The Ontario Building Code allows a distillery to be constructed with combustible materials like wood if it’s under 300 square meters. Since our distillery’s footprint is under this threshold, I thought there would be little steel in the building. Boy was I wrong. The engineers ended up calling for a ton of steel. Luckily, there’s a steel manufacturer just down the road from us. A family business, Branje Metal Works has been supplying steel to Almonte for decades. I worked with Chris Branje who committed to deliver the 12 steel posts and 3 moment frames I needed in less than two weeks.

Chris Branje at his shop

Chris delivered the steel as promised. A crane arrived to help his team put up the posts. I noticed one of the steel workers putting steel plates on each concrete pier. I asked him what was he doing and he explained that they put a 1″ steel shim to help level the posts. I almost fainted when hearing this. I thought I only had to leave enough of the anchor bolts exposed for the plate and nut (1.5″). Adding the shim wouldn’t leave enough bolt to screw on the nut. Luckily, I left almost all the bolts higher than planned since the rebar stopped me from putting them lower. If I hadn’t left the extra space, I would have to redo all the concrete piers at a cost of thousands of dollars and weeks delay. I felt queasy the rest of the day at the thought of how close I came to disaster. It took Chris’s team a couple days to get all the posts and beams installed. No chance of the distillery falling down!

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