La Vergne may require sprinkler systems in new construction

La Vergne may require sprinkler systems in new construction (Image 1)

Fire sprinkler systems could soon become mandatory in another Middle Tennessee city.

La Vergne is considering requiring the systems in all newly constructed homes and businesses.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the ordinance during Tuesday night's regular meeting.

Supporters say the risk of death decreases significantly when smoke alarms and sprinklers are installed.

“This could save one life and if it saves one life that is plenty,” Vice-Mayor Chris Farmer told News 2.

But some builders believe the extra cost of adding sprinkler systems to new homes could affect affordability for the buyer.

“We need to compete with cities around us such as Smyrna and Murfreesboro.  They do not require sprinkler systems. When people have a choice they will choose the price below,” said Tomer Minuskin, President of Lake Forest Homes. 

Minuskin said sprinkler systems should be left up to the individual homeowners. 

“If people want to put sprinkler systems in their house we need to respect that but they can do it after they purchase the house and not before.”

The cost of adding a sprinkler system is about $1.10 per square foot.

“In the end, you may pay a little more on the start but you get that money back from the insurance company through discounts.  Insurance companies give huge discounts if you have sprinkler systems,” said Assistant Fire Chief, Mike Culberson.

City leaders believe the additional protection is worth the extra money.

“I don't want houses like they've been built before. I want quality homes that people can feel safe in,” said Farmer.

There will be a second reading of the ordinance on May 8.

If it passes, the new ordinance would take effect July 1.

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