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Narrative-Type versus Photo-Type Reports


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Canned comment from InspectExpress, is it wrong?

Drip Edging Absent

There is either no or incomplete/incorrect drip edging installed around the perimeter of this roof. Both the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) recommend drip edging be installed at the rakes and eaves of all roofs. This is to limit exposure of the edges of the roof decking to wind-driven rain, capillary action or splash back from gutters that could eventually lead to failure of the roof decking. These instructions are clearly spelled out in the installation manuals of both of these organizations. Recommendation: Install proper drip edge now, if possible, or at the time of future cover repair or replacement.

Michael Brown

DevWave Software Inc.

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Hi Mike,

I read that comment as being a little harsh. Especially the part at the end where it states:

Recommendation: Install proper drip edge now, if possible, or at the time of future cover repair or replacement.

By telling them to install proper dripedge material now, that tells me it is completely improper, while it may no be......... Not that I'm a wordsmith or anything.

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I recently inspected a new home. I mentioned the NRCA saying that drip edge is required on all roofs. The builder has come back and says that it is only required on 6 pitch or less.

Recommended, not required. Tell the builder to show his reference.

He does have a tight 1 by 2 shingle mold installed. They want me to change my report. This is a turn-key purchase. What to do?

Tell them to sit & spin.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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If the roof is working just fine without it, should we comment on the presence or absence of drip edge? I see lots of (steep) roofs that work just fine without drip edge.

I'm much more prone to comment on the presence or absence of ice & water membrane than I am about drip edge.

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Since no one else mentioned it, the OP stated the house in question had a shingle mold. If in fact it is a shingle mold and not just a silly decoration than the intent of a drip edge has been met, to protect the edge of the roof sheathing and support the shingles where they project beyond the fascia. Both parts serve the same purpose.

Tom

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Mostly, I was just trying to get across the notion that the comment offered needed some work.

I think the comment offered is mistaken, not because it's inaccurate, but because (my customer base) folks wouldn't understand it. At base, most folks don't understand much of anything about houses, let alone terminology.

HI's sometimes make it seem as if every possible idea can be and should be adopted. That leaves some of their customers resistant to some of the recommendations, or at best, confused.

Describing the specific technicalities of this stuff goes right over the heads of my customers. Sure, I run them through all the terms and definitions, but they glaze over. They don't care.

I only tell folks about the lack of metal drip edge if it's something that's actually causing a problem. I show them a picture of the location I'm talking about, and show them the damage with a red arrow.

None of these descriptions mean anything to folks that don't know what roof sheathing or drip edge is. I have to show folks pictures for them to even begin to understand what I'm talking about.

So, an entire paragraph of terms that folks don't understand, even if written in the most clear and succinct language, still doesn't get my customers anything.

Gotta show 'em pictures. Show them the damage. Then, they get it.

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Kurt's on track. If I had a paragraph like that for every small problem I found, two things would happen:

1. My reports would be about 60 pages long,

2. My clients wouldn't read the reports and, therefore, wouldn't benefit at all from my service.

Brevity good.

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I dunno,

I'd say about 90% of my clients are foreign-born and techie types that don't know which end of a hammer is used to smack a nail. Yet, somehow I'm able to make them understand this stuff very easily and very thoroughly without photos. Granted, I do frequently resort to a simply freehand sketch, along with a clear explanation in simple terms, to get the point across but they do get it.

I know Kurt thinks their eyes glaze over but if he were there to see he'd agree that they do in fact get it.

The trick to teaching is to keep it interesting and relavent. Do that, and when someone sees it later on in print it is no longer an abstract concept on paper - it's something they thoroughly and completely understand.

They seem to appreciate that kind of information and report here.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

For what it's worth, my reports are full narrative and are written like that and are generally never longer than about 23 pages.

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Maybe it is different there......I don't know......

Now, since I'm feelin' persnickety, wasn't it you, Hausdok, while driving around Chicago that evening, who said your customers sometimes handed you a camera and asked that you take more pictures and put 'em in the report........[:-angel]......?

I can make folks understand stuff just fine, drip edge or not, in well crafted succinct sentences. I make them understand immediately and intuitively, and have a grasp of what is actually going on with something, when I show them a picture. No one can argue what reality is with a picture; it's the ultimate "make the realtor shut up" hammer.

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My reports are photo intensive. I have a photo covering every item in the report. Clients love it, and it brings me biz, along with the IR camera thingy.

I dropped the comprehensive narrative speech a while back, and simplified it following the remarks that Kurt has made in the past. In my opinion, my clients don't give a crap why something is a problem. They want me to cover their ass, like Jim Katen says. Show them a photo of the issue with an arrow pointing to it even if it's obvious, and tell them it needs to be fixed if they don't what to have problems x, y, and z.

