All U.S. model building codes now require fire sprinklers as a standard feature in new homes
The 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2021 editions of the International Residential Code (IRC) join the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Life Safety Code and the NFPA Building Code in requiring fire sprinklers to be installed in all new homes. The NFPA codes have included this requirement since 2006. Inclusion of the requirement in the IRC is significant because the IRC regulates residential construction in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. Even though some states and local jurisdictions have chosen to legislatively or administratively defer this requirement, model codes establish the nationally recognized standard of care for new home construction, and designers and builders who choose to omit sprinklers from new homes are failing to build in accordance with the nationally recognized standard of care.
The requirement to include fire sprinklers residential construction is not something that came about suddenly or without a great deal of thought and public review
Building codes have been progressively phasing in fire sprinkler requirements for all residential occupancies over the past 20 years, beginning with hotels, motels, condominiums and apartments; extending to include some townhouses in 2000 and all townhouses in 2009; and finally extending to include all new homes in 2011.
Fire sprinklers are already installed in hundreds of thousands of single family homes throughout the United States based on local regulations, and millions of families now live in properties protected by fire sprinklers. Performance of these systems has been outstanding, with fires typically being controlled or extinguished by a single fire sprinkler.