Thursday, July 18, 2013

Residential fire sprinklers main topic of first 'contractor's hour'


Herald-Whig Staff Writer

City officials told a group of local contractors Thursday morning that an updated set of codes may be adopted, which could include requiring fire sprinklers for new single- and two-family homes.
Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning and development, said the city has adopted the 2006 International Residential Code but it needs to be updated to avoid an increase on the city's Insurance Services Office rating, which affectshomeowner rates.
"We haven't jumped to the new code because of that requirement," he said.
Michael Seaver, director of inspection and enforcement for the city's Department of Planning and Development, said the state fire marshal is considering administrative rule changes that would require the fire sprinklers in single-family homes.
"That would effectively make the requirement a state law," he said. "Although under that law the city is not charged with enforcement of it, but it brings up an interesting dilemma of what do we do with that if we adopt a different standard of what effectively a state law."
Seaver said the city could adopt the code but not include the fire sprinklers requirement.
The meeting was part of Mayor Kyle Moore's goal to meet with contractors to discuss any issues they were having. Moore was joined by about two dozen local contractors and city employees for his first "contractor's hour."
"Nobody knows our processes like you guys," he said.
Steve Kennedy, who lives in the Curtis Creek area, questioned what action the city would take regarding foundationdrains and sump pumps that were connected to the city sewer system. Officials believe that both may have played a role in sewer backups during heavy rain this spring.
A back flow survey is being sent to the 17,000 residential customers to ask them what is being drained into the city sewer system. The survey is being required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Bevelheimer said the survey though does not ask about sump pumps or foundation drains.
Moore said the city is looking at other communities inspection program.
"We've looked at some type of inspection program when there is a change in occupancy before," he said. "It's nothing that we have taken to the council or been able to flush out, but I know that is something that we are looking at other communities. That way we can catch that early, but still not be intrusive to people's lives."


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