The state Building Code Council has decided not to adopt a policy that would require sprinkler systems in large or multistory homes.
Firefighter groups sought the change after seven South Carolina college students died in a fire at a North Carolina beach house that didn't have sprinklers.
The council refused Tuesday to accept the proposal by a vote of 7-6. Council chairman Dan Tingen didn't vote but asked a committee to examine whether to expand the use of sprinklers.
The petition from fire officials would have required sprinklers in new homes of more than 3,600 square feet or structures three or more stories off the ground.
The proposal also would have required committee discussion and a public hearing before it could take effect.