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mgbinspect

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Based upon years of attending the University of TIJ, I'm in the process of a major overhaul of my reporting style and format.

I'm wondering: How many of you guys attach your association SOPs to your report; or, spell out in general terms what you're doing in accordance with them?

I did have the ASHI SOPs parsed as introductions to sections, which was probably just taking up space. I've pitched them. But, now I wonder whether to include them at all or merely mention them in my contract and let clients seek them out if they need to.

What do you do?

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This goes into every report on the last page.

Part of it was swiped from someone here (sorry, can't remember who I can give the credit to)

Your questions; Ask all the questions you want or need to and I'll do my best to answer them. All I ask of you is that you read the entire report. You can call me tomorrow, next week or even next year!

Your final walk-thru before closing is your last chance to view the house without any furniture or stored items. Conduct a diligent walk-through (don't let anyone or anything rush you!). Turn on all faucets, flush all toilets, run the dishwasher (and clothes washer & dryer if part of the transaction) and examine all walls & floors. You should also bring a digital camera just in case there are conditions that have changed since the inspection was conducted.

Here are links to the ASHI & State of New Jersey Standards of Practice: http://www.homeinspector.org/standards/default.aspx

http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/nonmedical/hiac.htm

Look here for all your home maintenance needs http://www.msue.msu.edu/objects/content ... er02.html/

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I give a copy of the ASHI SoP at the inspection. I buy them from ASHI. The last time I bought them, the cost was $15.00 for a pack of 50. I doubt that you could print them yourself for that price.

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I also give the client a copy of the ASHI SOP/COE, I used to buy them as well 50 @ $15.00, but have started to print my own. My printer will do two sided printing, only difference is the 4 pages are stapled together rather then booklet form.

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I reference them and will provide a copies on request. My initial thought was to provide a link to them at the DOS web site, but I'd rather not hot link my client to the State complaint form. I don't anticipate any major problems, but if some one wants to be a jerk I think they should have to do their own legwork.

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I don't reference anything outside the State of Illinois requirement to tell folks in my inspection agreement that I'm doing the job the way the State says I'm supposed to do it.

Until ASHI (and the State) manage to form a cogent statement about who we are, I don't want anyone thinking anything about either of those entities.

I don't expect that to happen anytime soon.

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Thanks for the quick responses. I'm going to Florida in two days to visit my 86 year old folks for a week. I'll be overhauling my reporting system that entire week and will be using your input.

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I attach a copy of our state standards with the inspection agreement that I email each client before the inspection. That way, they can't ever claim they didn't know what to expect, or that they never had a chance before the inspection to review the agreement and/or the standards.

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I provide a link to WA state standards in the report and also in the initial email to them with

my preinspection contract when confirming fee, date and time. With a notation : this is what we inspect.

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I e- mail a copy of my agreement and state standards ahead of time, and "require" that they reply to the e- mailing stating that they have read it. I attach a PDF copy of the agreement in the report as well, but don't include disclaimers or reference standards in the report. At least I don't think so- time to read one of my reports.

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I'm going to Florida in two days to visit my 86 year old folks for a week. I'll be overhauling my reporting system that entire week and will be using your input.

It's none of my business, it's off topic, I don't know your situation and you certainly didn't ask for advice, but I can't imagine that I'm the only one who was a bit aghast when reading that. This might be one time to not multi-task, Mike.

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I attach a copy of our state standards with the inspection agreement that I email each client before the inspection. That way, they can't ever claim they didn't know what to expect, or that they never had a chance before the inspection to review the agreement and/or the standards.

We do exactly the same thing for exactly the same reason. I'm continually amazed at how many people actually seem to read that stuff.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I attach a copy of our state standards with the inspection agreement that I email each client before the inspection. That way, they can't ever claim they didn't know what to expect, or that they never had a chance before the inspection to review the agreement and/or the standards.

I do the agreement; it's easier and it's better for everyone. Minimizes explanation.

If they ask about the standards, I send them the link to the State site.

I used to send the standards. The few that read them had nothing but questions about why I wasn't going to do a lot of the stuff they expected me to do.

I ascertain expectations on site with an ongoing bunch of questions. Everyone is different. I think I need to know who the customer is, and not imagine they're going to care about the SOP.

After a few hours, I know who my customers are, and work to their expectations, or provide written documentation on why I didn't, and direct them appropriately. Everyone's happy.

The standards only confused everything. I mean, read those things; they suck. No one understands them, or the rationale behind them, except us folks. Would you like someone doing a job that way?

I wouldn't.

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Hi,

I reference the standards in the contract and have the URL to the state website printed in the footer at the bottom of the contract on both sides.

The paragraph referencing them states:

The home inspection will be performed in accordance with the scope and standards of the Washington State Home Inspector's Standard of Practice. The standards are viewable on the Washington Department of Licensing website. Any other warranties, expressed or implied are excluded.

