The legalization of marijuana has sparked a building boom for grow houses across the country. These can be multi-million dollar builds, but often, fire code is the last thing that people consider. That's where we come in.
When you are working with your architect and your fire marshal or building inspector, be sure to bring up this topic early. What often happens is the grow rooms get built, outfitted with lights, misters, fans, etc., plants are growing, and the fire marshal comes in and says that it needs to be coated with a fire retardant paint. So you have to shut it down, remove everything, and get it painted. That down-time can mean thousands of dollars. Much easier to do it early in the process!
Keep in mind that grow houses DO catch fire. The combo of vegetation, hot lights, water and electricity make for a risky situation. I heard one story of a hot light that fell on plastic trays below, caught fire, and everything went up.
There are a couple common scenarios with a grow house or room. If you use spray foam insulation in your grow house, it will have to be painted with a 15 minute thermal barrier paint like DC315. It has the best price point, test data and coverage rate of all the SPF coatings.
Some grow rooms are built with SIPS - Structural Insulated Panels. These are made from a thick core of foam, covered with steel or aluminum panels. The type of foam is very important - it can be polystyrene or polyurethane. Fire marshals hate polystyrene, because it is extremely flammable with a low flash point. Polyurethane has better fire protection. For a grow house in Tulsa, we have successfully used a paint system from Firefree Coatings that started with a direct-to-metal primer, then Firefree 88 retardant paint, then coated that with FfE topcoat. The topcoat protects the fire retardant paint from the moisture and high humidity.
Other possible situations that might need retardant treatment would be wood framing, or floor/ceiling assemblies (wood and/or steel/cement assemblies), plywood/osb sheathing, fabric or plastic tarps.
Grow houses are a new thing for builders and inspectors alike, so everyone is trying to be careful and paying a lot of attention. No one wants a fire disaster on their watch. RDR Technologies is always available to discuss your situation and figure out the best solution for your marijuana grow operation. Give us a call if questions come up.