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Governor Tom Corbett is slated to repeal a short lived Pennsylvania statute mandating that fire sprinkler systems be installed in new one and two-family homes.

Those who support repeal of the law, including the Pennsylvania Builders Association, cite the increased cost that is passed on to the home purchaser as a result of the sprinkler mandate. Some proponents of the repeal state that the increased cost is approximately $15,000 per home.

Conversely, advocates of the sprinkler mandate claim that the cost is far less and the potential life-saving effect justifies the cost. If repealing this legislation results in the loss of one life, I am afraid the cost is too high. Furthermore, in conducting a purely economic analysis, it should be noted that there is increased cost associated with the expected repeal by increased property damage in fires where there is no sprinkler system. A perfect example is a case in which a fire begins in a new construction home without a sprinkler system and spreads to another new home with a sprinkler system. If the sprinkler law was in effect, the damage to both homes could have been mitigated and, hopefully, any loss of life avoided.

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