Thursday, March 04, 2010



one-and-two family dwellings must have a NFPA No. 13-R fire sprinkler
system installed effective January 1, 2011. January 2011? And why that
date? Why not when the code is adopted in 2009? Well, here are some of the
At the ICC Code Change Conference in 2008, the fire service packed the hearings with voting members. They did a better job at it than the home builders had in previous years. The home builders hope to mount a state-by-state campaign to defeat the January 2011 sprinkler requirement.

Smoke detectors: - - 30% don’t work due to lack of maintenance and life cycle. Fire deaths: 25% in homes that have smoke detectors.

Residential fire sprinklers operate within the first moments of a fire. Not only does this save lives, but also reduces property damage. Without fire sprinklers, you have fireman with 250 gal./min. hoses flooding your house and all your personal belongings. Which method would you prefer?

The residential sprinkler code does not require sprinklers in attic or small closets. The are no fire department connections or standpipes required. The system does not have to connected to a central alarm service (Although I would highly recommend that the fire sprinklers and smoke detectors be connected to an off-site alarm service. Quick response = less fire and water damage).

In rural areas, water volume and pressure can be a problem. Plumbing tests have shown that if you have enough water pressure to flush the toilet, then you have probably enough to operate a few sprinkler heads. (All the heads don’t discharge all at once!)

The costs will be between $1.75 to $3.00 sq. ft. during construction. In some states local plumbers are allowed to install. The sprinkler industry is really fighting that concept.

With fire sprinklers, the release of greenhouse has (CO2) are reduced by 99% beacuse of smoke released from an actual fire.

The amount of water usage is reduced by 50%.

The amount of fire damage to the room is less than 3%, compared to 100% loss in an
unprotected room.

In time these systems will become as common place in new construction as smoke detectors and GFI protection.

With local governments cutting fire department budgets and giving some firefighters their “pink slips”, response times will be greater as will fire losses and lives lost. Built-in fire sprinklers for new homes will be a God Send in reducing those losses.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I AM CELEBRATING 30 years in the code consulting business on November
18, 2009. We have reviewed 1000’S of plans, had 1000’S attend our seminars
and have over 90+M newsletters in circulation. But this story isn’t just about
me, but about some everyday business tips I picked up along the way that you
can use.

WHEN I LEFT BOCA, International as a staff engineer in November 1979, I
heard the usual.. “you’ll be back; you won’t make it on your own”. As the years went by, many of those same people came looking for a job with my firm.

The client isn’t always right, but they are always the client. No one ever won an argument with a client!

Keep your promises. Have projects completed on time, and if you cannot, then notify the client.

If you are too busy to help a client, then you are too busy doing the wrong thing.

Always return phone calls, the same day if possible. I have terminated some staff
members for not returning client calls.

Try answering the phone yourself. It really impresses the client and gives the idea that you are approachable and hands-on.

To avoid interruptions, just tell the client nicely that the less interruptions you have from them, the quicker you can finish their project.

Write your reports like they will be read in court. In many cases they will. The client may be in a hurry, but if it ever goes to trial, you have all the time to answer the judge and a jury. Check spelling and proper use of words. ( Ex: There is no such thing as a “hot water heater”. Why would you heat hot
water? It’s a water heater.)

Know when to walk away. Some clients bring projects that just aren’t in your field of expertise, are not safe or have questionable intents.

Don’t get greedy! Stick to your ethics. There is enough work out there for all of us.

We have not raised our plan review fees since 2002 and the newsletter has remained $75 a year since 1981. Remember, it takes years to building a good reputation and just a few bad decisions to ruin it.

Give back to the community. Some firms just take and take and don’t give anything back. We support the local ICC Chapters with gratis training, the Salvation Army, Pacific Garden Mission, Mooseheart and the Boy Scouts of America with generous donations.

I AM NO business guru, but these practices and principles have worked for me for 30 years. Call me anytime (1-800-950-2633) if you want to discuss your business. I am more than glad to share my experience and learn from yours.

Kelly P. Reynolds