Sprinkler System Code Violations
The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) adopts and publishes various rules that builders must abide by when constructing and renovating buildings. These rules serve to protect citizens by ensuring that buildings are reasonably safe to live and work in, and to minimize the risk of personal injury in the event of fires or natural disasters. For example, buildings must have proper foundations, safe electrical wiring, sound plumbing and sanitation, and alternative fire escape routes.
In addition, the BBRS requires that all buildings have a sprinkler system in place that will go off automatically during a fire. There are specific rules regarding how many sprinklers must be in a building, depending on the size, number of rooms, and number of occupants.
In September of 2014, the BBRS conducted its annual review of building code regulations and reported that Massachusetts’ stringent sprinkler system and alarm regulations had contributed to the high cost of housing in the Commonwealth. The Boston Globe reported that the BBRS seemed to be leaning towards weakening these regulations, or at least reviewing their cost effectiveness; given how much tougher the regulations are in Massachusetts as compared to other New England states. Fire officials, however, opposed any weakening of building code regulations at a BBRS meeting in September, citing instances of firefighter and citizen deaths in fires where inadequate sprinkler systems were in place. Ultimately the BBRS decided to gather information from other relevant state agencies before revising the building code.
State building code inspectors make routine inspections of buildings to ensure that BBRS standards are adhered to, and can issue citations for any violation discovered. However, even with this system in place, the reality is that not all buildings are up to code, and injuries result in fires that could have been prevented or mitigated had a proper sprinkler system been in place.
In these unfortunate cases, the injured person has a right to receive compensation for injuries sustained as a result of an inadequate sprinkler system, and for injuries that could have been minimized had a proper sprinkler system been in place. These cases fall under the general category of premises liability cases. Landowners must keep their premises reasonably safe for other individuals who come onto their property. If a landowner is negligent in maintaining their property, meaning they fail to keep the premises reasonably safe, and someone is injured as a result, the landowner must compensate that person for their injuries.
To prevail in a personal injury case against a landowner for failing to install a proper sprinkler system, you will have to prove first that there was no sprinkler system in the building where you were injured, or that the sprinkler system in place was not up to BBRS standards. Second, you will have to prove that the failure to have a proper sprinkler system somehow contributed to your injuries. To prove these facts, you will need fire experts and medical experts to recreate the accident scene.
If successful, you can win damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Although no amount of money can make up for the trauma of being in a fire or fully restore your health, this money can make a huge difference in easing your recovery process and protecting your family and loved ones while you recover.
The attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman have decades of experience and a track record of success in premises liability cases. We have a network of fire and accident experts, and contacts within the medical community to prove your case in the most powerful manner possible. We will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free and confidential case consultation. You will meet one-on-one with an expert personal injury attorney who will fully explain your legal rights and options, and will work with you to decide how best to pursue your case.