Teamsters Local 631 sent an email yesterday, Dec. 4, alerting the Clark County Commissioners about the “catastrophic affect” that the new building code requirements for temporary structures (2018 CCBAC 22.02.065) will have on the tradeshow industry in Las Vegas. For those unaware of the new temporary building code permit regulations, please visit https://exhibitcitynews.com/tradeshow-community-gets-riled-up-at-new-building-code-requirements/.
Below is the letter that Tommy Blitsch (pictured above), secretary treasurer/CEO Teamsters Local 631 and director, conventions, tradeshows & casino division International Brotherhood of Teamsters, wrote:
December 4, 2019
Clark County Commisioners:
Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Chairman, District B
Lawrence Weekly, Vice Chairman, District D
Michael Naft, District A
Larry Brown, District C
Tick Segerblom, District E
Justin Jones, District F
James B. Gibson, District G
500 S Grand Central Pkwy Las Vegas, NV 89155
Dear County Commissioners,
I am writing this letter with great concern regarding the recent change to the Clark County Building Administrative Code, and implementation of such code, and the catastrophic affect it will have on the Trade Show/Convention Industry in Southern Nevada. Teamsters Local 631 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters strongly opposes these changes and we support all facilities, contractors, associations, workers, and the residents of Nevada who will be affected by this change.
As you may or may not know, Teamsters Local 631 represents over 5,000 tradesmen and tradeswomen who work directly in the trade show industry in Southern Nevada. We take great pride in our partnership with our signatory contractors and the facilities as we all strive to create a safe working environment for everyone working in the trade show industry. This partnership has helped make Southern Nevada the top trade show destination in the world and brings millions of dollars in revenue to our city and state on a yearly basis.
On November 15, 2019, I attended the meeting held by the Clark County Department of Building & Fire Prevention regarding the changes and implementation of the new requirements covered under the new Clark County Building Administrative Code (Title 22.02). Also, in attendance at this meeting were numerous industry experts including representatives from trade show associations, LVCVA, Sands, and numerous local trade show contractors. This meeting was conducted by Mr. Werner Hellmer and Mr. Jerry Stueve from the Clark County Department of Building and Fire Prevention. As this meeting progressed, it became obvious to all in attendance that the following had not been done prior to these decisions being made:
- Due diligence of the financial impact to our city and state including, but not limited to, shows moving to other cities.
- Due diligence of the extraordinary high increased costs added to the trade show contractors, facilities, and exhibitors.
- Inclusion and communication with the trade show contractors and/or experts who set up and tear down these shows prior to this new code being implemented.
In addition to the issues listed above, I find it confusing that the change of code documents that were presented at the November 15, 2019 meeting do not reflect what was submitted to the County Commissioners on January 7, 2019, and voted and approved by the County Commissioners on January 22, 2019. I have attached to this letter the recommendation presented to the County Commissioners on January 7, 2019, the ordinance that was unanimously approved by the County Commissioners on January 22, 2019 with an effective date of February 6, 2019, the CCBAC Permit Guide 401, as well as the PowerPoint presentation given at the November 15, 2019 meeting by Mr. Helmer and Mr. Stueve. It is also confusing why facilities are being fined- contractors are being forced to pay outrageous permitting fees, (as high as $9,000 per booth), and clients of these contractors are having to downsize their booths as a result of these changes. When asked about the reasoning behind the new rules and the changes, the response that was given to the group was “it was an unintended consequence.”
The “unintended consequences” of these changes can and will cause severe and permanent harm to the convention industry in Southern Nevada. As the Director of Conventions, Trade Shows and Casino Division for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, I have seen firsthand shows in other cities pack up shop and leave because of restrictions similar to these. Many of these cities rolled back the rules they implemented to bring their lost shows back with zero success. In short, when the show and exhibitors leave, they leave for good. These cities are now licking their chops at the prospect of taking shows from Las Vegas and relocating them to their cities. The result of just one of these major shows leaving Las Vegas will result in a loss of millions of dollars in revenue for Southern Nevada.
In closing, I would respectfully ask for the County Commissioners to intervene and address this detrimental interpretation. The existing code, 22.02.190 Section H, should be used until a responsible solution is presented. In a few weeks the start of the busiest time of the Las Vegas trade shows calendar begins with CES, SHOT, World of Concrete, IBS, KBIS, NADA, ISC WEST, Surfaces, PPAI, Con Expo/Con Agg. and Magic. It is imperative to the trade show community, Las Vegas, and the state of Nevada, that this current situation doesn’t cause additional “unintended consequences” during these shows.
Tommy Blitsch, Secretary Treasurer/ CEO Teamsters Local 631
Director, Conventions, Trade Shows & Casino Division
International Brotherhood of Teamsters