Those of you who know me well are very aware I am willing to change my mind, when sufficient evidence is provided to prove a case.
Recently a fair amount of brouhaha has been generated around legislation to require fire suppression sprinkler systems in new residential construction.
The International Code Council (an organization of building inspectors, fire officials and others, who set building standards) recommended two years ago for codes to be adopted requiring sprinkler systems in homes and townhouses under three stories high.
Now I do not at all like government mandates or interference in individual choice. Apparently neither do 34 states, which have prohibited, through legislation or code, mandatory residential fire sprinklers.
Opponents most often cite the cost of systems, as the reason to not have them. From my research, it appears systems in new home construction can generally be installed from between $1 to $1.50 per square foot.
With pole buildings, the simplicity of the structural system should allow for even less expensive upfront installation costs. The investment into the sprinkler system can also often be offset by insurance savings, and by specific design alternatives or “trade-offs” permitted by most building codes.
A sprinklered building often results in reduced fire-resistant requirements for structural components. Costly firewalls may be reduced or completely eliminated, and the quantity of exit doors may be reduced. The biggest plus – pole buildings allow for a relatively large volume of space to be created economically. With the proper sprinkler system, larger building areas and heights can be allowed.
Larger structures could only be built out of fire restrictive materials when not sprinklered. Using sprinklers, they can now be designed far more economically as pole buildings.
My conclusion to the evidence is an overwhelming “yes” to sprinklers in buildings….including pole buildings. Far be it from me to buck any system which gives you a safer building, and for quite possibly pretty much the same (or at least reasonable) cost. I’ll bring my umbrella and rain gear.