The note in the footer states:

(Got questions about home inspection standards and your rights? - Go to http:///www.dol.wa.gov/business/homeinspectors/)

I carry a copy of the home inspection law pamphlet inside my clipboard. I show it to the client before the inspection and tell the client that if he or she has any questions they are welcome to look at it and that they can download their own copy from the state website after the inspection.

The SOP is reinforced in every section of the report. There is a fine print note in #8 font at the top of every section that begins, "In accordance with the Washington State Home Inspectors Standard of Practice......," and spells out what I must look at and report on in that section. At the end of the observations part of each section a similar note begins, "Home inspectors are not required to.....," and lists all of the stuff we aren't required to inspect that folks sometimes think we are required to inspect.

These notes take up almost no room. I suspect that folks probably skim right past them to the meat of the matter; but from a risk management standpoint I think it's important to have a situation where it's obvious that a customer has multiple opportunities before, during and after the entire process to review the standards, ask questions and get any concerns addressed immediately.

Works for me.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Works for me.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

And it will probably continue to work for you because you work hard at it. I bet you get more protection from doing the job right, and determining and exceeding your clients expectations throughout the process than you do from all that extra type.

I honestly don't think printing all that stuff everywhere means anything to anyone other than an opposing attorney in a lawsuit. Then, who knows what holds up and what doesn't?

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The SOP is reinforced in every section of the report. There is a fine print note in #8 font at the top of every section that begins, "In accordance with the Washington State Home Inspectors Standard of Practice......," and spells out what I must look at and report on in that section. At the end of the observations part of each section a similar note begins, "Home inspectors are not required to.....," and lists all of the stuff we aren't required to inspect that folks sometimes think we are required to inspect.

Are you saying that the following is at the top of the electrical section...

(1) The inspector will:

(a) Describe the type of fuel, heating equipment, and heating distribution systems.

(b) Operate the system using normal readily accessible control devices.

© Open readily accessible access panels or covers provided by the manufacturer or installer, if readily detachable.

(d) Inspect

(i) The condition of normally operated controls and components of systems.

(ii) The condition and operation of furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, electrical central heating units and distribution systems.

(iii) Visible flue pipes and related components to ensure functional operation and proper clearance from combustibles.

(iv) Each habitable space in the home to determine whether or not there is a functioning heat source present.

(v) Spaces where fossil fuel burning heating devices are located to ensure there is air for combustion.

(vi) Electric baseboard and in-wall heaters to ensure they are functional.

(e) Report any evidence that indicates the possible presence of an underground storage tank.

(f) Describe any deficiencies of these systems or components.

and this is at the bottom....?

(2) The inspector is not required to:

(a) Ignite pilot lights.

(b) Operate:

(i) Heating devices or systems that do not respond to normal controls or have been shut down.

(ii) Any heating system when circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or when doing so will damage the equipment.

© Inspect or evaluate

(i) Heat exchangers concealed inside furnaces and boilers.

(ii) Any heating equipment that is not readily accessible.

(iii) The interior of chimneys and flues.

(iv) Installed heating system accessories, such as humidifiers, air purifiers, motorized dampers, heat reclaimers; solar heating systems; or concealed distribution systems.

(d) Remove covers or panels that are not readily accessible or removable.

(e) Dismantle any equipment, controls, or gauges except readily identifiable access covers designed to be removed by users.

(f) Evaluate whether the type of material used to insulate pipes, ducts, jackets and boilers is a health hazard.

(g) Determine:

(i) The capacity, adequacy, or efficiency of a heating system.

(ii) Determine adequacy of combustion air.

(h) Evaluate thermostats or controls other than to confirm that they actually turn a system on or off.

Marc

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I reference the ASHI and State SOP's in my pre-inspection agreement, which is emailed to the client prior to the inspection, and in my report. The references include a link to my website where I post copies of the SOPs. If clients and their agents wish to read the SOPs, they drive traffic to my website.

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I reference the ASHI and State SOP's in my pre-inspection agreement, which is emailed to the client prior to the inspection, and in my report. The references include a link to my website where I post copies of the SOPs. If clients and their agents wish to read the SOPs, they drive traffic to my website.

I like that. If the client has questions they are directed to you to provide answers, not the State or Association.

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The SOP is reinforced in every section of the report. There is a fine print note in #8 font at the top of every section that begins, "In accordance with the Washington State Home Inspectors Standard of Practice......," and spells out what I must look at and report on in that section. At the end of the observations part of each section a similar note begins, "Home inspectors are not required to.....," and lists all of the stuff we aren't required to inspect that folks sometimes think we are required to inspect.

Are you saying that the following is at the top of the electrical section...
(1) The inspector will:

(a) Describe the type of fuel, heating equipment, and heating distribution systems.

(b) Operate the system using normal readily accessible control devices.

© Open readily accessible access panels or covers provided by the manufacturer or installer, if readily detachable.

(d) Inspect

(i) The condition of normally operated controls and components of systems.

