In the wake of a massive fire that destroyed five Calgary homes, city council has asked for a study into the costs of mandatory sprinklers in every new home.
Ald. Bob Hawkesworth's motion, which was passed on Monday, calls for a feasibility study to be completed by December 2010.
"This is a great opportunity to improve the safety of residents, reduce the fire damage if a fire starts and it certainly makes a building far more safe for firefighters who are responding to a call," said Hawkesworth.
He raised the idea before five homes burned in the northwest neighbourhood of Citadel on Dec. 5, but Hawkesworth said the blaze underlines his motion.
The cause of those fires is still under investigation.
While Ald. Ric McIver agreed with the increased safety sprinklers bring for residents and firefighters, he questioned the costs of such a requirement.
"How much will this add to the price of a home?" said McIver on Monday. "I think [Hawkesworth] would agree with me — and he's been a pretty good supporter … and champion of affordable housing — and if we had $5,000 or $6,000 or whatever the tag is on the price of every new home I wonder how many more people will remain homeless as a result."
The Alberta government declined to include the sprinkler requirement in new houses in its amendments in 2008 to the provincial building and fire codes.