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Chris Bernhardt
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New construction, vinyl siding. It just seemed to me that water would just pour thru these poorly detailed joints. I know that a weather resistive barrier is suppose to be present backing the joint and the wall beneath but why tempt fate.

How would someone detail these joints so that they are flashed such that water wouldn't so easily enter? The vinyl siding institute installation manual does not cover this type of joint.

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Chris, Oregon

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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt

New construction, vinyl siding. It just seemed to me that water would just pour thru these poorly detailed joints. I know that a weather resistive barrier is suppose to be present backing the joint and the wall beneath but why tempt fate.

How would someone detail these joints so that they are flashed such that water wouldn't so easily enter? The vinyl siding institute installation manual does not cover this type of joint.

Chris, Oregon

In the first picture, the apron flashing shouldn't extend through the corner trim. It should stop inside it.

In the second picture, I'd rather see the apron flashing stop at the edge of the roofing and the corner trim cut into an "L" shape and extend down below the level of the rafter tail in much the same way as the corner trim in the first picture does.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Chris,

You're spot-on in identifying the vinyl trim installation on the vinyl exterior wall cladding as an ADVERSE CONDITION. You're also to be commended for posting your questions and your excellent photographs.

Jim appropriately addressed your questions. I'm going to make an observation on the comment you posted in response to Jim's reply: "I wrote it up for correction but I didn't have any simple ideas to suggest for corrective action for this particular joint between a wall and eave."

If you meant that you had no verbal comments regarding ideas for the specific corrective action(s), good for you for asking your fellow inspectors. It's always useful to be able to verbally explain the actual or probable corrective action(s) to address an ADVERSE CONDITION. It helps your client better understand the degree of complexity and possible potential cost (in broad terms of whether it is relatively simple and inexpensive or complex and expensive, assuming that no other previously undetectable ADVERSE CONDITIONS are discovered in the course of performing the corrective actions).

However, if you meant that you had no written comments for inclusion in the inspection report regarding the specific corrective action(s), that's an altogether different issue.

Upon determining that an ADVERSE CONDITION is present, the job of a professional home inspector is to identify the specific component(s) affected, to describe the ADVERSE CONDITION clearly and succinctly (without editorializing or hyperbole), and, finally, to recommend an action to address the ADVERSE CONDITION (not to describe the specific method or materials of repair).

The recommended action may take the form of a statement to the effect that "It is recommended that such ADVERSE CONDITION be evaluated and addressed by an appropriate and QUALIFIED individual or company as soon as possible for any necessary modifications or corrective measures. If, in the course of evaluating and addressing the ADVERSE CONDITION, it is determined that there are other ADVERSE CONDITIONS which require modifications or corrective measures, it is recommended that such modifications or corrective measures also be performed at that time."

The terms "ADVERSE CONDITION" and "QUALIFIED" are in bold caps because they are part of a comprehensive inspection report glossary in which they are defined as follows:

ADVERSE CONDITION: With regard to a specified system or component, a condition which is producing a detrimental effect on that system or component, which is impairing the NORMALLY INTENDED FUNCTION OR OPERATION of the specified system or component at the time of the inspection, or which in not consistent with good and established practice with regard to installation, assembly, operability, maintenance, or suitability of use.

QUALIFIED: When referring to any individual or company performing additional evaluation or work on any systems or components at the subject property, QUALIFIED shall mean having the training, skills, expertise, and experience necessary to competently perform the referenced work and, where required, holding all applicable licenses, and meeting all applicable governmental requirements.

NOTE: All repairs, corrective measures, or new work undertaken on any component or system should be performed only by QUALIFIED individuals or companies. Only new or appropriate materials should be used. All work should be performed in a workmanlike manner and in accordance with all appropriate and applicable industry standards and governmental requirements pertaining to permits, codes, ordinances, and regulations. Subsequent to completion, all such work should be documented by work orders, invoices, or receipts from the individuals or companies that have performed the work. (Company nameid="blue">) will not re-inspect any property which it has previously inspected to verify that the conditions documented during the inspection have been properly corrected. All systems and components require ongoing and prudent periodic maintenance to obtain their maximum service lives.

