Senate Labor and Industry Committee Advances Sprinkler Repeal

(HARRISBURG)  – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee today approved legislation that will remove the current mandate to install automatic sprinkler systems in new single family homes, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), the Committee Chairman.  House Bill 377 by Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

“As we move into the spring construction season, it is important to remove this costly and unnecessary mandate to help the building industry recover,” said Senator Gordner.  “We also amended the bill with common sense provisions that will allow us to avoid this situation in the future.”

Pennsylvania’s Construction Code is automatically updated every three years when the International Code Conference approves new construction standards, however, the Senator said automatic adoption of construction standards not applicable in Pennsylvania have caused problems with the Code.

“After every triennial update by the ICC, the General Assembly has had to act to exclude provisions that are not applicable in Pennsylvania,” Senator Gordner said.  “For example, the ICC previously mandated construction standards for hurricane and earthquake zones that make no sense for Pennsylvania homes and only add to the construction costs, forcing the General Assembly to act.”

House Bill 377 as amended by Senator Gordner will now require the Commonwealth to opt in to any new International Code changes to ensure they are applicable to Pennsylvania.  Those decisions will be made by the Uniform Construction Code Advisory Council within the Department of Labor and Industry.

“By removing the sprinkler mandate, which added thousands to the costs of new home construction, and by changing the Code process, we can ensure safe and affordable housing for Pennsylvanians, and help place the Commonwealth in a position to recover from the economic downturn,” Senator Gordner concluded.