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BEFORE THE BUILDING...continued

Power & Light:

  • Is the existing electric service sufficient to support new equipment? Most auto booths run a minimum of 10 HP motors. Questions to ask include "What kind of power do I have?", "Is it high or low voltage?" and "Do I have enough power to support what I have in mind?". Contact your local power and light company to discuss boosting power supply to the service panel or increase (or establish) the ability to heat the booth with natural gas. They have technicians and designers on staff that can assist you with determining costs for increased loads and meter sets

  • The existing wiring must be able to support the new booth or other equipment (e.g. air compressors). Provide electrical specifications to an electrician for the equipment you have in mind and ask that an audit be performed. An audit will identify what is available in the existing panel, the current power requirements, and what the power requirements will become with new equipment factored in.

  • If natural gas is not an option, a survey can be conducted to see if the shop can safely accommodate a propane tank. The tank must be situated a required number of feet from the building and must be surrounded with (in some situations) 1,000 feet of "buffer zone".

    The Pitting Process:

  • Will the floor of the building render any surprises when digging begins for the pits? Old piping? old foundation that would have to be removed in order to continue with the pit work? Resolution of surprises like this are the responsibility of the shop owner, unless otherwise anticipated and negotiated with the concrete team. Utility locators are a good resource in the event original building plans don't tell you everything you need to know. Concrete x-ray is another option but may be a costly approach.

    Preparing a building to receive a paint booth can be more involved than acquiring the equipment itself. "Why didn't I know about this stuff?" is a familiar refrain. A shop becomes subject to visits from all sorts of local authorities. It's no secret that requirements differ from county to county and state to state, with several counties in the U.S. having already established themselves as impossible to please. Shop owners have often found plans reviewers to be totally unsympathetic, making it both necessary and prudent for a shop to retain the services of a permitting company - if only to make the whole situation bearable.

    The vision of the gleaming new booth or prep deck is more easily recognized if the equipment buyer is better prepared for what lies ahead. Making a good decision about a building not only helps the shop owner head off problems, it also makes it easier to anticipate building or refit costs.

Copyright Tara L. Munro. All Rights Reserved.

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