The General Assembly on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John Wisniewski, Jerry Green, Mila Jasey and Shavonda E. Sumter requiring the installation of a fire suppression system in newly-constructed single- and two-family homes.
Under the bill (A-1698), to be known as the “New Home Fire Safety Act,” a certificate of occupancy would not be issued for a new home until a state or local code enforcement agency determines that the home is equipped with a fire suppression system that meets state standards.
“Requiring fire suppression systems in new home construction is a simple, commonsense step that will save lives, limit property damage and reduce insurance costs,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “They should be as commonplace in home construction as windows and doors.”
“Installing fire safety equipment in newly constructed homes is an important step toward improving public safety,” said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “A change like this can go a long way toward saving the lives of both residents and firefighters.”
“Protecting people should always be our first priority,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “Making these fire suppression systems routine will provide peace of mind for families while minimizing the risks for firefighters who put their own lives on the line to protect us.”
“Just earlier this year, a Paterson house fire – unfortunately one of multiple fires in the city in recent months – put the residents, their neighbors and dozens of firefighters in grave danger,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The severity of that tragic incident and others like it serves as a poignant reminder of why having residential fire sprinklers in new homes is so crucial.”
The legislation provides an exemption for manufactured homes and single- and two-family homes that are not connected to public water systems. The bill permits municipalities and the Commissioner of Community Affairs to each establish a fee that covers the cost of inspection and the cost of a certificate of occupancy.
The bill passed 46-31-1 in the Assembly.