Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fire sprinkler issue heads to City Council

from argusleader.com 

A group determining which buildings should be required to have fire sprinklers has approved a list of cost-saving building trade-offs for developers.
The meeting Tuesday was the last for the city’s sprinkler task force.
The Council’s public services committee will now consider the ordinance changes. Following their action, the items go to City Council for final approval.
The trade-offs for installing sprinkler systems involve items such as eliminating heat detection and draft stopping in attic spaces, decreasing the required width of access roads and increasing the required distance from a multifamily residence to a fire hydrant, eliminating the need for developers to install private fire hydrants, which they would be responsible for paying for, said Dean Lanier, Sioux Falls fire marshal.
The trade-offs have been part of international building code and usable by developers in Sioux Falls for a number of years, but are being given more attention and promotion by city officials now with sprinklers being required in more units, Lanier said.
Lanier estimates developers would save about $8,000 for every fire hydrant they would have had to install.
Trade-offs will assist in encouraging the building of smallerapartment complexes, and make them more affordable to construct with sprinklers, said City Councilor Kenny Anderson Jr., chairman of the Sprinkler Task Force.
Sprinklers cost from just under $9,000 for a four-unit building to over $20,000 for a 16-unit building, according to meeting information.
“When you start putting this into practice...and begin eliminating hydrants, it really does provide some cost benefit for our developers to get out of the hydrant business,” Lanier said.
Task force member George Hahn of Keller Williams Realty said he has concerns about decreasing required access road width from 26 feet to 20 feet.
“Without fire code being applicable, the generally accepted civil engineering layout has been 24 feet for many years. If we reduce it to 20 (feet), you have a lot of new bumpers being paid for on an annual basis,” Hahn said. “Reducing it to 20 feet, I don’t see that as being practical. Cars are not getting any shorter, unfortunately, they are getting longer.”
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