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I need to put together a set of checklists to help guide me in the inspection process. I want hard copy papers on a clipboard to follow through and help prevent me from missing anything. Do any of you have any lists that you can share or do you know of any online sources that I can copy from?

I found it too difficult to be searching small screens on a PDA. I want full size 8 x 11 papers in my face to scan over. I will use the checklists along with digital images as data to construct a report on the desktop computer using the template from the PDA.

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John,

I wouldn't waste too much time on creating checklists. I think you'll find they really don't work that well in real life.

I did make some up before my first paid inspection. I may have used them twice before realizing they were just too cumbersome and it seemed that I was thumbing through the damn things in each room trying to find the relevant section. I quickly went to a voice recorder so that I could keep my eyes on the home rather than pieces of paper. Now, I find I can report mostly from memory, helped by the photos, and often don't make any notes at all. It won't take you long to develop your routine, but basically, enter an area and look at everything!

Shoot me an e-mail and I can send you my old checklist...for what they're worth.

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I used a check list that I threw together on the first few inspections. Mostly of the things that I wasn't too familiar with.

I still use one of sorts. It's a list of all the items I am required to describe. I usually start filling it in about mid way thru the inspection and then complete it at the end of the inspection. It helps to keep me from missing that hidden water heater I run into every once in a while etc.

Chris, Oregon

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John, I agree with Richard. I don't think checklists would work well under actual conditions. More importantly, it might appear to your clients that you don't know what you are doing exactly, and are actually learning on the job. Their job. I also use a digital recorder and I go from room to room and look at everything before moving on to the next one. I find also that I can write the report about 95% or more from memory and the photos. I only listen to the voice notes after I have basically written the report just to ensure that there isn't anything I forgot.

You will have to find out what suits your style and then run with it. The inspector who trained me wrote notes down. I quickly chucked that technique and went to a digital recorder.

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Thanks for the documents Mike. It will be helpful even if I just use parts of it or extract ideas from the layout. Please, anyone, send anything that you think I might be able to use. Certain parts of different things can go together to make what is suitable for me and my methods.

arundelhomeinspection@comcast.com

arundelhomeinspection@comcast.net

Me being new, I am sure some of you understand. I am afraid that due to nerves, excitement or whatever, I could be staring right at a problem while it screams a me, "here I am, write me up". I would turn my head and walk away without even seeing it. I need a list to scan my way through until I get up to speed.

I'm sure that eventually I will gather the resources to flow naturally through the job. I just need some training wheels to keep my from falling while I get the hang of it.

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

John,

I wouldn't waste too much time on creating checklists. I think you'll find they really don't work that well in real life.

I disagree.

Originally posted by AHI in AR

John, I agree with Richard. I don't think checklists would work well under actual conditions. More importantly, it might appear to your clients that you don't know what you are doing exactly, and are actually learning on the job.

I disagree some more. I think it's unprofessional talking to a gadget in front of your clients.

For 22 years I've used a 5 page worksheet for field notes. I dictate the report into the recorder AFTER the inspection, then e-mail it to a typist. It's not entirely a checklist, but the worksheet has served me, and several co-workers, quite well for 10s of thousands of inspections.

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Originally posted by inspecthistoric

Originally posted by Richard Moore

John,

I wouldn't waste too much time on creating checklists. I think you'll find they really don't work that well in real life.

I disagree.

Originally posted by AHI in AR

John, I agree with Richard. I don't think checklists would work well under actual conditions. More importantly, it might appear to your clients that you don't know what you are doing exactly, and are actually learning on the job.

I disagree some more. I think it's unprofessional talking to a gadget in front of your clients.

For 22 years I've used a 5 page worksheet for field notes. I dictate the report into the recorder AFTER the inspection, then e-mail it to a typist. It's not entirely a checklist, but the worksheet has served me, and several co-workers, quite well for 10s of thousands of inspections.

I guess it depends on what system you are comfortable with. I'm not saying my system is better than anyone else's. But it works well for me. If you've got something that works for you, stick with it. If you are a new inspector, I think you should openly consider all possible methods and decide what best fits your personal strengths. I can't see how any checklist can possibly cover all the screwed up things you might encounter. Then again, I haven't seen the checklists in question. That's why I recommend simply going in and looking at everything. If you faithfully do that, you have to try really hard to miss something. I suppose the only checklist I could see a use for is a brief "tickler" that just makes sure that you found the sometimes hidden items: water heaters, all HVAC equipment, distribution panels, etc.

