The 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) is the fifth edition to require fire sprinklers as a standard feature in all new homes. The requirement was initially added in the 2009 edition, and since that time, ICC members have rejected efforts to repeal the requirement.
Model codes have implemented residential fire sprinkler requirements using a gradual and measured approach over a period of more than 20 years. ICC’s legacy organizations began requiring fire sprinklers in some multifamily occupancies in the 1980s. Those requirements were extended include all multifamily occupancies in 2003 and to single family homes in 2006 via an optional IRC appendix. In 2008, ICC members approved fire sprinklers as a standard feature to be included in all new homes, beginning with the 2009 edition of the IRC.