City of Reno

Staff Report

Staff Report (For Possible Action): Approval of Agreement for Building Plan Review Consulting Services with Bureau Veritas for plan review services outside the scope of City staff abilities in an amount not to exceed $500,000. (Building Enterprise Fund)


Department:Community DevelopmentSponsors:

Recommendation and Proposed Motion

Recommendation:  Staff recommends Council approve the Agreement with Bureau Veritas in an amount not to exceed $500,000. 


Proposed Motion:  I move to approve staff recommendation.


Staff Report Formal Body

Summary:  The Community Development Department uses a consulting firm for the review of high rise (more than four stories) building permits.  The number of high rise building permits has increased over the past nine months, requiring the additional consulting services to complete the building permit review process.  Bureau Veritas is a consulting firm that provides third party building permit plan review and inspection services.  This is a two-year contract, which falls within the $250,000 annual Building Enterprise Fund Budget for this service. Staff recommends Council approve the Agreement with Bureau Veritas in an amount not to exceed $500,000. 


Background:  The City of Reno does not have staff qualified to review building permits for high rise buildings or specialty permits, such as bridges, which require additional certifications and engineering licensures.  The City of Reno uses consulting firms with expertise in permit review performed by qualified personnel.  Bureau Veritas was selected through a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) review process and is listed on the City of Reno 2020 Ranked Consultant List for building plan review and inspection services. 


The number and types of building permits needing the third party review varies between projects and market conditions.  In the past nine months, five high rise building permits have been submitted, requiring the third party review.  As a result of so many high rise building permits being submitted, the cost for the third party review is exceeding the amount that can be department director approved and requires Council approval. The proposed request of $500,000 will allow for current and future high rise permits to be reviewed in a timely manner.


Discussion:  Building permits for high rise structures require an additional level of expertise that City staff does not have and requires review by a third party.  The building permit review fees are paid by the applicant to the City and the City pays the consultant 80 percent of the permit fee (with 20 percent retained for administration).  In general, permit fees will vary depending on the type of building and construction.  For example, the building permit review fee for a four story building is approximately $16,000, compared to a 12-story building with permit fees closer to $70,000.  Based on projected developments, staff anticipates a number of high rise projects, including student housing, residential, mixed-use and hotel developments will be submitted for building permits in the near future.  All of those projects will need to be reviewed by the third party consultant.


The Community Development Department Budget includes $250,000 annually for contract plan review services. Approval of this two-year Agreement will not exceed budgeted amounts.


Financial Implications:  The City of Reno will administer the agreement with Bureau Veritas.  Building permit review fees are paid by the applicant and deposited into the Building Enterprise Fund.  After the third party building permit review is completed, Bureau Veritas will send an invoice to the City of Reno and the funds collected through the building permit review process will be used to pay for the service. The service does not require any general fund contribution.


Legal Implications:  The parties are bound by the terms of the agreement as prepared by the Office of the City Attorney.