Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

03/18/2010 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
08:11:13 AM Start
08:11:22 AM HB202
09:57:18 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HB 202-RESIDENTIAL SPRINKLER SYSTEMS                                                                          
8:11:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 202, "An  Act relating to state  and municipal                                                               
building code requirements for fire  sprinkler systems in certain                                                               
residential buildings."                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR  HERRON  reviewed  from   whom  the  committee  received                                                               
written testimony.                                                                                                              
8:12:23 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE WASSERMAN,  Alaska Municipal League (AML),  referring to a                                                               
letter from AML  she submitted to the  committee, summarized that                                                               
it  relates  that   AML's  issue  with  HB  202   is  that  local                                                               
municipalities should be  in control of the codes  they choose to                                                               
adopt or not adopt.                                                                                                             
8:13:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  read a  portion of the  last paragraph  of AML's                                                               
letter, as follows:  "We  appreciate attempts by some legislators                                                               
to take some  of the most onerous language out  of this bill, but                                                               
our first  choice is  to have  this bill die  in committee."   He                                                               
then inquired  as to  what portion  of HB  202 AML  considers the                                                               
most onerous.                                                                                                                   
MS.   WASSERMAN  recalled   that  the   legislation  began   with                                                               
[provisions  specifying] that  municipalities couldn't  choose to                                                               
adopt a sprinkler  code.  Then a cost-benefit  analysis was added                                                               
to the legislation  as well as extra hearings.   She reminded the                                                               
committee   that  municipalities   already   have  an   ordinance                                                               
requiring two hearings, and thus  requiring an additional hearing                                                               
for sprinklers  but not other  codes is silly.   Furthermore, the                                                               
cost-benefit   analysis   is   an  unfunded   mandate   for   the                                                               
municipality.    Moreover,  she   said  she  didn't  know  what's                                                               
expected for  the cost-benefit analysis  and thus  it's difficult                                                               
to determine how much time and effort would be required.                                                                        
8:14:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HERRON  related  his  understanding  that  AML's  first                                                               
choice  is for  HB  202  to die.    Therefore,  he surmised  that                                                               
deletion  of  the cost-benefit  analysis  would  be AML's  second                                                               
MS. WASSERMAN replied yes.                                                                                                      
8:15:31 AM                                                                                                                    
EARL CHAMPION, Associate Broker, Coldwell Banker;, Association                                                                  
of Realtors, provided the following testimony:                                                                                  
     Several years  ago, I  had the  honor of  serving three                                                                    
     terms on  the Juneau  Assembly and over  that nine-year                                                                    
     period  our  body  voted  to   adopt  the  most  recent                                                                    
     [Uniform Building Code] UBC  codes and incorporate that                                                                    
     into  our building  codes.    Frankly, those  revisions                                                                    
     were  adopted usually  in one  motion and  with minimum                                                                    
     review by the committee or  the members.  That has been                                                                    
     used  and  will continue  to  be  used by  every  local                                                                    
     governing body  in Alaska as  it considers  this latest                                                                    
     revision to the  UBC.  But, this latest  revision has a                                                                    
     major  code  change  that affects  every  homeowner  in                                                                    
     Alaska;  that will  be the  requirement to  require all                                                                    
     new construction  or remodeling of  single-family homes                                                                    
     and  duplexes  to   have  automated  sprinkler  systems                                                                    
     installed.   The cost  for complying  to this  new code                                                                    
     will be  borne entirely by  the homeowner no  one else.                                                                    
     Initial costs  are estimated to be  between $10,000 and                                                                    
     $20,000,  depending  upon  the  home's  location.    In                                                                    
     remote areas it  could get much higher.   The sprinkler                                                                    
     system must  be maintained and inspected  annually by a                                                                    
     certified technician.   Currently, there  are certified                                                                    
     system  testers only  available  in  our major  Alaskan                                                                    
     cities.  Remote residents  will face additional charges                                                                    
     because   they'll  have   to   fly-in   and  bring   in                                                                    
     inspectors.   If  a homeowner  fails to  get an  annual                                                                    
     inspection,  his insurance  will be  void, he'll  be in                                                                    
     violation  of the  covenants in  his home  mortgage and                                                                    
     the investor  will obtain insurance  and add  that cost                                                                    
     back to him.  Every  local government ... is challenged                                                                    
     to  provide affordable  housing  opportunities for  its                                                                    
     residents.   How does  adding $20,000  or more  to home                                                                    
     construction  costs  improve  the  affordability  of  a                                                                    
     home?  If  this bill is not adopted,  there will become                                                                    
     other issues.   At  what point  in the  home remodeling                                                                    
     will  there be  a requirement  to install  an automated                                                                    
     sprinkler system  throughout the  home.  Many  homes in                                                                    
     Alaska  are  on  wells,  which do  not  have  the  flow                                                                    
     capacity  to  meet  minimum standards  for  residential                                                                    
     sprinkler  systems.    This  means  there  will  be  an                                                                    
     additional  requirement   to  install   an  all-weather                                                                    
     outside  storage tank  complete with  circulating pumps                                                                    
     to prevent  freeze-up.  And  what about homes  that are                                                                    
     not on  an electrical grid?   And the system  will also                                                                    
     require  an automated  notification system,  which adds                                                                    
     even more  expense to  the homeowners.   I could  go on                                                                    
     with other  illustrations of  this onerous  burden that                                                                    
     will be  mandated if this bill  is not adopted.   I ask                                                                    
     you  to  adopt it  this  morning;  show your  unanimous                                                                    
     support and  let's do what's  right for  the homeowners                                                                    
