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Proposed Bill Would Reduce Sprinkler Requirement in Condominiums

  • Proposed Bill Would Reduce Sprinkler Requirement in Condominiums

    Proposed Bill Would Reduce Sprinkler Requirement in Condominiums

    A bill, currently in Florida Legislature, is weighing the option of allowing condominium associations to withhold from installing newer and more expensive sprinkler systems. The bill hopes to clear up language regarding minimum standards for sprinkler systems in current condominiums and allow certain properties to not update their older systems. The current laws required many condominiums to update their sprinkler systems, or have passed an opt-out vote in 2016 and instead fit their buildings with an engineered life safety system. Opponents of this bill, including organizations such as the Florida and American fire sprinkler association, say that stricter standards and higher quality sprinkler systems should be a focus for condominium associations and a priority for update, instead of a potential way of cutting costs.
    The bill, originally proposed by George Moraitis, R-Fort Lauderdale, would attempt to clear up the language concerning the necessity for condominium associations to update their sprinkler system. Currently, the rules requiring an update only specified buildings taller than 75 feet, but the confusing language led many smaller buildings to believe that they needed changes. The updates to sprinkler systems and clarifications of the existing law cost money that ultimately wasn’t required. The proposed law would changed the rules to allow older buildings to forgo sprinkler systems as well as removing the need for engineered life safety systems. Engineered life safety systems are a set of changes or improvements to a building, designed to improve its safety in a fire. These improvements includes sprinkler at designated areas and over each door to a living space, a building-wide smoke alarm system, and walls and doors that slow down the spread of fire.
    Currently, the bill is being examined by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee and is awaiting further decision.