Sprinklers in your new home may become mandatory

For the past couple of years, the Illinois State Fire Marshal has been discussing a proposal that could cost new homeowners a pretty penny. But, it would keep them safe in the case of a fire.

Select states around the country have mandated that sprinkler systems be installed in new homes. A sprinkler in your house could be a life saver in the event of a fire, but it also can cost you around 10 thousand dollars depending on the size of your newly built house.

Illinois State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis has discussed making them a statewide requirement.

Kevin Hamann owns Hamann Construction in Quincy. He says the installation causes business to slow down for him. Hamann said if the prices are higher, people may not look to be building as much.

"Our price would be higher. Just having to install something like that. I believe it would slow it down a little bit but hopefully they can give a pass or an option where the homeowner can opt out if they don't really want it and if they want it they can install it, too," Hamann said.

Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning says the sprinklers would be helpful in two ways. They clear a path for escaping as well as contain the fire until firefighters are on scene.

"From a fire-fighter's perspective, sprinkler systems are important because all the newer construction is built more and more with the light weight tresses. We got engineered i-beams. Those types of things being used at homes. This type of construction is consumed and fails a lot quicker in a fire than your legacy or traditional type of construction," Henning said.

Michael Seaver is the Director of Inspection and Enforcement for the City of Quincy. He said the next step for the fire marshal is to publish the rule to let people know it will be up for a vote.

"The argument is whether or not the cost per life saved is feasible. But they definitely work. We have seen them demonstrated. There is no argument that they work," Seaver said.

Once the Fire Marshal publishes the new rule, there will be a public commenting period. The rule would then become a possibility for legislation.