Setting the Record Straight

Recent industry news reports continue to misrepresent MHI’s position on fire sprinklers.

MHI has never waivered from its opposition to mandatory fire sprinklers. MHI’s position has been reported in this publication, discussed at numerous MHI meetings, and in public testimony before the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC). MHI has supported efforts of state manufactured housing associations to remove sprinklers from state and local building codes. During the October 2010 and March 2011 MHCC meetings in Washington, MHI urged HUD to act expeditiously on its review of its current position that sprinklers are not preempted by the HUD-Code.

Absent a HUD policy on preemption, MHI has supported the adoption of a uniform fire sprinkler standard for use in localities that still require fire sprinklers, or when a consumer elects to have a fire sprinkler system installed in a new home. A uniform, single sprinkler standard, designed especially for factory production would reduce installation and design costs to consumers by as much as 50 percent.

Recognizing that HUD has yet to change its current position on preemption and that over the last year virtually all states but California and Maryland, have rescinded residential fire sprinkler requirements, MHI during a June 15, 2011 MHCC subcommittee teleconference offered an amendment to its current fire sprinkler proposal to explicitly state that fire sprinklers are not required under the HUD code. It is the same language that MHI member representatives offered to the MHCC subcommittee in October 2010.

MHI continues to support a uniform standard that can be utilized in communities where they are still required or when a homebuyer requests a fire sprinkler system be installed in a new home. There is precedent for this, as there are several other “optional” provisions in the HUD code, and there is no reason to believe that HUD would not support an optional fire sprinkler requirement.

For additional information, members can contact Lois Starkey at 703-558-0654 or

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