     in the State of Alaska.                                                                                                    
8:18:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  asked if, during Mr.  Champion's time with                                                               
the Juneau Assembly, he could  recall any assembly member delving                                                               
into codes during the code adoption process.                                                                                    
MR. CHAMPION remarked  that he doubted that  any assembly members                                                               
in Juneau even  read the code.  The assembly  members relied upon                                                               
staff  to point  out issues.   In  fact, the  code was  sometimes                                                               
adopted on the consent agenda and thus wasn't even discussed.                                                                   
8:21:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  opined that  unless an assembly  member is                                                               
in  the construction  profession, they  typically don't  have any                                                               
interest or expertise in the  codes unless numbers of the general                                                               
public come forward and relate displeasure with the codes.                                                                      
MR. CHAMPION stated his agreement.                                                                                              
8:22:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS pointed  out that  once provisions  are in                                                               
the  code,  it's difficult  to  take  them  out.   Therefore,  he                                                               
expressed the  need to address problematic  code provisions prior                                                               
to  the adoption  of the  code.   Although Representative  Harris                                                               
related  his  understanding  of AML's  concerns  regarding  local                                                               
control, he emphasized  that this is a large  statewide issue the                                                               
costs  of   which  the  general   public  needs   to  understand.                                                               
Therefore, requiring more  time for the general  public to review                                                               
such changes and weigh in on them is appropriate.                                                                               
8:24:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ  recalled seeing statistics that  related that the                                                               
percentage  of  median income  families  in  Juneau is  about  70                                                               
percent.   She inquired  as to  what percentage  of homes  on the                                                               
market are accessible to those median income families.                                                                          
MR. CHAMPION said that the average  price of homes selling now is                                                               
slightly over $300,000.   He estimated that 50-60  percent of the                                                               
[median  income  families  in Juneau]  would  qualify  for  homes                                                               
priced slightly over $300,000.                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  MUNOZ related  her  understanding  that this  sprinkler                                                               
system provision  would add about  $20,000 to the  purchase price                                                               
for a new first-time homebuyer.                                                                                                 
MR. CHAMPION  responded that  at a  minimum, the  additional cost                                                               
for  the sprinkler  system would  be  $20,000.   He reminded  the                                                               
committee  of the  need for  an alarm  system with  the sprinkler                                                               
systems.   Although he indicated  that it's anyone's guess  for a                                                               
retrofit, he said it would  be extremely expensive.  Furthermore,                                                               
it's  unclear when  exactly  one performing  a  remodel would  be                                                               
required to install a sprinkler system.                                                                                         
8:26:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked if  someone is actively  seeking to                                                               
encourage municipalities to mandate  sprinkler systems in private                                                               
MR.  CHAMPION  related his  understanding  that  the Alaska  Fire                                                               
Chiefs  Association and  probably  insurance  companies would  be                                                               
interested  [in  the adoption  of  this  sprinkler system  code].                                                               
Although  he  said he  hasn't  had  anyone personally  lobby  him                                                               
regarding this topic, it must have  been included in the UBC with                                                               
support  from some  sectors.    He related  his  belief that  the                                                               
firefighters   and   inspectors   throughout  the   country   are                                                               
supportive of the sprinkler system code requirement.                                                                            
8:29:14 AM                                                                                                                    
PHILLIP OATES, Manager, City of  Seward, related opposition to HB
202.   He further related that  the City of Seward's  position is                                                               
consistent with that  of AML.  This legislation,  he opined, will                                                               
infringe on the  City of Seward's authority as a  home rule city.                                                               
Mr. Oates  said that the  City of Seward  tries to find  the best                                                               
fire   protection   and   balance   it  with   cost   and   other                                                               
considerations.  This legislation  would make the [code adoption]                                                               
process  more difficult.   He  noted that  Seward's city  council                                                               
holds  extensive work  sessions regarding  the building  and fire                                                               
codes during  which they're considered  in great detail  prior to                                                               
adopting  them.   Mr. Oates  said that  the city  isn't mandating                                                               
anything, rather  it's trying  to maintain  the authority  at the                                                               
local level to do what's best for all customers.                                                                                
8:30:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER  remarked   that   Mr.  Oates'   written                                                               
testimony  raises  a  host  of  questions  for  her.    She  then                                                               
disagreed  with the  statement in  Mr.  Oates' written  testimony                                                               
that  says HB  202  limits  the ability  of  the municipality  to                                                               
consider different fire protection  options.  The legislation, on                                                               
the other  hand, establishes some  requirements regarding  how an                                                               
area considers fire protection options.                                                                                         
MR. OATES said  that perhaps it would be better  said that HB 202                                                               
places unnecessary boundaries on the [code adoption] process.                                                                   
8:31:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  then directed attention to  the statement                                                               
in Mr.  Oates' written testimony  that relates HB 202  will drive                                                               
up  costs for  fire  protection  in Seward  because  it would  be                                                               
necessary  to acquire  a vehicle  capable  of transporting  water                                                               
supplies.   She asked if  the aforementioned means that  the fire                                                               
department wouldn't transport water to a  call from a home with a                                                               
sprinkler system.                                                                                                               
MR. OATES noted that Seward  has mutual aid agreements with other                                                               
fire  departments on  which it  can call.   However,  there is  a                                                               
limitation in  capacity within the  city, and thus when  one puts                                                               
in  an  application  for  the construction  of  a  building,  the                                                               
available water  sources and  other means  of fighting  fires are                                                               
considered.   Mr.  Oates expressed  the need  for flexibility  to                                                               
