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Bonding jetted tub pumps.


Terence McCann
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Being a 3D Inspectionware software user I receive a copy of Mr. Michael Leavitt newsletter. Some of you know Michael as the guest speaker who, at the last ASHI conference, spoke about 3 light electrical testers being "big fat liars."

In his latest newsletter he and Mr. Doug Hansen discussed the bonding issue of jetted tub pump motors. I asked Michael if I could provide a link here so that others may read it.

http://www.thehomeinspector.com/MMMProm ... omoIJ.html

Enjoy.

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It's always interesting to get a glimpse behind the codes, like the one Douglas provides about how that particular rule made it into the book. One guy wanted it in, and used one freak example to push for it.

The "AII Dirty Words" was also interesting, but a lot of those have never found their way into my reports anyway. Worry about, charge, price, cost, sales pitch, perfect, dozer bait, best, wasted or trashed, guaranteed, or absolutely...not part of my vernacular. But they also jump on "appears to", advocating instead "my observation is", as being "more informative" in a report. I can't agree. While any word can be overused or misused, I think "appears to" is more descriptive to the average person when discussing a situation where you can only go on what you have seen, but don't know for certain. An "observation" could be factual or subjective. "My observation is that the sky is blue with scattered dark clouds." (fact) ..."My observation is that it may rain later." (subjective). How will the client know which one you mean? If the idea is write a report which is as accurate and understandable as possible for the client, I'll stick with "appears" until I'm convinced otherwise.

Brian G.

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Originally posted by Brian G.

It's always interesting to get a glimpse behind the codes, like the one Douglas provides about how that particular rule made it into the book. One guy wanted it in, and used one freak example to push for it.

The "AII Dirty Words" was also interesting, but a lot of those have never found their way into my reports anyway. Worry about, charge, price, cost, sales pitch, perfect, dozer bait, best, wasted or trashed, guaranteed, or absolutely...not part of my vernacular. But they also jump on "appears to", advocating instead "my observation is", as being "more informative" in a report. I can't agree. While any word can be overused or misused, I think "appears to" is more descriptive to the average person when discussing a situation where you can only go on what you have seen, but don't know for certain. An "observation" could be factual or subjective. "My observation is that the sky is blue with scattered dark clouds." (fact) ..."My observation is that it may rain later." (subjective). How will the client know which one you mean? If the idea is write a report which is as accurate and understandable as possible for the client, I'll stick with "appears" until I'm convinced otherwise.

Brian G.

After reading the the reasoning behind it I decided that appears to does sound a little weasely to me. I feel it does undermine my credibilty somewhat. I prefer to use "is." I like "may be" when further evaluation is warranted to make a determination.

An interesting tidbit concerning code writing. The reasom water heater and furnace ignition and flames are required to be 18" above garage floors is because it was thought that was as high as one could go with a standard water heater without raising the ceiling height. Gasoline fumes will rise much higher than 18" although in lower concentration.

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Brian,

I don’t mean to get all semantic on you, but:

We can only observe and describe things like: black rain clouds, lightning flashes, arse-puckering and testes-retracting thunder booms, drops of water spattering our fiveheads, weather reports, and a neighbor building an ark big enough to house and feed two of every species under heaven, but we should be clear that it is our analysis of these observations that leads us to predict it will soon rain.

To all:

I don’t know him, but Michael Leavitt is by all accounts an honest and intelligent man. However his “dirty words" list was ultimately either written by or for real estate agents, not us. It’s overall message is semi-apparent, but many of its particulars should be ignored.

e.g. Water pressure doesn’t equal water flow. And so on.

Some houses “need workâ€

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Brian,

I don’t mean to get all semantic on you, but:

We can only observe and describe things like: black rain clouds, lightning flashes, arse-puckering and testes-retracting thunder booms, drops of water spattering our fiveheads, weather reports, and a neighbor building an ark big enough to house and feed two of every species under heaven, but we should be clear that it is our analysis of these observations that leads us to predict it will soon rain.

To all:

I don’t know him, but Michael Leavitt is by all accounts an honest and intelligent man. However his “dirty words" list was ultimately either written by or for real estate agents, not us. It’s overall message is semi-apparent, but many of its particulars should be ignored.

e.g. Water pressure doesn’t equal water flow. And so on.

Some houses “need workâ€

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Regarding the "dirty words", I agree that there are ways to say things and there are ways not to. I never use the word "contact" when I ask the client to sign off on our, umm, contract. I always use the word pre-inspection agreement. I guess it goes back to my marketing days.

I could also say that a small leak on a bathroom sink drain is a potential health hazard, a breeding ground for black mold, a breeding ground for fungus, all of which could send your young children, gasping for air as they ride in an ambulance on their way to the emergency room. I could also tell them to tighten up the spud nut and all will be well. I don't think it's realtor speak, just common sense.

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Crusty,

I believe you are correct, but that isn't what he said, is it? And that's my point.

Terry,

Excellent point. But you could also tell your client that the drain pipe was "challenged" and might require further investigation by a qualified professional too.

Or...

You could simply say: The first floor bathroom sink is leaking and should be repaired by a plumber now.

Could a client screw that up? Could a real estate agent get her knickers in a twist over it? Could an attorney hang a big sack of liability on your neck because of the lack of clarity and direction in a statement like that? Unlikely.

That's all I'm saying.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

I don’t mean to get all semantic on you, but:

We can only observe and describe things like: black rain clouds, lightning flashes, arse-puckering and testes-retracting thunder booms, drops of water spattering our fiveheads, weather reports, and a neighbor building an ark big enough to house and feed two of every species under heaven, but we should be clear that it is our analysis of these observations that leads us to predict it will soon rain.

