acquiring a new booth, the building to house it must be addressed.
Knowing the issues that could arise means they can be planned
for and managed in a sane fashion. This can give a shop owner
an edge when its time to talk to a funding source
A shop owner in the eastern United States decided that it
was possible to replace his existing paint booth with a new
one. A local equipment dealer provided answers to a multitude
of questions about the building that housed his paint shop
operation, as well as a second location that became available.
The right questions were asked - unfortunately, some of the
answers were discouraging. While the future had just become
very uncertain, a tragically expensive situation had been
avoided. It's always disheartening to see bad things happen
to good people, but the tragedy could have been far greater
had the shop owner not spent time investigating his potential
If your shop's profits indicate that new equipment or even
a new location is now possible, the first place to start is
NOT "What kind of booth do I want and who am I buying it from?"
The first question to be answered is "where am I putting this
booth and what building features should be examined before
I start buying equipment?" While it's important to know what
your booth will demand of your building, it's crucial to first
collect data about the building, the zoning, and local permitting
codes. At that point, the specific information about the equipment
is added to the mix.
The questions are common to those who sell or install the
equipment. The painter or bodyman stepping out on his own
for the first time doesn't always know which questions to
ask - the goal of this article being to change that.
a building is leased or purchased, is it in an area that
permits businesses with spray booths? Is the building sufficiently
buffered by real estate so as to avoid complaints by the
neighbors concerning stack emission violations and odors?
If you have a building in mind, show it to the people that
perform booth installations - they can tell you what you
are up against and help you avoid a lot of problems.
shop has enough room for a booth but is there also room
for a paint mix room and approved paint storage lockers?
Be aware that putting new equipment into an existing shop
can eliminates any "grandfathering" a shop enjoyed with
respect to building code. Budgetary numbers involved with
bringing an entire shop up to current code can be startling
so ask those questions before you sign a lease or buy equipment.
ceiling heights can be a ducting challenge (e.g. an aircraft
hanger) as intake and exhaust ductwork will cover a longer
span. Round spiral ductwork provides more stability over
long spans than standard rectangular duct. Angles in the
exhaust duct are typically limited to 45º due to paint particulates.
Longer duct runs can also mean upgrading the intake and
exhaust motors on the air make-up unit. The ability to overcome
that excessive length of duct must come from below, not
be mechanically complemented from above.
aware that a 10' separation (linear, vertical or a combination
of the two) is required between your booth exhaust and any
intake on your roof. Bear in mind, a permit to modify a
building is not a permit to put up a stack
suppression is critical to paint shop operation. At an absolute
minimum, the paint booth and paint mix room will require
fire suppression capability. The fire marshal is the final
authority with respect to the scope and nature of the fire
suppression, determining whether it will be dry chemical
or water and how much of the building must be "sprinkled"
kind of roof is on the building? What is it made of? How
old is it? How many layers are there? Roofs on older buildings
can quite possibly be multiple layers that have been added
over the years. If your roof is fairly new and still under
warranty, check with the roofing contractor about having
the roof re-sealed after the cuts are made and curbed for
© Tara L. Munro. All Rights Reserved.
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