Jump to content

TIJ'ers! Please evaluate this report for a member


Recommended Posts

Hi All,

Jason Zingler has donned his armor, taken some Zoloft and has asked me to post one of his reports for critique by the brethren (and sistren?). In order not to sting his psyche too badly, please do so before his meds wear off. [;)]

Jason, my apologies, but you sent it to me in MS Word 2007 format and I have Word 2003. Some of the fonts got changed or lost their highlighting etc. Also, for future reference, the reason that you had trouble uploading it was the cover photo - it was almost a 1MG in size. After I resized it to 37Kb it uploaded right away.

Go to Powertoys for Windows and download the free photo resizing tool there.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Download Attachment: icon_word.gif ZinglerReport.doc

1687.98 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jason,

I gave the report a quick look and it looks just like most average or below average reports.

Couple of initial observations; why do you say a/c systems in table of contents?

Why not say "joists are damaged" rather than "damage to joists"?

You report all about the termination bead in the exterior section and give no explaination about what you are talking about. These folks are regular people, not inspectors

How weak is too weak?

Where is the furnace flue defect located?

Flopping between first person and plural.

In the intro and overview section you write - This report summerizes a briefing? Also is this house built on the basement?

If I get time, I will actually read and comment line by line. Until then this pain in the ass nit-pickin will have to do!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I examined the report only briefly. The 'single wall' flue appears to me to actually be 'double wall' B vent flue pipe. There are several other items like this one that I didn't scrutinize too much.

Basically, the summary almost reads like the report itself. It makes the report look like two reports, one after the other. A summary should be brief. Mine is a single paragraph, regardless of the house. I once summarized an entire 114 unit apartment complex with a single paragraph.

The recommendations are difficult to quickly review because they are scattered throughout the report. Try grouping all recommendations for a particular category (roof, kitchen) together at the bottom of that category page. Makes it easier to find.

The best way to check a report is to actually walk through the house with the report in your hand. Lacking that, this looks like a good thorough report.

Marc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Too many words. Simplify the writing style. Use spell checker.

Instead of:

"I found uncovered electrical junction boxes in the basement drop ceiling. These boxes must be covered in order to contain any electrical fire within the box and to keep debris, insects and vermin out. Note that the covers may be missing because of too many conductors in the boxes. If this is the case, any overfull boxes will need one or more extension rings added. I recommend having this issue corrected by an experienced handyperson or licensed electrician."

Try something more direct:

Numerous electrical junction boxes located in the basement ceiling were missing covers. Commonly accepted electrical pratices require covers. Repair or replace by a licensed electrical contractor.

The XXX is in need of minor repair(s).

Ok, enough with the boilerplate. Either it needs a repair or several repairs. Do not use (s). Why are you evaluating minor vs. major? Either it is broken and needs fixing or it is fine and no need to comment. Cut to the meat. Simplify. Less chit chat and filler words like Finally, additionaly, etc.

"The roof appears to be in need of minor repairs by a roofer or experienced handyman." It appears? Take a stand, that is why they paid you to inspect. It needs repairs state what repairs it needs. If you are unsure, then call for futher investigation by a professional tradesperson. The report is full of "needs minor repairs" without any futher definition of what the minor problems are that need to be repaired. Not enough information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not use the word cladding when describing the siding. Just call it siding.

You say to have a deck specialist fix the railing, but a carpenter address the deck/flashing problem.

The Water Heater section is kind of disjointed and hard to follow. The last sentence of a paragraph just says the water heater is in poor condition. I would suggest bolding or somehow identifying defects in the report to make it easier on the reader. Later you say the water heater is leaking, but the picture is of the relief valve. Which one is leaking.

What is this supposed to mean:

"When reference is made to the type of plumbing, the comment relies on a visual observation, seller statements, the presence or absence of a water bond, and what may be present in the way of notification in the electrical service panel. There is no non-invasive way to determine what is behind a closed wall. For example, when copper plumbing is identified, copper piping protrudes from the walls behind plumbing fixtures. If client requires absolute knowledge as to the type of plumbing throughout the home, then a consultation with a licensed plumbing contractor is recommended. "

In the entire plumbing section you don't tell us if the water pressure/flow or drainage is OK. Maybe it's in the bathroom section, I don't know.

You don't inspect the forced air heating system in the summer when the air conditioning is in use? Why not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

-How can the AC be servicable if it was not operated?

-Looks like TPR valve is leaking not the water heater.

-Heater vent appears from picture to be B vent. Insulation is fire resistant. If single wall vent, it is wrong as single wall is not rated to pass through walls and not good in uncondition air spaces.

