, of NAHB’s claims. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Appeals Board affirmed that the IRC’s new fire sprinkler requirements resulted from valid actions of the ICC membership, and a recommendation to reject the appeal was issued to the ICC Board of Directors.

“We are pleased to have once again had the opportunity to work on behalf of the nation’s fire service, building officials and other public safety interests to advocate residential fire sprinklers,” said Ronny Coleman, President of the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition. “The success of this effort reflects the commitment of many individuals and organizations who share a common belief that injuries and deaths associated with home fires are preventable through the use of residential fire sprinkler systems. We applaud the ICC Appeals Board for their ability to focus on the facts and render the proper response.”

The full ICC Board of Directors will now review the appeal at their upcoming meeting on December 19th, when a final ruling is expected.

About IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition
Founded in 2007, the IRC Fire Sprinkler Coalition has grown to include more than 100 regional, national and international public safety organizations, including associations representing 44 states, all of which support the mission of promoting residential fire sprinkler systems as a standard feature in new home construction. The Coalition was formed to educate public policymakers on the value of residential sprinkler systems and to support related legislation. More information can be found at