Real World Cost Considerations of a Paint Spray Booth Installation


In days gone by, installing a paint booth was a matter of buying a booth, standing it up and starting to spray.

In today’s environment, with much more attention being paid to the health and safety of employees and the impact that painting can have on the environment, the “Authorities Having Jurisdiction” are legitimately enforcing paint booth related codes that were once overlooked. The “Authority Having Jurisdiction” is usually the local city building inspector, safety codes officer or fire marshal, but can be one of many others. They are enforcing the codes and have the final say in whether or not you will be able to use the new spray booth that you have just purchased and installed.

A major side effect of the now enforced codes is to make the legal installation of a spray booth considerably more costly than it has been in the past. Most jurisdictions require that spray booths and booth installations conform to the guidelines of NFPA-33 and the Provincial or National Building Code. Many of the “Authorities Having Jurisdiction” who do the inspections are requiring that the equipment being installed is verified by a qualified engineer to ensure that the various codes are being complied to.

The following covers the items and potential costs that need to be considered and addressed in order to attain an approved installation. Not all items may be applicable to your installation as the “Authority Having Jurisdiction” makes the final decision, but in most cases they will be required.

Equipment Considerations

  • The spray booth needs to be designed and installed as per the NFPA-33 standard.
  • The spray booth requires an exhaust stack and stack head.
  • Codes require that air exhausted by the booth is replaced with “tempered” air and this translates into a heated Air Make Up Unit.
  • Fire Suppression is required by NFPA-33 and needs to be included in all new booth installations.
  • Baking and recirculating booths require intake ducting and explosion relief to be supplied and installed.
  • Mechanical engineering is usually required to verify the equipment & the installation meet with NFPA-33 and the applicable building code requirements.
  • Inbound equipment freight charges.
  • Unloading the equipment on site.
  • Fork Lift – supply or rental
  • Storing equipment prior to installation.


Utility Considerations


  • Feeds – location and available power supply.
  • Voltage and available amps.
  • Available electrical panel space for required breakers.
  • Distance to power supply.
  • Light fixtures.
  • Light bulbs.
  • Controls.
  • Interlocks to the air make-up, fire suppression system, spray gun solenoid, lights, and doors.

Natural Gas

  • Ensure supply.
  • Pressure & volume available.
  • Distance to supply and install gas lines.
  • Gas company upgrade?
  • Regulators.
  • Tie In.

Compressed air

  • Compressor.
  • Air lines.
  • Pressure regulators.
  • Filters and lubricators.
  • Breathing air c/w CO monitors.

Installation Considerations

  • Roof/Wall penetrations for make-up air and exhaust.
  • Supply and install curbs / flashings.
  • Position equipment – Air make up / exhaust fan.
  • Crane rental.
  • Repair roof - Bonded or insured roof ?
  • Structural engineering to verify penetrations & repairs are safe and roof will support the additional load.
  • Potential structural modification depending on the results from engineering.
  • Is there roof access ? If not it may need to be provided.
  • Is the floor level or will it need modification prior to installing the booth ?
  • Erection of the spray booth.
  • Install intake and exhaust ducting.
  • Forklift and/or man lift rentals.
  • Pit excavations for downdraft booths – cut concrete, dig pit, form pit and pour concrete.
  • Floor treatment – finishing or sealing.
  • Disposal of packing crates and refuse.

Permit Considerations

Depending on the jurisdiction and the booth configuration, some or all of the following permits are required.

  • Building permit.
  • Mechanical permit.
  • Electrical permit.
  • Plumbing permit.
  • Gas permit.
  • Automatic Fire Extinguishing permit.
  • Air Emissions permit.

Start Up Considerations

  • An air balance survey and report is sometimes required by the "Authority Having Jurisdiction".
  • Is commissioning included?
  • Is training on proper equipment operation included?

The list is long and involved and the installation of a spray booth is no longer a matter of standing up some sheet metal and dragging in a spray gun and a product to paint.

The end result of the modern day process however, is a spray booth that is much safer than they were in the past. The upfront cost of a legal spray booth installation is considerably higher that it has been in the past, but the long term reduction in liability to the owner makes the process worthwhile.