CLINTON — The Clinton City Council Committee of the Whole discussed implementation of the sprinkler system requirement to the fire code and enacting of an interim building code and fee structure for projects subject to the state building code following the regular business meeting on Tuesday.

According to the drafted ordinance, the ordinance shall apply to all newly constructed buildings and structures of which the construction is paid for in whole or in part with money appropriated by the state and are subject to plan review and construction requirements. The ordinance would adopt the 2006 International Building Code, 2006 International Mechanical Code, the 2000 Uniform Plumbing Code and 2005 National Electrical Code.

Clinton Fire Marshal Mike Brown said the ordinance would apply to a number of projects currently under way in Clinton. He said officials felt adopting a building code that applies to those projects hat are receiving state funds would be a “win-win situation.” He said the move would get the city’s “feet on the ground” regarding a building code and aid local projects by reducing wait times in scheduling mandatory inspections.

City Administrator Gary Boden noted the council would act as the building code board of appeals under the ordinance establishing an interim process until the new city building codes are adopted. He added the city still has to go through the process of enacting the building codes and officials would “start putting codes on the table” at the next council meeting on June 26. A motion to proceed with the interim code and a fee structure by placing it on the next council agenda was approved.

Brown advised the COW that new language in the 2006 Fire Code requires that existing “assembly” businesses, those with an occupancy over 100 people, have sprinkler systems in case of fire. He said that code changes are rarely made for existing establishments, but the new requirement came after large fires in assembly buildings with high losses of life. Brown stated he is investigating how the city can implement the requirement fairly for assembly businesses such as restaurants and bars.

Brown said some communities give business owners a five- to 10-year window for installation of sprinkler systems, depending on the occupancy capacity of the business. He noted the city has signed agreements with three new businesses in which the owner has two years to be compliant with the sprinkler system requirement if they have a full and proper fire alarm system. Brown explained that the two-year time frame does not start over if the business changes hands in the meantime. He added he is meeting with COBRA, the Clinton Organized Bar and Restaurant Association, on Thursday to explain the new requirement to business owners.

Brown said details regarding implementing the requirement locally continue to be worked out and officials are attempting to be fair and equitable to all manner of businesses. Boden said the issue is being discussed further by the City Services Committee and a plan to implement and enforce the sprinkler system requirement on the local level is being devised.

Councilman At-Large Ron Mallicoat asked Brown about a statement he made at a recent City Services Commission meeting, regarding Iowa American Water Co. charging Clinton customers nearly twice as much as similar customers in Bettendorf and Davenport for commercial water use in sprinkler systems. Mallicoat said he thinks the city of Clinton deserves to be charged the same rate and asked what is being done about the situation. Boden called the situation delicate and said discussions on the issue are being held with a local representative of the company.