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Chris Bernhardt

Functioning as intended

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I propose they are wrong. It means absolutely nothing as far as I'm concerned.

As time goes on, I believe more and more the report writing systems and their "catch phrases" are one of the largest problems in this gig. I have to stop now or I will burst into flames....

I agree 100%, except every time I've seen the phrase in someone's report it's "appears to be functioning as intended." Combined with other statements in those reports, it seems the purpose of the phrase is to not commit to anything. It seems to me they're trying to avoid upsetting "the deal" while also attempting to deflect any responsibility.

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Yes, jeeeeezus, yes...... It's the ultimate mush mouth "it is and it isn't" comment.

There are those that disagree with me (just about everyone), but I think there are facts, a building is a collection of facts, they are knowable, and describable.

Where the shades of grey come in is on the sales side. It's all just a bunch of facts that have a price tag.

If someone wants to blow off my comments because they don't want to pay for it, OK, fine with me. The fact remains, and all we're haggling about is price. What I cannot accept is denying a fact.

We are all entitled to our own opinions (that's on the sale side), but not our own facts.

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I think it is concurred that the phrase, "functioning as intended," is a vague, doo-doo way of describing anything. Grandma, is functioning as intended.

As an inspector you fill out your report asking yourself, Am I OK with this or not?? For me, Satisfactory, means I?m OK with it. If I'm not, it doesn't get a, functioning as intended.

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I propose they are wrong. It means absolutely nothing as far as I'm concerned.

As time goes on, I believe more and more the report writing systems and their "catch phrases" are one of the largest problems in this gig. I have to stop now or I will burst into flames....

I agree 100%, except every time I've seen the phrase in someone's report it's "appears to be functioning as intended." Combined with other statements in those reports, it seems the purpose of the phrase is to not commit to anything. It seems to me they're trying to avoid upsetting "the deal" while also attempting to deflect any responsibility.

The single most important thing I've ever learned from this forum, has been about report writing and avoiding that kind of inspector speak nonsense.

There was a time when it seemed like the lesson took place every day.

About time this came back around.

If I don't use those terms while I'm talking to someone, why would I write that way? Would you go through your whole inspection saying the words "appears serviceable" to your client, every time you opened a window or checked an outlet?

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how about this? "Functionally consistant with its intended purpose and is serviceable. It is in average repair for age and exposure and should perform as intended if those conditions continue for its design life." "If the item described above fails within your home warranty coverage period, please pay yoiur deductible and they will cover it."

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I propose they are wrong. It means absolutely nothing as far as I'm concerned.

As time goes on, I believe more and more the report writing systems and their "catch phrases" are one of the largest problems in this gig. I have to stop now or I will burst into flames....

I agree 100%, except every time I've seen the phrase in someone's report it's "appears to be functioning as intended." Combined with other statements in those reports, it seems the purpose of the phrase is to not commit to anything. It seems to me they're trying to avoid upsetting "the deal" while also attempting to deflect any responsibility.

The single most important thing I've ever learned from this forum, has been about report writing and avoiding that kind of inspector speak nonsense.

There was a time when it seemed like the lesson took place every day.

About time this came back around.

If I don't use those terms while I'm talking to someone, why would I write that way?

Would you go through your whole inspection saying the words "appears serviceable" to your client, every time you opened a window or checked an outlet?

What you say verbally is not going to be picked apart in a court room, (unless someone recorded it on his iPhone).

The written report could get picked apart in court someday and that is when every word can become a subject for discussion.

Those "appears to be ..." phrases are there to protect us from backstabbers. Under normal circumstances, their meaning is understood well enough.

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If you'll forgive my word-nerdiness, why would any HI speak about intentions at all? We don't know intentions, we observe conditions. I just replaced every last window in the house I bought a few weeks ago. What were my intentions? To quiet my wife? To fit into the neighborhood? To save money on installation? To impress my mother-in-law?

Talk about what you see, what it means, and what to do next. Don't give some recent law school noob enough rope to hang you with.