consider  all  available  means   for  protection.    In  further                                                               
response to Representative Gardner,  Mr. Oates confirmed that the                                                               
fire department  does bring water  on a  fire call.   However, HB
202 would  mean that  less water is  necessary in  all instances.                                                               
If  the  city doesn't  have  the  ability  to make  decisions  to                                                               
provide adequate  fire protection, the  city would need  a fuller                                                               
suite of fire protection capacities.                                                                                            
8:32:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER directed  attention to  the statement  in                                                               
Mr. Oates' written testimony that  relates the City of Seward has                                                               
used  sprinkler requirements  as a  way  to reduce  costs to  the                                                               
developer.  If  the developer is required  to install sprinklers,                                                               
the  cost of  which is  added to  the cost  of the  buyer of  the                                                               
property, wouldn't it be a wash for the developer, she asked.                                                                   
MR. OATES responded  that it's difficult to answer.   However, he                                                               
pointed out that  the city may have to have  a local water source                                                               
for those  homes without a water  source.  Again, as  a home rule                                                               
city, the City  of Seward wants to maintain the  freedom to adopt                                                               
the codes and  administrative processes it views as  best for the                                                               
residents of Seward.                                                                                                            
8:34:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS asked  if Mr.  Oates' believes  HB 202  is                                                               
that onerous to municipalities and  cities that it takes away its                                                               
home rule authority.                                                                                                            
MR. OATES  commented that  adding administrative  requirements to                                                               
an already  cumbersome administrative  process is  something [the                                                               
cities and municipalities]  would resist.  Mr.  Oates agreed with                                                               
Ms. Wasserman's comment that the  cost-benefit analysis should be                                                               
deleted and that  the city would like to maintain  the freedom to                                                               
make decisions at the local level.                                                                                              
8:35:32 AM                                                                                                                    
WALLY  SMITH, President,  Alaska State  Homebuilding Association,                                                               
began  by   emphasizing  that   the  Alaska   State  Homebuilding                                                               
Association doesn't oppose  the use of sprinkler  systems in one-                                                               
and two-family  homes.   He then reminded  the committee  that HB
202 only extends the public  notice period and requires more open                                                               
scrutiny  prior   to  a  community  mandating   residential  fire                                                               
sprinklers in one- and two-family  homes.  The legislation, in no                                                               
way, takes away  any control from local  governments to establish                                                               
their own standards.  Mr. Smith  related that he spoke with local                                                               
appraisers  and  bankers regarding  how  much  [credit] would  be                                                               
received  for  sprinklers,  to  which he  was  told  very  little                                                               
[credit]  would be  given.   If the  appraisers don't  place much                                                               
value on the system, the bankers  won't include that in the loan.                                                               
Consequently,  the homeowner  would  have to  pay  for the  [fire                                                               
sprinkler system].                                                                                                              
8:38:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked if  Mr. Smith spoke  with insurance                                                               
companies  regarding  the  impact of  [requiring  fire  sprinkler                                                               
systems] on homeowners.                                                                                                         
MR. SMITH replied yes.   He mentioned that he is  a member of the                                                               
Interior  Alaska Building  Association,  which  has been  working                                                               
very closely with the Alaska  Fire Chiefs Association to get them                                                               
on the  same side of  the table  as builders and  homeowners with                                                               
regard  to  the  problems   mentioned  regarding  appraisers  and                                                               
bankers.  With  regard to his interaction  with insurance agents,                                                               
Mr. Smith  related that  he received  mixed results  ranging from                                                               
possible  insurance premium  reductions to  discussions regarding                                                               
water mitigation from sprinklers.                                                                                               
8:40:17 AM                                                                                                                    
DALE  BAGLEY related  that he  is a  member of  a local  builders                                                               
association and the  owner of a real estate company.   Mr. Bagley                                                               
opined that  now isn't  the time  to make  construction of  a new                                                               
house  more   expensive.    Furthermore,   he  didn't   want  the                                                               
residential  fire sprinkler  system  movement  to cause  existing                                                               
homes to  be retrofitted.   He said  he didn't  believe insurance                                                               
rates  would decrease  because accidental  discharge could  cause                                                               
damage to the  home.  In fact,  a private school in  the area has                                                               
had many  issues with retrofitting  a required  sprinkler system.                                                               
He reviewed  the commercial  retrofit and  the problems  with the                                                               
situation, including the  need to put glycol in the  pipes in the                                                               
attic in order  to prebent freezing.  If one  sprinkler goes off,                                                               
all  the glycol,  $15,000 worth,  will drain.   These  issues are                                                               
similar  to  what residential  homeowners  would  face with  fire                                                               
sprinklers.      Furthermore,   sprinkler   systems   require   a                                                               
pressurized tank  and annual  inspections.   He identified  it as                                                               
one more  issue during  a closing  that will  require inspection.                                                               
From a real  estate and building perspective,  Mr. Bagley opposed                                                               
HB 202.  Drawing from his  experience as a former mayor, assembly                                                               
member,  council  member, and  current  city  council member,  he                                                               
related that he has seen  many issues pass without involvement of                                                               
the  industry.     Therefore,  the   more  public   hearings  and                                                               
information that's provided for the public the better.                                                                          
8:43:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON announced that the  intent of the co-chairs is to                                                               
take action on HB 202 at this meeting.                                                                                          
8:44:01 AM                                                                                                                    
JEFF  FEID, Loss  Mitigation Administrator,  State Farm,  related                                                               
State  Farm's opposition  to HB  202.   He then  highlighted that                                                               
development  of  the international  codes  is  truly a  consensus                                                               
