Friday, August 31, 2007

A sprinker under every roof 

An opinion in the St. Cloud Times suggests that the city should create a more stringent sprinkler requirement for new buildings and those commercial buildings which have a change of use or change of occupancy. Residences under 9,250 square feet would be exempt, which would exclude almost every house in town. Perhaps a swipe at rich people who they think "can afford it" -- otherwise why wouldn't you want middle class families to have this extra safety?

But the requirement for businesses is far more odious. Small business owners who wanted to expand would face a new required expense. The rule is utterly indifferent to the use of the building -- is this a chemical manufacturing facility or a coffee shop? Who is in the best position to determine the value of a sprinkler system, anyway? Wouldn't it be the insurance company selling fire coverage to the business owner?

This is just one more example of how ignorant people generally are of how businesses operate.