The Village of New Paltz recently adopted a law that requires sprinkler systems in all new residential buildings.
The Village hosted four public hearings to pass this law on Dec. 11, Dec. 18, 2019, Jan. 8 and Jan. 22. The law is an amendment to Village Code Chapter 86, and states that it is necessary to Fire Sprinkler Law to “better protect residents.”
“Today’s fires burn hotter and faster than fires in the past and escaping a burning structure must be done expeditiously,” the law states. “A fire sprinkler system protecting ingress and egress areas of residential structures provides occupants more time to safely exit a burning building while also protecting firefighters from the inherent dangers associated with the extrication of trapped residents.”
Under the law, all new residence buildings constructed to have a 13D National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sprinkler system or another approved sprinkler system conforming to the NFPA standards.
“Sprinklers are known to be very valuable in terms of saving lives and protecting property,” said Mayor Tim Rogers.
According to Rogers, a house cannot be built without a permit. So, if a place of residency did not have sprinklers installed then a certificate of occupancy would not be issued.
New Paltz resident Chris Steeves supports the law and said that sprinkler systems are a good investment.
“Sprinkler systems pay for themselves through insurance cost savings as well. Sprinkler systems once installed, if done correctly, require little to no maintenance,” Steeves said. “With new advancements in pipe and system technology systems are able to be installed cheaper and less intrusively.”
However, according to SUNY New Paltz Residence Life, “not all residence halls are yet equipped with sprinkler systems.”
Although the SUNY New Paltz campus is located in the Village of New Paltz, Village Code does not apply. Instead the New Paltz campus operates in accordance with the New York State Building Code Laws and regulations, according to Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management John M. Shupe.
The current New York State Real Property Law requires “certain disclosures made regarding whether there is a sprinkler system” in a leased residential property.
Additionally, Building Code laws “already require installation of sprinklers for new construction projects and for all major renovation projects,” Shupe said.
The dormitories that provide sprinkler systems in all areas include Ashokan Hall, Bouton Hall, Esopus Hall, Gage Hall, Lenape Hall, Minnewaska Hall, Ridgeview Hall, Scudder Hall and Shawangunk Hall.
“Sprinklers already are an important safety priority on campus and many of our residential halls have full sprinkler systems,” Shupe said. “The College plans to install full sprinkler systems in all remaining residential halls over the next few years.”