All U.S. model building codes now require fire sprinklers as a standard feature in new homes

The 2009 and 2012 editions of the International Residential Code (IRC) join the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Life Safety Code and the NFPA Building Code in requiring fire sprinklers to be installed in all new homes.  The NFPA codes have included this requirement since 2006.  Inclusion of the requirement in the IRC is significant because the IRC regulates residential construction in 49 states plus the District of Columbia.  For townhouses, the IRC requirement goes into effect when the code is adopted.  For one- and two-family dwellings, the effective date is January 1, 2011.

The requirement to include fire sprinklers residential construction is not something that came about suddenly or without a great deal of thought and public review

Building codes have been progressively phasing in fire sprinkler requirements for all residential occupancies over the past 20 years, beginning with hotels, motels, condominiums and apartments; extending to include some townhouses in 2000 and all townhouses in 2009; and finally extending to include all new homes in 2011.

Fire sprinklers are already installed in hundreds of thousands of single family homes throughout the United States based on local regulations, and millions of families now live in properties protected by fire sprinklers.  Performance of these systems has been outstanding, with fires typically being controlled or extinguished by a single fire sprinkler.