ESI’S NEW PEER REVIEW FEE SCHEDULE
On December 5th, 2019, the ESI Board of Directors voted to approve a new Peer Review Fee structure to be implemented beginning January 1, 2020. This new fee schedule is a dramatic improvement and departure from the Pay-As-You-Go system that ESI has been using for many years.
What is the new fee schedule?
ESI has implemented a flat-fee system whereby a schedule of services and fees will be used to determine a set fee for peer review for each plan. This fee has been calculated to cover the first two submissions, but may vary based on plan type and jurisdiction. Unless the plan changes substantially during the review and approval process, the flat fee should avoid the engineer from needing to request additional funds from their client, thus reducing delays in processing that were experienced in the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) system. ESI’s new fees for each member jurisdiction are available by clicking the “ESI Fees by Jurisdiction” link at the bottom of this page.
How does it work?
Similar to the PAYG system, the applicant will download and fill out a plan submission application from ESI’s website, which will then be submitted with their plan for review – the difference is there is now a fee to calculate, rather than a deposit, for the project. To better help our members calculate the peer review plan fees, ESI has developed auto-calculating project applications (based in Excel) to aid in determining the required fees for a given plan. The applications have the fees encoded within them, allowing the member to simply supply the features particular to the plan (e.g., jurisdiction, type of plan, number of sheets, whether development conditions apply to the plan, etc.), with the fee subsequently calculated for them. Applications by jurisdiction for use by our members in calculating the MSR review fees for their specific plan are available for download on the corresponding ESI jurisdictional page. A static application that would be filled in and calculated manually by the applicant, for those who do not have access to Excel, will be available for download soon. For the static application, applicants would need to utilize the fee schedule (located at the bottom of this page) to determine the appropriate fee for the plan type and jurisdiction.
How do I submit payment?
As before, applicants can submit a check (payable to ESI Peer Review) along with their application. In addition to accepting checks, ESI has implemented an electronic funds payment system in order to improve the ability of our customers to provide payment for our services. We believe that this will greatly simplify and help expedite the payment of those funds, particularly for members with clients located remotely, thereby hastening our review services and reducing handling time on the part of our members.
What if I currently have a project under the PAYG system?
Services for all projects submitted before January 1, 2020 must continue to operate under the PAYG system until completion and subsequent reconciliation. Unfortunately, PAYG projects will not be eligible for electronic funds payment due to the nature of the accounting and reconciliation requirements.
Why did ESI move from a PAYG to a Flat-Fee System?
ESI implemented the PAYG system beginning in 2004 (or later years depending on member jurisdiction) as a method to allow a single fixed MSR review deposit. This deposit helped promote simplicity in the application and payment aspect in order to help expedite and initiate the review. If it was later determined during review that additional funds were required due to the size and/or complexity of the plan, additional funds were then requested. Unfortunately, this request and the ability of the member and/or his client to provide those funds often caused delays in the MSR completion as payment was provided. Additional aspects of reconciling and refunding clients resulted in both administrative and cost burdens by ESI as well as delays and further complications in issuing refunds. These challenges, both in payment timing and refund processing, caused ESI to consider other payment systems in order to improve he customer interaction and overall processing.
With many years of experience conducting MSR plan reviews under the PAYG system, ESI had gained sufficient knowledge and experience with levels of effort necessary o conduct these reviews across all member jurisdictions. After extensive reviews of plan review performance on all plans from 2018 over a multi-year period, ESI was confident in designing a flat-fee system that, when tested against prior plan reviews, could replicate the fees charged in the PAYG system. After extensive review and discussion with the ESI Board of Directors, a flat-fee system and fee schedule eas approved in December 2019 for implementation in 2020.
It is ESI’s belief and intent that this new flat-fee system will improve our customer’s ability to project and expeditiously provide MSR fee payment in order to enable ESI to commence and complete reviews in a timely manner. Furthermore, it is ESI’s intent that this new system will allow smaller and/or less complex plans or plan types to pay correspondingly less fees that larger and/or much more complex projects, commensurate with the levels of review effort that ESI has experienced on prior and similar projects.
As always, members are welcome to contact our staff if they have questions, concerns, or need further assistance.
We thank you for your patience as we roll out these changes. We are confident that you will find this new process to be more expedient, predictable and beneficial during your interaction with our peer review services.