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Engineering and Economic Impact Studies Find Proposed Fire Sprinkler Mandate for Existing High-Rise Buildings in Philadelphia Costly and Unjustified

New engineering and economic impact studies commissioned by the Pennsylvania Apartment Association (PAA) have found no empirical evidence to support Philadelphia City Council’s proposed change to “The Philadelphia Fire Code” (Bill 220299), requiring automatic fire sprinkler systems in existing high-rise buildings throughout the city.

The engineering report, conducted by Thriven Design, Inc., examines the cost impacts on apartment building and condominium owners, tenants, and public housing authorities and the safety data justifying or negating the need for imposing this new requirement.

The study concludes that there is no empirical fire safety data to justify this change in the current fire code. Strict enforcement of “The Philadelphia Fire Code” requirements would achieve the goal of City Council to protect and keep Philadelphia residents safe without needlessly imposing tens of thousands of dollars in retrofit costs on tenants and condominium owners, as well as potential tax increases that would be needed to pay for publicly funded housing and rental vouchers.

“The proposed fire sprinkler mandate would have a negative impact on the city’s affordable housing stock, and would disproportionately impact those at low-income levels,” said Andre Del Valle, Vice President of Government Affairs at PAA. “We urge City Council to reject this proposal and focus on measures that will improve the safety of Philadelphians without creating unnecessary costs and displacements.”

Read more on the PAA website.

Read/Download the EConsult Solutions Affordability Study

Read/Download the Thriven Design Engineer Report