Dealing with Fire Code Issues in a Spray Booth

Advice on communicating with a building department about the fine points of the fire code as it relates to spray finishing booths. May 27, 2014

Moved to New Jersey, set up spray booth. Ducted, explosion proof lights, fan, etc. - a Binks spray booth. Had inspection: fire chief hasn't a clue, but his inspector says I need sprinkler heads (I have them in ceiling of shop) brought into the booth (fair enough!) *and* a fire suppression system (like Ansel, which costs thousands.

I called the state, and they said one or the other is needed. How do I show this inspector this is so without insulting his intelligence, and stay on good terms? Don't want a major fight or he will find other stuff, as they usually do.

The state guy says (although it's put up already) I need an architect plan, blah blah. I am one guy and want to earn a living, and it's a proper spray booth.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Two ideas. I bought my booth from a spray equipment distributor and my rep knew the fire code inside out and acted as intermediary with my local inspectors. Best money I ever spent.

If you don't have that option, go to the NFPA website and order/download a copy of NFPA Rule 33, which explains all the requirements for various spraying operations. It will cost around $40 but it's a great resource with illustrations.

Local fire and building inspectors look to NFPA rule 33 for regulations on spraying operations. The regs are often misinterpreted by locals. Different types of operations are defined and each may have different requirements.

Offhand, I think your inspector is misinformed in requiring redundant fire suppression systems and the NFPA code would be the authority you're looking for.

From contributor C:

I'm in New York state. Fire marshal and building inspector wanted an architect's drawing before I could install my spray booth. Architect had done a lot of work on spray booths. Once I had those drawings approved I could go ahead.

I worked with Darf spray equipment in New Jersey (now Schweitzer & Crosson in PA). They have done a lot of installs and know all the codes. My fire marshal thought I needed to install blow out panels in case of a fire, but I didn't. NFPA code 33 is what everybody uses for sprinklers and electrical. Download a copy so you can see what is needed. I have sprinkler heads in the booth on either side of the filters and also in the exhaust ducting past the fan.

From contributor B:
Go to the County officials for the county you're in. They know what's going on and the local guys listen to what they have to say.