When work requiring a permit is performed without obtaining the proper permit and inspections, that work may be considered nonconforming and illegal. Nonconforming work may jeopardize the safety of persons occupying or entering the property. It may also adversely affect specific insurance coverage and the salability of the property and may result in added costs in the form of additional fees and/or property tax penalties.

Subsequent to completion and where appropriate and applicable, it is recommended that all such work be documented by work orders, invoices, or receipts from the individuals or companies which performed the work as well as by copies of all signed off building permits and lien releases from contractors and their employees, other workers, and material suppliers.

In the definition of ADVERSE CONDITION the term NORMALLY INTENDED FUNCTION OR OPERATION is also in bold caps and is defined as:

NORMALLY INTENDED FUNCTION OR OPERATION: With regard to a specified system or component, the historically and conventionally accepted purpose or use of that system or component and/or the intended purpose or use for which that system or component is designed by the manufacturer.

If you'd like more information regarding the benefits of incorporating and using an inspection report glossary with your reports, email me at: prospex@prospex.us.

Kevin

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I've said it before on another forum. We sometimes forget that the average reading level of Joe Suburban is 6th grade. So, to get verbose in a report will only make eyes glaze over and serve as a non-prescription sleep aid. The best way to communicate is by using straightforward, common verbiage. Even though I have a great deal of education, I don't feel it necessary or advantageous to cram it down a client's throat. Inspectorspeak is a lot like legalese in that it can tend to get pretty exclusive. KISS...

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Fellas,

I'd agree with you regarding "Inspectorspeak" if all of the language in the definitions continually reappeared throughout a report. No client (or any other reader) would understand it. However, this isn't the case.

One benefit of having clearly defined terms in an inspection report glossary is that the definitions only have to appear in one place in the report - in the glossary. Other benefits of including an inspection report glossary which defines specific terms used in the report and applying those terms appropriately in the report are that:

It creates a closed document. Controlling and defining the terms used in the inspection report not only keeps the report internally consistent, it also keeps it consistent with the inspection contract.

It reduces the time required to prepare the report by reducing the amount of written information necessary to include in the report.

It reduces the temptation to editorialize.

It reduces legal exposure.

It reduces the potential for misunderstanding on the part of both clients and others who may read the report.

For example, if an inspection report glossary defines the term IMMEDIATE ATTENTION as:

"When any condition is so designated, it shall mean that it is recommended that such condition be evaluated and addressed by an appropriate and QUALIFIED individual or company as soon as possible for any necessary modifications or corrective measures. If, in the course of evaluating and addressing the condition, it is determined that there are other conditions which require modifications or corrective measures, it is recommended that such modifications or corrective measures also be performed at that time."

then, after describing a given ADVERSE CONDITION, the recommendation in the report regarding that condition is "IMMEDIATE ATTENTION." It's not necessary to write anything else.

For instance, if the vent connector for a gas-fired water heater is not secured to the water heater draft hood, the report can state: "The vent connector portion of the water heater flue is not secured to the water heater draft hood - IMMEDIATE ATTENTION." Remember, an inspector's job is to find ADVERSE CONDITIONS, describe them, and to recommend a course of action to address them - not to determine the cause of an ADVERSE CONDITION or to design any specific corrective action.

Directing the client's attention to the presence of an inspection report glossary in the report and discussing its purpose allows the client to use the glossary and to understand the report. Many of the glossary terms only refer to other defined terms in the glossary.

While the client needs to know the gist and importance of terms such as IMMEDIATE ATTENTION, NORMAL MAINTENANCE, MONITOR, and INSPECTED, explaining these terms doesn't require a verbatim recitation of their definitions. Rather, it requires simply letting the client know that when an ADVERSE CONDITION is designated as IMMEDIATE ATTENTION, it is a recommendation that it be addressed as soon as possible. Whereas, when an ADVERSE CONDITION is designated as NORMAL MAINTENANCE, it is a recommendation that it be addressed as part of normal and regular ongoing home maintenance.

INSPECTED simply indicates that a component so designated has been inspected and that no ADVERSE CONDITIONS were found. It's a simple, direct term that replaces terms which may be misinterpreted by clients such as "acceptable, functional, or satisfactory."

