Paint Spray Booth - Code Compliance


This is a very large issue that most folks, who are looking at putting a spray booth into their facility, have no idea of what is involved. We get calls everyday asking for pricing on a 10 foot wide by 8 foot high by 10 foot deep spray booth so they can spray a product that they need to coat. We give them pricing for the booth, but that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg on what has to be done before the local "Authority Having Jurisdiction" gives them the approval to begin using the spray booth.

In today's day and age pretty much any change that you make to a building or facility requires that you obtain a permit from the city or county, and spray booths are no exception. In most areas, when putting in a spray booth, the city or county will require that a building permit is applied for and approved before you proceed with the project.

The building permit is where the process starts. Building permits in different areas have different requirements, but for the purposes of this discussion, we will cover the issues that are most commonly required to get a booth approved.

The major codes that are enforced are NFPA-33 and the Building Code of the Province where you are located.

For example, the following is the current City of Calgary requirements for a spray booth building permit application.

Subject: Paint Spray Booths – Building Permit Requirements

Plans shall indicate the nature and extent of work in sufficient detail to establish that the work will conform to the Code. (Div. C

  • Plans must be drawn to scale and show the following information:
  • Professional engineer's stamp – Refer to Div. C –required for all unlisted booths
  • Statement noting that the booth has been designed to NFPA 33 (2003) and the 2006 ABC
  • Location and dimensions of the booth in the tenant space (show overall tenant space)
  • Clearance from booth to adjacent walls (show dimensions)
  • Construction of adjacent walls (e.g. concrete block, 1 hour rated drywall and steel stud wall etc),
  • Make and Model # of the booth if applicable,
  • Type of booth (enclosed, open face etc),
  • Type of spray (non-electrostatic etc)
  • Type of fire suppression system and the standard that the suppression system will be designed to (NFPA 13, NFPA 12, 16, 17 or 2001)
  • Heating and Ventilation information – the spray booth ventilation must be evaluated in relation to the rest of the ventilation requirements in the tenant space.
    • Make Up Air unit type and capacity - air volume, heating capacity and unit weight
    • Exhaust system type and capacity
    • Statement that MUA and exhaust are interlocked


After the Booth is installed/constructed – verification information must be submitted to the field SCO at time of inspection.

  • Provide verification that the suppression system has been installed as required by NFPA 33 (2003) and the specific referenced standard (e.g. NFPA 17). Generally, this verification must be stamped by a professional engineer. Refer to Standata 06-BCI-001-R1 for instances when a stamp is not required.
  • Provide verification that the roof structure is capable of supporting the new MUA if required by the field SCO or noted on the building permit conditions. Verification must be stamped by a professional engineer.
  • Provide verification that the booth has been installed and constructed as required by NFPA 33 (2003) and the 2006 ABC. Verification must be stamped by a professional engineer if the booth is unlisted.

Additional Permits Required

  • Mechanical Permit
  • Electrical Permit
  • Plumbing Permit (may be applicable)
  • Gas Permit
  • Automatic Fire Extinguishing Permit (AFE) for suppression systems other than automatic sprinklers.

The building permit is a way for the "Authority Having Jurisdiction" to ensure that all applicable codes are being adhered to. There are many codes that pertain to a spray booth installation and not knowing that a part of a code applies can cause delays in completing an installation or having to make changes to an already built spray booth, both are unnecessary expenses.

The most common "Codes" that are referred to regarding spray booths follow:

  • International Building Code (IBC) or Provincial or Federal
  • International Fire Code (IFC) or Provincial or Federal
  • National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Subpart HHHHHH
  • NFPA 33: Standard for Spray Application using Flammable or Combustible Materials
  • NFPA 70: National Electrical Code
  • NFPA 86: Standard for Ovens and Furnaces
  • NFPA 91: Standard for Exhaust Systems for Air Conveying of Materials
  • NFPA 101: Life Safety Code
  • OSHA Safety and Health Standards (29 CFR 1910.107)
  • CAN/CSA – B-149.3: Code for the Field Approval of Fuel-Related Components on Appliances and Equipment.

The code that carries the most weight when it comes to spray booth construction and installation is NFPA-33 although parts of the others are also applicable in the areas they pertain to.
To view the various NFPA Codes and Standards use the following link.

It is critical to understand the various codes and which parts are applicable to your spray booth installation as the Safety Codes Officer who does the final inspection will not approve the use of a booth that is not compliant to the codes that apply.