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  1. In the end, many of the discussions regarding report writing are about what works for individual inspectors and their clients - not about any single "right" way or one-size-fits-all method for conveying the inspection information. I hope that this concept doesn't get lost in these threads. This should be about points of view regarding different approaches to the same issues, not about any one individual's perspective being superior. I try to provide information regarding my own rationale for why we chose to take the approach we took and don't presume that it's the only approach or the "best" approach. Different formats work for different inspectors and clientele. If an inspector is working in a market where most clients hold graduate degrees and are employed in technical/engineering fields, perhaps a more technically oriented report format appeals to those clients. On the other hand, a more folksey or "plain-speak" format may suit other inspectors and their clients. If all inspection reports were identical, this thread wouldn't exist. I agree that most people aren't highly skilled writers and, while improving their skills is always a worthwhile pursuit, it's not necessary for them to become expert technical writers. By the same token, sentences such as "The car pleased the lady with the automatic transmission" and sentences with misplaced modifiers are confusing and reduce the appearance of professionalism. Let's just keep on trying to get better knowing all the while that it's a neverending challenge.
  2. Mike, I think your approach is every bit as valid as my own. I've alway held that a home inspection isn't an inventory of everything that's okay; it's about what's not okay. However, it's important to remember that some states which regulate home inspectors require both that reports document whether or not a system or component included in the state-mandated inspection standards was present and whether or not it was inspected. Our approach was never about having to say something about every system and component. It was about eliminating any question regarding whether or not we inspected the systems and components present. The insertion of the term "inspected" was not only easy because our report format already contained the systems and components included for inspection, we did it on advice of our attorney for the reason I stated in my last post. Most, if not all professional home inspector associations ' standards require both documentation of any system or component which was present but which was not inspected and the reason it was not inspected. I don't think that whether or not to document that a system or component was inspected when no adverse conditions were found is an inspection standards issue. Rather, it's a business decision regarding full communication and liability reduction.
  3. Did you read my entire post? The term "inspected" wasn't simply dropped into the report with no reference. It was clearly defined in the report glossary. In addition, certain glossary terms which were typically applied in every inspection were also listed and defined on a single page at the beginning of each section of the report and we explained them to and discussed them with our clients. The reason for using "inspected" to indicate that no adverse conditons were found for a given system or component was to document that the system or component had, in fact, been examined in accordance with the stated contractual scope of the inspection. This reduced the potential for any claim later on that we "missed" an adverse condition because we failed to inspect a certain system or component. The feedback we received from our clients and others such as agents, sellers, and contractors who had the opportunity to read our reports was that our reports were clear, accurate, objective, and very user-friendly.
  4. A glossary accompanied our reports because we believed that "ownership" of certain terms used in the report was important both for clarity and risk reduction, We used the term "INSPECTED" when a system or component had been examined and no adverse conditions were found. We defined "INSPECTED" as: When any system or component is so designated, it shall mean that it was examined in accordance with the scope of work as specified for the inspection and found to be performing its normally intended function or operation and no adverse conditions were observed at the time of the inspection. The underlined terms in the definition were also defined in the glossary. We chose to use "INSPECTED" rather than "acceptable," "satisfactory," or "functional" for two primary reasons. We found that these other terms conveyed different meanings to different people and, since we we performing an inspection, "INSPECTED" seemed to be the most neutral and descriptive term to use. When I was teaching home inspection I had a student who kept asking if clients wouldn't feel that they weren't getting their money's worth if he didn't find any adverse conditions to report. I asked him if would feel that his doctor didn't give him his money's worth if, after getting a physical, the doctor gave him a clean bill of health. Would he feel better, I asked, if the doctor told him he had a half dozen problems, one major illness, and a possibly terminal condition? He got the point.
