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Do any of you use a separate safety category anywhere in your reports? For instance, a separate category with steps such as,

Safety Check

1.2nd floor bedroom fire escapes.

2.Smoke detectors.

3.Exterior door deadbolts.

4.Window latches/locks.

5.GFCI locations

6.Stair railings; interior/exterior

7.Hot water heater/furnace venting.

8.Fireplace/woodstove; placement/condition

9.Chimney/flue condition.

10.Hazardous materials; lead paint/radon

I know much of this might already be mentioned elsewhere in your report, but do you think it is wise to include an additional category to summarize the safety items? What do you think of the above list? Would you edit it and how?

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Yeah, Les, me too; except it goes something like this - usually spoken in a whisper:

"If you please, for my own safety, could you pay me now? If you don't, and I attempt to go home empty handed, Yung, my wife - you know, that docile-looking little lady over there who was doing the inspection of the interior - is liable to put me in the hospital before nightfall." [:-bigeyes[:-cry][xx(][:(][:-scared][:-shake][:-weepn][:-wiltel]

Add the appropriate amount of lower lip tremble and it works every time. [;)]

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The whole point of codes is safe construction. We base a whole lot of our understanding of homes on the rules for construction that have been laid out for the past century under codes. Ergo, the entire report is essentially a safety report.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Why would you want to have an additional category when you could list a safety concern in the section that it has to do with. This is just creating more work for yourself and whoever is reading the report. Not to mention your potential liability if you miss a safety problem and you have a Safety Category in your report.

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OK then, the idea is to pay attention to safety issues and mention them the report where ever they apply. Does that cover it well enough? I agree the additional category would be redundant in many respects. I never thought about it as a possible increase in the risk of liability. Cant put anything past the trial lawyers I suppose. For now I wont spend any time building a safety category in my report structure then.

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Originally posted by AHI

OK then, the idea is to pay attention to safety issues and mention them the report where ever they apply. Does that cover it well enough? I agree the additional category would be redundant in many respects. I never thought about it as a possible increase in the risk of liability. Cant put anything past the trial lawyers I suppose. For now I wont spend any time building a safety category in my report structure then.

Just my humble opinion, but I don't see the need to create a safety category. It's easy enough to write up electrical safety issues in the Electrical section (for instance).

Another humble opinion: I can't imagine that adding a safety section would add to liability. If you miss something you miss it. If somebody's harmed, there'll be trouble. Nobody's going to care where the safety issue was mentioned or not mentioned.

Heck, if leaving a section out could save HI behinds, we'd just leave everything out...

WJ

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For the sake of conversation, does anybody care to explain why their answer is no to the inclusion of a safety category in their reports?

Safety aside, I have considered all kinds of ways of packaging information in the inspection report, but the conclusion I always come to is that its bad to breaks things up: it's confusing.

I know a lot of HI's do a sectionalized report, and many times in such reports the findings are unordered. The better reports will at least have an ordered summary.

To keep things simple I just make an ordered list of the negative findings or comments that I want to make. If the finding relates to a safety issue then I put it in with that finding.

Breaking out things into categories IMO is confusing for your average first time home buyer. It gets even more confusing when you start talking about one degree of safety over another. And if you break out safety issues what's next?

Chris, Oregon

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I have been thinking about this some more. I am not convinced its a bad idea to have a section devoted to safety items. Sure these things can be listed elsewhere in the report but having an additional section gives you a second chance to catch something you may have missed. In addition, this way the client would not have to pick through the entire report to individually locate these particularly important issues. It would all be there in that extra section. How could this be bad? I see it as a benefit to the safety of the home occupants as well as additional liability protection for the HI. Am I missing something here?

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Originally posted by AHI

I have been thinking about this some more. I am not convinced its a bad idea to have a section devoted to safety items. Sure these things can be listed elsewhere in the report but having an additional section gives you a second chance to catch something you may have missed. In addition, this way the client would not have to pick through the entire report to individually locate these particularly important issues. It would all be there in that extra section. How could this be bad? I see it as a benefit to the safety of the home occupants as well as additional liability protection for the HI. Am I missing something here?

I don't see any harm in a "safety summary" or something similar. I would do it myself, but I can't figure out how to neatly qualify the issues. How do you plan on deciding what is and is not a safety issue?

I can see a missing or broken smoke alarm or missing gfci; those are easy.

How about an unreinforced brick chimney? We have earthquakes here. During an earthquake an unreinforced chimney could kill someone.

How about a missing vehicle barrier in front of a gas furnace? If someone drives a car into the furnace it could cause a gas leak and an explosion.

How about stair treads that aren't level by 5-degrees? 4-degrees? 3-degrees? 2-degrees? 1-degree?

How about wrinkled wall-to-wall carpet? My cousin tripped on a wrinkled carpet and broke her arm.

How about slick ceramic wall tiles that are used on a floor?

Loose pavers on a walkway?

Splinters on a handrail?

Garage door opener control buttons that are too low?

Incandescent light fixture in a closet?

How about a really sticky door? Could a child open it in an emergency?

Attic pulldown ladder installed with drywall screws?

The list is practically endless. How do you plan on qualifying the safety issues?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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John,

Not to bust you bubble, but you really should get out and do some inspections before you try and design a reporting system.

We have several reporting software programs for home inspectors that were designed by folks that have never done an inspection, and they are all horrible. Nothing will teach you better as to what is needed in a report than getting out in the field.

