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Hi Phillip,

I'll let others comment on the inspector-speak (like "we" observed...how many inspectors were there?).

How long have you used Cramerware? If it's new, I can understand the differing spacing about the report, the difference in all-caps in one section and other not in similar sections, the difference in the FYI style versus the other styles, the different line-spacing about the report, etc, etc. That was hard on my eyes when I started using Mark's software maybe three years ago, and I spent hours and hours each week the first couple years tweaking such (seeing how I, not Cramer, created such differnces when I customized the report). Ain't a difference anywhere now about my reports, but lordy, it took time.

Again, aside from the inspector-speak, nice to see ya using such a fine software product.

Also, if it's newer software to you, I can understand some of the boiler-plate you use that you probably know is going to be re-written when you get the time.

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Phillip,

First, in case you haven’t noticed, your page numbering is screwed up. It’s reading 1 of 1, then 2 of 2, etc, etc. If it looks OK before you create the pdf file, it may be the same problem I had with my pdf creator (albeit a different one). I found that the simple solution was to turn off background printing.

As to the report….I think I’ll leave the wording to others for now, but a couple of things struck me immediately.

I don’t really get the point of the “Summaryâ€

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Wow, I never even got to the summary pages.

Phillip, compare this report with yours, and how I did the summary. Maybe better?

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif Sample House Report.pdf

917.55 KB

I like to put the picts in the body of the report, then, a numbered summary so one can tell their attorney to address items # so & so.

Again, a bit better? I dunno...I'm on my second.

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I second that everything seemed to be Further Investigate. Even things that were stated as broken. If its broken, it needs to be a Repair Item not a Further Investigate.

"Investigate Further: The National Fire Prevention recommends that a level 2 inspection be performed whenever a home is sold. This involves inspection of the interior of the flue. We recommend you contact a qualified chimney sweep to perform this inspection.

Investigate Further: There is a wood stove installed in the fireplace. Recommend that the flue and stove be check and cleaned before use."

The second item is a Recommendation. Who is/are the "National Fire Prevention"? Do you mean NFPA National Fire Protection Association or something else?

One of my pet peeves is consistenty. Your pictures were of varying sizes. They were all over the page, not lined up. Some of your pictures were too wide angle or far away from the problem for my personal taste. I try to zoom in as close as possible to the actual problem. By excluding everything else from the picture, it is easy for an untrained eye (most clients) to determine what the problem is. Secondly, unreported defects do not accidently show up in the photo but overlooked in the report.

Why classify defects as minor or major? Either they are Repair Items or they are not. You are making value judgements based on guestimated repair costs. Sometimes a low dollar repair costs prevents high dollar damage. If the client does not repair due to your label of Minor, they have set themselves up for high dollar repairs or injuries later.

Some of the report text was extremely vague or confusing.

Here is an example of vague:

"Ceilings are supported by ceiling joists." I believe you would prefer to say something along the lines of:

The ceiling structure of the second story was standard dimensional lumber. OR

The ceiling structure of the second story was the bottom of the manufactured wood roof truss system.

This way you are actually describing the type of ceiling structure, not just that one exists.

Confusing:

"Support for the structure is provided by wood columns that support the front entry porch roof." Huh? Be more direct and stop using so many words. Better would be:

The front porch roof was supported by wood columns.

Take a stand more often. We already know it is a visual only inspection because it says so in your contract and the disclaimer at the top of the report. If you are excluding something specifically, then say in what way you are excluding it.

Instead of:

"We observed no evidence of structural damage while inspecting the crawl space. The inspection was limited.Ventilation of the crawl area appears to be minimal. Improvement is recommended."

Maybe more like:

No structural damage was observed in the crawlspace. Crawlspace was only observed from the entrance door and was not entered due to (state specific hazard). Ventilation of the crawl space was inadequate and did not meet current building practices. Repair by a licensed general contractor.

Stop using "appeared". It is or it isn't. That is what they are paying you to do. Determine if something is right or wrong. If you do not know, then you need to spend more time reviewing Code Check or IRC or other technical publications. What are you basing your "appeared" statement on anyway. Do the work and actually determine the available ventilation (1.5 sq feet times the number of foundation vents = Square footage / 150). Or don't report it.

Only recommend recommendations. If it is broken, defective, dangerous, unsafe, failed, deteriorated, rotted, substandard, or whatever, state a call to action. Repair or replace by a licensed XXX contractor. Recommendations should be things like: Recommend installing weather stripping around the attic stairs to prevent transfer of energy between the living space and the attic. Recommendations should be suggestions to upgrade to better building practices.

There were a number of basic standard 8th grade english formatting issues. There are two spaces after a period. Capitailization, comma use, verb tense, etc. need some work.

"The crawl space was examined By viewing it from the opening."

"friends of the buyer was there. present during the inspection."

40 pages was awfully long. You could probably written the same report in 20 pages if you work on your sentence structure. Less descriptions of what might happen then and then and then and then. This part is broken. It caused this damage. Repair by a licensed contractor.

