FROM: Frederick P.D. Carr, Director
SUBJECT: Engineers & Surveyors Institute (ESI) Peer Review Program
Elizabeth Cook, Chief of Planning
Update. The following is a
summary of the information presented to the Board of Supervisors at its
We are in the process of
designing ESI checklists, which will be completed in November.
The County and ESI staff will conduct a public information session
for the development community and interested individuals in early December
outlining how the program will work and to answer questions, while the
program will officially start on
Engineers & Surveyors Institute (ESI). ESI is a
ESI membership includes engineering and surveying firms
practicing in land development in Virginia, local jurisdictions, VDOT,
public utility agencies, and other similar organizations (Refer to the
List of Engineer & Surveyor Institute Members).
The organization was formed due to the frustration experienced on
the part of both local government and professional firms due to confusing
regulations and their application and the declining quality of plans
filed. Now there is an
established track record in several ESI programs used in neighboring
jurisdictions that could assist
The Department of Community Development proposed in May of 2003 to
introduce Engineers & Surveyors Institute (ESI) into the review
process for three referenced plan categories (construction plan, site
plan, and final plat). With
increased application volume in the complex construction and site plan
categories, County staff and referral agencies are being handcuffed by
mandatory action timelines, forced to focus on major application flaws,
and a declining quality in plan submittals.
The Department’s stated and initial program objectives are threefold:
(1) result in improved initial plan submissions that meet checklist
requirements; (2) reduce the number of plan re-submissions; and (3)
improve the plan review process and the clarity of the County regulations.
All agencies, including VDOT and the WSA, are operating with
staffing constraints and need not to serve as a quality control review for
submitting firms that need to fulfill that responsibility.
On the other hand, the County needs to provide a predictable
development review process with clear submission requirements,
comprehensive and consistent referral review and comments pursuant to
development regulation requirements.
Proposed Program Summary.
For construction plans, site plans and final plats,
there are several advantages to establishing an ESI program tailored to
1. Be self-funding through the applicants;
2. Provide a review time incentive to those professional firms completing high quality work in conformance with County land development regulations and standards;
3. Present process predictability;
4. Provide a disincentive to those not providing quality work (additional submissions, fee penalties, longer review times, and ESI membership issues);
5. Reduction of the natural adversary relationship between the public and private sector;
6. Supply an additional source of expertise and assistance to County staff; and
7. Improve the focus of limited staff resources on major design concerns and comprehensive review, rather than taking time on trivial mistakes.
Board of Supervisors Recommended Action:
its May 2003 work session, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to
implement the ESI Peer Review Program as quickly as practical.
The first step assisting in program implementation was the Board of
Supervisors approval of the revised Department of Community Development
Fee Schedule on
The Board of Supervisors is now asked to affirm the executed contract and to authorize, if funding adjustments need to be done at the end of the fiscal year for this program, use of the Department of Community Development fee revenue stream which is not included within our FY 2004 Budget or committed to other County uses.
List of Engineer & Surveyor Institute Members
by-laws limit membership to land development consulting firms,
professional geo-technical and environmental consulting firms associated
with the land development process, public agencies and quasi-public
agencies, and individuals that prepare or review plans for residential,
commercial and industrial builders/developers in