I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Sprinklers requirement for new homes sparks debate
The state Public Regulation Commission (PRC) met in Aztec Thursday for a heated public meeting about proposed state regulations requiring the installation of fire sprinklers in newly constructed houses.
Home builders told commissioners the requirement would drive up the cost of new homes and slow the state’s economic recovery. But those claims may be overblown, PRC chairman David King told The Independent late Friday.
“The fire industry guys said it is not that expensive,” King said. “If it’s built in and planned right, it’s not much more expensive. The home builders are not against it. They just say they need more time.”
“Our position will probably be to keep endorsing (the regulations),” King said.
State Fire Marshal John Standefer supports the sprinkler requirement, saying similar regulations for commercial buildings and schools have saved lives. Fire deaths and property losses could be avoided if the new rule is implemented, Standefer said. Homeowners will also save money on fire insurance, he noted.
But the new regulations will prevent many New Mexicans from buying new homes, New Mexico Home Builders Association lobbyist Randy Traynor warned. Sprinklers could add as much as 4 to 5 percent of a home’s final cost, construction contractors claimed at the Aztec meeting.
After the meeting, commissioners toured a home in Aztec that had been built with sprinklers integrated in the house’s plumbing system, King said.
“It’s all on the same system as the shower, so the owner knows 24/7 whether the sprinkler system is operational because all he has to do is turn on the shower,” King said. “It seems pretty fool-proof.”