July 24, 2018

Construction of new brewery in Suffield remains at a standstill due to structural issues

Construction at the site of the future Broad Brook Brewing Co. on Route 75 in Suffield remains at a standstill after the town's building inspector issued a stop-work order in March due to design errors with the foundation.

But according to Building Inspector Edward Flanders, the project is moving in the right direction. He said Thursday that he recently received plans from the brewery that could potentially fix the errors. They first have to be reviewed by an engineer, he said.

Flanders issued the stop-work order on March 28, and addressed it to brewery co-founder Eric Mance. It stated that reviews by two engineers of the design of the building's foundation revealed "significant errors."

It further stated that those errors "may significantly compromise the structural integrity of the building and appear to be contrary to the structural provisions of the State Building Code."

The stop-work order, issued in a letter to Mance, directed that all work on the building stop until amended construction documents were submitted that addressed the errors.

Mance could not be reached for comment.

On June 1, Flanders sent another letter to Mance modifying the order. In that letter, Flanders referred to a report from engineer Thomas DiBlasi of DiBlasi Associates P.C. based in Monroe.

According to that report, a stability analysis was performed on the building's east side basement wall to determine its factor of safety. A factor of safety of 1 means that a structure or component will fail exactly when it reaches the load the design is built for, and cannot support any additional load.

DiBlasi wrote in his report that a factor of safety of less than 1 "is indicative of a condition of potential instability." When the basement wall at the brewery was analyzed, it was found that it had a factor of safety against overturning of 0.34, and a factor of safety against sliding of 0.80.

DiBlasi concluded that the basement wall is a "life-safety concern."

Because of the seriousness of the concerns, Flanders said he modified the stop-work order to allow work to be done in conformance with recommendations from DiBlasi's report.

He also wrote that "no one should enter the building before or during this activity and it should be noted that no other work should be done at the site until I can determine that the completed work and any new required construction is in compliance with the code."

The Suffield Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special permit for the brewery in October 2016.

According to a statement of purpose submitted at the time, co-founders Mance and Tom Rossing projected to double the size of the brewing company's former location in East Windsor and also double its annual production to 12,000 barrels of beer a year. The plans also projected an increase in canning production by 300 percent with an automated canning line.

The new building would also house a larger taproom where patrons can enjoy the various beers on tap and the brewery would also serve food while offering views of the production facility. The owners hope to host live music and create a casual atmosphere, the statement of purpose says.

As for food, they described the menu as limited but with options that pair well with their beer. An example of a limited menu that was included with the statement of purpose listed salads, soft Bavarian pretzels, and brick oven pizzas as the types of food to be offered.

According to a notice published recently detailing the brewing company's application to the state Department of Consumer Protection for a manufacturer of beer and brew pub permit filed by Mance, the business intends to provide entertainment such as live bands, comedians, disc jockeys, and karaoke.

According to the brewery's website, in September 2010, Mance and Rossing began brewing their own beer, and not too long after, entered brewing contests, which they won. On Oct. 3, 2013, they opened their brewery in East Windsor. They decided to move the business to Suffield because they wanted to build a newer, bigger brewery.

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