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The Legal Issues Of Engineering And Constructing A Microbrewery
In the engineering and construction of a microbrewery, there are numerous areas where legal issues come into play from concept to completion. This article will attempt to describe some of the legal issues you need to think about when going through the entire engineering and construction process of a new 15 barrel (bbl) microbrewery. The process will be divided into two distinct sections – engineering design and construction.
Let’s start the technical design process with the owner’s concept: “I want you to design a 15 bbl microbrewery for me”. As a sharp engineer, you know you need a written contract. This written contract must clearly contain several elements to be valid. These elements are: competent parties, agreement (offer and acceptance), consideration, legal purpose and form. The competent parties would be the owner and you (or your engineering firm). The agreement would be your offer to design and engineer the microbrewery, and his acceptance would indicate and agreement. The consideration would be that you get a fee (let’s say for instructional purposes you charge a fixed fee for designing building plans that are accepted by the building permit office. office, so ready to use for construction. It contract must be for a legal purpose, in this case, the design and engineering of a microbrewery. The form, of course, would be the written form outlines all the above elements. , that the basic elements of the contract are known, you must now work with the owner to get some answers that will help you design this new microbrewery.
Since the microbrewery will be a 15 bbl system, you may need details such as:
What is the maximum annual production capacity expected?
What type of beer will be produced (ale, lager, stout)?
How will the beer be packaged (bottles, cans, kegs)?
You ask these questions because they are necessary to determine the size of the facility, as well as what special items should be designed. So the owner says that he can brew and store three brews a week. Knowing this, you now need to calculate enough space and equipment to handle a maximum annual capacity of 2250 barrels at 50 brewing weeks per year.
Calculation of annual production
System size (brewery size) x Number of breweries per week x 50 weeks per year = Annual production 15 barrels (bbls) x 3 breweries/week x 50 weeks/year = 2250 bbls/year
The owner also says he wants to brew both ales and lagers – 50% beer production and 50% lager production. You also know that each type of brewery has a different cycle for brewing, and so you need a different amount of fermenters per type of beer.
Calculation of number of Fermenters
2250 bbl annual production capacity (50% Ale, 50% Lager)
14 Day Ales / 28 Day Lagers with full fermentation in fermenters Ales – 25 cycles / fermenter / year (50 brewing weeks / 2 weeks fermentation) Lagers – 12.5 cycles / fermenter / year (50 brewing weeks / 4 week fermentation)
Ales: 1125 bbls / year / (15 bbls x 25 cycles / year) = 3 Fermenters Lagers: 1125 bbls / year / (15 bbls x 12.5 cycles / year) = 6 Fermenters Total: 9 – (15 bbl) Fermenters too producing 1125 bbls of Ales and 1125 bbls of Lagers
This information will affect the dimensions of the microbrewery. You know that ales ideally ferment between 65 and 75 degrees F, but you also know that lagers ferment below 65 degrees and need to be aged longer in lager tanks, so you need to add not only a “warm room” for breweries, but also a “cold room” ” for the lager tanks and dispenser tanks. The owner says he wants to dispense the beers in ½ bbl kegs and 12 oz bottles. He also determines that he needs enough space to store each type of container for a month. That , based on this requirement, you need to calculate the space needed for the bottling and kegging machines, as well as the storage space for a month’s supply of ½ bbl kegs and 12 oz bottles.
Of course, you need to figure out the other requirements specific to the microbrewery, such as water needs, drainage, floor finish, electrical, ceiling heights, ventilation, loading and unloading, etc. Slowly but surely the image of what needs to be designed is coming together. As an engineer, you will have to ask a lot of questions, and get answers to those questions, so that you can clearly outline the specifications of what needs to be built in the contract. In addition, by getting these specifications in writing, you further eliminate any ambiguities that could be used to not honor the contract, or that could be used against you if you had to go to court to resolve a contract dispute.
After several weeks of hard work, you complete the project, submit the plans for approval, and they are approved. You present the approved plans to the owner in consideration for your services, and in consideration you are paid a fee.
After being happy with your design and engineering services, the owner now asks you to be the general contractor for the construction phase of the project. He asks you to give him an offer as soon as possible. You call your suppliers to get prices, availability, lead time for delivery, etc. You receive bids from subcontractors for the various trades (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, flooring, etc.). You choose those subcontractors that you think best suit your needs.
Additionally, you’ve done your due diligence by making sure all of your subcontractors are licensed, that they carry their own forms of liability insurance, and that their workers are covered in the event of injury. As a general contractor, of course, you must also be licensed, have liability insurance, deposit insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, etc. These are all tools that help protect you legally in the event liability issues or injuries arise during the construction of the microbrewery.
When preparing the contract for the bid (and the job), ensure that the specifications include all critical elements such as: general provisions, the work schedule, change order procedures, drawings, receipt and storage of materials, labor warranty, guarantee on materials, methods of payment, procedure for lien release, etc.
Once you’ve gathered your information, you submit your bid, and the owner accepts. Of course, many different contracts can be involved here: the contract between the owner and you (the general contractor); the contracts between you and the subcontractors; and the contracts between you and your suppliers.
Finally, the first building supplies arrive, construction begins, and within several months you and your team have built a new top-of-the-line microbrewery, adding value to the community, the nation’s economy, and also a put a little money in your pocket.
Well, let’s review. Along the way, there were several areas where you could encounter potential legal pitfalls. In the engineering role, you ensured that the contract contained all the elements necessary to be valid: competent parties, agreement (offer and acceptance), consideration, legal purpose and form. Also, based on the owner’s input, you created very detailed specifications of the microbrewery design and you put it in writing. This helped avoid ambiguities between what the owner wanted and what you thought the owner wanted; further, you put the design specifications in writing.
In the general contractor role, you had to deal with potential legal pitfalls involving the contract between you and the owner, you and your subcontractors, as well as you and your suppliers. You may have had to face labor issues, liability issues, injuries, workers compensation insurance claims, improper building deliveries, theft or damage of materials or equipment on the job, or maybe even attractive harassment issues. Whatever you’ve faced as an engineer and as a general contractor, you know you’re armed with the knowledge to jump over any legal issues you may encounter. It’s time to drink a beer!
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