Home fire sprinklers are a code requirement

For years, fire sprinkler provisions have been in building codes. The 2006 edition of  NFPA 5000, Building Construction and Safety Code®, included a "first-of-its kind requirement in a U.S. building code for home fire sprinklers in one- and two-family dwellings." Subsequent editions of NFPA 5000 have retained this requirement.

The 2006 edition of the International Code Council's (ICC) International Residential Code included an optional sprinkler provision in its appendix. ICC members voted to make sprinklers a requirement in the IRC's 2009 edition, a decision that was appealed and later reaffirmed during a 2009 public hearing before the Residential Building Code Committee. The 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions have also retained the sprinkler requirement. Today, all U.S. model building codes include sprinkler requirements for all new, one- and two-family homes. Homes constructed without sprinklers lack a crucial element of fire protection.

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Home fire sprinkler requirements at a glance

  • States/regions requiring fire sprinklers in new, one- and two-family homes: CA, MD, Washington, D.C.   
  • States prohibiting statewide and new, local adoptions of fire sprinkler requirements in new, one- and two-family homes: AK, AL, AZ, CT, DE, GA, HI, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI 
  • States allowing local adoptions of sprinkler requirements for new, one- and two-family homes: AR, CO, FL, IL, IA,  ME, MS, MT, NE, NV, NM, OK, OR, RI, SD, TN, VT, WA, WY 
    (*Note: In MA and NY, homes of a certain size must be sprinklered)


Requirements for home fire sprinklers


State/Region   
 
Promulgating Body Action
                                                                                                                                         
 California  
Effective January 1, 2011, the California Building Standards Commission approved the State Fire Marshal's Building, Fire and Residential Code adoption packages for the 2010 California Building Standards Codes, including its requirements for residential fire sprinklers in all new one-and two-family dwellings and townhome construction statewide. More about fire sprinkler codes in California.
 Maryland The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has adopted the 2015 International Residential Code, including its requirement for automatic fire sprinklers in new, one- and two- family dwellings. Maryland law prohibits local jurisdictions from weakening the sprinkler requirement in their building code adoptions.
 Washington,  D.C.  Effective January 1, 2011, all new residences (townhomes and one- and two-family dwellings) are required to have fire sprinklersWashington, D.C., uses the 2012 International Residential Code. 

Status of sprinkler requirements in other states

State Promulgating Body Action Take Action
Alaska No statewide adoption for home fire sprinklers, and no new local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinance due to legislative action. Contact NFPA
Alabama

No statewide adoption for home fire sprinklers, and the state has a prohibition on local fire sprinkler ordinances. 

Join the Alabama Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Arkansas No statewide adoption, but local jurisdictions may adopt a sprinkler ordinance.

Contact NFPA
Arizona No statewide requirement for home fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes. No new local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinance due to legislative action. Exempt from this law are cities like Scottsdale, which has an ordinance to sprinkler its new homes that went into effect in 1986. Join the Arizona Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Colorado No statewide building code, but local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinance. Visit the Colorado Fire Sprinkler Coalition page for a list of local adoptions. Join the Colorado Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Connecticut Uses the 2012 International Residential Code, but  the requirement to sprinkler townhouses and one- and two-family sprinkler requirements has been removed.  Local jurisdictions may not adopt sprinkler ordinances. In 2015, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill requiring landlords to notify tenants on the existence or nonexistence of fire sprinklers in a dwelling units.
Join the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Delaware No statewide building code, but the Levy Court of Kent County and the County Councils of New Castle County and Sussex County may adopt and enforce building codes, plumbing codes, electrical codes or other similar codes. Newark, Delaware, currently has a requirement to fire sprinkler its new homes. On Aug. 6, 2015, Governor Jack Markell signed into law a sprinkler bill requiring builders of new, one- and two-family homes to give buyers a cost estimate for installing fire sprinklers and requiring homebuyers to receive information from the State Fire Marshal's Office about sprinkler benefits.
Join the Delaware Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Florida

 

Uses the Florida Building Code 6th edition, which incorporates the 2015 International Residential Code. There is no statewide adoption for home fire sprinkler requirements, but local jurisdictions are permitted to require fire sprinklers. There is also a requirement for high-rise (75 feet in height) condominiums to be retrofitted with fire sprinkler systems by December 2019. 

