SECTION 1. Chapter 148 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out in its entirety section 26I and inserting in its place the following new section:
Section 26I. In a city, town or district which accepts the provisions of this section, any building hereafter constructed or which undergoes a major alteration or modification and is occupied in whole or in part for residential purposes and containing not less than four dwelling units including, but not limited to, lodging houses, boarding houses, fraternity houses, dormitories, apartments, townhouses, condominiums, hotels, motels and group residences, shall be equipped with an approved system of automatic sprinklers in accordance with the provisions of the State Building Code. In the event that adequate water supply is not available, the head of the fire department shall permit the installation of an alternative or modified fire suppression system as prescribed by the State Building Code in lieu of automatic sprinklers. Owners of buildings with approved and properly maintained installations may be eligible for a reduction on fire insurance. The head of the fire department shall enforce the provisions of this section.
Whoever is aggrieved by the fire department’s interpretation, order, requirement, direction or failure to act under the provisions of this section, may within forty-five days after the service of notice thereof, appeal from such interpretation, order, requirement, direction or failure to act to the automatic sprinkler appeals board as provided in section two hundred and one of chapter six. The board may grant a reasonable waiver from the provisions of this section, or may allow the installation of a reasonable alternative, modified or partial system of automatic sprinklers based upon the characteristics of the building or for those buildings that have architectural or historical significance.
SECTION 2.Nothing in this act shall be construed as limiting the State Building Code from requiring more stringent requirements for installation of automatic sprinklers in residential buildings.
SECTION 3. The provisions of section one shall not apply to construction projects approved by permit within one year prior to the effective date of this act.
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