In January, new homes will be required to have a special circuit breaker that can prevent electrical fires.
The state Building Code Council approved the change to the state's code, saying the devices would add as little as $60 to the cost of a smaller home and as much as a few hundred dollars.
"It all comes down to the value of a single life," said Kim Reitterer, a Charlotte electrical engineer on the council.
But homebuilders are fighting to repeal the requirement, calling it an unnecessary precaution that will make homes more expensive, adding as much as $1,000 to the cost of a 3,000-square-foot home.
The 17 members of the Building Code Council narrowly approved the requirement earlier this year, but a routine bill adopted by the legislature this summer included language ordering them to rethink the decision.
When the council meets early next week, it is scheduled to consider reversing the decision.
It is not clear exactly who in the legislature required the code council to revisit the issue. (N&O)