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Residential Fire Sprinklers Symposium Robert C. Fusari Sr. , President Real Estate Service of Residential Fire Sprinklers Symposium Robert C. Fusari Sr. , President Real Estate Service of CT, Inc. Middletown, CT 06457 Representing the Home Builders Association Of CT June 13, 2008

ISSUES n Is There A Need? n Cost n Technical n Regulatory n Manpower ISSUES n Is There A Need? n Cost n Technical n Regulatory n Manpower Resources n Public Demand

IS THERE A NEED? IS THERE A NEED?

IS THERE A NEED? n If we are proposing to fill a need, we IS THERE A NEED? n If we are proposing to fill a need, we should be sure there is, in fact, a real need. n The best data we have available indicates that in the 7 years from 2000 and 2006, there had not been a single fire related death in a 1 or 2 family home built since battery & hardwired smoke detectors were required in 1985. n While there is no confirmable data on when a few buildings were built where a fire death occurred in a fire between 2000 and 2006, an exhaustive search has not found a single fire death in a 1 or 2 family home built after 1985.

IS THERE A NEED? Current Regulations Require: n More fire resistant building products n IS THERE A NEED? Current Regulations Require: n More fire resistant building products n Better electrical systems n Better heating systems and chimneys n Self closing fire doors n Egress windows n Safer Appliances n Safer fireplaces (Mostly gas instead of wood)

IS THERE A NEED? n If there are no or extremely few fire deaths IS THERE A NEED? n If there are no or extremely few fire deaths in 1 & 2 family homes built after 1985 why are we proposing them in new homes? n If the problem occurs in homes built before 1985 isn’t that where the potential solution lies?

COST n A 2006 NAHB Research Center survey of home builders in jurisdictions where COST n A 2006 NAHB Research Center survey of home builders in jurisdictions where fire sprinklers were mandated (over 1, 500 installations on public water systems) showed an average cost of $2. 66 per square foot. n With a minimum markup of 10% for overhead, the cost to the consumer would be $2. 93 per square foot

COST n The average new home in CT is about 2, 400 Sq. Ft. COST n The average new home in CT is about 2, 400 Sq. Ft. with a 1, 000 Sq. Ft. basement which must also be sprinkled n $2. 93 X 3, 400 = $9, 948 per house added to a 30 year mortgage at 6% = an additional $715 per year. n At best, one might get $100 per year reduction in homeowner insurance.

COST n So how much would it cost to save 1 life? n There COST n So how much would it cost to save 1 life? n There are 1, 042, 467 1 & 2 family homes in CT. n Using DPS data for 2000 & 2006, there were 11. 4 fire related deaths per year in 1 & 2 family homes in CT. n 1 fire death for every 91, 444 homes. (10 years ago it was 1 death for every 61, 000 homes. n $9, 948 x 91, 444 = $910, 000 n 30 year system life = $30, 000

COST n That’s over $30, 000 to save 1 life assuming the incidence of COST n That’s over $30, 000 to save 1 life assuming the incidence of fire deaths occurs equally in all homes regardless of age. n Of course, fire deaths in relatively new homes are practically non existent. n The cost to save 1 life in a NEW home is so high, for practical purposes, it is not measurable.

COST n To the extent mandatory fire sprinkler systems make housing less affordable, it COST n To the extent mandatory fire sprinkler systems make housing less affordable, it actually keeps families in substandard housing that is much more likely to have a fatal fire. n Based on cost alone, mandatory sprinklers are counterproductive.

TECHNICAL Backflow Preventer n The typical fire sprinkler system is a “dead ended” series TECHNICAL Backflow Preventer n The typical fire sprinkler system is a “dead ended” series of piping that would retain stagnant water until the system was activated or flushed. n Under certain circumstances this stagnant water could flow backwards into the domestic water system and cause contamination of the drinking water. n A backflow preventer is required to avoid this potential situation. n Backflow preventers are expensive and subject to inadvertent failure. n While some municipalities allow a double check valve as a less expensive alternative, it is unclear if this is allowed under the health code.

