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Fire Sprinklers Cost


How Much Do Fire Sprinklers Cost?

 
average costAverage Home: $2,000-$6,000 high costLarger Home: $7,000-$16,000
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Many states and municipalities have fire sprinkler ordinances in place requiring sprinkler systems in all new construction. Typically, the systems are activated when the inside of a dwelling reaches a certain temperature-- usually at about 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

Typical costs:

  • There are two main types of fire sprinkler systems: Multipurpose systems are integrated with the already existing plumbing systems, while standalone systems have their own plumbing. Multipurpose systems typically have lower costs because they take advantage of plumbing systems already in place. Some contractors may charge or give estimates by the "sprinklered square foot." Sprinklered square footage differs from living area square footage because some areas of the house (like a crawl space) are not considered living spaces but still may require sprinklers.
  • According to the Fire Protection Research Organization's 2009 Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment, sprinkler installation costs homebuilders $0.38-$3.66 per sprinklered square foot, with an average cost of $1.61 per sprinklered square foot. For an average 2,200-square-foot home, expect to pay about $3,542. For a 3,500-square-foot home, expect to pay about $5,635.
  • Fire sprinklers cost 1%-2% of the cost of a new home. In already existing properties, sprinkler systems typically cost $2,000-$16,000. The low end of the range is for homes averaging 2,000 square feet in communities with fire sprinkler ordinances in place more than five years. The high end of the range is for larger homes (in excess of 3,000 square feet) in communities with no sprinkler ordinance or a recently passed ordinance. Communities with a sprinkler ordinance in place for more than five years tend to experience market acceptance, the Fire Protection Research Organization says, which means increased competition and lower prices.
  • The type of piping used in home fire sprinkler systems can significantly affect the cost. Homes that use nonmetallic pipe (like CPVC or PEX pipe) tend to pay less than homes using a mix of metallic (copper pipes) and nonmetallic or exclusively metallic. Nonmetallic installations average $1.18 per sprinklered square foot; a mix of both types costs on average $1.56 per sprinklered square foot; solely using metallic piping typically costs $3.19 per sprinklered square foot.
  • Location can play a role in the cost of fire sprinkler installation. Homes on the West Coast tend to have slab foundations, while in the Midwest and East Coast, basement foundations are more common. Homes with basement foundations tend to have higher costs because basements increase a home's potential sprinklered square feet. Homes with slab foundations average $0.81 per sprinklered square foot; homes with basement foundations averaged $1.81 per sprinklered square foot; and those with crawl space foundations averaged $0.92 per sprinklered square foot.
Related articles: Smoke Detector, Fire Extinguisher, Fire Damage, Homeowner's Insurance

What should be included:
  • An estimate from a contractor or homebuilder should provide details about what is included in fire sprinkler installation. The estimate of the total cost should include parts, design, installation, permits, and increased tap and water meter fees.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides the standards for the installation of sprinkler systems[1] .
Additional costs:
  • Buildings that depend on local wells rather than municipal water systems can incur additional charges. Sprinkler systems on wells typically require installation of a booster pump[2] which can add $2,000-$3,600 to the overall cost.
  • Communities with sprinkler ordinances typically charge permit and inspection fees. Some communities have flat fees, and others base the fees on square footage or value of the house. Typically, the permit costs are $50-$350, but some communities charge as high as $800 in permit fees.
Discounts:
  • According to Fire Protection Research Foundation, communities with sprinkler ordinances in effect for more than five years tend to have lower costs for implementing the systems. In communities with a sprinkler ordinance for more than five years, homebuilders typically pay lower fees as a result of greater competition.
  • Some communities offer a credit to contractors to offset the cost of installing a sprinkler system. For example, the state of South Carolina[3] offers up to a 25% credit on costs directly related to installation of a sprinkler system.
  • Many insurance companies offer discounts for fire sprinkler installations, which come as a percentage off the basic premium. To qualify for the discount, fire sprinkler systems must meet the National Fire Protection Association Standard. Economists from the National Association of Home Builders[4] found that most insurance companies offer discounts[5] of 5%-15% for fire sprinkler systems.
Shopping for fire sprinklers:
  • The Fire Sprinkler Initiative offers a state-by-state breakdown[6] of fire sprinkler requirements. The National Fire Protection Association offers an interactive map[7] of communities with fire sprinkler requirements in the building code.
  • Fire Team USA, which provides fire protection training, has a fire sprinkler cost calculator[8] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=13D
  2.  www.hydronicseng.com/hydraul.htm#Booster Pump
  3.  www.sctax.org/NR/rdonlyres/BE8C9596-37C3-40DC-96AD-8507AC73F863/0/TC52.pdf
  4.  www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=82243&channelID=311
  5.  www.nahb.org/fileUpload_details.aspx?contentTypeID=3&contentID=82243&subContentID=11882...
  6.  www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/Legislation/Sprinkler-requirements-by-state.aspx
  7.  www.nfpa.org/fsi-map/index.php?p=mapview&PHPSESSID=rsrgebc75bf41bgp8d0nirhfe6
  8.  www.fireteamusa.com/Resources/FSCC.xls
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