Marching to a Solution
The Value of a Fire Sprinkler Inspection
I was working with a buyer a few years ago who was looking for a second home. It was important that there be a big lot, and that the home did not need a lot of upgrades. There also needed to be room on the property to park a good size RV, which is not easy to find!
We found a home that met the criteria, including price range, and an offer was made. After a bit of negotiation agreement was reached and it was time for the home inspection. As it turned out we did a number of inspections, including roof and HVAC.
This particular home had fire sprinklers. Given it was not new construction nor recently I recommended we call in a fire sprinkler system inspection company and the buyer agreed.
I had learned in a prior sale that there are some important things required for homes with fire sprinklers, having witnessed the fire sprinkler inspection. The vendor was one of several recommended by the North County Fire Protection District.
Fire sprinkler system requirements no doubt vary by jurisdiction and state.
Requirements include: (1) a certain water pressure for the system (this is tested); (2) a labeled exterior fire alarm; (3) a control panel in the garage with extra sprinkler heads, controls and wrench; (4) an exterior water spigot (labeled) for testing the water flow; (5) minimum time period between when water starts to flow in the system and the fire alarm goes off (as I recall it’s around 30 seconds).
There are also different kinds of sprinklers head depending on location (e.g., stairwell vs. laundry room vs. kitchen), and certain requirements about where sprinklers are required and where they are placed.
As it turned out it was a very good thing this inspection was done. The inspector let the buyer know that the particular sprinkler heads in the house had been recalled a few years prior for being defective. He said the owner would have been notified of this in writing.
The worse news was the cost to replace the sprinkler heads was about $3,000.
Unfortunately there were some other concerns about the home and property. This included an easement that allowed the adjacent neighbor to use part of this home’s driveway to access another building on the neighbor’s property whenever desired.
As a result of these issues the buyer decided to cancel.
This is my second entry in the March to a Solution - ActiveRain March Challenge.
Photos courtesy of Pixabay
Hi Ed Silva
They are required in new construction and have been since 2011, I believe.