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Spray Paint Booth Codes and Regulations

There are several codes and regulatory standards that are used by various local governments for defining spray booth requirements.  Each state, county and city usually selects one of these codes as the main top-level code to reference requirements.  Some local governments will create their codes based on special requirements, but they often use one of the main standards as a guide.

NFPA-33 National Fire Protection Association’s Standard for Spray Application Using Flammable or Combustible Materials (current version is 2007).  This is the most common code and does a very good job of defining how a spray booth is designed and constructed, air flow requirements and fire protection.  This standard references many other lower level standards such as NEC (National Electric Code), NFPA-101 Life Safety code and NFPA-17 Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems.

IFC International Fire Code – This international standard is a short and slightly modified version of NFPA-33.  It does not have more or less stringent requirements than NFPA-33 but some requirements are included in sections outside of the spray booth chapter.  This code is commonly used in areas of international trade zones.

IBC International Building Code – This code is similar to the IFC code but is rarely used at this time.

OSHA 29 CFR1910 Occupational Health and Safety Requirements – Each state has OSHA or NIOSH laws and codes that cover worker safety.  Many states restate the federal codes.  The chapters about spray booths often copy NFPA-33, but NFPA-33 is often revised before the federal OSHA code.  The emphasis on the wording in this code is worker safety so there are more detailed requirements specific about ventilation.

Every spray booth constructed in the USA that is used in a workplace environment is required to comply with local OSHA codes so it is important for the spray booth users and owner to understand this code that is enforceable long after the booth is completed.  A spray booth will be certified to the current NFPA, IFC or IBC code only when it is being constructed, but it must always comply with OSHA requirements.

5 thoughts on “Spray Paint Booth Codes and Regulations”

  1. That’s the reason I quit painting 20 years ago because it was making me sick apparentally the same laws don’t applie in Nebraska in my 30years of repairing cars I’ve never seen anything like the things they do here

  2. I NEED TO CERTIFY MY PAINT BOOTH SO I CAN GET MY OCCUPANCY PERMIT CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE ME SOME INFORMATIO ABOUT HOW TO DO THIS

  3. What is the closest that I can put the spray booth to a concrete wall of an industrial building. I thought it was 3 feet from the wall…is that true? And the exhaust duct…it’s 4 1/2 feet from the wall…is that ok?

    1. NFPA-33, OSHA 1910.107 and IFC state that a booth should at least 36″ away from a 1-hr rated wall. This implies that the booth can be closer to a wall rated over one hour. Not all inspectors interpret the code in this manner; they want to see at least 36″ from any wall. If you do wish to place the booth closer to the wall there can be no electrical devices, outlets or wiring within that 36″ that does not meet Class 1/Div II or better code.

      There are no federal requirements about how close the duct can be to a wall. There are requirements about the discharge point being 6-ft above the adjacent roofline. Most areas also require the duct to be at least 30-ft from a property line. Your local commercial/industrial HVAC contractor should know the codes that apply in your area.

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