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 outline some of the legal issues to consider throughout the engineering and construction process of a new 15 barrel (bbl) microbrewery. The process will be divided into two different sections: technical 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 an astute engineer, you know you need a written contract. This written contract must clearly contain several elements to be valid. These elements are: authorized parties, agreement (offer and acceptance), consideration, lawful purpose and form. The authorized parties are the owner and you (or your engineering company). The agreement would be your offer to design and build the microbrewery, and its acceptance would indicate and agreement. The consideration would be that you receive a fee (for instructional purposes, let’s say you charge a flat fee for designing building plans that are accepted by the building permit agency. The owner’s fee is the completed building plans that are accepted by the permit office, so ready for construction.The contract must have a lawful purpose, in this case the design and engineering of a microbrewery.The form, of course, would be the written form outlining all the above elements Now that the basic elements of the contract are known, you now need to 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 expected maximum annual production capacity?
What type of beer is produced (ale, lager, stout)?
How is the beer 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 to design. For example, the owner says he wants to be able to 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 weeks of brewing per year.
Calculation of annual production
System size (brewhouse size) x number of brews per week x 50 weeks per year = annual production 15 barrels (bbls) x 3 brews/week x 50 weeks/year = 2250 barrels/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 brew has a different brewing cycle, so you need a different number of fermenters for each type of beer.
Calculation of the number of digesters
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 weeks brew / 2 weeks fermentation) Lagers – 12.5 cycles / fermenter / year (50 weeks brew / 4 weeks 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 to 1125 bbls Ales and 1125 bbls Lagers to be produced
This information affects 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 age longer in lager tanks, so you need to add not only a “warm room” for brews, but also a “cold room” room”. ” for the lager tanks and dispenser tanks. The owner says he wants to supply the beers in ½ bbl kegs and 12 oz bottles. He also states that he needs enough space to store any type of container for a month. Based on this requirement, you must therefore calculate the space required for the bottling and keg machines, as well as the storage space for a monthly supply of ½ bbl kegs and 12 oz bottles.
Of course, you also need to figure out the other requirements specific to the microbrewery, such as water needs, drainage, floor finishes, electrical, ceiling heights, ventilation, loading and unloading areas, etc. Slowly but surely the picture of what needs to be designed comes 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 putting these specifications in writing, you eliminate any ambiguities that could be used to prevent you from fulfilling 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 return for your services and in return you receive your fee.
Having been satisfied with your design and engineering services, the owner is now requesting you to be the main contractor for the construction phase of the project. He asks you to make him an offer ASAP. You call your suppliers to request prices, availability, delivery time, etc. You will receive quotes from subcontractors for the different trades (plumbing, electricity, HVAC, flooring, etc.). You choose those subcontractors that you think best suit your needs.
In addition, you’ve done your due diligence by making sure that all of your subcontractors are licensed, that they have their own forms of liability insurance, and that their employees are covered in the event of injury. Of course, as a general contractor, you will also need to have a permit, liability insurance, sureties, workers’ compensation insurance, etc. These are all tools that will help protect you legally in the event that liability or injury issues arise during construction. of the microbrewery.
When drawing up the contract for the quotation (and the assignment), you ensure that the specifications contain all critical elements such as: general provisions, the work schedule, change order procedures, drawings, receipt and storage of materials, warranty on labor, warranty on materials, method of payment, procedure for releasing pledge, etc.
Once you’ve gathered your information, submit your bid and the owner accepts. It can, of course, involve many different contracts: the contract between the owner and you (the main contractor); the contracts between you and the subcontractors; and the contracts between you and your suppliers.
Finally the first building materials arrive, construction begins, and within months you and your team will have built a new top-notch microbrewery, adding value to the community, the country’s economy and putting a little money in your pocket.
Now let’s see. Along the way, there were several areas where you could have encountered potential legal pitfalls. In the role of engineer, you ensured that the contract contained all elements necessary to be valid: authorized parties, agreement (offer and acceptance), consideration, lawful purpose and form. Also, based on the input of the owner, you have made and written very detailed specifications of the design of the microbrewery. This helped avoid ambiguities between what the owner wanted and what you thought the owner wanted; you also record the design specifications in writing.
As a general contractor, you faced potential legal pitfalls related to the contract between you and the owner, you and your subcontractors, as well as between you and your suppliers. You may have faced labor issues, liability issues, personal injury claims, incorrect deliveries of building materials, theft or damage of materials or equipment on the job site, or perhaps even attractive nuisance issues. Whatever you’ve encountered as an engineer and as a general contractor, you know you’re armed with the knowledge to overcome any legal issues. It’s time for a beer!