Bill Prohibiting Mandatory Residential Fire Sprinklers Clears MO House

Missouri Capitol in Jefferson CityHouse Bill 46, which prohibits any jurisdiction from mandating residential fire sprinklers in any one or two family dwelling or townhouse through year 2019 passed by a margin of 149 to 9 in the House this week. It continues to require builders of new homes to offer their customers the option of installing a fire sprinkler system at the purchaser’s expense. The homeowner can then choose whether or not they want the system. One other modification to the legislation included requiring any governing body of any political subdivision that adopts the 2009 International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings or a subsequent edition of such code without mandated automatic fire sprinkler systems in Section R313 of such code to retain the language in section R317 for two-family dwellings (R317.1) and townhouses (R317.2). This is to maintain the same level of safety in construction required by the code prior to including the mandatory fire sprinklers.

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“That margin of victory speaks for itself,” said HBA CEO Matt Morrow. “It certainly demonstrates that many of our elected officials have heard your message that fire safety is best addressed by ensuring working smoke detectors are installed in homes – especially those built before they were required by the building code. They also understand that getting housing back on track is essential to job creation – and we must not let unnecessary regulatory burdens become an obstacle to that recovery.”

This week, NAHB Economist Elliot Eisenberg will also provide information at the State Capitol in meetings with legislators similar to presentations he provided in Springfield in November regarding fire sprinklers and the local economic impact of residential construction.

Morrow encouraged the HBA’s builders and remodelers to attend HBA of Missouri’s Legislative Day on April 6. “That should be right around the time that both houses in the general assembly begin taking up legislation passed by the other body. It should be an excellent opportunity to speak to legislators about getting that extension truly agreed and finally passed – ready for the Governor’s signature following the end of session in mid-May.” Bus transportation to Jefferson City and Legislative Day activities is sponsored by HBA associate members to provide free-of-charge participation for builder and remodeler members of the HBA. Sign up or learn more by contacting HBA Government Affairs Specialist Jennifer McClure (

On the same day that House Bill 46 passed, Morrow was testifying in support of a similar bill before the Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee. At this point there are several options available to the Senate including perfecting and passing its own bill and reconciling it with the house version or taking up the same bill passed by the House and considering passage of that bill. Another bill supported by the HBA affiliates in Missouri dealing with workers’ compensation passed in the House. The House passed House Bill 162. House Bill 162 addresses the precedent set by a court ruling that moved occupational disease claims from the worker’s compensation system into the courts; HB 162 reverses that court ruling. The legislation will permit appropriate compensatory damages to be determined by the worker’s compensation system. House leadership believes passing HB 162 will reduce the cost of liability insurance for small business and lessen the burden on our court system.