If for some reason I feel like expounding on some item in the report, I do it now in an email to the client or do it in person in the walk & talk. Otherwise the narrative is limited to a sentence or two per item. That being said many times I'll end up with say 3 or 4 sentences intially, but then I chop it back to one or two. With photos, there's just no reason to write more than that.

Concerning Kimball's originally post, I'm fine with the brick molding in lieu of the drip metal on the rakes. It works just fine around here. If I see exposed roof decking along the rake, I'll tell them to get it covered if they don't want leaks or damage to the roof decking.

Chris, Oregon

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Gotta show 'em pictures. Show them the damage. Then, they get it.

As you know, I'm a photo guy, too. We may obsess over this stuff, but most of our clients could care less. They don't care if it's a grounded conductor, or a neutral, or a piece of twine in the electrical panel. But show them a photo of a melted white wire, explain that it could burn the house down if it isn't addressed, and they get it.

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I'm on Kurt's team. Folks buying the high end, historic and complex properties prefer simple. It's not that they can't/don't understand. They enjoy learning interesting stuff about buildings, but when it comes to the report, they appreciate me distilling this stuff down to the essential facts.

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Maybe it is different there......I don't know......

Now, since I'm feelin' persnickety, wasn't it you, Hausdok, while driving around Chicago that evening, who said your customers sometimes handed you a camera and asked that you take more pictures and put 'em in the report........[:-angel]......?

I can make folks understand stuff just fine, drip edge or not, in well crafted succinct sentences. I make them understand immediately and intuitively, and have a grasp of what is actually going on with something, when I show them a picture. No one can argue what reality is with a picture; it's the ultimate "make the realtor shut up" hammer.

Nope,

What I said is that I occasionally get asked by folks when they are booking the inspection whether I take photos, at which point I tell them that I don't but tell them that if they want to take a picture of an issue and email it to me, I'll plug it into the report if I think it will help.

Now, a few times, I have come out of an attic or crawlspace, described an issue going on in there and a customer that has brought a camera has asked me if I'd go back in and take a picture using their camera. If it was an easy place to get to and their camera was easy to use, I went back and took a picture; where the place wasn't so easy to get to and/or the camera was one of those things that requires a degree in computerometry to understand, I told 'em that their contractor would be able to read my report and find it easily.

Put that in your persnickity patootie and smoke it. [:-bonc01]

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I put it in the pipe and smoked it, and I saw the most beautiful and amazing colors.........man, I think I love you man....oh man.......ohhh....man........

I think what you just said is you have customers that want pictures in their report.

I remember when that was me. Resistant to photos because I could write about it just as well, and folks would understand. Mmmm hmmm.........

Then, I saw the light Brother......I saw the LIGHT!

Harsh reality......folks want pictures.......they don't want all that stuff you're sure is good for them.......

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I have one really great reason for taking pictures if you don't. You don't have to take notes anymore. I take a picture, or several, of everything I need to remember for the report, my camera is my notepad and my memory, 1 gig.. It's really great, all the info on an A/C data plate comes home with me from one click, along with proof of how the attic was packed solid from end to end if ever needed for litigation, and it just makes the report look good. The clients get a big smile on their faces when I come down off the roof, tell them whats up there and finish with, "don't worry I took pictures, you'll see exactly what I mean".

I can't even tell you how many times I've noticed something in the pictures that I didn't on site while the clients, agents and homeowners were bantering at me.

Ok, so it was several reasons.

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I have one really great reason for taking pictures if you don't. You don't have to take notes anymore. I take a picture, or several, of everything I need to remember for the report, my camera is my notepad and my memory, 1 gig.. It's really great, all the info on an A/C data plate comes home with me from one click, along with proof of how the attic was packed solid from end to end if ever needed for litigation, and it just makes the report look good. The clients get a big smile on their faces when I come down off the roof, tell them whats up there and finish with, "don't worry I took pictures, you'll see exactly what I mean".

I can't even tell you how many times I've noticed something in the pictures that I didn't on site while the clients, agents and homeowners were bantering at me.

Ok, so it was several reasons.

Kyle, that's exactly my operation. No notes; just pictures.

Took 122 the other day. 73 made the report. The rest are in a file with the report and copies of any corresponding emails. It cuts about an hour of site time for me and the audience, and saves alot of time on this computer. "This thingy is broke. See?"

I've even developed my own "photo codes". If I find a loose toilet, there's a picture of my leg against it.

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73 made the report.

How do you keep your report memory size down? I average about 30 pictures in my report and each report size is around 2MB.

Never paid much attention to the size of a single report. Some of the space is usually taken up by an overall view of a room at the beginning of it's section of the report.

I put individual reports in one " inspection reports" file then, I eventually copy that to a thumb drive. If someone has a better way, I'm open to it.

Just checked that report. It's 1.94mb 63 pages.

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