BY: Citizens Count
New Hampshire does not require one- or two- family homes to have fire sprinkler systems. By law, cities and towns are not allowed to require home sprinkler systems.
Are there any exceptions?
In some special cases, the local fire chief may require a residential sprinkler system as one of the conditions for granting a variance. For example, if poor road access would make it difficult for fire trucks to access a new home, the fire chief can require a sprinkler system to be installed before the home is occupied.
How does this compare to other states?
Some states, like California and Maryland, require fire sprinklers in new one- and two- family homes. Other states, including Maine and Vermont, allow municipalities to decide whether home fire sprinklers are required.
How much do home fire sprinkler systems cost?
According to a 2013 study by the National Fire Protection Association, the average cost of a home sprinkler system was $6,026, or $1.35 per sprinklered square foot.
Insurers will often offer discounts on home insurance premiums for homes with sprinkler systems. These discounts usually range from 5%-10% off the premium depending on whether all or just some of the rooms in the house are protected by sprinklers.
Sprinklers in condos, apartments, and commercial buildings
New Hampshire towns may require sprinklers in apartment buildings and other residences that have more than two units. Sprinklers may also be required in dormitories, hotels, and buildings where people congregate like churches.
Arguments in favor of a home sprinkler law
Proponents of requiring fire sprinklers in homes argue that these systems save lives. According to a 2017 report from the National Fire Protection Association, the civilian death rate was 81 percent lower in homes with fire sprinklers than those without sprinklers. In cases where sprinkler systems were present, fires were contained to the room where the fire started 97 percent of the time.
Arguments against requiring home fire sprinklers
Those who feel sprinklers should not be required argue that they are burdensomely expensive for homeowners. In 2013, the average cost of residential sprinkler systems was more than $6,000. Housing is already in short supply in New Hampshire – lawmakers should not add more red tape for homebuilders and homeowners to deal with.