Your Guide to Spray Booths, Part Two: New York City’s Air Pollution Control Code and DOB/FDNY Codes for Spray Booths
It is essential to know that in NYC, several mayoral agencies–and other stakeholders–could be involved in the process of installing a new spray booth and ensuring compliance. For instance, an owner/operator must file an application with the NYC Department of Building (NYCDOB or DOB) for the spray booth and entire exhaust system. When that is approved, the contractor must take out Work Permits for installation. Other professionals may be required to perform special inspections.
Upon completion, a consultant with air permitting expertise will perform the final inspection to sign off on the spray booth installation and attest to the quality of the work. When this is done, your consultant may also file for a Certificate of Completion for the spray booth.
If your spray booth uses flammable products (paints, coatings, solvents, etc.) and the application requires your organization to have a designated area for paint storage (other than storage cabinets)—and this is true in most cases—then your previously approved NYCDOB drawings must be submitted to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). You must also fill out their application. When the work is completed and inspected by the FDNY for conformance with the approved plans, an FDNY permit for the operation of the spray booth will be issued.
If your operation uses only water-based non-flammable products and not solvent-based products, hence not flammable, (including cleaning products), an FDNY permit for the spray booth is not needed since spray booths using only non-flammable products are exempt from the requirements of Chapter 15 of the FDNY “Flammable Finishes” regulation. In this case, you need only file the approved DOB drawings with the FDNY accompanied with a letter stating that the spray booth at your facility is exempt from the requirements.
The NYCDEP air permit application for the spray booth and for the make-up air (MUA) unit, (if any) must be submitted electronically through the DEP Clean Air Tracking System (CATS) Portal by a Professional Engineer or a Registered Architect. When the applications are approved, a Work Permit will be issued by DEP. When the work is completed, the NYCDEP will inspect the spray booth for conformance with the approved plans and then issue a Certificate to Operate.
Note that you should NOT begin installation work on a spray booth until all of your paperwork has been filed, inspections are done, and your Work Permit has been issued. If you move forward too quickly, you could find that you have to remove all of the work that you did, and you may even be subject to fines or penalties.
What if I have an existing spray booth?
Regardless of whether or not your spray booth is still in the planning stages or is currently in operation, regulations apply! A qualified consultant should perform an inspection at your site. The site inspection should focus on determining if the existing spray booth is in compliance with the current DEP, DOB, FDNY, and other agencies’ codes that apply to your operation. If any compliance deficiencies are observed, the consultant should bring them to your attention. A thorough review of the existing Certificate of Occupancy and zoning compliance status should also be performed.
Evaluations of the drawings of the spray booth and exhaust system should be done to identify any constraints or issues as they relate to the applicable agencies’ codes. This work would likely encompass a full review of the existing Energy, Mechanical and Plumbing Codes and detail any required inspections including those by third parties.
When Agencies’ Work Permits are obtained, your consultant should coordinate activities between the NYDEP, NYCDOB, FDNY, and any other stakeholders to make sure all applicable requirements are satisfied.
Check back in next Thursday to read our final blog in this series, which will discuss New York State’s air code. Read the first part of our spray booth series here, and call Walden at 516-604-5684 to get in touch with one of our air quality experts.