Posts tagged as:

local news

If you plan on building a new luxury home in the near future, you might have an extra expense to contend with if Governor Dayton gets his way.

Currently the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is processing an update to Minnesota’s Building Code. Minnesota’s code is based upon the International Residential Code (IRC), which it amends to reflect local climate and building practices. The DLI’s ongoing process to update the code has featured an intense debate over the inclusion of a fire sprinkler system mandate in Minnesota’s code update. Since 2011, state lawmakers have passed two bills that would have prevented Minnesota from mandating home sprinkler systems. Both times Governor Mark Dayton has vetoed the bills.

In late October the draft building code was released with a home indoor sprinkler system mandate for all newly built homes 4,500 sq ft (including unfinished living space) and above. Notice it includes “unfinished living space”. That means your unfinished basement square footage is included in the numbers. While it is my opinion that it actually might be a good idea to install sprinkler systems in expensive luxury homes, it is NOT a good idea for the government to mandate it. The choice should be left up to the consumer because it’s their pocket book paying for the extra expense.

Don’t get too comfortable if you see a new home in your future under 4,500 square feet. Tom Brace, executive director of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, has said in a recent article that his ultimate goal is to mandate sprinkler systems in ALL new residential homes.

If you would like to learn more about the push to prevent the mandate, check out the website sponsored by the Twin Cities Builders Association.


Looks like Bill Pohlad, one-third owner of the Minnesota Twins, bought a very expensive home on Lake Minnetonka late last month. The home, while carrying a heafty price tag of $5.2 Million, is actually pretty small when compared to the other huge mansions that sit on the Lake Minnetonka shoreline.  It was built in 1951, has 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and just over 2300 square feet.

What makes it so expensive? Well, for one thing, it sits on a 3 acre pennisula jutting out into Lafayette Bay and has 1600 feet of shoreline. Yep, you heard me right – 1600 feet. That means this new home owner has panoramic views like you wouldn’t believe, and pretty much all the privacy he wants.

Lake Minnetonka Home Sells for $5.2 Million
2417 Woodwinds Lane , Minnetonka Beach, MN

Looks like Mr. Pohland can now boast that he “owns his personal private island”.



I have to admit, I have insider information, so I’ve seen this coming for years. I even wrote a blog post about it back in 2007, listing some benefits to having a home sprinkler system installed, especially in a million dollar home. I don’t have a problem with them, after all, my husband project manages for Summit Fire Protection in St. Paul and oversees daily the installation of fire suppression systems in Minnesota buildings.

What I do have a problem with is the government making it mandatory for all newly constructed homes to have a sprinkler system installed. You most likely haven’t heard that the International Code Council added in 2009 to its International Residential Code that fire sprinkler systems be a required standard feature in new home construction. The National Association of Home Builders tried to have the measure repealed, but was unsuccessful, so the new requirement will be included in the 2012 IRC edition.

What does this mean to you?

So far, there are only a few states, California being the first, to adopt the 2009 IRC requirements. But I am sure there are many other state and city governments that will jump on the bandwagon, all in the name of public safety. Currently there is an effort in Minnesota, championed by the Builders Association of Minnesota, to prohibit the State Building Code, State Fire Code, etc to require the installation of sprinkler systems in residential homes (H.F. 460 and S. F. 297). Now this doesn’t mean you can’t have one installed, but it does keep you from having to pay for one when you don’t want it.

I’ll keep a close eye on this one. While the cost of sprinkler installation is fairly low, about $3000 for a $300,00o home, in today’s market, people are watching the dollars they spend very carefully, and one might just rather have granite counter tops over a fire suppression system.