On May 7, Gov. Christie made the decision to conditionally veto proposed legislation for a statewide fire sprinkler bill for a second time. The bill — which New Jersey REALTORS® has historically taken the position of “monitor” on — would require fire sprinkler systems in new single and two family homes.
In his official corrected copy, Christie wrote, “Mandating sprinkler installation would increase the upfront cost of every new freestanding home by thousands of dollars, even as this state’s citizens continue the struggle to rebuild their lives after Superstorm Sandy.”
Christie also raised concern with what he refereed to as the bill’s inflexibility. “As written, the bill would require every new home to have a sprinkler system, regardless of the individual design or construction of that dwelling. But different structures have different needs depending on their individual characteristics.”
“Mandating that code officials require sprinklers in every home, regardless of whether sprinklers are appropriate in the given structure, is unwarranted,” he added.
Instead, Christie recommended that the state Department of Community Affairs study whether it should require sprinklers for only new townhouses. Specifically, he noted that because townhouses are joined to one another, it might be appropriate to take extra steps to ensure that a fire does not spread across units or otherwise adversely affect neighboring homes.
“If, after comparing the marginal cost of such devices with their marginal benefits, DCA determines that sprinklers in such structures are warranted, then DCA should amend the Uniform Construction Code as it deems appropriate,” Christie concluded.
You can read the corrected copy in its entirety, here.