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Before The Booth

Cut through the red tape prior to purchasing a spraybooth – and avoid complications later on.

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Purchasing a spraybooth is a big decision
– whether it’s to replace the old one, expand your shop or open
a new location – because along with that booth comes a series
of issues. And, unless you’re aware of these issues and know to
anticipate them, that spraybooth can become just a stack of sheet
metal on your shop floor.

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Your decision to install a spraybooth will
guarantee your popularity with a great many people – who will
suddenly become very interested in you and your shop. Among those
people are zoning and building inspectors, the fire marshal, and
local EPA and OSHA representatives.

To minimize unpleasant surprises – and to
decrease your popularity with authorities – what follows is a
list of some issues potential spraybooth buyers should consider.

Zoning

Know how your shop is zoned! Shop owners can
encounter significant delays if they’re required to wait for public
hearings or request special exemptions. An area can be zoned for
business, but not for businesses with spraybooths. Zoning nuances
vary by county, so smart shoppers make finding the answer to this
question part of their homework prior to purchasing a booth.

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Financing

Commercial financing is abundant and pretty
straight forward as to terms and conditions. A shop owner can
also choose to handle the financing through a bank or credit union
and offer real estate as collateral. The bank may require an environmental
site assessment before it accepts the property as collateral;
a site assessment of this nature can often produce surprises and
has, in the past, dictated a need for remediation.

Required Permits and Upgrades

  • Building permit – on which all electrical and mechanical permits
    are drawn;

  • Air-quality permits – permit to construct the booth’s exhaust
    stack;

  • Building permit – fire-suppression systems (chemical or H2O);
  • Upgrade paint-mixing rooms with blow-out walls and ventilation;
  • Obtain approved paint storage lockers;
  • Upgrade or install electrical panels/gas meters; and
  • Pits, cut in the shop floor to accomodate concrete ductwork.

Installation of a new booth also means that any protection offered
by "grandfathering" will come to an end. Because the
new spraybooth will have to be compliant with the current code,
all equipment and surrounding work areas will have to be made
code compliant as well; this can mean a far larger expenditure
than first estimated.

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Permitting

The permitting process can be started 60 days prior to the arrival
of the new spraybooth, giving the shop owner time to make necessary
changes in his shop structure, locate floor plans, produce drawings
of the shop layout to accompany the permits and handle other details.

Any permitting service worth its salt will know exactly what the
shop owner has to do to successfully acquire all necessary permits,
anticipate zoning issues, and meet local and state codes (electrical,
mechanical, air quality, etc.). It’s money well-spent because
retaining the services of folks who can assist in the permitting
process will help a shop owner do it right the first time.

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Think Before You Buy

Many shop owners have run into trouble simply because they didn’t
plan ahead when buying a booth. It’s not just a matter of purchasing
a spraybooth and having it installed – it’s a matter of knowing
what changes you’ll have to make in your shop before the booth
arrives on your doorstep.

Without this knowledge, you could end up with more expenses than
you’d planned – and with more attention from local authorities
than you’d like.

Writer Tara L. Munro is compliance administrator and marketing
director for DLH Environmental, a company that provides permitting
and testing services to painting/coating professionals. To contact
DLH, call (888) 226-6040 or go to
(www.dlhe.com).

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