Join the Florida Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Georgia Uses the 2012 International Residential Code, but has implemented amendments. The intent of the amendments is that fire sprinklers shall not be mandatory in one- and two-family dwellings. However, the provisions for fire sprinklers are to remain in the code for use when the builder/developer or owner chooses to install fire sprinklers as an option. Contact NFPA.
Hawaii Hawaiian counties adopt their own building code editions with the exception of fire sprinkler requirements. State law currently prohibits local jurisdictions from adopting fire sprinkler requirements. This law sunsets in 2027.
Join the Hawaii Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Idaho Uses the 2012 International Residential Code, but legislation prohibits adopting fire sprinkler requirements. Join the Idaho Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Illinois Local jurisdictions can adopt a building code requiring fire sprinklers in new homes. Approximately 100 communities have adopted an ordinance for fire sprinklers. Join the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Indiana Uses the 2003 International Residential Code. Rulemaking body removed the fire sprinkler provisions. State is currently in the process of adopting the 2018 IRC that will contain amendments. There will be no requirement for residential fire sprinklers.   Contact NFPA.
Iowa There is no statewide requirement for home fire sprinklers, but local jurisdictions may adopt a sprinkler ordinance. Contact NFPA.
Kansas No statewide building code. Local jurisdictions may not adopt or enforce a sprinkler ordinance due to legislative action. 
Join the Kansas Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Kentucky Uses the 2012 International Residential Code, but state did not adopt requirement to sprinkler new, one- and two-family homes. The state is set to adopt the 2015 IRC. The provision for residential fire sprinklers will not be adopted.  Contact NFPA.
Louisiana Uses the 2012 International Residential Code. IRC shall be amended as followed: state shall not adopt or enforce any part of the International Residential Code or any other code or regulation that requires fire sprinklers in one- or two-family dwellings. Further, no municipality or parish shall adopt or enforce an ordinance or other regulation requiring fire sprinklers. Where no fire sprinklers are installed, a common two-hour fire-resistance-rated wall is permitted for townhouses if such walls do not contain plumbing or mechanical equipment, ducts or vents in the cavity of the common wall. Contact NFPA
Maine Uses the 2015 International Residential Code, but no statewide requirement to sprinkler new homes. Local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinance.
Join the Maine Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Massachusetts Uses the 2009 International Residential Code. Fire sprinklers for new townhouses shall be designed and installed in accordance with NFPA 13, 13R, or 13D, as applicable. Only one- and two-family dwellings having an aggregate area greater than 14,400 square feet shall have fire sprinklers installed in accordance with NFPA 13D.  Aggregate areas shall include basements but not garages and unfinished attics. Additions to such sprinklered dwellings shall have automatic sprinklers installed in accordance with NFPA 13D.
Join the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Michigan Uses the 2015 International Residential Code, but has removed requirement to sprinkler new homes. Local jurisdictions may not adopt a sprinkler requirement. Join the Michigan Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Minnesota Minnesota's Department of Labor and Industry passed requirements for fire sprinklers in new homes larger than 4,500 square feet, effective January 24, 2015. The Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the requirement in October 2015. Only townhomes with three or more units open on two sides require fire sprinklers, or if required for state licensed facilities.  Contact NFPA.
Mississippi The Mississippi Building Codes Council requires the 2012 International Residential Code to be enforced. However, jurisdictions had 120 days after the effective date of August 1, 2014 to opt out of this adoption. Local jurisdictions can adopt their own fire sprinkler requirements.  Contact NFPA
Missouri  Law requires that builders inform a prospective home buyer about home fire sprinklers and give them the option to have them installed.  
Join the Missouri Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Montana Uses the 2012 International Residential Code. However, there is no statewide requirement for home fire sprinklers. Local jurisdictions may adopt a sprinkler ordinance. Contact NFPA.
Nebraska Uses the 2012 International Residential Code. However, legislative action prohibits statewide sprinkler adoption. Local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinance.
Contact NFPA.
Nevada There is no statewide adoption of home fire sprinkler requirements. Local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinances under certain circumstances. In 2018, the Las Vegas City Council passed a bill requiring the fire sprinklering of the city's new, one- and two-family homes.  Contact NFPA.
New Hampshire Uses the 2009 International Residential Code. There is no statewide adoption for fire sprinklers in new homes. Legislative action prohibits local jurisdictions from adopting sprinkler requirements. Join the New Hampshire Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
New Jersey Uses the 2015 International Residential Code, but sprinkler requirements for new homes has been deleted. Local jurisdictions may not adopt sprinkler ordinances. 
Join the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
New Mexico Legislative action prohibits statewide, sprinkler adoption. Local jurisdictions may adopt fire sprinkler requirements. Contact NFPA.
New York Uses the 2015 International Residential Code, but the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council adopted an amendment to remove the requirement to install fire sprinklers in all new, one- and two-family homes and townhomes. Townhomes having a height of three stories above grade shall be equipped with fire sprinklers. One- and two-family dwellings having a height of three stories above grade shall be equipped with fire sprinklers. Local jurisdictions may not adopt sprinkler ordinances. In 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation requiring tenants to be informed whether or not a home has fire sprinklers. Join the New York Sprinkler Initiative.
North Carolina

