In mid-February, two senators - Jay Rockefeller (a West Virginia democrat) and Gordon Smith (an Oregon republican) - reintroduced the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2007 (S. 582). If adopted, the legislation would decrease the depreciation period dramatically for property owners who retrofit automatic fire-sprinkler systems into existing buildings.
According to the Dallas-based American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA), “Under current law, property owners who install sprinkler systems in older buildings are allowed to deduct the costs over a period of 27.5 or 39 years, depending on the structure.” If passed, the bill being championed by Rockefeller and Smith will reduce that period to only 5 years. In summary, S. 582 would greatly reduce the economic burden of retrofitting a building.
The act is being endorsed by all major national fire service organizations and more than a dozen other industry groups including the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Intl., American Insurance Association, American Institute of Architects, Intl. Code Council, and Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
The hope is that the act will eliminate the obstacle of cost for building owners who agree that sprinklers increase safety in commercial buildings. To quote a summary of the legislation posted on AFSA’s website, “Building owners do not argue with fire authorities over the logic of protecting their buildings with fire sprinklers. The issue is cost ... coupled with the cost savings associated with insurance discounts, fire-sprinkler systems will be paid for in a few short years, thus providing safe buildings and the potential for capital through insurance savings.”
To find out more, visit the AFSA’s Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act website (www.firesprinkler.org/legislation/fsia.html). Or to track the status of this act, visit (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?c110:./temp/~c110lKmqgM).