Compliance Bullshit

September 09, 2020

Compliance Bullshit


I thought getting DA approval would be the hard part, but 3 weeks in and I’m realising how little I know…

For instance,

Did you know that all external lighting requires a design statement to confirm the maximum W/m2 (whatever that is) along with a statement of compliance to BCA Clause J6.2?

Or, bathroom fans need to comply with Australian Standard 1668 and be accompanied by the appropriate design certificate?

And if you don’t provide these critical pieces of information, you’re not allowed to open?

Look… it’s fine. I’m not bitching, just quietly freaking out. I’m sure we’ll find a way, after all there are thousands of other businesses that have gone through this process and come out the other side. A bit like child birth, it seems daunting and impossible. But millions of people do it every day.

After my beautiful wife proof read this post, I’m informed this is nothing like child birth. Pushing a human into the world through your vagina is very different to convincing a council officer that the luminosity of your sign is compliant. Please strike the above comment from your memory.

By far my least favorite part to date was when we realised a condition of our DA required us to remove one of the driveways fronting Orchard Road and turn it back into curb and gutter (at our cost). The thing is, while I’d prefer not to do it, we’ll do whatever we need to so we can start trading. But when I called the owner requesting he sign off on the application he blew his lid.

“Mate, you can’t remove that driveway. If it goes I’ll never get it back. If that driveway goes, you go!”

Right… “But Mr Landlord, it’s a condition of us opening. Council are insisting on it, what am I meant to do?”

“Mate, I don’t care. It’s not my problem. I’m not agreeing to remove that driveway, sort it out or you’re out!” spitting down the phone… While this felt like a literal punch in the nuts, part of me admired the way he was succinctly linking the removal of this small strip of concrete with that of our bankruptcy. If he wanted to make sure I was gonna do everything possible to keep that driveway in place, it was working!

Hat in hand, I went back to council and explained that we’re about to start burning $438/day in rent on a building we can’t use, all due to this unfair condition on the DA.

And can you believe it, they agreed to remove it!

Well… they didn’t agree just like that, it was more a veiled confirmation of support though non-committal fluffy council language over the phone. They then directed me to fill out a pile of official forms, followed by paying the appropriate fee. But the conversation gave me enough confidence to think she’ll be right.

I’ve just checked the council DA portal and it seems like the change is going through. So I think it’ll be fine. If not, we’re fucked. But let’s not focus on the negative right now. Ok?

From here all we need to do is:

  • Design the drainage plan & cut in a pit and channel drains.
  • Apply for and install an industrial gas metre
  • Pay for the remainder of the brewery gear
  • Upgrade power
  • Build female bathrooms
  • Design and build the bar
  • Build a cool room
  • Install and connect 20 big stainless steel tanks
  • Order grain, hops, yeast
  • Buy a pallet jack
  • Buy a delivery truck
  • Get a trade waste agreement with Sydney Water
  • Get insurance
  • Order and replace the front windows
  • Build the bar furniture
  • Get our liquor license
  • Get our wholesale liquor license (I just found out they’re different things)
  • Order and integrate a POS system
  • Hire 10+ staff
  • Install food grade flooring within the brewery
  • Order cans and cartons
  • Grind back the concrete floor of the bar area
  • Build a kids area
  • Do a deal with a local food truck
  • Find a farmer to take our spent grain for free
  • Install CCTV system
  • Organise licensed security for busy nights.
  • Design and order building signage
  • Design and order uniforms & merch
  • Build a cool looking perimeter fence made from Bucketty logs.

Once that’s ticked off we’re good to go!