I hate to invest a lot of energy on the topic of sprinkler systems, but come January 1, 2011, anyone building a new home will need to be a lot more familiar with them, and so will designers. Pennsylvania has aligned itself with the Uniform Construction Code, which means that in 2011 all new homes must contain a full sprinkler system. This article/video talks a bit about the pros and cons of such a mandate.
You may disagree, but I think this is a terrible idea. Yes, we are overbuilt and do not need home builders building more sprawled suburban McMansions anyways. However, it sure does add some serious cost to a process that is already extremely difficult to finance. It does nothing to help jump start the new housing market for sure. Now you’ll see more sprinkler contractors all over – what happens after that one year labor warranty expires and one of those sprinkler heads leak? Homeowner’s is there to save the day for your wallet, maybe, but not your valuables and anything else that may be ruined.
I fully understand the importance of sprinklers in commercial projects and even attached multi-family residential projects. Do we really need them in a detached typical American home though? Really? As a mandate? I vote no.