Brewery Construction Update 2: The Nightmare After Christmas

Ever have one of those months where your plumber concusses himself on your driveway, your trench drain sinks into the ground, your floors warp and your walls melt? Yeah, us too.

We’ve accomplished a lot since our first construction update. Myriad brewers warned us that the trench drain is the most crucial element of brewery construction; that no matter what, we should hire professionals and have it installed the proper way. Naturally, we installed it ourselves. End result? The grading is warped and little pools of liquid pile up. We can only hope gravity adjusts to our needs.

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Trench Drain 1

There’s the right way and the Wrought Iron way.

Digging the trench ourselves left us feeling elated, though that may have been the methane fumes from the gas-fired concrete saw.

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Concrete Saw Angus Construction

Burning gas indoors? What can go wrong?

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Angus Concrete Saw Construction Trench Drain

No, we did not find Fonda.

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Trench Drain Construction

Another Christmas in the trenches.

If you’ve never installed a trench drain yourself, the basic steps are:

  1. Don’t install a trench drain yourself.

  2. Call a professional.

Thankfully, we did have a professional: our buddy Alex, yet another friend we wouldn’t be here without. He helped install the trench drain and doors, plus hooked us up with Blake of Action Plumbing, who took a mean spill in our driveway, concussing himself and requiring an ambulance site visit. In his dizzied state, Blake still managed to fix our dripping hydronic lines and connect the trench to the existing sanitary line. What a beauty.

Alex and Angus install the trench drain at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Alex (left) and Angus.

Alex pouring concrete for trench drain at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

A concrete pun would be in pour taste.

Alex, Angus and Doug pouring concrete for trench drain during construction at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Insane in the trench drain.

Alex, Josh, Doug and Angus napping at trench drain construction at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Alex Burns Memorial Drain. Alex isn’t dead… yet.

The drain was a pain to construct. The rebar kept sinking into the soft soil. The individual lengths wouldn’t line up. Liquid continues to pile up just before the sanitary outlet. Still, the drain functions, which allowed us to move on to demolition, room framing and door mounting. The doors had to be installed, re-installed, and re-re-installed on account of improper sizing and orientation. Again, the fun of homegrown construction.

Alex, Angus and Doug installing doors during construction at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Of the seven doors, these were the only two that fit as planned.

With the meat and potatoes constructed, it was time to put lipstick on the pig. Justin of New Wave Painting took care of the walls. He did an awesome job, but Halifax received a record amount of precipitation that day, causing the paint to drip and the entire warehouse to look like a scene from Suspiria. Stoncor tackled the floor prep. They did amazing work – including nights and weekends – but when we chose the colour scheme, we forgot that we’re opening a brewery and not a daycare.

Trench drain construction montage at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

If you look closely, you can see that we should have hired a contractor.

In spite of everything, including:

  1. methane highs,

  2. improper floors,

  3. improper doors,

  4. drain pains,

  5. re-re-re-installations,

  6. paint drip,

  7. plumber slip,

  8. colour scheme from hell, and

  9. an inch of concrete dust in our apartments,

we’re very proud of our construction. There’s a certain satisfaction to do-it-yourself that I’m not sure we’d have otherwise. Plus, with electrical and HVAC upgrades to go, there is ample room for more mayhem before our equipment arrives in two weeks and we begin upscaling our recipes. And to think: at this time last year, we were still writing the business plan.

Move-in day warehouse construction at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Got any good construction nightmare stories? Or for that matter, any good nightmare stories? How about tips regarding what we should have done? Do you have questions regarding construction at your business that we may be able to help with? Share it all in the comments section. We could use a good laugh.

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