On Monday evening, June 7, Governor Mark Sanford signed H.4663, legislation prohibiting the enforcement of mandatory automatic fire sprinklers in the new residential building code. The legislation prohibits enforcing the sprinkler provision of the building code before January 1, 2014.

The 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) is set to take effect on January 1, 2011. It includes a provision that all new single- and two-family homes have automatic fire sprinklers installed. The legislation blocked that provision and the earliest it can be enforced in 2014.

The legislation also requires that the IRC be subjected to the same administrative procedures of review as any other state agency regulation. That means that in the future the approval of the building code will require not only a hearing before the S.C. Building Codes Council, but also potentially the Administrative Law Court and the S.C. General Assembly.

While the automatic fire sprinkler provision is out of the 2009 IRC, the balance of the new residential code is set to take effect on January 1, 2011.

Removing the fire sprinkler provision was the top legislative priorty for the Home Builders Association of South Carolina. Your association overcame opposition from national groups which poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the battle, and hundreds of firefighting professionals who support mandatory automatic fire sprinklers and many of whom visited the State House every day to oppose H.4663.

The legislative victory was hard fought and involved multiple visits to the State House by hundreds of home builders from around South Carolina, including dozens from Greenville and Pickens counties.

H.4663: your dues dollars at work. Read H.4663 by clicking here.