(ii) The condition and operation of furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, electrical central heating units and distribution systems.

(iii) Visible flue pipes and related components to ensure functional operation and proper clearance from combustibles.

(iv) Each habitable space in the home to determine whether or not there is a functioning heat source present.

(v) Spaces where fossil fuel burning heating devices are located to ensure there is air for combustion.

(vi) Electric baseboard and in-wall heaters to ensure they are functional.

(e) Report any evidence that indicates the possible presence of an underground storage tank.

(f) Describe any deficiencies of these systems or components.

and this is at the bottom....?
(2) The inspector is not required to:

(a) Ignite pilot lights.

(b) Operate:

(i) Heating devices or systems that do not respond to normal controls or have been shut down.

(ii) Any heating system when circumstances are not conducive to safe operation or when doing so will damage the equipment.

© Inspect or evaluate

(i) Heat exchangers concealed inside furnaces and boilers.

(ii) Any heating equipment that is not readily accessible.

(iii) The interior of chimneys and flues.

(iv) Installed heating system accessories, such as humidifiers, air purifiers, motorized dampers, heat reclaimers; solar heating systems; or concealed distribution systems.

(d) Remove covers or panels that are not readily accessible or removable.

(e) Dismantle any equipment, controls, or gauges except readily identifiable access covers designed to be removed by users.

(f) Evaluate whether the type of material used to insulate pipes, ducts, jackets and boilers is a health hazard.

(g) Determine:

(i) The capacity, adequacy, or efficiency of a heating system.

(ii) Determine adequacy of combustion air.

(h) Evaluate thermostats or controls other than to confirm that they actually turn a system on or off.

Marc

No,

There is a fine print paragraph that says:

In accordance with the Washington State Home Inspectors’ Standard of Practice pertaining to Electrical Systems, this report describes the amperage and voltage rating of the service, the location of the main disconnect and any sub panel(s), the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring and the absence of smoke detectors. Inspectors are required to inspect the viewable portions of the service drop from the utility to the house, the service entrance conductors, cables and raceways, the service equipment and main disconnects, the service grounding, the interior components of the service panels and sub panels, the conductors, the over-current protection devices (fuses or breakers), ground fault circuit interrupters and a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches and receptacles.

At the end of the section, before moving into the heating systems section, there is another fine print paragraph that states:

Inspectors are NOT required to inspect any remote control devices (unless such device is the only means of control), alarm systems and associated components and controls, low-voltage wiring systems or components or any ancillary wiring, systems or components that are not part of the primary power distribution system. We are also NOT required to measure amperage draw, line voltage or ground impedance.

These paragraphs are justified in very small bold arial font and are very innocuous. They are so small, in fact, that four lines of the fine print only takes up the space of two lines of 11 font normal text and they take up about 20% of the space that the size 1 fond takes up in here. One almost doesn't realize they are there; but I think that they will be powerful ammunition if I'm ever in a situation where a client claims not to have known what was inspected or the limitations of the inspection.

As Kurt says, I work at it. It's simple risk management done in such a way that a client never complains to a friend that the report was cluttered with disclaimers or that I spent half of my time ducking questions. It needs to start from first contact. I warn them up front on the phone before the inspection to expect to be there a long time 'cuz I only have two speeds - slow and careful. I direct them up front to the state website to confirm my license number and to review our SOP and code of ethics before the inspection. On site I go over the contract with them and explain my take on it before I allow them to read it and sign it; and I make sure they know that they can review the rulebook at any time during the inspection and ask as many questions as they want. I don't hurry when the agents start fretting about their other appointments they need to get to; I simply tell them I'll be done when I get done and not before, and tell them to get on the phone and get someone to cover it for them or leave me and the client alone. Most know better than to argue with me or to try and hurry me; those who don't learn real quick why I'm considered to be somewhat of a curmudgeon.

I am, after all, being paid to answer clients' question about the house. Then, once the report is sent over to the client the rules are plainly displayed on an exclusions and limitations page as well as in every section of the report. As I write this, I realize that it sounds like an overwhelming amount of disclaimers and weasely stuff, but the fact is that it's done in such as low key way both in person and in the report that clients don't seem to be aware that their expectations have been managed from the minute they've contacted me.

It would be very hard for any client to ever accuse me of not tellling them up front, during the process or after the process what I'll do for them, what I won't do for them, and what to do about it in the event they ever think I've screwed them over.

I don't get phone calls asking why I didn't inspect the.......

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHTJ!!!

Mike

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I attach a copy of our state standards with the inspection agreement that I email each client before the inspection. That way, they can't ever claim they didn't know what to expect, or that they never had a chance before the inspection to review the agreement and/or the standards.

We do exactly the same thing for exactly the same reason. I'm continually amazed at how many people actually seem to read that stuff.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Ditto

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Well, I have a lot to ponder this very long weekend, from the masters. Thanks to you all for your continued input. I'll definitely be putting all of your thoughts to good use.

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