Every single professional home inspection standard of practice (ASHI, NAHI, NACHI, CREIA, State of Arizona SOPs, etc.), while written with the best intent, is plagued by poor syntax, misspellings, poor sentence structure, internal contradictions and ambiguities, and other significant problems. Therefore, it becomes imperative for home inspectors to make their reports as tight as possible. In addition, report formats must be user-friendly for the inspector as well as for all of the potential readers, i.e., the client, the seller, the agents, and any contractors who use the report to find and address ADVERSE CONDITIONS.

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Originally posted by housewhisperer

Fellas,

I'd agree with you regarding "Inspectorspeak" if all of the language in the definitions continually reappeared throughout a report. No client (or any other reader) would understand it. However, this isn't the case.

One benefit of having clearly defined terms in an inspection report glossary is that the definitions only have to appear in one place in the report - in the glossary. Other benefits of including an inspection report glossary which defines specific terms used in the report and applying those terms appropriately in the report are that:

It creates a closed document. Controlling and defining the terms used in the inspection report not only keeps the report internally consistent, it also keeps it consistent with the inspection contract.

It reduces the time required to prepare the report by reducing the amount of written information necessary to include in the report.

It reduces the temptation to editorialize.

It reduces legal exposure.

It reduces the potential for misunderstanding on the part of both clients and others who may read the report.

For example, if an inspection report glossary defines the term IMMEDIATE ATTENTION as:

"When any condition is so designated, it shall mean that it is recommended that such condition be evaluated and addressed by an appropriate and QUALIFIED individual or company as soon as possible for any necessary modifications or corrective measures. If, in the course of evaluating and addressing the condition, it is determined that there are other conditions which require modifications or corrective measures, it is recommended that such modifications or corrective measures also be performed at that time."

then, after describing a given ADVERSE CONDITION, the recommendation in the report regarding that condition is "IMMEDIATE ATTENTION." It's not necessary to write anything else.

For instance, if the vent connector for a gas-fired water heater is not secured to the water heater draft hood, the report can state: "The vent connector portion of the water heater flue is not secured to the water heater draft hood - IMMEDIATE ATTENTION." Remember, an inspector's job is to find ADVERSE CONDITIONS, describe them, and to recommend a course of action to address them - not to determine the cause of an ADVERSE CONDITION or to design any specific corrective action.

Directing the client's attention to the presence of an inspection report glossary in the report and discussing its purpose allows the client to use the glossary and to understand the report. Many of the glossary terms only refer to other defined terms in the glossary.

While the client needs to know the gist and importance of terms such as IMMEDIATE ATTENTION, NORMAL MAINTENANCE, MONITOR, and INSPECTED, explaining these terms doesn't require a verbatim recitation of their definitions. Rather, it requires simply letting the client know that when an ADVERSE CONDITION is designated as IMMEDIATE ATTENTION, it is a recommendation that it be addressed as soon as possible. Whereas, when an ADVERSE CONDITION is designated as NORMAL MAINTENANCE, it is a recommendation that it be addressed as part of normal and regular ongoing home maintenance.

INSPECTED simply indicates that a component so designated has been inspected and that no ADVERSE CONDITIONS were found. It's a simple, direct term that replaces terms which may be misinterpreted by clients such as "acceptable, functional, or satisfactory."

Every single professional home inspection standard of practice (ASHI, NAHI, NACHI, CREIA, State of Arizona SOPs, etc.), while written with the best intent, is plagued by poor syntax, misspellings, poor sentence structure, internal contradictions and ambiguities, and other significant problems. Therefore, it becomes imperative for home inspectors to make their reports as tight as possible. In addition, report formats must be user-friendly for the inspector as well as for all of the potential readers, i.e., the client, the seller, the agents, and any contractors who use the report to find and address ADVERSE CONDITIONS.

Uhmm....ok. But, your response even made my eyes hurt (again).

Would love to see one of your reports.

