City of Reno Fire Department: Residential fire sprinkler mitigation

Project title

Residential Fire Sprinkler Mitigation for City of Reno

Research question

The purpose of this study is to present an independent, objective analysis regarding the possible installation of residential fire suppression systems (sprinkler systems) in all new single-family home construction within the city limits of Reno, Nevada. This analysis is to determine the costs associated with a local mandate, as well as the benefits and disadvantages the builder, homeowner, and the community gain or lose from residential fire sprinklers.


International Fire Code and Building Code as an ordinance on building requirements within the City. Straight Code requires all new single-family dwellings built within the jurisdiction to be installed with a domestic residential fire sprinkler system. However, Nevada State Law limits the implementation of sprinklers in single family dwellings under the following conditions:

Nevada Revised Statute 278 enacted during the 2015 Nevada legislative session through Senate Bill 477 requires that a cost-benefit analysis be performed to demonstrate that the installation of a residential fire suppression system in a new home would be:

“to the benefit of the owners of the residential dwelling units to which the requirement would be applicable and that such benefit exceeds the costs related to the installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems in such residential dwelling units.”

Further, the City may elect to issue a mandate requiring fire suppression systems in new residential homes with livable area of 5,000 square feet or less, if:

“the unique characteristics or the location of the residential dwelling unit, when compared to residential dwelling units of comparable size or location within the jurisdiction of the governing body, would cause an unreasonable delay in firefighter response time.”

The Senate bill also specifies that the City may mandate residential fire suppression systems in new homes with livable area greater than 5,000 square feet without requiring either of the two criteria mentioned above.

The City of Reno added amendments to the last Code adoption requiring all new single-family homes greater than 5,000 square feet in size or any size single-family dwelling outside a response time of 6 minutes from the nearest City fire station be equipped with a fire sprinkler system.

We are requesting an independent, unbiased study by a third party (University of Nevada, Reno) to determine if the benefits of a residential sprinkler system in all new single-family dwellings exceeds the costs related to the installation of such systems.


The study should be in a report format and include a policy and ordinance recommendation.

Suggested skills

The researchers must conduct interviews, process data, and obtain background studies on residential fire suppression systems from various entries, including the International Code Council, National Fire Protection Association, and data from other jurisdictions who have fully implemented residential fire sprinkler requirements. Further, the researcher should meet with fire suppression installation contractors to determine the types of fire sprinkler systems available to home builders and the costs of installation based on current and projected residential home building trends within the region.

Agency representative

Tray Palmer, Fire Marshall
(775) 813-8599