Your software decribed itself on every page. As a reader I don't care what software you used to convert your document. As already mentioned your page numbering was broken.

All that said, I am impressed that you were willing to put your report in front of your peers for review. It looks like you are finding defects for your clients. Keep up the good work.

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Hi Phillip,

The reports a mess like Walter said.

I know that Walter says that old dogs can't learn new tricks, but if you want to give it a try, this is what I did and what I continue to do.

  • Comb thru and garner everything that WJ, Jim K., Mike O., Kurt M., Chad F., Les and Jim Morrison have said on the subject of report writing and put it into a single document for review.
  • Pin your favorite quotes on your office wall behind your computer for easy reference when writing reports.
  • Relearn the rules of grammar & punctuation; lots of stuff on the internet to help with that.
  • Get a copy of one of the most current reports from the above brethren for reference.
  • Get Bonnie's book and read it a hundred times.
  • Post narrative occasionally for review on TIJ to try out your new report writing rules.

I have learned just as much from Walter as I have from Jim K. and Walter has some cool style tricks that I have not seen anywhere else.

It will probably take you about 2 years to revamp your writing and of course it never really ends.

You'll be very happy with the results.

Chris, Oregon

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PS: A pet peeve. Somebody (probably an HI), somewhere, sometime wrote up some gobbledegook about "mold and other contaminates" (sic).

Well, "contaminate" is a verb (action word). Radioactive fallout contaminated Hiroshima. "Contaminant" is a noun (person, place or thing). Ratshit is a contaminant that we might find in a crawl space.

This is just another case of the words not meaning what they say, but HIs use the words anyway, because some other HIs used them...

TY for that. I just checked my original software report form, unaltered, and you're right...such was written by a home inspector...a very well respected one at that. I believe you bought and used his software also.

But again, thanks, and I'll correct my templates.

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I have been using Cramerware for about 6 months. Most of the Comments are his.

I am having to learn about word and other programs on the computer.

WJ is right. English was my worse subject in school which was many years ago.

I know I have changes to make and More than likely I will have to get some one to help me on the software part.

I have Boonie's book and I need to read it a few more times.

Thanks for all of the comments. Kept them coming.

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Originally posted by Neal Lewis

Phil, you couldn't have climbed on that roof to inspect it or the get a better look at the chimney?

The chimney had a cap on it and I don,t remove caps to look down it and there is a wood burning stove in the fire pace.

The little bit of the roof I walked on was giving. A lot of sags in the roof and I could not get to most of the attic because I cannot get in a 10 inch opening and the ductwork

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Phillip:

I don't have a comment about your report (plenty has been said already).

A lot of guys would be in a real snit after reading critiques of their work, but not you. You've got real class. For as long as you've been on this board I have never read a post of yours that wasn't upbeat and friendly. I for one, can take a lesson from you. I hope to someday get the chance to meet you.

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Originally posted by Jerry Simon

Wow, I never even got to the summary pages.

Phillip, compare this report with yours, and how I did the summary. Maybe better?

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif Sample House Report.pdf

917.55 KB

I like to put the picts in the body of the report, then, a numbered summary so one can tell their attorney to address items # so & so.

Again, a bit better? I dunno...I'm on my second.

Jerry

I like some of the things you have in your report and a few of the comments I am going to borrow for my use.

In my area The summary gets sent to the home owner for repairs.S o I put the photos there for them to see.

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Phillip,

I haven't taken the time to check out your report, but I, too, wholeheartedly agree with what Joe said.

I remember that life wasn't terribly smiley for you last Christmas because you'd lost your wife and you were having some housing issues. I hope your world is brighter now and that you're able to smile more frequently.

You're a class act and I want to make certain you realize we notice it.

John

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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

There's no sweet way or soft way to say it, but just about everything that could be wrong is wrong. Subject/verb agreement, basic logic, simple rules of syntax, spelling, grammar, etc. are all randomly fouled up. [/blue]

Since Phil says the comments are unaltered, is Cramer a genius or ??

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Originally posted by Neal Lewis

Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

There's no sweet way or soft way to say it, but just about everything that could be wrong is wrong. Subject/verb agreement, basic logic, simple rules of syntax, spelling, grammar, etc. are all randomly fouled up. [/blue]

Since Phil says the comments are unaltered, is Cramer a genius or ??

The better comments are Cramers, some are mine. I have made a few changes but Cramer is a genius

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I had to look up the specific meaning(s) of *genius*.

Cramer fits in a couple interpretations. Of course, he offsets his genius with having a political and world view that extends almost as far as his front curb.

Here's a thought, as long as we're cogitating on reports.......

The fact that a summary has to be derived from these reports so folks can understand them is some testament that the form is unsatisfactory.

Where did the idea come from that all the information in a home inspection report has to read like a short story narrative?

And, Philip, you got some nuts for asking for this sort of abuse.

I hold old dogs trying to learn new tricks in the highest regard.

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