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A follow-up thought to my last post - the standards of practice to which I referred in my post are full of so-called "inspectorspeak" or "legalise." Fortunate or otherwise, it's a necessary reality. What is unfortunate is that these standards are so poorly written. Were they written at the level of other professional standards such as those which apply to the engineering, legal, or other professions, the need for a comprehensive inspection report glossary would be significantly reduced.

I try to deal in what is, not in what should be. In twenty-four years as a professional inspector, professional instructor, expert witness, and consultant I've never had clients, real estate professionals, other inspectors, students, attorneys, or anyone else tell me that they couldn't understand me.

The report glossary is part of the scaffolding, that underpins and supports the report. Most of the terms in the glossary are never read. However, in the event that an inspector finds himself or herself looking down the barrel of a lawsuit, far more important than "defensive report writing" is having an inspection report that will stand on its own merits and defend itself. A comprehensive inspection report glossary is essential in this regard.

Your contract both defines and limits what you will and will not do.

The inspection is a process which involve doing what your contract states you will do and not doing what your contract states you will not do.

The inspection report documents that you did what your contract stated you would do and did not do what your contract stated you would not.

When all three, the contract, the inspection, and the report, are congruent, you "keep the circle closed" and it significantly reduces the potential for contention and litigation.

All of us want to do the absolutely best job we can for our clients but we don't want to lie awake at night worrying about being held liable for determining conditions beyond the scope of our work. Our documents - the contract and the report - and our attention to our work provide our best insuranced against such a possibility.

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Chad,

I think you misunderstood. I didn't say anything about being "sued for editorializing." I said that a glossary will reduce the potential for an inspector to editorialize in the written report. When inspectors engage in hyperbole and/or editorializing in speaking or writing, they not only risk confusion on the part of the client with regard to the relative importance of the condition being discussed, they also risk impeding the client's ability to make an informed decision with regard to the condition.

Telling a client that "multiple tapping of a circuit breaker can lead to burning the house down and killing the occupants" is far different from telling a client that "multiple tapping is a common and typically inexpensive electrical system condition which should be addressed as soon as possible (IMMEDIATE ATTENTION) since it increases the potential for overheating of the connection." The first is hyperbole; the second is objective information put into perspective. Whether it's a missing switch cover or receptacle outlet cover plate or a melted circuit breaker, electrical conditions warrant a recommendation of IMMEDIATE ATTENTION rather than NORMAL MAINTENANCE. As we all know, it's the increased potential for damage and/or injury, not the relative cost-to-cure, that matters.

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How about editorializing when talking about simple things like definitions(?)....

The logic of the argument is fine; be clear, support statements, define terms, observe, analyze, direct, etc......

Of course 24 years of inspecting homes makes you think you've got it all figured out. That's what everyone that's been inspecting homes for 24 years thinks.

One thing I've learned for sure about home inspectors; when folks start trotting out the "24 years and everyone understands me perfectly and I know everything" commentary, it's a sure thing they've been operating in a bubble.

Personally, I prefer listening to, and taking the advice of, educated folks that are a tad better equipped to analyze communication than a bunch of home inspectors.

Read a book. Or, a magazine. Maybe a newspaper. No one talks or writes like that. If they did, they wouldn't get published, because people that study & know about this stuff would throw it in the trash.

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

Adverse schmadverse.

That sir is no adverse condition; it is an excellent opportunity to upgrade the wall to roof flashing.

As for being sued for editorializing... I get paid for my opinions and I offer them freely, colorfully and concisely.

Yeah. I don't think I've ever, even in my dark days of writing InspectorSpeak and feeling brilliant, described anything as an ADVERSE CONDITION.

Telling someone something is wrong, telling them why, providing them a reference for your comment (if necessary), and then telling them to have it fixed is what most normal humans understand intuitively. And, it makes them feel smart, which is a good thing.

When I read that sort of thing in the All Caps Shouting mode, I get the feeling I'm about to get my knuckles rapped by the teacher.

Houses are simple. We should talk about them simply. And, not shout. It's just a house.