process  in which  homebuilders are  present when  the codes  are                                                               
developed  through  the International  Code  Council  (ICC).   He                                                               
related   that  he   was  the   chairman  of   the  International                                                               
Residential Code (IRC) Committee  that deliberated over the issue                                                               
of   fire   sprinklers  when   it   was   being  considered   for                                                               
incorporation  into  the code.    There  was also  a  homebuilder                                                               
representative from  Alaska as well  as many experts  from around                                                               
the country  and Canada who  were involved in the  [code adoption                                                               
process], including  researchers, scientists,  homebuilders, code                                                               
officials,   and  insurers.      Upon  the   conclusion  of   the                                                               
deliberations, the  consensus was  to include fire  sprinklers in                                                               
the  2009  edition  of  the residential  code.    Therefore,  the                                                               
hearing  process already  includes  a lot  of  deliberation.   To                                                               
establish  another  road  block  for  additional  hearings  isn't                                                               
MR.  FEID informed  the committee  that Scottsdale,  Arizona, has                                                               
had a fire  sprinkler ordinance for over 20 years.   In the first                                                               
15 years  of their  sprinkler ordinance,  no one  died in  a home                                                               
with sprinklers.   During the  same timeframe, 13 people  died in                                                               
homes without sprinklers.  Furthermore,  less damage was realized                                                               
in homes with  fire sprinkler systems.  The average  fire loss in                                                               
a  sprinkler home  incident  was $2,166  whereas  fires in  homes                                                               
without  sprinklers  resulted  in  $45,000 in  damage,  which  he                                                               
characterized as a significant difference.   Moreover, the amount                                                               
of water used to  stop a fire in a home  with fire sprinklers was                                                               
significantly less  than in a  home without fire sprinklers.   In                                                               
Scottsdale, the  cost to  install sprinklers in  a home  is about                                                               
$.80 per  square foot.   A  national study  by the  National Fire                                                               
Protection Research  Foundation found  the national  average cost                                                               
for installing sprinkler systems to be $1.61.                                                                                   
8:47:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT remarked  that  although she  appreciates                                                               
the information from  Arizona, she questioned how  many people in                                                               
Arizona  utilize  a  well  or   experience  90-days  of  freezing                                                               
weather.  She  informed the committee that some  residents of the                                                               
Anchorage  Hillside   utilize  well   and  septic   systems,  and                                                               
therefore  the cost  to install  a  fire sprinkler  system and  a                                                               
bladder to  keep water  from freezing is  more expensive  than in                                                               
Arizona.  She asked if Mr.  Feid could use a location that's more                                                               
akin to Alaska's climate.                                                                                                       
MR.  FEID  explained that  he  used  Scottsdale, Arizona,  as  an                                                               
example because it  has had the sprinkler ordinance  in place for                                                               
some time,  and therefore  provides enough  data.   He maintained                                                               
that installing a  sprinkler system with a tank and  a small pump                                                               
in a single-family  home is doable.  Mr. Feid  related that State                                                               
Farm offers a discount for sprinklers.                                                                                          
8:48:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER inquired  as  to the  amount of  discount                                                               
given to the homeowner with a sprinkler system.                                                                                 
MR. FEID  responded that State  Farm offers a 5  percent discount                                                               
for a  partial sprinkler system and  a 10 percent discount  for a                                                               
full sprinkler  system.   The discount is  off the  base premium.                                                               
In  further response,  Mr.  Feid  said that  there  are too  many                                                               
variables to specify the premium of a particular home.                                                                          
8:49:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT asked if  State Farm insures the sprinkler                                                               
system  if the  pipes freeze,  explode, and  create water  damage                                                               
throughout  the home  due to  a  frozen pipe,  frozen system,  or                                                               
malfunction  that's  due to  temperature  or  water pressure,  or                                                               
fluctuation  in electrical  current.   She further  asked whether                                                               
the system would be replaced  and the homeowner would continue to                                                               
be insured.                                                                                                                     
MR.  FEID  confirmed that  accidental  discharge  of water  is  a                                                               
covered  peril.   He  mentioned  that  the committee  packet  may                                                               
include  a  letter from  Insurance  Services  Office, Inc.  (ISO)                                                               
regarding  how it  handles accidental  water damage.   Accidental                                                               
water  damage from  a sprinkler  system is  handled in  a fashion                                                               
similar to accidental water damage from a plumbing system.                                                                      
8:50:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA expressed  the  need  to have  information                                                               
regarding how sprinkler  systems work in rural  areas with severe                                                               
MR.  FEID  related  that  there's a  similar  study  from  Prince                                                               
George's  County,   Maryland.     However,  he  noted   that  the                                                               
aforementioned area is more urban than rural.                                                                                   
8:52:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  noted  his  appreciation  of  Mr.  Feid's                                                               
testimony.  He  likened the situation with sprinklers  to that of                                                               
health care  in which Congress  is charged with listening  to the                                                               
concerns  of the  public.   He  acknowledged  that the  insurance                                                               
industry and the fire departments  have valid concerns.  However,                                                               
he  opined that  [the committee]  is cautiously  guarding against                                                               
the  heavy arm  of government  without  good due  process.   This                                                               
requirement will add costs to  new home construction.  He further                                                               
opined  that  the  legislation   provides  the  public  with  the                                                               
opportunity to  express their concerns  to elected  officials and                                                               
gain a  better understanding.   If the aforementioned  is denied,                                                               
the public is angered.                                                                                                          
MR.  FEID reminded  the committee  of other  large building  code                                                               
requirements  that  cost as  much,  if  not more  than  sprinkler                                                               
systems, such as reinforcement for wind, snow load, and seismic.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS interjected  that  in  Alaska water  isn't                                                               
that easy.                                                                                                                      
