Home builders not happy about proposed residential sprinkler bill

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - "How much would it cost to put a glass door in here?" asked Jim Chmielewski to his home builder.

As the Chmielewskis put the final touches on their house plan; a fire sprinkler system isn't in their budget. "We'd have to sacrifice either the driveway or cut the square footage down significantly," said Chmielewski.

Their previous home was ripped apart during hurricane Ike. "We had two big oak trees and that concerns me a lot more than fire damage and I wonder if the government wants to put a net up to catch them," said Chmielewski.

Insurance agent Terry Morgan said it doesn't make dollars or any sense. "You're only talking anywhere from a $50 to $100 credit of your insurance rate for the sprinkler system," said Morgan.

John Bryan is building their new home. He said requiring a sprinkler system is ridiculous. "You'd have to have a pump and of course a separate water supply system if you're out in the rural area and in city limits you'd have to have a separate meter tap made for that," said Bryan.

Others said the benefits of installing a sprinkler system outweigh the costs. "I would like to see a sprinkler system, I do know that it would increase the cost of a home, but how do you put a cost value on life," said Dale Allred, Lufkin City Inspector.