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I couldn't agree with you more with regard to keeping things simple for clients. The term ADVERSE CONDITON is a term that stays in the glossary as a defined term because it's part of the definitions of other terms. As I pointed out previously, the primary function of the glossary is to act as the unseen framework upon which the report is constructed. The place to find out that your client's definition of a term or concept is not the same as your own is not in a courtroom or in arbitration. A glossary establishes specific and concrete operational definitons for what it is that you do. When speaking with clients about various issues pertaining to the systems and components that you inspect, the term "condition" is all that's necessary. I have always preferred and used "condition" in discussions with clients and agents rather than "problem, deficiency, or defect." Repeated use of any of these other terms in the course of an inspection creates a perception on the part of the client that the home is a "problem" home, a "deficient" home, or a "defective" home and this is, typically, not what an inspector intends to communicate at all. An inspector should exercise care to avoid using language that "makes clients' decisions for them" and use language that clearly and succinctly explains the various conditions noted in the inspection and provides sufficient perspective to permit clients to make their own informed decisions regarding the information provided during the inspection and in the report. Any of us is happy when a decision that someone else makes for us turns out to work out in our favor but, if it doesn't, we often tend to blame them for leading us astray.

A inspector's "hat" should read "PROFESSIOAL HOME INSPECTOR" not HERO, CODE COMPLIANCE ENFORCEMENT, or OMNICIENT. With the exception of immediate and egregious life/safety conditions for which we have an ethical duty to see that the appropriate parties are made aware (such as combustion by-product spillage or backdrafting, fuel gas leakage, electrical conditions which have the potential to immediately result in a fire or electrocution, active plumbing leaks [the mountain property with eight inches of raw sewage in the crawl space from a disconnected main buiding sewer line], severely rotted/damaged/unstable decks, etc.), I've always viewed professional inspectors as disinterested third parties with regard to whether or not most typical conditions we find in the course of an inspection. I prefer an open, honest, professional relationship with my clients as opposed to a paternalistic/protective one. I think that's true for all of us.

We're competent, highly trained and experienced reporters. As such, we should never lose sight of the fact that, while we are often the only parties who enter a home solely on behalf of our clients, our function and duty is to provide our clients with as much accurate, pertinent, and useful information as possible within the scope of our contract and standards. If we do this competently, with candor, clarity, humor, and professionalism, we've fulfilled both the letter and the spirit of our contract and the relationship that it creates with our clients.

We assiduously avoid answering questions from clients such as "What should I ask the seller to fix?" or "Do you think I should buy this house? Would you buy this house?" because we're neither participants in nor parties to their contracts with third parties - sellers, agents, etc. If I do my job, my clients have all the information necessary, along with an accurate and realistic perspective, to discuss the results of the inspection with their representatives (agents or attorneys) and to proceed to the next step in the process of the transaction.

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Hi Kevin,

A perfectly written sentence that remains unread has no more value than a mis-shelved book at a library. All of our report styles differ, although to me, producing a readable document that is chock full of pertinent information is paramount.

Unfortunately, to create a report that's interesting enough to read and include terms like "ADVERSE CONDITION" would require that I upgrade my writing skills.

Luckily, my report works well for me and for my clients. Yours works well for you. Everyone should be happy and serene.

ah-ooom, ah-ooom (belly breathing now) feelin the chi...peace and out.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Okay Fellows,

Let's mind our manners. This is TIJ, not one of those other boards.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Aw C'mon Mike; language is a fascination of mine. In a couple decades of studying language & communication, I've never run into this sort of singlemindedness.

I think we may be breaking new ground here. BloatSpeak. It's like an entirely new cosmology for communication.

And the reason I so obnoxiously keep up w/this stuff is....

We spend our working lives providing credible reference sources for our statements and observations (or should be). When it comes to communication, though, HI's enter herd mentality & write & communicate in homemade cosmologies that one could not find any reference to, or support for, in the entirety of communication(s) studies.

Why we do dat?

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Crap, I had a big long tirade typed and honestly, my server went down and erased it all!

So for Scott, here is the RD version: Some inspectors confuse dictionary with glossary, some inspectors write above their level of expertise, some inspectors think longer and bigger is better, some inspectors think too highly of their ability and some inspectors think words will protect them. Words are words and if you/client don't understand them immediately, don't use them.

We get paid to communicate verbally and in writing. I make money reading inspector crap and the more crap an inspector puts in the report the more money I make.

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