8:57:39 AM                                                                                                                    
JIM   BYRON,  President,   Southern  Southeast   Alaska  Building                                                               
Industry   Association;  Member,   Alaska  State   Home  Building                                                               
Association, related support for HB  202 as it simply extends the                                                               
public process in order to make  it more aware.  The cost-benefit                                                               
analysis, he  opined, is the  most important  part of HB  202 and                                                               
shouldn't be deleted.  Such an  analysis is important in terms of                                                               
knowing  the cost,  particularly  in rural  areas.   He  recalled                                                               
installing  a  residential fire  sprinkler  system  that cost  in                                                               
excess  of  $25,000.    He  recalled  that  the  committee  heard                                                               
testimony from a  fire chief from Ketchikan, however,  he was not                                                               
speaking on behalf of the City of Ketchikan.                                                                                    
8:59:52 AM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN CROSS,  Director & Treasurer, Anchorage  Board of Realtors;                                                               
Liaison,  Alaska  Board  of  Realtors,  began  by  informing  the                                                               
committee that prior to entering  the real estate industry he had                                                               
spent 14  years in the fire  protection industry.  He  noted that                                                               
he has  three engineering degrees  in fire protection  systems as                                                               
well  as a  National Institute  for Certification  in Engineering                                                               
Technologies (NICET) II in  water-based hydraulics and sprinklers                                                               
as well as  low voltage supervisory alarm  sprinkler systems, and                                                               
chemical fire  protection systems.   As a  contractor, homeowner,                                                               
and realtor, Mr.  Cross opined that the sprinkler  code should be                                                               
approached  cautiously  and  thus  is why  he  supports  HB  202.                                                               
Drawing from his experience as  a cost estimator for projects, he                                                               
related that for those on a  public water system in the Anchorage                                                               
or Mat-Su Valley  area to install a sprinkler  system costs about                                                               
$4 square foot.  However, he  noted that it varies depending upon                                                               
the  architecture.   The largest  problem is  that houses  aren't                                                               
designed with  a sprinkler system in  mind.  He related  that the                                                               
mandate for sprinkler systems arose  from high density housing in                                                               
Phoenix,  Arizona,  and California.    Alaska,  however, is  much                                                               
colder and  thus there are  more freeze ups of  sprinkler systems                                                               
in Alaska, particularly  in residential systems.   He pointed out                                                               
that since most  attics in Alaska aren't heated,  a glycol system                                                               
has  to be  utilized and  maintained.   He  further related  that                                                               
homeowners who  utilize a  well or  septic system  and live  on a                                                               
road  system should  expect a  cost of  about $7  a square  foot.                                                               
Those in rural  Alaska should expect a cost of  about $10-$12 per                                                               
square foot  to install  a sprinkler system.   He  attributed the                                                               
additional costs to  the need to install a tank  and a pump, hire                                                               
an  electrician to  wire the  pump, and  install and  maintain an                                                               
alarm  system.     Furthermore,  there  will   likely  be  annual                                                               
inspection costs of  $250-$500.  Drawing upon  his experience, he                                                               
related  that the  maintenance record  for  sprinkler systems  is                                                               
highly  scrutinized  prior  to   paying  out  for  water  damage.                                                               
Therefore, Mr. Cross opined that public input is very important.                                                                
9:03:49 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID HULL, Fire Chief, North  Tongass Volunteer Fire Department,                                                               
related  his opposition  to HB  202.   He opined  that the  local                                                               
communities have a good system to  determine what is best for the                                                               
local communities.   The requirements in HB  202 place additional                                                               
burdens on  the communities;  there is no  good reason  to single                                                               
out one  issue for this  process.  Mr.  Hull said that  the state                                                               
shouldn't hinder a community's ability to make decisions.                                                                       
9:04:59 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDY   RAUWOLF,  Member,   Southeast  Alaska   Building  Industry                                                               
Association; Member, Board of  Directors, National Association of                                                               
Homebuilders (NAHM),  informed the  committee that NAHB  was very                                                               
involved  with the  code  process  on a  national  level and  was                                                               
adamantly opposed to the entire  process throughout.  Mr. Rauwolf                                                               
contended that  [mandating sprinkler systems] is  an undue burden                                                               
to homeowners.  Smoke alarms  that are functioning and working in                                                               
homes are 97 percent effective in  saving lives.  If the issue is                                                               
about  saving lives  over  property, then  smoke  alarms are  the                                                               
direction to go and wired-in  functioning fire alarm systems that                                                               
can't be disarmed  should be mandatory in every home.   He opined                                                               
that the loss of life in  new construction is minimal because the                                                               
building codes  address fire issues  when a home  is constructed.                                                               
There is already a fair amount  of fire protection built into new                                                               
homes,  including  fire  caulking,  fire  walls,  20-minute  fire                                                               
doors, and  1-hour fire  doors.   Mr. Rauwolf  characterized this                                                               
[sprinkler system mandate] as more  of a property loss issue than                                                               
a  life   saving  issue.     He,  too,  opined  that   Alaska  is                                                               
significantly different  than Scottsdale,  Arizona.   With regard                                                               
to  the State  Farm underwriter's  comments, Mr.  Rauwolf related                                                               
his understanding  from the State  Farm underwriter  in Ketchikan                                                               
that [installation  of sprinkler systems] would  definitely raise                                                               
the cost of homeowner's insurance  because of the potential water                                                               
damage issues.   He noted that last year there  were six failures                                                               
of  sprinkler  systems  that  weren't   related  to  fires.    In                                                               
conclusion,  Mr.  Rauwolf  reiterated that  [mandatory  sprinkler                                                               
systems] is more  directed toward property loss  than life saving                                                               
issues.   This is  a significant issue  that shouldn't  be rammed                                                               
down  the public's  throat without  the public  having additional                                                               
time to listen to all the facts.                                                                                                
9:10:15 AM                                                                                                                    
GARY  HALE, Fire  Marshall, Central  Emergency Services,  related                                                               
opposition to  HB 202.   He characterized  the legislation  as an                                                               