- Fails to meets SOP no mention of smoke detectors

Just a few

Chuck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You say to have a deck specialist fix the railing, but a carpenter address the deck/flashing problem.

At the beginning of my reports I write a blurb that says something like this: ... if I mention that an item is broken, defective or worn out it's sure sign that I think that item should be fixed or replaced.

That saves me from writing and my client from reading "get it fixed" a couple hundred times a report.

OK, I finally got the report to open.

First and foremost there are some rather glaring grammar issues.

The boiler that comes with the program should be used as a guide for you to write your own; it isn't good enough to use right out of the box. Make yours a lot shorter than the stuff you got for free with your software. Really. Actually, try writing more and pasting less. It'll make for a much better report.

Recommending a licensed plumber install hangers on the sump pump discharge line is something akin to having an aeronautical engineer fix the kid's kite.

I think you understated the the damage to the framing and you didn't really tell your client that the repairs would be pretty damn expensive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One other thing, but seems pretty major...

STRUCTURAL SYSTEM

There is structural damage to several floor joist and exterior sheathing due to the lack of necessary kick out flashing on the roof. Have several contractors provide estimates and options for repair to prevent further damages.

So, we only need to prevent further damages? There is no mention, anywhere I can find, that tells the client that the existing nasty damage in the photo needs to be fixed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another thing. It is a MS Word based document. Not everyone has MS Word, so for emailing purposes that might pose a problem. Also if one does have MS Word they can ALTER the received document. Highly suggest a good PDF converter before emailing.

Chuck

No, some folks don't have word but just about every word processing program can open word.

Word can be secured against editing. It's not hard at all. I know; if I can do it, a child could do it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also advise against delivering reports in MS Word files. It seems like they end up looking different on every computer that displays them; the fonts can change, the page breaks move around and the formatting often just goes to hell. It’s also really easy to modify them, even if you think you’re locked them. I thought that pretty much everyone provided reports as PDF files these days.

TOC page

The TOC is in two columns that take up the upper third of the page, but there’s nothing else on the page. It looks kind of weird. Why not make the TOC a single column?

Summary

The length of the summary doesn’t bother me, but the large spaces between items does. I’m usually a big fan of white space, but in this case, it makes the summary harder to read, not easier.

General Information

There’s nothing here. It looks empty, as if you forgot something or accidentally erased it.

Introduction and Overview

I also dislike, “This report summarizes the verbal briefing of our inspection of . . .â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No where in the report is the HI company name, address, inspectors name and NJ license number.

Generally, I found myself going back and forth looking for information. Why not ‘bullet’ where you identify what defects or repairs are needed?

On page 8; you should also insert the fact the report complies with the NJ State SOP (I would also include a link to the HI advisory board page so the SOP can be read.

Page 9 shows the attic hatch location and says the attic condition is documented elsewhere in the report but I can’t find it. You need to describe how the attic was inspected. Did you enter it or was it viewed from the hatch only.

On page 14 it says the gutters and downspouts were not inspected because they are too high. You can see plenty from the ground (sagging, pitch, lose spikes, etc)

On page 16 you describe the interior supply piping then half way down you locate the main shut-off valve. Put the main shut-off in the same location as the supply piping.

I don’t see the location of the sewer clean-out and I don’t see any mention of functional flow and functional drainage.

Heating section (page 20) you state the following ‘Heating is not inspected during the summer months when Air conditioning is normally in use.’ That will definitely get you in trouble some day. You don’t identify the location of the furnace.

On page 23 you state ‘The bathroom countertops are in need of minor repair(s); yet you never state what the repairs are.

Onto a few technical items-

On page 21 you state the single wall exhaust flue is too close to combustibles. The picture shows the pipe in the attic. You can’t have single wall vent in the attic and you should also call for the required insulation shield.

On page 10 you state ‘Grading should fall a minimum of one inch every foot for a distance of six feetɉ۪ actually its 6 inches the first 10 feet.

Also, to better identify the problem with siding in contact with the ground, I include this in my reports-

‘You need to be aware wood rot & wood destroying pest infestation may be present behind the siding but cannot be seen. The only real way to determine if rot or wood destroying insects are present is by opening the walls (removing the exterior siding or the interior drywall). This is not part of our 'non-invasive' inspection.’

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is this supposed to mean:

"When reference is made to the type of plumbing, the comment relies on a visual observation, seller statements, the presence or absence of a water bond, and what may be present in the way of notification in the electrical service panel. There is no non-invasive way to determine what is behind a closed wall. For example, when copper plumbing is identified, copper piping protrudes from the walls behind plumbing fixtures. If client requires absolute knowledge as to the type of plumbing throughout the home, then a consultation with a licensed plumbing contractor is recommended. "

Darren, are you OK with Jason lifting this entire thing from your report?

