Layouts and Permits
Well, it’s been a bit of time since my last post. I would like to apologize, and yet at the same time there hasn’t been much to update about. Let’s give you the run down here:
As was mentioned in our previous post, the design aspect was finalized at the beginning of July, and we started the engineering aspects of what we would need for permit drawings. The engineering took a few weeks and at the end of the month we got a final (or at least preliminary final) set of drawings that I was then able to start sending out to some of sub contractors for bids on total costs and such. While I wait for all the bids to come back in we also submitted the plans to the town of Castle Rock (basically starting the permit process) to see what notes or other items they would want us to adjust before fully moving forward with the permit. We started all this the first week of August, and some of this stuff takes time.
As of today I’ve gotten back a few of the bids from the HVAC/Mechanical sub and one of the bids for electrical work. We’re still waiting on one more electrical bid and then two plumbing bids. So, we’re at least in process on that front. At the end of last week (Thursday) we also got back some notes from the city on things they’d like adjusted or clarified on our drawings. Thankfully it wasn’t anything super major or critical (YAY!) and I forwarded these off to the design team to work on and I hope to get back an updated set this week. Items like adjusting the math calculations for water closets per person (making sure there are enough toilets for everyone); adding one minor electrical element so we have another emergency light over the sink area in the brewery; adjusting the occupancy classification for the brewery and the taproom away from that of an ‘Assembly A-2’ to a spilt of ‘Business B and Factory F-1’; a few adjustments to the HVAC system and our exhaust over the boil kettle; and then a few notes from the Fire Dept. on making sure we have proper extinguishers and proper numbers for our maximum total occupancy. Overall, nothing super critical and easy enough to address.
One of the more interesting items from that list was the occupancy classifications and how that relates to other items like fire ratings and such. I’m about to ‘Nerd out’ here, so read on at your own risk!
We originally had the rating as an ‘A-2’ for the whole space as an ‘Assembly‘ style classification (if you’re curious like me, go here to learn more), much like what you would have for many restaurants, taverns and bars, casinos and such. Basically, a rating that says people will gather here and be around in somewhat of a crowd – and all of this is based on International Building Code or IBC 2012 standards. The town building planner for Castle Rock came back with a note saying that we weren’t really a restaurant (since we won’t be serving or cooking meals), and since we’re both manufacturing the beer on site as well as serving it in the taproom we would more accurately be designated as an ‘F’ (Factory grouping) and ‘B’ (Business grouping) split. Now, there was a reason for this that is designated within the code itself:
- 303.1.2 Small assembly spaces.
The following rooms and spaces shall not be classified as Assembly occupancies:
- 1. A room or space used for assembly purposes with anoccupant load of less than 50 persons and accessory to another occupancy shall be classified as a Group B occupancy or as part of that occupancy.
- 2. A room or space used for assembly purposes that is less than 750 square feet (70 m2) in area and accessory to another occupancy shall be classified as a Group B occupancy or as part of that occupancy.
Now, our space fits both of these notes because our taproom square footage is about 730 sqft, and our occupancy will be less than 50 because we only have the one door (fire code ratings come into play on this note). With both of these describing us, we are now having the Taproom portion of the space as a ‘B’ and an accessory to another classification – in our case a Factory ‘F’. The Factory grouping now comes into play, and it has some complexities attached to it on how to classify us as a micro brewery. You basically have two sub-section groups within this one – a ‘F-1 Moderate Hazard’ and a ‘F-2 Low Hazard’. Things that are examples of an F-1 are places like bakeries, bicycle factories, laundry facilities, wood working shops, and things like that. Also included in F-1 are “Beverages: over 16-percent alcohol content” and “Food processing and commercial kitchens not associated with restaurants, cafeterias and similar dining facilities”. Seems pretty straight forward, but then you look in the F-2 category and you find “Beverages: up to and including 16-percent alcohol content “. Ah! Bingo, so we’re an F-2 facility…
Not so fast! Oddly enough in the IBC code (and going back for years in the exact same fashion) there are additional fire rating requirements that are attached to this ‘F-2 Low Hazard’ class that aren’t attached to the ‘F-1 Moderate Hazard’. In plain language what that would mean for us (and every other brewery in the state) would be that you would have to have a 2-hour rated fire wall between the brewery and any taproom – which if you’re a fan of breweries like we are, you would know that many breweries are way more open than a rated firewall would allow for. It’s a twist of logic that our architects, and even the city planner couldn’t quite figure out. The answer for us in this lies more in the ‘Food processing’ line than in the beverages examples. Beer is a food (as stated by the FDA, and as such we register with them) and therefore we classify under the F-1 category and we can have more of an open feel in the taproom and save us (and many other breweries) the need to have these massive firewalls that would isolate you, the brewery fan, from the actual brewery.
All in all, a strange conclusion to what seems on the surface to be a simple answer (and I’m somewhat oversimplifying it even more). And to add even more to the hilarity of IBC code, some of the other examples in the ‘F-2 Low Hazard’ classification are things like Brick and Masonry factories, Ceramic making, Foundries (metal making), and Glass making – all of which involve very high temperature kilns and fire. Why a glass factory is a lower hazard than a bakery is a mystery to me, but such is the IBC. Maybe some committee will adjust that someday.
So that’s where we sit at the moment. Lots of behind the scenes stuff taking place, and not much in the way of pictures – but soon we’ll be getting some signage up on the building and the permit will go through and we can start actual construction! Then I’ll have way more photos to share!