Yeah, yeah, true enough, but you know what I'm saying. If we were charged with reporting the weather to a client and only relayed "observations" with no hint of what it might mean (what it "appears" to mean to a relatively trained eye), we have not done them much of a service.

While I agree with Crusty that "appears" has a touch of weasely, there isn't any good way around a small amount of weaseling when we're dealing strictly with clues and cannot reasonably make definitive statements. "My observation is" sounds lawyer-esque to me, not client-esque. And if it is one of those situations where we really don't know, we would do more damage to our reputations if we pretended we did know than if we made it clear we did not know (IMHO).


If you can’t write a report that makes it all clear, there are plenty of attorneys with oversized boat payments who’d be pleased to make your acquaintance.

No doubt.


Get yourself educated so you know what’s what, then communicate it to your client in a way that is impossible to misunderstand. Anyone who tells you the HI business is more complicated than that is trying to sell you something.

I can't argue with that.


Like veteran report writing instructor Bob Mulloy says, "Give your clients your: Observation, Analysis, and Recommendation. Period.

Ah simplicity, why do we keep losing sight of it?


Sorry for the rant, I’m due for a vacation…

So take one...go'won, get the hell outta here ya bum. Take the boys fishin'. [:-goldfish]

Brian G.

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Ah, the "appears to" debate.

Have to agree with Mr. G.

Small example, I check the fridge for correct operating temps however, I do NOT sit in front of it to check run time nor do I make sure that it cycles through a defrost cycle. I operate the oven but I do NOT make sure that a 350 degree setting of the thermostat corresponds to the actual oven temperature. I make sure the clothes dryer heats up but I make no expressed guarantee that it will dry the clothes properly etc. "Appears to" is a very necessary part of the vernacular of the profession IMHO.

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The evaporative cooler had the water supply shut off and therefore was not tested during the inspection. Have seller demonstrate proper operation at closing. The components of the cooler appear intact.

I did not say it functioned. I said that my visual inspection did not turn up any defects.

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Hi All,

Along these same lines. I am new to the Inspection business and on a steep learning curve. I have found both this and the AHSI forum to be very helpful. My question du jour is: Is it wise to check appliances which have been turned off at the breaker? I did an inspection this week in a manufactured home that is presently vacant. The dryer was not tested because the circuit it is on was shut off at the breaker. Up to this point I have not swithed breakers to "on" in order to test outlets or appliances but my client (who was not present at the inspection has doubts about my not doing so). I am interested in how some of you handle these occasions. Thanks for an informative forum and all the good humor.

Eric

Machias, ME

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I will not test an appliance whose breaker is shut off or a gas appliance that is shut off or whose pilot is not lit, for safety reasons. I have no idea why it was turned off. A friend of mine turned on an electric range breaker only to have to call the fire department a few minutes later.

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If it ain't on, I don't turn it on; gas or electric. It makes the job real simple.

As far as appearances, it's about overuse & inspectorspeak. "It is my observation that......" is horrible passive voice.

Write active voice; "I saw...", or "there is...". If you don't know, say you don't know. If it isn't readily apparent, say it isn't possible to determine for whatever reason. That is writing in active voice, it is understandable, it can't be misconstrued, & it uses less words.

And, the inspector won't sound like a wiener.

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I have to echo Crusty and Kurt, and I don't know of any HI that will turn on breakers under those circumstances. It may well be turned off for a reason.

Eric, gently but firmly remind your client that the property still belongs to someone else at this point. If anything goes horribly wrong you're the one who would have to pay, not him. Besides, it's a dryer, not a space ship. Tell him if he's concerned to go by, turn it on himself, and run it.

Brian G.

Client, Risk Thy Own Hiney [:-mischievous]

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There was another comment in that article which struck me. Douglas wrote, "Having been out of the trenches for close to seven years, I cringe when I think of all the nonsensical stuff I used to try to get people to do, and the incredibly important stuff I didn't understand at all." Is it just me, or has Douglas described the unspoken, nagging fear of every HI with a conscience and enough sense to have a vague idea of how much he does not know?

Brian G.

Not That I Ever Have Such Doubts of Course, But I Have This Friend... [;)]

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Originally posted by kurt

If it ain't on, I don't turn it on; gas or electric. It makes the job real simple.

As far as appearances, it's about overuse & inspectorspeak. "It is my observation that......" is horrible passive voice.

Write active voice; "I saw...", or "there is...". If you don't know, say you don't know. If it isn't readily apparent, say it isn't possible to determine for whatever reason. That is writing in active voice, it is understandable, it can't be misconstrued, & it uses less words.

And, the inspector won't sound like a wiener.

Let me first clarify, that when the client and I first meet on the site, I explain to them what my report consists of and I explain the use of the term “appears serviceable.â€

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I like short, sweet and as simple as possible, and like Kurt, I avoid the passive voice, which I too feel undermines credibity and suggests lack of accountability to clients, which I feel is an open invitation to be followed by another inspector for the buyer when performing a listing inspection. A large percentage of my business comes in the form of a buyer's inspection as a result of a total lack of confidence in the listing inspection on the buyer's part.

With the necessary boilerplates in place and a clear definition of what it means in the report key (probably exactly the same as the definition of the ever popular "appears servicable" sans relish and mustard) I simply use OK.

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Originally posted by Terence McCann

If someone could take the dryer example, show me a way to communicate that it was working but you didn’t check every nut and bolt and have it also fit in with a defacto-standard of reporting methods that is somewhat defensible, should the need arise, I’m all ears.

Thanks in advance.

Sincerely,

Mr. Oscar Meyer [:-paperbag]

That's easy. Define the term you use to descrive things as OK in your pre-inspection agreement. Then it doesn't matter what the words are, you and the client have agreed upon their meaning.

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