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Originally posted by AHI

I have been thinking about this some more. I am not convinced its a bad idea to have a section devoted to safety items. Sure these things can be listed elsewhere in the report but having an additional section gives you a second chance to catch something you may have missed. In addition, this way the client would not have to pick through the entire report to individually locate these particularly important issues. It would all be there in that extra section. How could this be bad? I see it as a benefit to the safety of the home occupants as well as additional liability protection for the HI. Am I missing something here?

Yes, you are missing something. Take Scott P's advice. I will assure you that your report will be deficient and could lead to early retirement from this business.

I will add that even some of the inspectors that have developed programs/reports did not have a clue about doing inspections a mere 100 miles from their world headquarters.

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Originally posted by AHI

How could this be bad? I see it as a benefit to the safety of the home occupants as well as additional liability protection for the HI. Am I missing something here?

It's really a style question in my opinion, not a right or wrong/good or bad question. Getting it right and getting it all across to the client is what matters most, not how you choose to format it. If you're convinced it's a good idea you should try it. If for some reason it doesn't go well, drop it.

There is the issue of how to work that with a summary, which I know you intend to have. I don't think it would be good to have problems listed two or three times because they fit more than one catagory in the report.

Brian G.

The Other Meaning of H.I. is Highly Individual [:-mohawk]

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Brian,

You remain the southern gentleman! Yes, it is an individual choice. The choice to go the safety route can not help John do inspections. I am not afraid to write or say something is dangerous, but you can poke your eye out with a stick, especially if John didn't tell you the stick was dangerous! He told me about the bare electrical wire under the kitchen sink, but did not notice the loose stool that Aunt Martha fell from and broke her hip! Who knew, why John knew and didn't even put it in red font and in his safety section.

A man gotta do what a mans gotta do.

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Of coarse there is no way possible for any HI to cover all the possible things that could happen no matter how he chooses to construct a report. To say that an HI should not make an extra effort to report what they recognize to be a potential safety hazard because he could never be entirely inclusive is a cop out isnt it. Now who is worried about liability? Speaking about liability you could have a disclaimer statement at the beginning of the section indicating the impossibility of full inclusion. Not in those exact words but legal mumbo jumbo stuff. I know, some of you may think I am suggesting making the job more complicated dont you?

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Originally posted by AHI

Of coarse there is no way possible for any HI to cover all the possible things that could happen no matter how he chooses to construct a report. To say that an HI should not make an extra effort to report what they recognize to be a potential safety hazard because he could never be entirely inclusive is a cop out isnt it.

That certainly wasn't the point of my post. My questions were absolutely serious. I have considered doing exactly what you propose and I've abandoned the idea because I can't figure out how to qualify "safety issues." My question to you isn't rhetorical; what is a safety issue?

Now who is worried about liability? Speaking about liability you could have a disclaimer statement at the beginning of the section indicating the impossibility of full inclusion. Not in those exact words but legal mumbo jumbo stuff.

Good grief! Do you really think that "legal mumbo jumbo stuff" is going to help with this? "Legal mumbo jumbo" is another set of words for "bullshit." This never helped anyone, customer or inspector. You need to communicate your intent clearly, not hidden in mumbo jumbo.

I know, some of you may think I am suggesting making the job more complicated dont you?

No. Skimming off safety issues and listing them separately is an easy task. I think most reporting systems could be tweaked to do this. Some have this feature already built in (Intelligent Reporter comes to mind). Your idea isn't at all new. The difficulty is in deciding what constitutes a safety issue.

Do a few inspections. Then come back and tell us how you decided to sort the defects.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Les

John, In my case it is not the liability issue. Those that know me understand I make most of my living with the inspector liability issue. Listen to Jim K.

As Les, I make a very good income from the inspector liability issue and it comes from both sides of the Aisle.[:-dunce]

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What I'm getting from this is that it is the same as purchasing a tool that allows you to inspect something above "the call of duty".

Something like IR cameras. We are not expected to use them, but if we do, we are responsible for the findings... or lack of findings.

But, how about if you do not create a dedicated section? Would there be a problem flagging anything in any catagory as a health/safety issue?

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by Scottpat

As Les, I make a very good income from the inspector liability issue and it comes from both sides of the isle.

There are isles in Tennessee?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Well shoot! Yes, the Isle of Hillybilly!

Thank you Jimmy! [:-graduat

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Originally posted by Les

Brian, You remain the southern gentleman!

I appreciate that Les, but I'm not just being diplomatic here. I already did many of the things some of you are telling him not to do when I started in this business. I went out and bought software, and being instinctively dissatisfied with the boilerplate I starting working on it before I had a license or did a single inspection. Nothing could have convinced me to use a checklist. My early, home-spun comments were only marginally better than what came on the program, but I didn't have TIJ to help me. I didn't find out what good reporting was supposed to look like until I joined ASHI and found their message board. At that point I immediately did what he's doing now; sticking my neck out, asking a lot of questions, and rolling with the punches that resulted. Even now I'm in the process of revamping my entire m.o., from hardware to software to boilerplate, because mine are far from perfect.

In short, I actually agree with what John is doing (more or less). If you can get your software set up and learn a lot about the difference beween good and bad reporting, why would you not do that before you went out and began making yourself responsible for inspections and reports? I don't see the sense in that. He might screw up? Well hell, let he who is without sin on that count cast the first stone (or post his first-ever report for merciless TIJ scrutiny).

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

In the end, that's what it comes down to alright.

Brian G.

Professional Hardhead [^]

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