unwanted limitation and adopting process  that is being placed on                                                               
local officials.   There are  already public hearings  [on codes]                                                               
that can  address this type of  business.  Mr. Hale  informed the                                                               
committee that  he has been in  the fire service business  for 35                                                               
years.   He  opined  that  the problem  is  that smoke  detectors                                                               
aren't  making  the  cut,  and  therefore  an  alternative  [fire                                                               
suppressor]  must  be  utilized.    He noted  that  the  City  of                                                               
Soldotna  will  soon adopt  the  2009  IRC, but  eliminating  the                                                               
sprinkler mandate because  of opposition from the  public and the                                                               
homebuilder's association.   Mr. Hale  told the committee  of the                                                               
eight-year-old Habitat  for Humanity house  that has never  had a                                                               
false alarm.   He  described the system,  noting that  it doesn't                                                               
utilize glycol.   Mr. Hale opined that the  sprinkler systems can                                                               
work, but  additional lives won't  be saved if more  mandates are                                                               
9:13:17 AM                                                                                                                    
DOUG  SCHRAGE,  Immediate  Past  President,  Alaska  Fire  Chiefs                                                               
Association, stated  that although  much of  the debate  has been                                                               
about the merits  of sprinkler systems, the  legislation is about                                                               
the  process.    The  Alaska   Fire  Chiefs  Association  has  no                                                               
objection  to  more  open public  process  or  opportunities  for                                                               
input.  However,  the concern is that most  fire departments lack                                                               
the resources  and expertise to  perform a  credible cost-benefit                                                               
analysis  that would  stand up  to  a well-funded  anti-sprinkler                                                               
system  media campaign.    For example,  it  seems impossible  to                                                               
quantify  the value  of the  lives saved  or lost.   Mr.  Schrage                                                               
opined  that   had  similar  requirements  been   made  when  the                                                               
automobile  industry  installed  air  bags and  seat  belts  into                                                               
vehicles,  he  wasn't  sure those  measures  would've  ever  been                                                               
taken.    The  [Alaska  Fire  Chiefs  Association]  knows  of  no                                                               
specific initiative in Alaska to  mandate sprinklers.  Alaska has                                                               
among the highest  per capita fire fatality rates  in the nation.                                                               
Most of the fatalities occur in  residences and 25 percent of the                                                               
deaths are  children.  These  fatalities occur with  the existing                                                               
smoke alarm requirements.                                                                                                       
9:15:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA,  referring to the death  statistics, asked                                                               
if the statistics  specify the location, whether it  was in rural                                                               
or urban Alaska.                                                                                                                
MR.  SCHRAGE  said that  although  he  didn't have  the  specific                                                               
statistics, he would say the  deaths are distributed according to                                                               
the  population.     Therefore,   Anchorage,  with   the  highest                                                               
population in  the state, would  have the highest amount  of fire                                                               
fatalities.   In  further  response, Mr.  Schrage  said he  isn't                                                               
certain  the state  collects  information  regarding whether  the                                                               
burned house  was a  new or  old home.   However,  he highlighted                                                               
that if  communities were  to adopt  the residential  code, which                                                               
includes  the  sprinkler mandate,  it  would  only apply  to  new                                                               
9:18:12 AM                                                                                                                    
JIM HILL,  Fire Chief, City  of Ketchikan, stated that  the issue                                                               
isn't about  [the merits  of] sprinklers,  rather it's  the state                                                               
dictating to cities  how to run programs.  Mr.  Hill then related                                                               
opposition  to   HB  202.     He  cautioned  members   to  obtain                                                               
confirmation  regarding the  information  that  has been  offered                                                               
regarding deaths  from fires.   For instance, with regard  to the                                                               
statistic  that  smoke  alarms  are  97  percent  effective,  the                                                               
National Fire  Protection Association relates that  37 percent of                                                               
people who die  in home fires die in structures  with working and                                                               
operational  smoke detectors.   For  the benefits  of sprinklers,                                                               
Mr.   Hill  referred   members   to  the   following  web   site:                                                               
9:20:38 AM                                                                                                                    
ART  CLARK,  Immediate  Past  President,  Alaska  Association  of                                                               
Realtors,  related  support  for  HB   202.    Drawing  upon  the                                                               
testimony  he has  heard at  four hearings  on this  subject, Mr.                                                               
Clark opined that the depth  of information and the complexity of                                                               
it  indicates  the  need  for   more  process.    There  is  good                                                               
information on both sides of this  matter, and the public needs a                                                               
full and complete hearing when making a decision on sprinklers.                                                                 
9:21:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE TILLY, Fire  Chief, City of Kenai, related  opposition to HB
202.   He then echoed Mr.  Schrage's testimony in that  HB 202 is                                                               
about the  process not sprinklers,  which statistics  have proven                                                               
work.   This legislation extends  the process the  community must                                                               
follow and increases the amount  of money that the community will                                                               
have to expend  to even consider adopting the proposed  code.  He                                                               
acknowledged that HB 202 may not  fit in rural areas, and pointed                                                               
out that the  residential [building] code doesn't  apply in those                                                               
areas.  The [residential building  code] only applies to deferred                                                               
home rule  communities, such  as Kenai.   In communities  such as                                                               
Kenai there is a process  in place regarding the consideration of                                                               
ordinances and that process works.                                                                                              
9:23:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON, upon determining no  one else wished to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
9:24:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MUNOZ moved  to adopt  CSHB  202, Version  26-LS0776\R,                                                               
Cook, 3/9/10, as the working document.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER objected.                                                                                                
9:25:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER moved Conceptual  Amendment 1, which would                                                               
remove all the language referring to a "cost-benefit analysis".                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER objected.                                                                                                 
9:26:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON surmised that  the cost-benefit analysis language                                                               
