Friday, February 25, 2011

Drawing, Permits & Timelines

Even thought most of our equipment is on its way there is still a ton of stuff that needs to happen before we are going to be in a position to brew any beer.  Major projects like modifying the floor in our brewing area, installing a steam boiler, running water and electrical lines, etc.  In order to start this work we need work permits from the town.  Permits require detailed plans that are signed and sealed by licensed engineers.  That’s where we run into a problem.

When we started this project we knew the town would require a set of plans before they would issue work permits, however we underestimated the detail that would be required.  Our vendors have been providing us with drawings of the equipment, specifications and schematics along the way.  We assumed since we were not doing any major structural work to the building but just installing some equipment in an existing space we could use these plans to pull permits from the town.  Once we received the final drawings from our suppliers and brought these to the town to discuss permits, we were told they would not be enough.  It’s our own fault and just one of the things you learn the first time you manage a project like this. 
We realized that we needed to get some local engineers on board to produce a set of detailed plans for this project that would address local building codes.  This issue now is time.  We started working with an engineering firm a few weeks ago.  In addition to producing a set of plans for plumbing and electrical based on the specifications and schematics provided by our vendors, there is a host of other issues that they are addressing.  Building structure and classification, weight limits of our current concrete floor, mechanical issues surrounding the new boiler and head locations on our fire suppression system to name a few.  Producing a full set of plans that met local codes for a project like is a ton of work and takes a pretty large group of engineers.  We’ve been really pushing to get this done as fast as possible since this is the bottle neck right now, but these things take time.      
We expect to have the drawings back from the engineers by early next week. Once the drawings are submitted to the town, we’ve been told to expect a two to four week review period before the permits can be issued.  Once they are issued we can start work on the building and install the brewing equipment.
We were originally planning to have all this work done before the equipment arrived so we could just move the brew house and tanks into position when they got here.  Since that is not going to happen it’s a good thing we have extra space in the warehouse right now to store the equipment while we get the work done.
In the meantime, we have been meeting with masons, drain experts, and floor covering specialists to make a final decision on the materials in the brewing area.  Since the floor in the brewing area will be in contact with hot water, chemicals, and some heavy equipment we are looking into different ways to protect the concrete.  From what we hear an epoxy coating will not stand up to the thermal shock of our environment for very long.  Most people are recommending poly urethane flooring systems.  They seem bullet proof, but like anything else they come at a price.  No decision has been made on that yet.  Besides that we have been in full restoration mode.  Cleaning, spackling, painting, hanging fiberglass panels; anything we can get done while we’re waiting for our drawings.  

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