TECHNICAL Connection to the Public Water Supply and Metering n Under the current NFP TECHNICAL Connection to the Public Water Supply and Metering n Under the current NFP 13 D regulation the question of where to connect the fire sprinkler system is a complex one. n If it is connected to the water supply after the meter then the meter must be sized and approved for installation on a fire sprinkler system. n We are told that there is only one meter approved for this kind of installation and there is some question about its ability to accurately read low domestic flows. n Most water companies have meter reading and testing equipment that is not compatible with this meter and are reluctant to add new equipment without “adequate” compensation. n On the other hand, if the fire sprinkler system is connected to the water supply before the meter, the question of how the customer pays for the fire sprinkler service is unanswered. n Many water providers simply do not allow unmetered connections.

TECHNICAL Water Service n There are two questions related to the service from a TECHNICAL Water Service n There are two questions related to the service from a public water supply. 1. Should there be a separate service for the fire sprinkler system and 2. What should the size of the service pipe(s) be? n Although residential fire sprinkler systems generally require no more water than normal domestic needs, many water utilities require a larger water service if any fire sprinkler system is installed. n Water utilities generally do not differentiate between residential and commercial fire sprinkler system demands. n The size of the water service pipe should be a function of the pressure at the street, the length of the service and the height of the highest sprinkler head. n There is no common standard throughout CT regarding water service for residential fire sprinklers. n There is no single existing State department or agency that has jurisdiction to develop and enforce a standard.

TECHNICAL What if There Is No Public Water Supply? n Because the demands for TECHNICAL What if There Is No Public Water Supply? n Because the demands for the volume of water for residential sprinkler systems are quite low, (250 to 300 gallons) a storage tank and a small pump or a compressed nitrogen bottle is sufficient for a fire sprinkler system that is not on a public water supply. n Standards related to emergency power for a system with an electric pump have not been developed. n Cost is highly variable and dependent on many factors. n Regulations and procedures for maintenance and inspection have not been established.

TECHNICAL Design and Certification n Currently each house plan must be separately designed and TECHNICAL Design and Certification n Currently each house plan must be separately designed and stamped by a licensed civil engineer. n Builders who repeat the same plan many times would only have to have a given plan designed and certified once. n However, any changes to the plan, a not uncommon occurrence, would require redesign and certification. n There is no simple “cookbook” design standards that would allow a builder or inspector to determine if a given layout met NFP-13 D without an engineer’s stamp.

REGULATORY Connecticut has 3 different types of public water suppliers n Municipally owned systems REGULATORY Connecticut has 3 different types of public water suppliers n Municipally owned systems n Regional water authorities n Investor owned water companies

REGULATORY Municipally owned systems n Have nearly complete autonomy to write their own rules REGULATORY Municipally owned systems n Have nearly complete autonomy to write their own rules and regulations. n Involvement at the State level is limited to meeting the Health Department standards and regulations. n Items such as backflow preventer or double check valve, single or dual service, pipe size, meter, and connection-before-or-after-themeter are decisions left to each municipal water department.

REGULATORY Regional water authorities n Such as the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and the REGULATORY Regional water authorities n Such as the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and the South Central Connecticut Water Authority n Operate with much the same autonomy as municipalities but over a generally larger area.

REGULATORY Investor owned water companies n Such as the Connecticut Water Company, n Also REGULATORY Investor owned water companies n Such as the Connecticut Water Company, n Also operate with some autonomy but with somewhat more consistent control by the Department of Public Utility Control. (DPUC) n At this time, they are allowed to establish their own regulations regarding sprinklers and there is no consistency.

REGULATORY Public Water Providers n Inconsistencies abound n There is no existing State regulatory REGULATORY Public Water Providers n Inconsistencies abound n There is no existing State regulatory agency or vehicle that could easily bring order to the water supply industry.

REGULATORY Maintenance and Inspection n What is the homeowner’s responsibility and liability regarding maintenance REGULATORY Maintenance and Inspection n What is the homeowner’s responsibility and liability regarding maintenance and upkeep? Who does it? n How frequently? n At what cost? n n Who is responsible for inspecting on a continuing basis n Who pays?

Manpower Resources n Currently, a separate license is required to install a n n Manpower Resources n Currently, a separate license is required to install a n n fire sprinkler system. If tomorrow, fire sprinklers were required in all new 1 & 2 family homes, the residential building industry would instantly need 600 ADDITIONAL new plumbers, each with a sprinkler license. The process for licensing new plumber with a regular or sprinkler license is so lengthy and onerous it would take many years to develop that resource. Sprinkler system cost would skyrocket and residential housing production would nosedive. Affordable housing would be stopped entirely.

