You can make stuff foolproof but you can't make stuff idiotproof.
Most people's ranges and airhandlers do not catch fire so there is no need
to make everyone pay for stuff (air flow sensors, overheat protection) that
they'll never use.
If they're that cheap then you shouldn't have a problem with paying for
ALL of them. heh
Whats that, you don't want to pay for all of them?
Well I don't want to pay for them either, not even one of them.
The diff is, YOU want them and I don't.
You see John, I keep my a/c filter clean and I don't talk on the phone while
cooking so your so called safety nets won't help me.
Conversely, even if there are 100 safety nets on every single thing there
will still be idiots doing stupid things.
NFPA has a code for sprinklers in residential homes (NFPA 13R). I think
the issue has been raised before and may have been shot down by
consumer advocates and GCs.
After doing a quick google, it seems the trend has been started.
Its been evolving for some time now in SW FL.
Naples was the first, about 10 years ago, to require all residences over
4,000 sf living area to have sprinklers.
In Lee County they incorporated *pockets* of residential categories to have
Most of my work over the past 10 years has been on the assorted islands and
all of them have differing rules pertaining to this, as well as many other
North Captiva requires that if the lowest portion of the floor framing
members ABOVE the pilings are more than 11' above *existing* grade then
sprinklers are required regardless of size.
Useppa has no requirement for sprinklers, which is odd considering the home
values there are at least twice what they are on North Cap.
Boca Grande requires sprinklers in homes where the first finished floor is
less than 10' above finished grade.
And on and on.
Welcome to my world. There are probably fifteen or twenty villages and
five towns within a five mile radius. They all have their own modified
building codes and building departments. This is one of the prices you
pay when everyone wants to maintain their community's individuality.
Last year the chief plans examiner for Lee County called me up and asked me
how to determine the finished floor height for the island of Cayo Costa.
This guy is like god at the building dept and he called me!
There are very few homes on Cayo Costa and he remembered that I had done
several out there.
His assistant, an AIA architect, almost begged me to teach him Autocad. LOL
A plan must be submitted for approval indicating all head specifications and
There are engineers that do just that sort of thing.
I've done many such plans in the past and it can get pretty intense.
Few years back they started breaking up attic spaces into bite size pieces
seperated by firewalls and these spaces are sprinklered too, as well as
various other places where fire can get into and perhaps chase to other
areas of the building.
Say the cost to replace a typical sprinkler head is $250 each and the
typical house has 20 heads. Are the homeowers really going to pay out
$4000 every 10 years to replace the heads? How does the gov't enforce
it? Does the insurance company enforce it? Or do they just leave them
alone and hope that they work in 30 years when they need them? Also,
are the individuals required to maintain replacement heads like
commercial/multifamily buildings are?
I don't know. This just seems like something that will get overlooked.
I don't know how it works for private residences but in multi-family and
commercial applications the fire marshall does yearly inspections.
I'm pretty certain sprinkler heads are a lot less than $250 each to replace.
Seems like a complete installation in a 2000 sf house is in the $7000.00
range more or less.
In my last house I had the pool installer add an extra inlet to my filter
and I roughed in the piping in my attic (1" sched 40 PVD) and after the CO
was issued I went ahead and installed (4) 360 degree Rainbird lawn
sprinklers on the backside of the roof ridge of the house. This was a very
rural area with lots of tall pines everywhere and during the dry season they
frequently turn into torches, so I wanted to be able to access my 17,000
gallons of pool water to douse and keep the house wet in the event of a
That's a good, inexpensive way to do it. But if I were spending your
money, besides being in the poor house ages ago, you would have placed
the pool on the roof in the first place, stuck in a glass bottom, built
a bar lounge underneath it and have a two drink minimum with cover
charge. It would have paid for itself in no time. I'm also seeing an
endless pool edge turning into waterfalls that cascade over the windows
below. Hugh Hefner would have been calling you up asking if he could
bring the girls over to hang out for a while.
"Hi, Don, it's me Hef. The Grotto is getting a little old and I was
wondering if I could bring over six or eight of my girlfriends for a
party next week - all week, if that's okay with you. You know how they
are once they get started."
Poor house is starting to sound like a reasonable trade off, isn't it?
About right. Some of the electrical installations I see in Latin countries
is amazing. In Spain the lighting wiring was twisted bell wire in some
places - Italy not much better. Overloaded circuits is common as they
undersize wire to save money.
There is a distinct difference between the south and north of Europe to
safety and regulation. The Latins ignore regulations as few of them are
policed. Regulations and directives issued from the UE from Brussels
equally ignored. Prosecutions are rare indeed. Someone mentioned that some
buildings are erected without planning permission or probably Building
Control (building inspector). In the UK this just can't happen. If a
building is being erected without PP it will be stopped immediately and they
would be told to demolish in most cases - we have problems with people from
third world countries who think the UK is like where they come from, and
when they are told otherwise they still go on (deportation job to me, as you
do things our way). If a building or extension does mange to be erected
they will be told to vacate that part and demolish. If they do not the
council demolish and charge the owner, if they cannot pay they possess the
property, sell and take their expenses from that. Latin countries in many
respects are third world when it comes to building services and safety
If someone is hurt because of poor stair, ingress and egress design, they
blame the victim for not looking. Designing out problems is way down the
list, economy and looks is all.
Not to rain on your parade, but comparing the stats from here
to the Italian one, it seems that number of electrical fires in the UK
are not that far from those in Italy. There were 11,190 fires related
to electrical distribution and appliances, versus 12,500 cited by the
Italians. UK has a population of roughly 59m (2005 figures) to Italy
57m , so you get a ratio of 1 fire per 5273 persons in the UK, to 1
per 4560 in Italy.
On the other hand UK cites 519,000 fires over the whole territory,
versus 190,000 in Italy, which I find a very strange disparity. And yet
UK cites 477,000 false alarms versus the 21,000 cited in Italy, so
clearly there are reporting differences.
Nevertheless, in the detailed categories there are some similarities.
It seems the British have similar problems with chimneys (12,000 UK to
7,400 in Italy), but they are more careful with their cigarettes (4,336
UK to 7,400 Italy). Unfortunately Italy doesn't report kitchen related
fires, only 15,387 other causes (and electrical is one figure, titled
'general electrical causes'), so it becomes impossible to compare
kitchen fires in homes.
Comparing with the US, the 27,248 kitchen fires reported in UK
constitutes over 50% of total residential fires (47,769 total), while
in the US, kitchen ignited fires are 26% of residential fires. So it
seems the Brits are even more inattentive than the Americans when it
comes to cooking.
Despite that, residential fires in the UK are half those in the US:
48,000/59,000,000 UK versus 401,000/280,000,000 (.0008 to .0014). Yet,
nonresidential fires in the US (115,000)are less than those in the UK
(37,600), percentage-wise (.0004 US to .0006 UK).
For the rest of your broad stroke picture, as with all such
overreaching generalities, it needs to be applied with care. To lump
northern Italians, southern Italians and Spaniards together is like
lumping the Danish, Irish and Brits together. There is a cultural bias
in Italy of looking for ways to 'circumvent authority', but this is
changing, and has been doing so over the past 20 years, especially in
the north (meaning from the Alps to Rome.)
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