What You Need to Know About Kitchen Exhaust Systems in Vancouver

BjornBar Restaurant

We have talked earlier about the importance of location, not just concerning marketplace exposure, but also the individual requirements involved in building your restaurant and how they can impact your costs.

In this article, we will be focusing on kitchen exhaust systems. The requirements for these systems vary from one geographic area to the next. In Vancouver, they are particularly stringent.

Don’t Be Caught Off Guard by Vancouver’s Kitchen Exhaust System Requirements

Arguably, no other location in North America can equal Vancouver when it comes to the strictness of kitchen exhaust system regulations.

Vancouver building bylaws are often unlike anything you will find anywhere else in the country. Professionals used to working in other cities are often surprised by the complexity of the approval process, as it even differs from other places in the Lower Mainland.

We often meet customers after they have already selected a location. They simply cannot do what they would like to in their new place because of the restrictions around exhausting their kitchen fumes.

The potential restrictions of a space should always be understood before selecting it. That way, restaurateurs can make the correct business decision, rather than needing to produce additional money for equipment or monthly operating costs to achieve the kitchen they want in the location they are locked into.

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Depending on Your Location,
You May Need an Ecologizer

Let’s talk about one possible requirement for your kitchen exhaust system in Vancouver that can add significant costs: an ecologizer.

“Ecologizer” is simply a fancy word for an air filter that sits in line with your kitchen’s exhaust system. Ecologizers remove specific particulates in the exhaust air through a series of filters that help remove odours in the air before it is discharged into the surrounding area.

You will primarily see ecologizers used in Vancouver whenever the exhaust fumes need to be discharged horizontally. If you had your exhaust fans located on the roof of your building, they could exhaust directly upward. If you do not have that option, you would instead have a commercial retail unit located on the main floor with additional commercial or residential units above it.

With such a commercial space, you cannot discharge the exhaust upward, so it needs to vent to the side of the location.

Using an ecologizer does offer practical, real-world advantages. Consider restaurants that often cook with grease. We have all experienced leaving such a venue and smelling like grease or walking through an offensive odour being released into the street.

With an ecologizer, you can eliminate that foul odour. The city of Vancouver simply enforces its requirement on any horizontally discharging air from a kitchen exhaust system.

While the concept makes sense, the cost is often highly prohibitive. It is not unusual for an ecologizer to cost an extra $20,000–$50,000, depending on the size of your kitchen.

In addition to the initial outlay to purchase the ecologizer, there are ongoing filter and maintenance costs. These typically range between $750–$2,000 a month.

The cost of the unit itself, along with the ongoing monthly expenses, can impose a significant obstacle if you have not considered this requirement in your business plan.

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How Mercury Contracting Can Help

BjornBar Restaurant

It is ideal when our customers approach us before they have selected a space. If a customer is considering a particular location during their search, we can determine whether an ecologizer will be required under Vancouver regulations.

We work with an experienced team of mechanical engineers and problem solvers that can evaluate the individual nuances of your potential new space. We can then help identify the most cost-effective and dynamic solution for the kitchen exhaust requirement.

If you are building a restaurant with a commercial kitchen and need to exhaust the air, it is vital to get that element correct out of the gate, so you do not impose a burden on your business even before you open.

With today’s rising retail lease rates, it can be discouraging to be saddled with an avoidable $1,000–$2,000 monthly cost, in addition to typical start-up costs.

This cost is often unforeseen and is determined during the design phase of a project rather than when the customer initially secures a lease.

Suppose you are currently searching for a location. In that case, we encourage you to give us a call, and we will happily visit prospective spaces with you and assess the potential requirement for an ecologizer in addition to other essential needs. That way, your business can operate within Vancouver building requirements affordably and efficiently.

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