Buffalo Grove weighs sprinkler requirements for new homes

  • Buffalo Grove Village Trustee Jeffrey Berman says updating village building codes to align with the latest guidelines from the International Code Council could prove costly for new homebuyers.

    Buffalo Grove Village Trustee Jeffrey Berman says updating village building codes to align with the latest guidelines from the International Code Council could prove costly for new homebuyers. Daily Herald File Photo, 2009

 
Updated 6/7/2016 3:43 PM

Buffalo Grove is looking into updating its building codes to align with the latest guidelines from the International Code Council, but one village trustee is warning that it could have expensive consequences for some new residents.

Building Commissioner Brian Sheehan told trustees at their committee-of-the-whole meeting Monday that the village is still using the International Code Council's 2006 codes, even though the agency issued an update in 2015.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Implementing the 2015 codes would allow the village to keep up with changes in technology and building construction methods, as well as satisfy requests from developers for an update, officials say.

Among the more significant changes in the new guidelines is a requirement that new single-family detached homes have fire suppression sprinklers installed. Currently, the village only requires them in multifamily dwellings.

Trustee Jeffrey Berman said that previous village board discussions about requiring sprinklers led to the conclusion that it would be a costly imposition on a small number of residents.

"I would have a hard time saying to people who had moved into our community that we're going to hit you with a $10,000 tax solely because you happen to be new to our community and for no other reason, when everybody else is simply paying the property tax to receive fire protection services," Berman added.

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He said he understands the rationale of requiring it for multifamily buildings, since residents are often not in control of their neighbors.

Village Manager Dane Bragg said village staff would conduct a cost analysis on the potential requirement, but also suggested trustees consider what could happen if teardowns become popular in the Cook County part of the village, resulting in larger homes on smaller lots.

Trustee Andrew Stein said residents should also be informed that their insurance policies may not have "building code coverage," which pays for additional costs associated with meeting new codes should a fire or other incident require replacement of a home.

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