What kind of notification is in the electrical service panel about the type of water pipes?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"On page 8; you should also insert the fact the report complies with the NJ State SOP (I would also include a link to the HI advisory board page so the SOP can be read."

Maybe it's just me but I think it's a bad idea to provide anyone with a direct link to the agency that governs my license. My report and my agreement clearly state that I adhere to the NY SOP and COE and that I will furnish copies on request, no one ever asks for them. There's also the small problem of letting my clients know that I'm obligated by our licensing law to adhere to standards that as of yet are incomplete and poorly written draft proposals, I can omit that tidbit by sending them my own pdf files.

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neal;

What are you referring to?

Tom;

I see no problem with (in fact I encourage) my clients knowing what's required and seeing how the HIAB works. I also provide a link to the ASHI site so they can view the ASHI standards. This way if ever a problem does pop up, I can ask them if they read the SOP's I referred them to read.

To steal a phrase from Marci Sims "An educated consumer is our best costumer"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please,

Keep it on the critique and not on side discussions about how it's done where you are versus someone else's area. Yeah, I know, I'm guilty too with my comments about MS word; but that's my point - those are all side discussions. They are worthy of discussion but shouldn't be here.

He asked for a critique - let's try to help him as best we can.

OT - OF!!!

M.

P.S.

Besides, he sent it to me as a pdf document initially; I had to ask him to re-send it unsecured in word so that I could reduce the picture size in order to upload it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Jim K, fix the TOC and come up with some General Information or delete the section.

I would rearrange the sections a bit, it would make far more sense to begin with the intro and end with the summary (begining, middle, end). As it is now it looks like there are two reports and the last one ends abruptly in the middle of the appliance section making it look incomplete (more like end, beginning, middle....where's the rest of it?).

Don't be afraid to be assertive. The entire deck is a POS, tell them it's crap and to replace it (BTW, pressure treated wood is designed for ground contact). Condense all your comments in a similar fashion.

You write in several places to have multiple contractors provide estimates for repairs, this would be good stuff to put in the General Information section. Similar stuff that you find yourself repeating should also go in there.

Read what you write. When I write my reports, or just about anything for that matter, I proof read the hell out of it. Write a section and read it, make any changes and move on, lather, rinse, repeat. When you've finished writing, read the whole document, slowly. Mouth the words or read them out loud. It will either make sense or it won't. Make your changes and read it again. Have someone else read it to you. This sounds like a lot of work, but it takes practice to write well, or lots of editing. You need to learn how to do both.

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom's right; end the report.

Here's what I do:

End of Report

Your questions; Ask all the questions you want or need to and I'll do my best to answer them. All I ask of you is that you read the entire report. You can call me tomorrow, next week or even next year!

Your final walk-thru before closing is your last chance to view the house without any furniture or stored items. Conduct a diligent walk-through (don't let anyone or anything rush you!). Turn on all faucets, flush all toilets, run the dishwasher (and clothes washer & dryer if part of the transaction) and examine all walls & floors. You should also bring a digital camera just in case there are conditions that have changed since the inspection was conducted. Most of all, best wishes in your new home!

Here are links to the ASHI & State of New Jersey Standards of Practice: http://www.homeinspector.org/standards/default.aspx

http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/nonmedical/hiac.htm

Look here for all your home maintenance needs http://www.msue.msu.edu/objects/content ... er02.html/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

EXTERIOR

"There is contact between the exterior cladding and grade. This kind of contact can cause moisture damage to cladding, underlying sheathing and framing, or result in insect infestation. There needs to be at least six inches of clearance between siding components and grade, and leaves, vegetation or other debris should not accumulate against any part of the exterior. I recommend correcting this right away."

Jason,

Everyone writes differently, but permit me to apply active voice implied command (explained in the thread We are Writers) to the above statement, which you may find more helpful in the Summary:

"Modify the grade as needed to achieve the recommended minimum of six inches clearance between exterior cladding and grade."

Now, this statement is bare bones extreme to make a point. Through active voice implied command this 19 word sentence essentially says with far more impact what the 64 word statement above says. You may wish to add some of your statement back into this direct concise sentence. According to two sources on business writing, fifteen to eighteen words should be the target maximum for a sentence.

Again, everyone writes differently, but consider first person active voice implied command, which highlights the action (what to do) and backs it up with the observation.

All the best,

PS. As a followup on something Tom suggested, as a double-check, after reading through your work, glean it backwards. That may sound crazy, but it's recommended by some good business writing experts. There are things that our brain will easily read right over, like "the the" or "a a", which are easily caught in a backward glance. It just takes a few extra seconds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...