I don't dictate notes into a "gadget" in front of clients, and I find that term unnecessarily and unfairly dismissive. It's not like I am walking around with an iPod in my ear. I'm not a twenty-something embracing all new technologies; neither am I a technophobe who slavishly insists on doing everything the way it was done previously. I can record a very detailed voice message in a few seconds to enter into the report later. Maybe you can write as quickly as you can speak, but I sure can't. We don't all have a helper waiting to type up what we dictate. Obviously you have been successful in what you do to have reached that point. You have my sincere respect for that. However, I would guess that most of us don't have a helper to listen to our notes and produce the actual report, and I feel pretty sure John doesn't.

For the record, I have actually had more than one person tell me that they use voice recorders in their work, and they universally say they are a great help. Admittedly, one guy called his "cool", but he was an 70-something guy who was used to a microcassette recorder.

My procedure is to perform the entire inspection without any interference from agents or clients. That way I can maintain total concentration on the job at hand. I require my clients to show up near the end of the inspection. I tell them that they are more than welcome to be there for the entire inspection, but not to expect me to do much talking until I am through. Immediately after I am finished, I walk through the home with them and explain my findings. I also give them unlimited time to ask questions.

In my opinion, by doing this, the house gets my undivided attention during the inspection, and the clients get it afterward. The voice recorder assists me in being both more efficient, AND -- more importantly -- more accurate. I sure don't see any problem with that.

One other question...is it unprofessional for a courtroom reporter to "talk into a gadget" during a trial? Should they just ask everyone to speak very slowly while they write or type furiously?[;)]

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I'm with Kurt.

I shoot a lot of pics.

I have experimented with the voice recorder and found it was not for me.

That doesn't mean it's not for you and it certainly works for a lot of inspectors.

Experiment a little and find a system that works for you.

If it was economically feasible I would have a video cam with audio attached to my head for the entire inspection to try and record everything I looked at.

Chris, Oregon

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Do not forget what I said in your other post about making an excuse to go back to your vehicle where you can run back to get something and look at notes or collect your thoughts.

If you have an inspector buddy from your association , ask him to pretend to be your helper and distract everyone.

I bet no one here would mind if you gave them a quick call during the inspection, if you get stuck on something.

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Thanks to those who sent me lists. I too will take many pics. They saved my butt on the first inspection. I plan to put a P next to any item I mark on a list if it has a corresponding picture.

Pics can be good back up if there is a complaint. Lets say the garage is full of junk and you cant see everything because of it. Take a picture, it might help you explain in the future when someone calls and says, "how come you didn't see that"?

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Originally posted by AHI

Pics can be good back up if there is a complaint. Lets say the garage is full of junk and you cant see everything because of it. Take a picture, it might help you explain in the future when someone calls and says, "how come you didn't see that"?

I have something like that happen about once per year. So far it has always been because the client didn't read the full report. I refer them to page in the report where I noted said item, and the number of the corresponding photo on the CD I gave them. Mild embarrassment and apologies usually follow.

Brian G.

Document, Document, Document [:-magnify

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John,

Depending on the type and format of your report, you may be able to utilize parts of your report. We still use a Word doc broken down into the different components of the house. Each component page has a checklist and narrative info below the list. I just cut/pasted the checklists onto a blank piece of paper (actually 5 pages) with room below (bout half the page) to jot all the notes down. Those checklists are on a clipboard which is glued (actually Velcro'ed) to a laptop bag turned tool bag. We generate our reports from the checklists/notes.

I probably said it before, but the most successful people I know are not necessarily the most creative, however, they are the best at exploiting a system or systems. You need to develop, modify or just mimic a system that you believe you help you succeed.

Our first inspection was of our father's house. My brother and I stood outside for about ten minutes trying to figure out how to look at a house where we had the least break in focus. Then we did the same thing inside. Then we set out inspecting, felt comfortable inspecting the areas we assigned each other and ironically finished at the same time. We found our system and havent run off course since.

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