Public Demand n Currently, there is no public demand for residential fire n n Public Demand n Currently, there is no public demand for residential fire n n n n sprinkler systems. Indeed, there is actually some resistance and fear even before the cost is known. In 1993 our company installed a residential fire sprinkler in one of the model homes in a large subdivision in Middletown We provided numerous pieces of literature and a videotape. We subsequently built over 300 new homes in that subdivision Not a single buyer chose to have a system installed. When we subsequently sold the model, the sprinkler system was a liability, not a selling point. We have sold over 100 single family homes since it was required that we inform all new home buyers in writing that fire sprinklers are an option. Not a single buyer has chosen it.

Key findings from a national survey of 800 likely voters, conducted August 14 -16, Key findings from a national survey of 800 likely voters, conducted August 14 -16, 2006 #06811

Smoke detectors are nearly universally regarded as doing an adequate job of protection. Do Smoke detectors are nearly universally regarded as doing an adequate job of protection. Do you believe that smoke detectors do an adequate job of protecting your family in a house fire? 90% 54% Definitely 9% Yes, Protect Family No, Don’t Protect

Those with higher incomes overwhelmingly believe that sprinklers should be optional. Free Sprinkler System- Those with higher incomes overwhelmingly believe that sprinklers should be optional. Free Sprinkler System- Optional or Required? By Income 55% 44% <$20 K (11%) 62% 60% 39% $20 -$40 K (17%) 37% $40 -$60 K (17%) Required 32% 28% $60 -$80 K $80 -$100 K (16%) (15%) Optional 72% 71% 67% 28% $100 K + (15%)

As a free incentive to buy a home, more than 60% prefer options other As a free incentive to buy a home, more than 60% prefer options other than fire sprinklers. Imagine you are buying a new home and the builder is offering you one of the following options as a free incentive. Which one of the following would you choose? 37% Finished Basement 34% Fire Sprinkler System 14% Granite Countertops 11% Upgraded Carpet and Flooring All/None/Don't Know 4%

There are some notable differences on this question by region of the country. Free There are some notable differences on this question by region of the country. Free Incentive Choice By Region 42% 39%37% 35% North (13%) 49% 34% New Mid. England Atlantic (5%) (17%) 47% 29% Great Lakes (18%) 53% 41% 31% Farm Belt (5%) Finished Basements 25% Deep South (16%) Fire Sprinklers 46% 38% 35%32% 19% 18% Outer South (18%) Mtn (6%) Pacific (15%)

Just 15% of voters say they’d be willing to pay as much as $4, Just 15% of voters say they’d be willing to pay as much as $4, 800 for a sprinkler system. If a sprinkler system was offered as an option for your new home, what is the most you would be willing to pay? Would not choose regardless of cost 28% 25% $1, 200 for 3 bedroom 23% $2, 300 for 3 bedroom 12% $4, 800 for 3 bedroom $9, 600 for 3 bedroom 3% 15%

§ Fire sprinkler systems are widely believed to do an adequate job of protection § Fire sprinkler systems are widely believed to do an adequate job of protection in a fire. § And, they have some appeal as a free option in a new home. § But, there’s little support for requiring the systems on new homes. § And, just 15% of voters say they’d be willing to pay as much as $4, 800 for a sprinkler system.

214 North Fayette Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314 Phone: (703) 836 -7655 • Fax: (703) 214 North Fayette Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314 Phone: (703) 836 -7655 • Fax: (703) 836 -8117 Web: www. pos. org

Summary n Is there a need? Not in new 1 & 2 Family homes. Summary n Is there a need? Not in new 1 & 2 Family homes. Are residential sprinklers cost effective in new homes? n At $30 million to save a life, you decide. Are all of the technical issues resolved? n Clearly they have not. Are all of the regulatory process and procedures in place? n NO! And there is no indication that this can be easily or quickly accomplished. Do we have the necessary licensed manpower? n We DO NOT and cannot get it quickly. Is there a public demand for residential fire sprinklers? n Not only is there no demand, there is actually some resistance. n n n