Uses the 2012 International Residential Code with North Carolina amendments. Fire sprinklers shall be installed in townhomes, with the exception of the installation of a two-hour separation between units. The requirement to sprinkler one- and two-family homes has been deleted. Local jurisdictions may not adopt sprinkler ordinances.

Join the North Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
North Dakota Uses the 2012 edition of the International Residential Code. However, legislation prohibits adoption of home fire sprinkler requirements.  Contact NFPA.
Ohio Uses the 2018 International Residential Code, but has not adopted requirement for home fire sprinklers. Contact NFPA.
Oklahoma Uses 2015 International Residential Code. Requirement to sprinkler one- and two-family homes has been deleted. Local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinances.
Contact NFPA
Oregon

Uses an amended version of the 2015 International Residential Code. Sprinklers can be required in one- and two-family dwellings as an alternate to access or water supply issues. When installing sprinklers in one-and two-family dwellings, the Oregon Residential Code has some construction benefits that are less restrictive than the model codes.

Join the Oregon Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Pennsylvania

On October 1, 2018, the state will transition to the 2015 series of International Code Council building codes, with the exception of Philadelphia, which will start to enforce the 2018 edition. Fire sprinkler requirements for single-family detached and semi-detached homes are specifically exempt from the requirements. Fire sprinklers are required in new townhomes. Local jurisdiction are prohibited from enacting ordinances requiring those homes to be protected with sprinklers. A few communities, who passed their residential sprinkler ordinances before 1999, may still require sprinklers. 

Join the Pennsylvania Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Rhode Island Uses the 2012 International Residential Code, but no statewide adoption of the fire sprinkler requirement. Local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinances. Join the Rhode Island Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
South Carolina Uses the 2015 International Residential Code, but has implemented amendments to remove the sprinkler requirements, and prohibits local adoption of residential sprinkler ordinances.  Join the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
South Dakota Uses the 2015 International Residential Code. Local jurisdictions are allowed to adopt residential fire sprinkler ordinances.  Join the South Dakota Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Tennessee

Townhomes are required to have residential sprinklers, and local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinances that require sprinklers in detached, single-family homes.

Join the Tennessee Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Texas

The State Fire Marshal's Office uses the 2015 editions of the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, and NFPA 1, Fire Code, as its standards of inspection. Due to legislative action municipalities may not enforce sprinkler provisions in new homes unless they have had sprinkler ordinances in place on 1/1/09.

Join the Texas Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Utah Uses the 2012 International Residential Code, but no statewide adoption of the requirement for sprinklering one- and two-family homes. Join the Utah Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Vermont Vermont does not have a statewide, residential building code. However, the state has adopted nationally recognized safety standards to protect the public from fire and explosion hazards. The Division of Fire Safety amends the national standards only when necessary to address conditions specific to Vermont. They have adopted NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®, but deleted the section on sprinklering one- and two-family dwellings. Local jurisdictions may adopt sprinkler ordinances.
Contact NFPA
Virginia Uses the 2012 International Residential Code, but has removed requirements to sprinkler new townhomes and one- and two-family homes. State in the process of adopting the 2015 IRC, but will once again remove the fire sprinkler requirements. 
Contact NFPA
Washington Uses the 2015 International Residential Code, but has amended out requirement to sprinkler state's new homes. Local jurisdictions may adopt a sprinkler requirement. Visit the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition page for a list of local adoptions. Join the Washington Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
West Virginia Uses the 2015 International Residential Code, but deleted sprinkler requirements for townhomes and one- and two-family homes. Local jurisdictions may not adopt sprinkler ordinances. Contact NFPA
Wisconsin

 

The Wisconsin Legislature has placed restrictions on municipalities regarding automatic fire sprinklers The Uniform Dwelling Code, which is used for all one- and two-family dwellings, does not allow municipalities from enacting local ordinances requiring home fire sprinklers. However, Wisconsin does require sprinklers in all residential buildings containing three or more units. 


Join the Wisconsin Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
Wyoming There is no statewide requirement to fire sprinkler new homes, but authorities having jurisdiction may adopt sprinkler ordinances. Join the Wyoming Fire Sprinkler Coalition.