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Since I have been super slow, I have been trying to improve my writing / reporting skills. Even ordered my copy of "Strunk and White", should be here on tuesday!!

When I come across multiple problems in one area, I still write them up individually and after each comment i add, "have a licensed plumber........blah blah blah. Is there a better way to write this other then after every comment? One comment at the top, that says all repairs to be made by licensed professionals??

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Is there a better way to write this other then after every comment?

Yea, try not to do it all.

I've asked Jim Katen about this several times. If you look at his narrative you don't find too many, "have a licensed (fill in the blank) make repairs; in fact, there are none!

It's about giving good advice to that particular client, not economizing with broileplate & CYA'ing.

Jim on his How To Read This Report page does say, "Wherever I recommend repairs, you should have the work done by qualified, licensed contractors."

Chris, Oregon

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I write it up similarly to the way Bill does. I'd say something along the lines of:

The electrical/plumbing/structural system is unsafe/unpleasant/whatever-you'd-like-to-call-it. It must be evaluated and repaired as needed by a qualified electrician/plumber/magician now. I noted the following defects:

a)

b)

c)

d)

I suggest 'qualified contractors'' and not 'licensed' contractors. (I learned this from Bob Peek in VA) An idiot may be licensed, but he is not qualified.

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I never use the words licensed, bonded, or insured. They mean almost nothing.

I prefer qualified, competent, experienced, reputable, or any combination of the four.

I make a decision before I start to write: if there's too many things, I'll say what others have already said ("The following problems need fixin'. . . .")

If there's only one or two - maybe three things in a particular area, then I'll make a "statement" for each one.

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What does advising a client on every piece of narrative to use a licensed qualified contractor buy you?

Nothing. All it does is hide what needs to be done. Tell the client what to do and not how to do it so the licensed qualified guy (or whatever bubba they actually get) doesn't screw it up.

If you say all the time "Have a licensed qualified contractor make repairs." There's a really good chance he will do the wrong thing, not perform all of the repair, or say it doesn't need to be repaired.

I use to say the same thing in all my narrative: have a licensed bozo make repairs, thinking I was doing right for my client and covering my ass. But more often than not, the contractor was either doing the wrong thing, not doing all of it or saying it didn't need to be done.

I went to Jim Katen for advice on the matter several times, cause it took a while for his advice to sink in.

Saying something like, "The thingy is not working, have a licensed qualified thingy fixer fix it." ( uh, fix what?) is to easy to be misunderstood by somebody in the loop (Client, Seller, Agents, Contractors). In this case I would take a page out of the Walter Jowers play book and say, "If you want the thingy to work, you'll need to figure out why it doesn't work and then fix it." That's much harder to misunderstand. It says to the client that if he wants it to work the way he wants it to work, then he'll have to do it or hire someone to figure out what's wrong to satisfy the client and fix it. Otherwise you get everyone and his brother debating on what the proper and correct function of the thingy is and the limitations of repair.

The trick is finding the most fitting verbs so that what needs to be done can't be misunderstood: Install, replace, adjust, rewire, secure, add, remove, provide, etc.

Chris, Oregon

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I use "qualified" as well. If that profession/trade requires a license and if that person does not have one then they are not qualified!

Just this week I had an EIFS home with an improperly installed deck. I think I have received 6+ calls from the owner, the buyer, their agents and a couple of contractors or handymen. None of the contractors had a clue on how to reinstall the deck with the proper flashing that is required for an EIFS system. I even gave them the diagrams of how to do it! They are not qualified, but they are licensed contractors with the state.

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I just have a general statement at the beginning of my report that reads "Most repairs noted in this report should be done by a licensed/qualified contractor. If a licensed/qualified contractor is not used, repairs should be made as noted by the manufacturer or to current standards/codes." This way I don't have to include it in every comment. As long as the wording is easy to find and read, the home inspector should not lose a lawsuit because of it.

Reporting what trade should be used is included in each comment unless it is obvious.

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I just have a general statement at the beginning of my report that reads "Most repairs noted in this report should be done by a licensed/qualified contractor. If a licensed/qualified contractor is not used, repairs should be made as noted by the manufacturer or to current standards/codes." This way I don't have to include it in every comment. As long as the wording is easy to find and read, the home inspector should not lose a lawsuit because of it.

Reporting what trade should be used is included in each comment unless it is obvious.

That's pretty much hoe I do it, with a few exceptions:

1. I pretty much use Jim Katen's wording, short and to the point.

2. I try to indicate what professional should be designing/performing the repair, or I say something like "anyone handy" if I think it's a safe DIY thing like adjusting doors or loose cabinet hardware.

Tom

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