  5. Mike, You're correct - direct vent or electric are permitted IRC G2406.2 (303.3) and UMC 904.5. My particular jurisdiction, bing the overly cautious jurisdiction that it is, still won't permit any gas-fired appliances in clothes closet citing issues regarding maintaining working clearances. But then, they also still require FVIR water heaters to be raised 18" or more above a garage floor even though the NFGC approves them for placement directly on a garage floor. Thanks for the correction. They permit gas fireplaces in bedrooms as well. Go figure. Having experienced CO poisoning once, I wouldn't live in a home that had any gas-fired appliance, direct vent or otherwise, in a sleeping room or in any enclosure that opened directly into a sleeping room. But that's just me. I'd keep that opinion to myself if I were performing an inspection. However, I might suggest that my client consider installing a top quality CO detector such as a CO-Experts Model 2004 Low Level Carbon Monoxide "Health" Monitor alarm in the bedroom. Kevin
  6. Your description sounds like the closets are clothes closets. I can find no code references which permit the installation of gas-fired heating appliances in bedroom clothes closets – for good reason. Clothes closets are used to store combustible materials. Regarding the installation of central heating boilers, furnaces, and water heaters in closets that open directly off of bedrooms or bathrooms and which are specifically designed and intended only for enclosing such appliances, Section 9.3 of the “2002 National Fuel Gas Codeâ€
  7. It’s hard to understand how three-tab composition shingles are incorrectly installed when the full installation instructions with illustrations are printed on every bundle wrapper but it’s a pretty common occurrence. The number, type, placement, length, and correct contact of the nail head with the shingle are all important. Experience indicates that hot dipped galvanized roofing nails work best as long as they penetrate through the plywood or OSB substrate or a minimum of ¾ inch into wood planking. The rough surface of hot dipped nails provides increased skin friction along the shank of the nail so that when there’s sufficient deck penetration, it makes them resistant to backing out due to vibration, thermal expansion and contraction, and drying of green deck materials. Take a look at www.asphaltroofing.org/pdf/tb_221.pdf for good general information regarding fastening three-tab composition shingles. When I lived in Boulder, Colorado extremely high wind gusts were a fact of life – 147mph in January 1982. This is comparable to the landfall of a Category 2-3 hurricane. Trash cans needed to be labeled with a return address if you wanted the folks in Kansas to send them back. Needless to say, no shingle manufacturer warranted their shingles to remain in place and no builder warranted that a roof would stay put under such conditions. We never lifted a shingle tab unless it was already not adhered to the shingle below it and the temperature conditions were such that gently and lifting the tab wouldn’t result in stress cracking or breaking the tab. We occasionally encountered entire three-tab composition shingle roof coverings that weren’t sealed to the shingles below because the shingles had been installed during a time of year when temperatures weren’t high enough to permit an effective seal. Fine dirt would get blown under the tabs during the cold season and, when the temperature finally got warm enough to soften the adhesive, the dirt on the adhesive prevented a proper seal. If we found unsealed tabs, we noted it in the report. A few unsealed tabs was typically noted as a normal maintenance condition but, if there was a clear pattern of inadequately sealed tabs, we recommended that the entire roof covering be evaluated by a qualified roofing contractor. Ditto if we weren't able to see the ends of the fasteners penetrating through the roof substrate in the attic.
  8. AHJs here in Colorado didn’t require anti-siphon protection for hose bibs until the early 1990s. Yet, at the same time that there were no AHJ requirements pertaining to hose bibs, in the interest pf public health the Colorado Department of Health “Colorado Cross Connection Control Manualâ€
  9. Good question, Randy. Heck, sometimes it’s a chore to get anyone to sign the contract, let alone to know who all the parties to the purchase are or to get multiple parties to put ink to paper. Your “and/orâ€
  10. I’m merely keeping my word with this post. I don’t expect it to change anyone’s mind with regard to the opinions or positions they expressed earlier in this thread. In a previous post I said that I'd ask the attorney who recommended the specific contract paragraph that sparked multiple demonstrative comments whether or not, after fifteen years of use, he believed that it was still necessary or effective. I had lunch with him yesterday and asked him - his short answer was a categorical "yes." He said that he has successfully defended two home inspectors in the past twelve months based solely on the controversial contract language. He also told me that he's currently involved in a home inspector/client dispute in which he expects the same contract language to put the matter to rest. Each of the earlier cases involved an unmarried couple buying house - the guy ordered the inspection and signed the contract, the gal later claimed that she never signed any contract but was a party to the purchase of the house. Therefore, she tried to seek damages from the inspection company for alleged negligence. My attorney said that both cases were dropped after he brought the paragraph to the attention of both the plaintiffs' attorneys and the plaintiffs. He said that in addition to including the specific contract language, in all three instances the inspection companies have used contracts that limit their liability to the inspection fee. In the two earlier cases his letters to the plaintiffs' attorneys were accompanied by the inspectors' checks for the return of the fee. While the circumstances surrounding the current case are somewhat different from the earlier two, he’ll advise his current client that, in addition to his attorney response letter pointing out the contract language, the inspector should return the inspection fee. Whenever an inspection company returns an inspection fee, he recommends that the company have the client sign and date “Return of the Inspection Fee and Releaseâ€
  11. Since the gas line to the gas igniter is in the firebox, the covering on the line may be an asbestos containing material. I spent some time online looking for information on coverings (asbestos and otherwise) on flexible gas lines and came up empty-handed. If your client wants to know what the covering is, you'll probably want to recommend having the material properly sampled and analyzed for asbestos. However, I don't think I'd spend the time or money. If there's a concern about the line, just have it professionally replaced with a modern, approved line. Just curious, was the igniter itself secured to the fire grate or can it be knocked around or moved without disassembly of any components?
  12. James, Good to see you back at the keyboard after the weekend. I think we spooked some folks. Oh, well... I guess we all write the way we write. Maybe my style was influenced by my particular academic background. Who knows? It really doesn’t matter. It's the way I've written all my life. You may have thought the new guy was puttin’ on airs and I may have thought you were trying to take me down a peg. I think we eventually learned that we just approach the same thing from different perspectives. After twenty-four years of reviewing badly written home inspection reports, filled with errors in syntax, person, punctuation, tense, number, etc. with some being literally unintelligible, I’ve come around to teaching “Joe Fridayâ€
  13. (Short version) an emphatic "NO" to both government regulation and to E&O insurance!
  14. Paul, Clarify something for me. Is it acceptable to install a non-GFCI protected duplex receptacle outlet in a garage to serve a single appliance such as a permanently installed central vacuum power unit or a freezer or would a single or simplex outlet be required? Clearly, a simplex outlet would reduce the potential for connecting non-permanent or easily moveable equipment to the unused half of a non-GFCI protected duplex outlet.
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