Flooring for functionality and efficiency

An enterprise is something that is intentional right from day one, where careful strategy, implementation, operations and foresight are maximized. The location and design of the business premise are also determined with careful considerations for the business purpose, accessibility to employees, suppliers and customers and convenience of day to day operations.

The above thinking strongly applies when setting up a brewery enterprise; particularly with regards to the brewing factory, whose design must adequately adhere to various industry guidelines. Flooring for a micro-brewery requires safety and quality standards that broadly address spillage, hygiene, traffic, weight from equipment and temperature fluctuations.

This is because in the course of brewing alcohol, various liquids and chemicals are heated, hence spillage and temperature changes occur. Supplies, beer barrels and various materials are constantly moved across the brewery floor as well as people moving from one place to another. Heavy equipment and machinery are also operated on the brewery floor and the beer manufacturing process entails fermentation, which further brings the risk of bacteria and mould, should hygiene levels be poor. The brewery may also have a tasting facility for customers and this may require a different type of flooring that is not so heavy on toughness but more on aesthetics, branding and cleanliness.

Based on these unique requirements, it is clear that the brewery floor equally requires exclusive and careful selection when designing and setting up. Below are key considerations to make when designing and installing the flooring for a micro-brewery.

  • Safety

The process of brewing can take a toll on a floor as a result of chemical spillage which means high levels of acidity, wear and tear due to rigorous washing, foot traffic, weight from heavy machinery and beer barrels and temperature changes. Therefore, a floor for a microbrewery must be sturdy to ensure employees and products brewed in the factory are safe. For this reason and in adherence to USDA standards, epoxy floor coating, urethane mortar or other resinous flooring system are recommended. Brewery floors must be non-porous, smooth, easily to clean, and have a proper slope to drain fluids when they are spilt or during clean up. Safety is closely related to cost efficiency whereby the more accidents prevented through safety adherence, the more the savings a brewing company makes.

  • Hygiene

Fermentation is a key process in brewing beer and this means that bacteria and moulds can be expected as a result of inevitable spills in the beer factory. Thus, a floor for a microbrewery must be easy to clean, impervious and with proper drainage. Sealed concrete slabs are ideal for beer factory floors to ensure high standards of hygiene. Use of a primer coat and a heavy duty polyurethane screed are other ways to achieve hygienic flooring for beer factory.

  • Aesthetics/branding

As part of client engagement or marketing, some breweries may have a tasting room or guest reception area. The purpose of this is to showcase the brand to target consumers. Thus, the flooring for this extension of the brewery will be different since active brewery of beer does not take place here. The floor in this space needs to have attractive colours-preferably the same as the corporate colours of the brewery, as well as a smooth, polished and shiny texture and easy to clean. Where possible, the logo of this brewery can be embedded onto the floor to enhance a corporate feel or presence. It should also be stain resistant in order to maintain its appearance.Metallic epoxy floor coatings can be ideal for this purpose. This seals the floor and protects the design, and floor from staining, foot traffic, and ware from furniture.

  • Timely and fail proof installation

Flooring for a brewery should be easy to install, take the shortest time possible and require minimal if any repairs and maintenance. This is to ensure that brewing operations start in the shortest time possible and with minimal interruptions after this installation. The supplier for this installation should also follow up to ensure that there are no design flaws that hinder efficiency or pose a challenge to the beer brewing process.

  • Resistance to wear and abrasion

The brewery floor is highly susceptible to abrasion and wear and tear due to the nature of activities that take place. This is from moving beer barrels, transporting heavy equipment and supplies, moving trucks, heavy foot traffic and dragging materials. Therefore, a poor quality floor will easily wear off through chipping or dust and pose a safety risk to workers or quality of beer being manufactured. Careful selection of material for laying out and sealing the floor should be made to ensure wear and tear are minimal.

  • Non porosity and chemical resistance

Given that spills are inevitable in the brewery, the floor should be coated to ensure it is water proof and chemical resistant. Concrete floors for example may get easily corroded due to acidity levels from fluids and chemicals in the brewery. Temper-Crete system flooring protects the brewery floor from this type of damage. This may be in form of heavy-duty, heat-resistant urethane cement for brewing, bottling and canning area floors.It can also be applied to sloped substrates to manage flow of adjacent floor drains.

  • Efficient management of temperature fluctuations

Oven and cooking areas require high-heat resistant epoxy that can handle greater temperatures. Nonskid coatings and additives are suitable for grease and other conditions that may cause people to slip or fall. This is also in line with safety standards for quality operations in the brewery.

  • Value for money

Breweries are usually located on leased space that eventually is expected to be turned over to a new tenant or the original owner. This being the case, installing quality flooring and maintaining it is in the best interests of the brewing company. This will ensure that there are less costs associated with repairs of the premise or floor such as resurfacing or, in case of severe damage, replacement of existing substrate at the end of the lease. Closely associated with this is labor required in cleaning or touch ups prior to the handing over of the premise.

Construction Erosion and Sediment Control

Prior to 1991, erosion from construction sites was common. Few localities had any regulations against it, and no Federal regulations existed. Contractors moved earthen material and took no precautions against erosion. The result was sediment deposition on roads, in stream beds, and fouling of ponds and lakes.

The Clean Water Act Changed How Construction Erosion is Handled

In 1972, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act, which was part of the national effort to make American rivers fishable and swimmable. Initial efforts were directed to controlling point sources of pollution: wastewater treatment plants and industrial discharges. Much progress was made between 1972 and 1983 at reducing the amount of pollutants added to waterways.

However, nothing was done about non-point source pollution—stormwater run-off that does not enter the stream from a concentrated point. The EPA had focused on the point sources, and non-point sources were left to a later date. That date came with the 1983 amendments to the Clean Water Act, when Congress required the EPA to step up its actions against non-point sources.

NPDES Permits Required for More and More Sites

After many studies and much discussion, in 1991 EPA enacted a permit system regulating the discharge of stormwater from non-point sources. Called the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, these were originally for wastewater and industrial discharges, but were expanded to include stormwater discharges from a wide range of industrial activities.

Construction sites larger than 10 acres were included in the initial round of permits. This was later amended to include smaller sites. In addition, many States enacted more stringent regulations, including stormwater discharge permits for construction sites as small as 1 acre.

Even for sites smaller than those listed in the regulations, stormwater pollution control is required. Erosion and sediment controls must be installed for the small sites; they just don’t have to go through the regulatory permitting process as larger sites do.

CPESC Confirms Engineering and Construction Knowledge of Erosion Control

The increased attention to stormwater pollution from construction sites, and to stormwater pollution in general, resulted in engineering and construction organizations providing additional education in this area. EnviroCert International, Inc. provides testing and certification for several programs, among them the Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC). The certification requires a minimum of three years working in the field of erosion control, and passage of a half-day exam. Annual continuing education is also required to maintain certification. The examination includes such things as:

  • What pollutants are found in stormwater
  • Similarities to agricultural erosion
  • Federal rules and regulations
  • Site planning and management
  • Watershed hydrology
  • Quantifying stormwater volumes and pollutant load
  • Erosion prevention and sediment control measures
  • Selection of stormwater management practices.

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State and Local Certification Sometimes Required

Many States and municipalities recognize the CPESC certification and require that someone with this certification be responsible for the design of erosion control measures that will be used at construction sites. This includes knowledge of how the construction will progress as well as all that the CPESC certification encompasses.

The USA has moved beyond the point where it is acceptable for construction to proceed in a way that dumps tons of sediment into streams and rivers. A combination of good management practices, construction site housekeeping, and structural erosion control techniques must be employed to reduce construction stormwater pollution.