Jimmy

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The written report could get picked apart in court someday and that is when every word can become a subject for discussion.

Those "appears to be ..." phrases are there to protect us from backstabbers. Under normal circumstances, their meaning is understood well enough.

Ok. Let's run with that, but first you need to explain what you mean by backstabbers and normal circumstances.

Do they appear to be backstabbers, or are they? What's normal? What appears to be? How do you arrive at that conclusion?

To me, the word "appears", tells me you don't know. I paid you to tell me. Why can't you find out?

Things either work, or they don't. That's what I write. Kind of hard to pick that apart unless you're just flat out wrong about your call.

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The written report could get picked apart in court someday and that is when every word can become a subject for discussion.

Those "appears to be ..." phrases are there to protect us from backstabbers. Under normal circumstances, their meaning is understood well enough.

Ok. Let's run with that, but first you need to explain what you mean by backstabbers and normal circumstances.

Do they appear to be backstabbers, or are they? What's normal? What appears to be? How do you arrive at that conclusion?

To me, the word "appears", tells me you don't know. I paid you to tell me. Why can't you find out?

Things either work, or they don't. That's what I write. Kind of hard to pick that apart unless you're just flat out wrong about your call.

I posted a reply earlier but it appears to be missing. [:)]

I was trying to keep it brief. Backstabbers are clients, agents or lawyers who pick the home inspector for a target in a dispute.

Normal is when the client understands the limitations of the inspection and is satisfied that a good job was done by the inspector.

The roof does not appear to be leaking, but there are limitations of access and the fact that it hasn't rained in 2 months.

You are right, I don't know if the roof will leak, only that it does not appear to leak. Sometimes I will say I "saw no evidence" of a problem. "Appears to be functional" says the same thing, no?

I won't say unequivocaly "The roof doesn't leak".

"No visible concerns" I will often use to describe a newer roof.

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how about this? "Functionally consistant with its intended purpose and is serviceable. It is in average repair for age and exposure and should perform as intended if those conditions continue for its design life." "If the item described above fails within your home warranty coverage period, please pay yoiur deductible and they will cover it."

Les, you know I listen to every thing you say because you've been in it longer and harder and consistently better than anyone I know.

But, that's a pile with a bad smell.

What is the problem with describing what's wrong if something is wrong, and saying not a damn thing other than the required descriptions and a "the XYZ was in satisfactory conditions" if it's fine?

People imagine that if they have a list of items saying "satisfactory, satisfactory, satisfactory" ad infinitum, it means something.

I break it all down into systems. If there isn't one damn thing wrong anywhere within a system, then I say the XYZ system was in satisfactory condition. If there's one teeny tiny thing wrong anywhere in a system, I say the system is not satisfactory, and I write down what's wrong with tight specifics.

If shit hits a fan, it's going to spray everywhere regardless of what you have in the report. So far (20+ years), my method has held up when things were spraying; I just refer them back to my specific comments.

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I don't know if the roof will leak, only that it does not appear to leak. Sometimes I will say I "saw no evidence" of a problem. "Appears to be functional" says the same thing, no?

Hell no!

I saw no evidence of a roof leak at the time of my inspection, means what it says.

Appears to be functional means the same to you? What kind of functions does a roof cover perform? It pretty much lays there.

I guess I feel, the best way to avoid having to worry about depending on catch phrases to save my ass in a court of law, is to make sure my message was crystal clear, the first time around.

A follow up call or an email for the purpose of clarity, doesn't hurt, either.

BTW. The elders of this tribe are sitting back, watching. They will be jumping in to kick some ass. Maybe, mine.

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"To me, the word "appears", tells me you don't know. I paid you to tell me. Why can't you find out? "

"Appears to be," is a dodge by lazy, ignorant HIs and has no use in any HI report.

Or. It says exactly what you mean. It says you don't know for sure. Somewhere between most likely, maybe, I'm pretty sure, but maybe not.

"Appears to be, might be, looks like, suggests, (the cracked glass at the kitchen window suggests that it is broken)..."

