Sprinklers resolved

7:50pm Eastern – Augh…the suspense is killing me! The appeals board meeting started 45 minutes ago, and I still haven’t heard from Dawn. What could be taking so long?? That’s obviously not a good sign. If they make us install sprinklers, that’s a $50,000 expense, so you can appreciate why I am on pins and needles here. 🙁

I sent Dawn in with everything I could think of — pictures of the mansion; pictures of the mansion if they made us install all the fire code-related stuff; quotes for the sprinklers ranging from $35,000 to $95,000, not including ripping out all the ceilings and replacing them afterwards; letters of support from the state historic preservation office, Senator Arlen Specter, Representative Joseph Pitts, and State Senator Noah Wenger; and a write-up by another code official who thought sprinklers were ridiculous. The architect was going to be there as well. This should have been an open-and-shut case, ten minutes tops!

Dawn hates speaking in public, and has been a nervous wreck all day, but I’m sure she was fine once she got to the meeting. I suspect there were a lot of people there, given that this was the first appeal in the area. Ever. There’s only three people on the appeals board, but there are three “alternates” as well, and they were all going to be there. I had invited some county and state officials as well but they all declined, stating it was “a local matter.” 🙁

Crossing my fingers…

8:05pm Eastern – Dawn just called. The good news: no sprinklers. Hallelujah.

The bad news: we still have to put in illuminated exit signs, emergency fire pulls, and emergency lighting. While ugly, at least we don’t have to destroy anything to install them. (And it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.)

So common sense won the day. We were cautiously optimistic that it would, but since there was no track record, we just couldn’t be sure. Dawn said she didn’t realize how stressed she had been, until after the meeting was over and the stress went away.

So here’s a big raspberry to the code inspector, as well as to our contractor who thought we would never succeed in this challenge. 🙂 And here’s another gesture to the folks at the PA Dept of Labor & Industry, who used to be responsible for code enforcement but then dumped it on the local townships with no training, no guidance, and no support whatsoever…