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New Jersey Community's Pledge to Increase Use of Non-Combustible Materials Still Up in Air

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In response to the Avalon Bay development's devastating apartment fire in January in Edgewater, NJ, the developer pledged in February to go beyond the basic building code in upcoming projects in New Jersey. Specifically, Avalon Bay officials said they would increase the use of sprinklers and masonry fire walls in subsequent developments. One of the more recent media reports suggests the developer may be backtracking on this pledge. In an online post two months ago, New Jersey Hills Media Group Contributing Writer Edward Burke quoted Roseland Mayor John Duthie as saying that Avalon Bay’s Ron Laddell replied negatively to a letter sent earlier this year from a Roseland code official requesting the attic installation of sprinklers.

"Duthie said that Laddell in his reply letter indicated the building codes of Roseland and the state do not require attic sprinklers and thus Avalon Bay would not be providing them," the article stated.

Now according to Myles Ma with, Ronald Ladell, senior vice president for AvalonBay, repeated the original pledge (to the increased use of sprinklers and fire walls) at a zoning board meeting in Wayne, NJ, on Monday, August 3.

"NRMCA applauds Avalon Bay’s focus on improving the fire safety of its upcoming New Jersey projects and hopes – for its residents’ sake – that it will continue to honor its pledge to do this," said NRMCA Senior Director, Building Innovations, Gregg Lewis. "The leadership Mr. Ladell shows in this case has the potential to move the real estate development industry as a whole to embrace higher quality building standards. Like Avalon Bay’s future tenants and the New Jersey media, we’re excited to watch this play out."

Click here to read the original E-NEWS article on the subject (listed under the Sustainability section). For more information, contact Gregg Lewis at

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