Our jobs are black, white and grey. Lots of grey.

Please don't damn forever, "appears to be."

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Kurt, you do know I was being sarcastic?? That is verbatium from a rpt in a case file. Total BS!

I am listening to Mike and John and can see their point.

Never say never.

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Honestly just put down whatever makes you happy and enjoy life and what you do!

If you fret and worry about every little aspect of what you do and write it won't be long before you start second guessing yourself and you start dreading just getting up in the mornings and doing inspections.

This thread made me go back and look at several old reports of mine and I discovered that it is common for me to use several terms and phrases when reporting items, the following "appeared" to be the most common. When I want to indicate that an item was inspected I found I used: " Appears servicable"; "_____ was working or turned on during the inspection"; "The ____ was operating".

In court cases it is not common to hear an EW use the word "appears". The EW needs to reflect that they have no doubt about the subject and "appears" is too passive of a word for EW work.

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Kurt, you do know I was being sarcastic?? That is verbatium from a rpt in a case file. Total BS!

I am listening to Mike and John and can see their point.

Never say never.

It was around midnight somewhere in a cheap hotel in the middle of South Dakota grasslands. I was dazed and didn't know it was sarcastic.

Thank goodness, my faith is restored in ye, Les.

Oh, and I will damn forever the "appears to be". If one doesn't know, say "I don't know". If one knows, say what you know.

There's darn little shades of grey if one is competent see and to write sentences about what they see.

I have a section in my report system that's an "I don't know" column. It's usually empty, or if it isn't, I have an "I don't know right now but I/you/we have to find this out".

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In court cases it is not common to hear an EW use the word "appears". The EW needs to reflect that they have no doubt about the subject and "appears" is too passive of a word for EW work.

An EW gig led me on the right path toward report writing. I was hired by a Christian law firm representing folks that had gotten shafted but didn't have the money to hire a real firm. I worked pro bono just to get next to the attorney.

The attorney was a marvel, known in Chicago courtrooms as a hot ticket; a real Christian, devoted to his cause. He schooled me about what gets EW's ignored, and it largely has to do with phrases like "appears to be".

Say what you know, black & white, no equivocation.

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"Oh, and I will damn forever the "appears to be". If one doesn't know, say "I don't know". If one knows, say what you know. "

That moron who teaches IL newbies (the one who brags about having a really REALLY low license number) actually tells new guys to say "The water heater appears to be back-drafting. Recommend review by a qualified. . ."

He told me that once. He agreed that even though a heater WAS back-drafting, he wants a *professional* say such, not just a home inspector. Friggin' moron.

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Oh, and I will damn forever the "appears to be". If one doesn't know, say "I don't know". If one knows, say what you know.

There's darn little shades of grey if one is competent see and to write sentences about what they see.

I have a section in my report system that's an "I don't know" column. It's usually empty, or if it isn't, I have an "I don't know right now but I/you/we have to find this out".

I don't know whether the roof will leak. I know the sheathing and the ceilings are dry.

I don't know if the water heater is backdrafting. I only know there is evidence of previous backdrafting.

My report would have to be full of "I don't know's".

Philosophy 101 - "Is it possible I am dreaming all of this?"

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I use garimsibob to mean that an inspected thing is ok. For example, "the roof was garimsibob," or, "the windows are garimsiboben." (Garimsiboben is the plural form.)

I also use balliwinkle to mean "up" and hipsnoggle to mean "down."

Percoprolip means front and pilorpocrep means rear.

I use lots of words like that because it makes me sound more professional. As long as you define the words at the beginning of the report, it works great.

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I hate to get off topic, but ...... damn, that's a nice profile picture, Phillip. It never fails to bring a big smile to my face whenever I see it. You are a lucky, lucky man.

Joe

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I hate to get off topic, but ...... damn, that's a nice profile picture, Phillip. It never fails to bring a big smile to my face whenever I see it. You are a lucky, lucky man.

Joe

Thank you Joe.

I am a lucky man

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