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Development costs and procedures for building a restaurant in B.C.

Expert: Rab S. Kooner

Teresa asked:

We are thinking of building a restaurant in Chetwynd, B.C. We are wondering what development costs and procedures we should be aware of. Also, is there a ball-park figure of what the cost is per square foot for construction?

Rab S. Kooner answered:

A ball-park figure will be difficult to ascertain without consulting designers, building inspectors and building contractors.There are a number of variables involved in constructing a building. These will also ultimately affect the cost. However, by following the procedures (suggested by builders and inspectors), you will be able to obtain a realistic estimate for your project.

Once you have decided upon a viable location for your restaurant, you need to make sure that the site is zoned for commercial premises. Your municipality will provide information on this. The next step would be to discuss your proposal with a building contractor. Also at this stage you may want to contact the building inspector in the area. By working with the contractor and the building inspector at each stage, you will be notified earlier of any additional costs that may impact the initial design.

These variables include, for example, the quality of the ground as the site may require deeper foundation for water control. For a commercial building, the BC Building code requires having adequate fire protection devices. Again, for example, if there are other buildings between the proposed site, the Fire Services Act may require you to have concrete side panels.

Also, if you intend to sell alcohol, there may be requirements regarding the seating area and washroom facilities. For example, to be issued a liquor license, you are required to have an area of 12 sq.ft., minimum per person.

Liquor licenses are usually issued to establishments with a minimum of forty seats.

Other factors include lot size and whether any land clearance is required, the type and quality of building materials used in construction, car parking facilities and landscaping.

Building a restaurant may initially seem like a difficult process. However, by making enquiries with the appropiate authorities and making allowances for modifications to the original design, you will obtain a working estimate.

About the author

Rab Kooner is a business officer at the Canada/BC Business Service Center in Vancouver.

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