to  which Conceptual  Amendment 1  refers is  located on  page 2,                                                               
lines 6-8, and lines 12-13.                                                                                                     
9:27:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA asked  if  the language  "prepare a  cost-                                                               
benefit  analysis" in  Version R  provides room  for the  hearing                                                               
officers in each of the  communities to decide whether it applies                                                               
in each situation.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  reminded the  committee of  the testimony                                                               
from AML  regarding that it  doesn't understand how  detailed the                                                               
cost-benefit analysis has to be.   The lack of understanding, she                                                               
opined,  opens  the door  for  much  argument regarding  what  is                                                               
meant.  She  further opined that it's good  governance to specify                                                               
what's  the  benefit  and cost  of  [ordinances],  which  already                                                               
happens.   She  questioned the  meaning of  the language  ["cost-                                                               
benefit analysis"] and stated her  belief that it's not necessary                                                               
to tell  local governments.   The  provision is  undefined enough                                                               
that it could be problematic.                                                                                                   
9:29:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ related  her agreement that the  language is broad                                                               
enough that  it leaves it  open to interpretation.   However, she                                                               
recalled  testimony questioning  how  one would  perform a  cost-                                                               
benefit analysis  of a person's  life.  Therefore,  she suggested                                                               
that  perhaps  the  language  could   simply  refer  to  a  "cost                                                               
analysis" rather than a "cost-benefit analysis."                                                                                
9:30:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  explained  that he  objected  because  he                                                               
doesn't view this  as a dictate to local officials  but rather as                                                               
a protection  of the right  of Alaskans to make  the cost-benefit                                                               
analysis of their  family.  Representative Keller  referred to HB
202 as transparent legislation, including  the cost of the house.                                                               
To  eliminate  the  cost-benefit  analysis  presumes  a  lot,  he                                                               
9:31:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS expressed concern in  regard to the lack of                                                               
definition of the  terms of "cost-benefit analysis."   He said he                                                               
doesn't have  a problem mandating  more exposure for  the public,                                                               
in  terms of  the ability  to debate  the matter.   However,  the                                                               
cost-benefit analysis  seems to create  a situation in  which the                                                               
big hand of  government is dictating to  the smaller governments,                                                               
which creates a cost.  The  open-endedness is of concern in terms                                                               
of cost, he said.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  remarked that Representative  Harris makes                                                               
really  good  points.    He  specified that  he  had  no  problem                                                               
deleting the  term "benefit" and  tying the "cost" to  the house,                                                               
which is a simple and inexpensive number to obtain.                                                                             
9:35:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT opined  that  the question  of cost  will                                                               
arise  during the  three public  hearings  required in  paragraph                                                               
(3),   even  without   the  cost-benefit   analysis  requirement.                                                               
Therefore, she  said she's not  opposed to  [Conceptual Amendment                                                               
1]  and  even  to  Representative Keller's  amendment  that  only                                                               
deletes the  "benefit" language.   She  noted her  agreement with                                                               
Representative Harris  regarding the  open-endedness of  the term                                                               
"cost-benefit analysis"  and the  possible expense  of it  to the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER   said  that  he  takes   issue  with  the                                                               
assumption that  the issue will  arise during the  public hearing                                                               
process.  He opined that it's  not necessarily true that the cost                                                               
of the  zoning or code of  the local community would  be clear in                                                               
the  process.   Therefore,  he  reiterated  that  he is  open  to                                                               
eliminating the "benefit" language  of the cost-benefit analysis,                                                               
but maintained  that there needs  to be some  statement regarding                                                               
the impact on the cost of the house.                                                                                            
9:37:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER emphasized  that  she  expects her  local                                                               
assembly to perform a cost-benefit  analysis on whatever it does,                                                               
but  she remains  concerned  with the  unfunded  mandate and  the                                                               
potential lawsuit regarding the  type of cost-benefit analysis to                                                               
be performed.                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ called for the question.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER maintained his objection.                                                                                 
9:38:44 AM                                                                                                                    
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Cissna, Gardner,                                                               
Harris, and Millett voted in  favor of the adoption of Conceptual                                                               
Amendment  1.   Representatives Keller,  Herron, and  Munoz voted                                                               
against it.   Therefore, Conceptual Amendment 1 was  adopted by a                                                               
vote of 4-3.                                                                                                                    
9:39:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MUNOZ related  that she  still supports  the idea  of a                                                               
"cost analysis."                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  HERRON expressed  his desire  to have  a new  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  prepared in  order to avoid  any ambiguity.   He                                                               
then requested  that Co-Chair Munoz  prepare an amendment  to the                                                               
new  CS  in  order  to  address the  [removal  of  the  "benefit"                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  interjected that  it would  merely require                                                               
[reinserting  the language  deleted  by  Conceptual Amendment  1]                                                               
without the word "benefit".                                                                                                     
9:40:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ  suggested an amendment, which  would reinsert the                                                               
language  deleted  in Conceptual  Amendment  1  without the  word                                                               
"benefit" but include the language "of sprinkler systems".                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  related  her  understanding  that  "cost-                                                               
benefit  analysis" is  a  term of  art and  thus  is well  known.                                                               
However, a "cost  analysis" might not be as well  known and would                                                               
require a bit more care in  building an amendment.  This would be                                                               
a situation in which input  from Legislative Legal Services would                                                               
be helpful.                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ  disagreed and opined that  the term "cost-benefit                                                               
analysis" is more open to  interpretation while requiring a "cost                                                               
analysis  of  sprinkler  systems"  could  review  the  impact  of                                                               
sprinklers per  square foot.   She related  that the  term "cost-                                                               
benefit  analysis"  reviews a  wide  range  of issues,  including                                                               
health and  safety and other  issues that aren't defined  in this                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  announced that  she would  obtain analysis                                                               
from  Legislative Legal  Services if,  in fact,  Co-Chair Munoz's                                                               
amendment is adopted.                                                                                                           
9:43:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS explained  that  he  objected to  Co-Chair                                                               
Munoz's suggested  amendment, but supported  Conceptual Amendment                                                               
1  because  he believes  when  the  governing bodies  review  the                                                               
building codes, the cost will be  one of the major factors of the                                                               
decision.   He  said he  couldn't  believe the  cost wouldn't  be                                                               
brought forward by  any assembly member or member  of the general                                                               
public.   He emphasized that  the following two issues  are being                                                               
addressed:  the  cost of installing sprinklers in a  new home and                                                               
the potential  of extending the  requirement to  include existing                                                               
homes and then  there is the safety issue.   He opined that folks                                                               
will weigh the safety benefits  against the cost of installing it                                                               
in  a  new  home.    He  then  questioned  whether  installing  a                                                               
sprinkler systems  is relevant to do  in all areas of  the state.                                                               
There are rural areas, that is  areas on wells, in urban areas of                                                               
the state, he pointed out.                                                                                                      
9:46:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  pointed out that those  who aren't present                                                               
are those who  already own a home or who  don't anticipate owning                                                               
a  home.    He  questioned  why  he  would  advocate  against  an                                                               
ordinance that would  protect lives, but as a  homeowner he would                                                               
want to be  able to make the choice regarding  whether to install                                                               
sprinklers.   Therefore, he  opined that  the [cost  analysis] is                                                               
important  to  include  in  the  legislation  because  there  are                                                               
individuals who  wouldn't typically  be present to  advocate when                                                               
ordinances are being considered.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  said he didn't  see any reason  to clutter                                                               
the  legislation with  things  that shouldn't  be  included.   He                                                               
reiterated that it seems obvious  and straightforward that people                                                               
will  want  to  [know  the  cost],  particularly  since  it  will                                                               
increase the  value of  the home and  thus increase  the property                                                               
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ pointed  out that if a cost  analysis is required,                                                               
then  it becomes  part of  the record  before the  governing body                                                               
when  determining  whether  to   include  [the  sprinkler  system                                                               
requirement]  in  the  building  code.    She  opined  that  it's                                                               
appropriate to have information  available equally to all members                                                               
as the matter is considered.                                                                                                    
9:50:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  highlighted that  cost per square  foot is                                                               
variable on many factors.                                                                                                       
9:51:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  pointed out  that on page  2, line  5 the                                                               
term "shall"  is used  in reference  to preparing  a cost-benefit                                                               
analysis.  The  aforementioned is a mandate.   She echoed earlier                                                               
mentioned concerns  regarding the  lack of  specificity regarding                                                               
the  cost-benefit analysis.    She also  was  sure that  property                                                               
taxes will increase if the term "shall" remains.                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ  related her  belief as follows:   "That  part has                                                               
been  removed."   Therefore,  the  committee  needs to  determine                                                               
whether to have  just an analysis of the  sprinkler system rather                                                               
than a full-blown cost-benefit analysis.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR HERRON announced  that a hearing would  be scheduled for                                                               
Tuesday in order  for the committee to take action  on an amended                                                               
CS for HB 202.                                                                                                                  
9:52:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MUNOZ moved  to adopt  Amendment 2,  such that  all the                                                               
language on page 2, lines 6-8,  and lines 12-13 is reinserted and                                                               
the term "cost-benefit analysis"  is replaced with "cost analysis                                                               
of sprinkler systems".                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS objected.                                                                                                 
9:53:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER clarified  that the term "shall"  is in the                                                               
existing  language and  remains  so, even  with  the adoption  of                                                               
Amendment 2.                                                                                                                    
9:54:13 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
9:54:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON noted his agreement with Representative Keller.                                                                 
9:55:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  related her  understanding then  that the                                                               
adoption of  Amendment 2 would  result in the following.   First,                                                               
on  page  2, lines  6-8,  the  language  would read  as  follows:                                                               
"prepare  a cost  analysis of  the proposed  ordinance as  it may                                                               
apply  to  the  residential  buildings   to  which  the  proposed                                                               
ordinance  or   ordinance  amendment  will  apply   to  sprinkler                                                               
systems".   Second, on  page 2, lines  12-13, the  language would                                                               
read  as follows:    "a  summary of  the  ordinance or  ordinance                                                               
amendment and a cost analysis of the sprinkler systems".                                                                        
9:56:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked if there's a  difference between the                                                               
sprinkler  system  in the  box  versus  the installation  of  the                                                               
sprinkler system.                                                                                                               
9:56:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MUNOZ pointed  out  that the  language  says "apply  to                                                               
residential buildings" and  thus it would refer  to the sprinkler                                                               
system as it's applied to residential construction.                                                                             
9:56:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ withdrew Amendment 2  and announced that she would                                                               
work on language to satisfy the intent of the committee.                                                                        
[HB 202 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects