Results 1 to 34 of 34

Thread: checklist

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,049

    Default checklist

    A new inspector is inquiring about how to get started. I know there is so much to consider but I want your opinion on a specific thing first.

    If they were to decide that they want to start off using checklists, which check list would you recommend?

    Similar Threads:
    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    If they were to decide that they want to start off using checklists, which check list would you recommend?

    The one written in disappearing ink.

    John,

    I know they want to start out with check list report as it is less cost intensive to enter the profession than to buy a computer program.

    That said, if they are that short on cash then the likelihood of their success is extremely limited.

    Now, though, to address check list reports and a new inspector ... If the new inspector wants to start off using a totally non-intuitive report method which keeps them jumping from page to page and keeps distracting them when they most need to concentrate, then there is no stopping them.

    That new inspector really needs to think about using a method which is intuitive and complementary to their learning curve, not something which will frustrate them during their inspections.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,049

    Default Re: checklist

    What would you recommend Jerry? If it's software, which one?

    I just use MS Word myself.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    What would you recommend Jerry? If it's software, which one?

    I just use MS Word myself.
    John,

    I'm not the one to ask that question, I wrote my own program which sat on top of Word Perfect and that is what I used for 17 years, making it do more as I thought of more I wanted it to do. I did a lot of things before the other software did, but, alas, I was the only user of my software as it ran on top of Word Perfect (because I could do so much more with Word Perfect than with Word).

    I am sure there there will be many here who can answer your question about "which one" to use.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: checklist

    I used a checklist style note taking thingy form when I started out.

    One of the problems I found when using a checklist was the organization of the checklist. It was organized by system. So all the electrical was together, all the plumbing, all the HVAC, etc. But when inspecting you find the bits and pieces of the systems are scattered through out the house and I was constantly flipping pages to make notes. At the end of each inspection, I had to read through the entire checklist to look for any unchecked boxes for missing items. You need a checkbox that indicates Okay Dokay so you know it was inspected.

    The checklist should ideally follow the order in which you inspect a house. I inspect the exterior first, move to the front door, inspect the first floor, move up until I reach the attic, and then inspect the crawl. But when do you inspect the garage? During the exterior, when you come to the garage door from the interior, or ?

    Any checklist from any source could be used as a starting point to help the newbie inspector make sure they don't forget to look for something. After a few inspections, they would need to move the order around to better meet their style of inspecting. Any checklist should have lots of open space where notes could be written since most defects don't show up on the checklist. Those notes would help describe the location and particulars of the defect.

    Which begs the question, is the checklist to record the inspection or is it a tool to help the newbie remember what to look for?

    I am sure the software vendors will chine in and hash out the difference between inspection software and reporting software. Most software packages can print out a blank inspection report which could be forced into service as a checklist.

    I let the house become my checklist. I check everything in the order I find it. I record my notes with a camera. Works for almost everything except squeaky floors. Missing elements are not there when you take the picture so require a little more creative picture taking. Putting a screwdriver in the photo pointing to the missing object seems to help. Portions of a tape measure in the photo help to give scale to pictures.

    Interpreting photos is part of the note taking. Attached are two photos of granite countertops with a tape measure underneath. This picture tells ME that the countertop is cantilevered off the center kitchen island 12 inches and 10.5 inches. I need to know that the marble institute of america recommends that 1.25 inch slabs should only be cantilevered 10 inches if unsupported while 3/4 inch slabs can only be cantileved 6 inches. That could be an item on the kitchen checklist. But I have found granite mantels over fireplaces that were unsupported beyond the magic numbers. Now the checklist does not meet the demands of the house. Better have some open space on the check list for the unusal stuff we find.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Last edited by Bruce Ramsey; 05-27-2009 at 07:01 PM.
    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Healdsburg, CA
    Posts
    1,741

    Default Re: checklist

    I know inspectors who use “check-list” inspection reports.
    They go something like this:
    Foundation:
    1. Good
    2. Almost Good
    3. Not Good
    4. Really Bad
    5. You’re Doomed

    Roof Covering:
    1. Good
    2. Almost Good
    3. Not Good
    4. Really Bad
    5. You’re Doomed

    Etc., etc., etc., Well, you get the idea.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: checklist

    I recommend using a voice recorder and camera. Check everything you can get to and then some. Do the exterior two or three times. Plan on older homes taking 5-6 hours on site. (take some food with you) Go home, do research and spend about 6 hours on the report.

    This is what I did. Is it hard? Yes it was but I didn't miss much!

    Flipping through pages during an inspection is a recipe for disaster.

    I can now do those difficult houses in 3-4 hours and the report in 1-2 hours.


  8. #8
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    Be "the Fly on the wall." You are observing an experienced inspector. He's confident and competent and feels that way as he's been inspecting for many years.

    He discovers major and minor defects and deficiencies. He notes some on a 3x5 index card he keeps in his shirt pocket and documents all on his camera.

    A technology failure loses all of the camera data.

    There's only a few notes on 3x5 index card.

    Back home, he creates his "boiler plate" narrative report without photos.

    His client chose him because he saw the impressive online sample that was packed with illustrated photos. No illustrated photos and he missed some "major problems".

    Lacking documentation that a checklist provides our inspector forgot to document some important details that cost him dearly in litigation.

    Even if you have a young and agile brain you should not condemn checklists because THERE WILL COME A DAY WHEN YOU WILL FORGET TO INCLUDE SOMETHING IN A NARRATIVE REPORT THAT WILL COST YOU DEARLY.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    Even if you have a young and agile brain you should not condemn checklists because THERE WILL COME A DAY WHEN YOU WILL FORGET TO INCLUDE SOMETHING IN A NARRATIVE REPORT THAT WILL COST YOU DEARLY.
    Ken,

    I think you are mixing two things together.

    1) A "check list" that an inspector may use to make notes on as he goes around during the inspection. That 'check list' should be laid out in a fashion suitable for the inspector to use it CONVENIENTLY (remember that word). In my program I had it where I could print a checklist to be used during the inspection, the electrical was not all on an electrical page and the plumbing was not all on a plumbing page, etc., they were intermixed on room pages, i.e., "bedroom" - windows, doors, smoke detectors, outlets, lights, HVAC, wet bar if needed (yes I found several), etc., and similar for "bathroom - windows, doors, lavatories, tub, shower, exhaust fan, HVAC, GFCI receptacles, etc. Even the roofing page had electrical for overhead services and HVAC equipment on the roof, and plumbing for plumbing vents, etc.

    2) A "check list" report, which is what is being asked about, and they contain all electrical on one page, all plumbing on one page, all HVAC on one page, roofing on one page, etc. These require flipping back and forth an trying to find what you want on each page, and, if you are using the "check list report" as your "inspection check list" to go by, you will be going all around the house many, many, many times. To prevent that, you actually have to start remembering what is on the "check list report" and ignore the order of the report. When you do that, you are now back to "using your brain" and not using "a check list". It will happen, it HAS to happen, otherwise you will be running around the house or standing there flipping pages every step you take - and NEITHER of those two things leads to a thorough inspection as both are very distracting. There is NOTHING IN an "inspection check list report" which is CONVENIENT to the inspector - and INconvenience is to be avoided.

    No experienced inspector should be using a "check list report" due to its limitations.

    No INexperienced inspector should be using a "check list report" due to its convolutedness during the inspection, AND due to it limitations.

    Once you become experience and familiar with the inspection process, there is also no need to carry an "inspection check list" with you if you are using a well design computer program as that program will contain its own "inspection check list" to make sure you inspect and get information on everything you need to and do so in a logical and intuitive way.

    If you cannot open your inspection program up to an interior page, identify that room as "kitchen" and then have in front of you a list of things to check and report on, your inspection program is lacking. No inspection program should require you to click between "pages" just to inspect "one room".

    My program did that over 15 years ago when I wrote it, *I AM SURE* that all of them are allowing for that by now. If not, you are a slave to your inspection program instead of the inspection program being a slave to your needs.

    Not having used any other inspection program software, I do not know how they are laid out, I only know how they *should be* laid out for the CONVENIENCE of the inspector.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    What would you recommend Jerry? If it's software, which one?

    I just use MS Word myself.

    A camera

    You pull up to the job and before you take out tool one do a walk around the outside, the roof and interior snapping pics as you go.


    Go get your tools and do it again (I garranty you will see other items) take more pics and you will also see what you already saw the first time.

    You will remember what you saw. If you are one that does the report while you are there (I do most of the time) you have a third opertunity to go back and look that last time.

    Now you did a walk around.

    You did a second look with tools to check items.

    You took pics both times and you are still there doing the report and everything clicks in as you are inputting into the various sections.

    You will be amazed the second and maybe even a third time around the amount of items you see.

    If you start opeining and testing items immediately then you are more likely to be focused on that item and maybe miss something right next to it because all you are thinking of doing is testing the next item instead of looking for the concerns.

    If you already have the big picture and layout of the home before you start squatting, opeing, testing and investigating you will keep an open mind as to something you see inside the home or attic as to what you saw at the exterior.

    I think several have said the same thing. 2 or 3 trips around and everything will log in. One trip and testing/investigating and you are done does not cut it. The first time is more of a whirlwind tour snapping pictures and getting a feel for the home. You will be amazed at how much you pic up if you don't get right into staring and note taking and figuring and testing right out of the truck. You will actually spend less time as well. Sounds crazy but true. If you open up a bow with a thousand items in it to put together and pic up the instruction and finger thru everything with out at least getting an overall picture of the components and completed project first you will fumble and stumble the rest of the way thru the assembly.

    Inspection is nothing but a big puzzle you are putting together. If you never see the picture on the front of the box you will never get it together.

    Go inside, turn all the lights on, open every door, turn on the AC. Know where everything is for HVAC, water heater, tub and fixture location etc etc. Like I said the first time is a whirlwind tour. You see a wet spot you already know it is under the tub you saw on the second floor. The first trip takes zero time to accomplish the second trip is the digging.



    Get a feel for the place


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: checklist

    Good post Ted,

    Nothing like knowing what you have before you start the regular process.

    How many of you have checked a panel that you thought was the main panel and then realized there was a 200 amp disconnnect outside? Now you are thinking, were those neutrals isolated from the ground bus in that one you just put the cover back on????


  12. #12
    Dan Popoff's Avatar
    Dan Popoff Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    This is an excellent thread, thanks. As a soon to be newbie, I have studied the check list allot. Having done hundreds of wdo inspections and background watching HI's on site, is there ever a routine? I have found Report Host field notes to be the one I am most comfortable with. Love this site!


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: checklist

    Dan, what part of SC are you in?


    As far as a routine, there are lots of opinions on this and even some of the training material has errors. I remember seeing a book once that said to inspect the basement or crawlspace before the interior. Now that would be dumb, how would you look for plumbing leaks that way?

    Never assume that all bathrooms are being used or have ever been used in a house, many people stop using them once they start leaking.

    The exterior is done first by the majority of inspectors which is fine but you would have to go around it again later once you know where to expect plumbing vents and bathroom vents etc to be located. That is the one thing that I decide on based on the weather and other factors for each house.

    Its best to start at the kitchen sink area and get the dishwasher running.
    On a new home you will probably need to verify the settings on the water heater and see if all the breakers are on right away. If the site super shows up you can have him take care of things that are off.

    Note where the laundry room, water heater and any prefab metal fireplaces are located so you can look for the dryer vent and flue pipes in the attic. Then go to the attic if its an AM inspection before it gets too hot. Then work your way down, any leaks from upstairs plumbing will usually show up by the time you get to the lower level.

    You will need to leave the attic and reenter more than once if there are HVAC units up there so you can observe them in different modes etc.

    If you do a crawlspace house with no water, don't forget to quote a 2nd trip charge high enough to cover going back into the crawlspace to look for leaks and checking all fixtures, this is a lot of work and can easily take 4+ hours including travel, inspecting and reporting.

    It takes several hundred houses to get a system down and to be able to deviate and pick back up where you left off. You learn to look at outside units from windows to determine which one works from what thermostat etc. without having to run back and forth too much.

    I keep a short checklist in the car that I look at during water breaks on the more difficult houses to keep from getting overwhelmed. Its not always the house that can overwhelm you, sometimes its the client, the seller, agents or even the neighbors dogs yapping the whole time. A few times it will be all of the above and those are the days you could miss something big.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,049

    Default Re: checklist

    Ted, I do like that idea. A quick scan of everything, then back to the beginning and start the main process. I think I'll give it a try.


  15. #15
    Dan Popoff's Avatar
    Dan Popoff Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    Bruce, I am in Kershaw, I am currently with a pest control company in Camden. After studying this move for the last few years, I finally took the AHIT home study and now waiting on LLR to take the state exam. I have learn allot watching a really good HI in Camden. As a side note, I was wondering being licensed 7A can HI's do CL 100's independent of a PCO firm?


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Popoff View Post
    Bruce, I am in Kershaw, I am currently with a pest control company in Camden. After studying this move for the last few years, I finally took the AHIT home study and now waiting on LLR to take the state exam. I have learn allot watching a really good HI in Camden. As a side note, I was wondering being licensed 7A can HI's do CL 100's independent of a PCO firm?

    I assume 7A is a type of pest control license?

    Along with the license, they should have available to you any limitations with that license.

    I would think CL-100's would require less than someone wanting to also provide treatments.

    Be careful with the termite stuff, they actually enforce the regulations for that unlike for home inspections in SC.

    A local termite guy got caught and turned in for doing unlicensed home inspections here and as far as I know he is still doing them.

    It truly a "buyer beware" situation around here and the realtors for the most part only send work to the average inspectors.


  17. #17
    Dan Popoff's Avatar
    Dan Popoff Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    Thanks for the info Bruce. I know the Dept of Pest. Reg. really enforce the CL 100 side. My goal is to become a fully licensed HI and leave the WDO stuff behind. Most of the realtors I know around here are mainly price specific in regard to HI's. Makes for an interesting business model to say the least.


  18. #18
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    Do you want to be on a jet plane whose mechanic did not use a check list?


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    Do you want to be on a jet plane whose mechanic did not use a check list?

    Do you want to play baseball with a player who uses a checklist for every thing they do?

    Jeez, makes as much sense and is just as relevant.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Healdsburg, CA
    Posts
    1,741

    Default Re: checklist

    Show me a report with “checklists” and I’ll show you the seeds of a future lawsuit.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    1,072

    Default Re: checklist

    I use a PPC to input all the things required in a report such as make of equipment , type of wire appliances blah blah blah. I pull up to the house and on my PPC I put in the time, temp, weather conditions, and direction the house is facing. When I get back to the office I sync with laptop and input my pic's and comments.
    I then take Pictures of all 4 sides of the home first as well as the meter, HVAC, Gas Meter, etc. After that I start my walk around process and I do it twice. I then walk the roof. After that the Garage. The I go in and walk through each room giving it a quick eyeball and turning on all fixtures and let them run, glancing under cabinets for leakage. Crank up the A/C or heat and head for the crawl space with all systems on. If the Realtor or Client is there I will let them watch the sinks and tubs on the inside for overfilling or leakage while I am under the home.
    You will be surprised at the minuet leaks you can find at drains when letting them run while under the home where you might not catch if not running. Had one at the beginning of the week that it was so small that my flashlight caught a drop falling as I was crawling through that other wise would of went undetected. It was leaking at the gasket on the shower drain.
    When that is done then I'll go in and start on the rooms and attic.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  22. #22
    Tony Hipps's Avatar
    Tony Hipps Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    John, I usually write out a narrative, but I do take a field form with me, and also take lots of pictures.

    If your friend will go to Inspector FX Home Inspection Software and download the trial version. He will get the same free field form in pdf that I'm currently using.

    It wouldn't be a good idea to use it as a finished report though if he hasn't bought the product, because of copyright laws and all.


  23. #23
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    Originally Posted by Ken Bates
    Do you want to be on a jet plane whose mechanic did not use a check list?

    J. Peck's retort:

    Do you want to play baseball with a player who uses a checklist for every thing they do?

    Jeez, makes as much sense and is just as relevant.
    __________________
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant

    My response to Jerry is:

    There are just four (4) concerns vis a vis baseball--Throwing a ball, catching a ball, hitting a ball and running as fast as possible. THAT'S IT. THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO IT.

    A baseball player could use the back of each hand for a checklist. The left would say (1.) "hit ball" (2.) "run" The right would say:
    (1.) "Catch ball" (2.) "Throw to man covering base"

    95% of the time your knowledge, logic and reasoning are imPeckable.
    I can't believe you tossed out this baseball analogy!

    I doubt you would actually place your life in the hands of an airline whose maintenance mechanics relied on their memory to check and service the hundreds of components on a jet plane.

    WOULD YOU REALLY CHOOSE AN AIRLINE THAT CHECKED AND REPORTED WITHOUT A CHECKLIST?

    DO YOU THINK THERE ARE AIRLINES THAT DO NOT USE CHECK LISTS?

    DOES NASA NOT USE CHECKLISTS?

    DO YOU THINK THAT AN INDEX CARD OR SOME OTHER MEANS OF NOTE TAKING IS SUPERIOR TO A CHECKLIST?

    HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR MEMORY IS FAILING?

    HOW WILL YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN HAVING MINOR STROKES THAT AFFECT MEMORY?

    Short term memory diminishes as we age (senesce).

    Disparaging checklist reports is an elitist trait. Hubris.

    I use a checklist for my reporting. It is actually a ratings report where I assign condition grades (I.e. ABCD just like school) I refer to it as a ratings report as it is more detailed and comprehensive than a checklist that can be purchased on the internet. I go out on a limb and have yet to regret it.

    I also offer 80 to 120 page narrative reports created with 3D software. ( I also used Inspectvue and a few others which have too many bugs.)

    I also create FRESH narratives when the 5,000 boilerplate set paragraphs (e.g. OBSERVATION, ANALYSIS, RECOMMENDATION) do not serve the best interests of my clients) Narrative reports and their disclaimers are designed to protect inspectors from legal actions and on occasion cause a buyer to walk away from a good property because the CYA/CMA language/disclaimers embedded in narratives unnecessarily scares them away.

    Last edited by Ken Bates; 06-04-2009 at 11:19 PM. Reason: typos

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    I also offer 80 to 120 page narrative reports created with 3D software. ( I also used Inspectvue and a few others which have too many bugs.)

    I also create FRESH narratives when the 5,000 boilerplate set paragraphs (e.g. OBSERVATION, ANALYSIS, RECOMMENDATION) do not serve the best interests of my clients) Narrative reports and their disclaimers are designed to protect inspectors from legal actions and on occasion cause a buyer to walk away from a good property because the CYA/CMA language/disclaimers embedded in narratives unnecessarily scares them away.
    Ken, I am confused. You tout your 80-120 page narrative reports and then write that they are bad because they are filled with fluff and scare away buyers.

    Are you saying that all narrative reports are bad and filled with CYA disclaimers? Could a narrative style report be less than 80 pages and still be a narrative style report? Must narrative style reports be filled with disclaimers by definition?

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    I doubt you would actually place your life in the hands of an airline whose maintenance mechanics relied on their memory to check and service the hundreds of components on a jet plane.

    WOULD YOU REALLY CHOOSE AN AIRLINE THAT CHECKED AND REPORTED WITHOUT A CHECKLIST?

    DO YOU THINK THERE ARE AIRLINES THAT DO NOT USE CHECK LISTS?

    DOES NASA NOT USE CHECKLISTS?

    DO YOU THINK THAT AN INDEX CARD OR SOME OTHER MEANS OF NOTE TAKING IS SUPERIOR TO A CHECKLIST?

    HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR MEMORY IS FAILING?
    A maintance checklist for a repeatable task is easy to create and maintain. There is a prescribed set of tasks to perform in a prescribed order regarding a finite number of parts arranged in the exact same order every time.

    Creating a home inspection checklist is possible. The problem I find is using a checklist to inspect a home.

    Every home is different. The items to be inspected are in different locations, different makes, models, condition, size, installed in different manners, age, etc. If I follow the checklist, I will either be running from end to end repeatedly to fill out a section or flipping pages constantly. I may be so busy looking for the correct spot on the checklist to record something, that I forget to look at the house. I found the checklist was always missing the condition the house had that day.

    Maybe you can share how you address an example like the electrical system. If all the electrical items are on a page on the checklist, how to you differenate between the defective receptacle in the back bedroom from the one in the den? Do you have a box for all the possible incorrect conditions for a recepacle or do you simpliy indicate it is bad and have a space to write in the defect?

    I tried a checklist and found it cumbersome. Yes, I believe there is SOME OTHER MEANS OF NOTE TAKING (that) IS SUPERIOR TO A CHECKLIST. Photos. Hundreds of photos. I take 125-200 photos per inspection. Documentable proof I inspected the specific item. Able to view at higher resolution than with the naked eye. Able to include in the report with arrows and circles to be shared between the buyer and seller as proof that there is a defect that is obvious even to the untrained eye. A means for clients to see what is at the back wet corner of the crawlspace. A way for the repair person to know exactly what is defective.

    If checklists work for you, then that is great. I found them unwieldly and always requireing constant updates because I always found another defect that was not on my checklist. I seemed to spend more time messing with my checklist and less time inspecting.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: checklist

    I used to work in a pilot training facility and did testing in the simulators for the FAA with airline captains. We always had time to do extra things (not during an actual training session) and saw pilots using checklists that did not always work out well.

    One was "check for landing gear down" and say "three green" if all three green lights were on. I could pull a circuit breaker that turned off the green lights and have seen them look straight at the blank panel and still say "three green". Complaceny will override a checklist in a heart beat. It has been proven that a checklist is a good thing with aviation but as with everything, its not the complete answer.


    Everyone has gotten back to the office and realized that they forgot to collect some data or check something, these are the things you need on your own checklist...

    Oven anti-tip bracket - (easy to forget when distractions are present)
    Did the house have soffit vents?
    Was the ground rod actually visible?
    Where did the dryer vent terminate at?
    Were those front porch columns wood or aluminum?
    Where was the main water valve?
    etc etc.


  27. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    Originally Posted by Ken Bates
    Do you want to be on a jet plane whose mechanic did not use a check list?

    J. Peck's retort:

    Do you want to play baseball with a player who uses a checklist for every thing they do?

    Jeez, makes as much sense and is just as relevant.
    __________________
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant

    My response to Jerry is:

    There are just four (4) concerns vis a vis baseball--Throwing a ball, catching a ball, hitting a ball and running as fast as possible. THAT'S IT. THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO IT.
    If you think that is all there is to baseball, then no wonder you are using check list reports.

    I use a checklist for my reporting. It is actually a ratings report where I assign condition grades (I.e. ABCD just like school) I refer to it as a ratings report as it is more detailed and comprehensive than a checklist that can be purchased on the internet.
    There are but two grade school ratings which count and apply to the home in$pection report:
    - First there is "A", which means it is installed and working as intended.
    - Second there is "F", which means it is not installed and working as intended.

    Trying to massage things from "F" to not be "F" when they are not "A" is not in the best interests of your client.

    You should ask yourself this: "Is that installed and working as intended?"
    - "Yes." means it gets an "A".
    - "No." means it gets an "F".

    Narrative reports and their disclaimers are designed to protect inspectors from legal actions and on occasion cause a buyer to walk away from a good property because the CYA/CMA language/disclaimers embedded in narratives unnecessarily scares them away.
    Then apparently you do not know who to write a narrative report. Using canned report comments is NOT the way to do it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  28. #28
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    My checklist report is unique as I authored it myself after purchasing samples of reports created by 100 ASHI members.

    Actually, I do very little checking, as most of the OBSERVATIONS require underlining the appropriate condition from a range of possibilites or probabilities. There is also space to hand-print comments that can't be anti-cipated on a summary page and/or a punch list page. Lots of flexibility! You would have to see the report to appreciate it its depth and comprehensive-ness.

    Lots of info without the taurean scatology, that abounds in purchased boilerplate. Keith Swift, whom I spent some face to face time with, created terrible boilerplate for the extremely buggy Inspectvue software that I regret purchasing. (partly on Keith's claim that he has a Phd in English --- aka "Pile it High and deeper")

    For my reliable 3D software, I purchased close to 5,000 boilerplate sets from a top shelf inspector and the typos are minimal but must be ferreted out to avoid future legal claims.

    Mike O'Handley created good boilerplate for DevWave Inspect Express which crashed all the time.

    Bruce Ramsey wondered how my rpt. deals with electrical. One page -- that is very comprehensive ---- also the Bathroom, Kitchen, and Living Areas pages have entries for the typical problems (e.g. reversed polarity, grounding, GFCI, and the catch-all Wiring defects. Specific redundancy). However, it is not encumbent for an inspector to note every location of a defect. I will specifically locate defects if there are only a few. Otherwise, the electrician will make a dedicated sweep.

    Jerry Peck wrote "Then apparently you do not know who to write a narrative report. Using canned report comments is NOT the way to do it."

    Nothing in my comments said I used canned reports. I eschew them. I pride myself on my "fresh" narratives. On those rare occasions that I use boilerplate, I read, edit and adjust them to suit the occasion.

    Jerry--I know your writing skills, as you demonstrate them daily. Your affront SMACKS of hubris. ( I frequently author elegant "fresh" narratives to supplement my onsite ratings reports )


  29. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: checklist

    (bold red text is mine)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    I also create FRESH narratives when the 5,000 boilerplate set paragraphs (e.g. OBSERVATION, ANALYSIS, RECOMMENDATION) do not serve the best interests of my clients)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    Nothing in my comments said I used canned reports. I eschew them.

    Ken,

    Just reading what you write. You said you write fresh narrative "when" the canned boiler plate does not serve your needs.

    2 + 2 = 4 every single time.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    Bruce Ramsey wondered how my rpt. deals with electrical. One page -- that is very comprehensive ---- also the Bathroom, Kitchen, and Living Areas pages have entries for the typical problems (e.g. reversed polarity, grounding, GFCI, and the catch-all Wiring defects. Specific redundancy). However, it is not incumbent for an inspector to note every location of a defect. I will specifically locate defects if there are only a few. Otherwise, the electrician will make a dedicated sweep.
    For clarification: Your checklist has an Electrical page/section but also has electrical equipment scattered on other pages sorted by rooms? So from that I interpolate that your Kitchen section has check boxes for plumbing, electrical, HVAC, kitchen appliances, windows, doors, interiors, etc.

    So the checklist is sorted by both rooms and systems? What helps you determine if the defect is checked off in the room section vs. the system section? When a client reads the report and they are looking for electrical problems, they look at the electrical section and through all the rest of the report looking for additional electrical defects?

    Your system works for you. I am just trying to better understand your system to see if there are parts I can use to improve my methods. I am not attacking your methods, they just don't make sense to me yet.

    Your website does not have a sample report. Would you be willing to share a sample report or porition of your checklist via email/pm?

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  31. #31
    Dan Popoff's Avatar
    Dan Popoff Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    I wouldn't mind seeing it, if possible, newbe here and working and a routine. Been working with field notes from ReportHost, I kinda like but it doesn't seem to flow for some reason (experience or lack thereof, I know),

    Thanks,


  32. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: checklist

    Dan, send me the checklist you have and I'll offer up some advice on it.

    I really doubt a good one exists, heck it would have to be 200 pages long!

    For example does it have this:
    While in the attic, don't forget to kneel down and look past/under ducts etc with a high power light and stand up and lean out over trusses and over ducts and look carefully at each and every truss plate and truss member. While going back down the stairs don't forget to stop half way and look around again, also don't forget to turn out the light and look around again since the light blinds you from seeing some things. Don't forget to look again in an area where you spotted a problem since seeing one problem is a sure way to miss the one right next to it.

    This is an example of what we do, its not just about looking for code issues and equipment installed wrong.

    I can't even remember how many broken trusses I have spotted during the 2nd lap around the attic or by looking straight above my head on the way back down the stairs.

    No checklist is going to make you an investigator, you have to stay tuned into many things all at once. Many inspectors have to take pictures and study them later, I prefer to study everything while at the house since pictures rarely show enough detail and many will not show the problem at all!

    I tried a checklist for the first half hour on my very first inspection, (it was a small house in poor condition) The only thing that saved me was a voice recorder, I recorded every single issue and typed it all up in the report at the office. The checklist I had made was very good but I would have been there for 10 hours flipping pages and wandering around.

    It takes about 400-500 houses before you get basically proficient at this. The only way to do a good job when you start out is to put in the extra time on site and the extra time in the office on the report. I averaged 8 hours per house not counting travel time when I started out. You will have to inspect some areas of some houses 2-3 times to keep from missing things, even with experience.

    The guy's in this area that miss the most defects on houses have over 15 years experience! Why is that? Money and Time. They are only in it for the money at that point.


  33. #33
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Re: checklist

    My ratings rpt. (checklist) is not necessary as a guide. The benefit is that I will document (memorialize) even the minor defects and deficiencies as you can never be certain which client may become unreasonable 2 years and 11 months later.

    Even a new inspector will remember to document/memorialize and communicate to his client the major problems and concerns, etc.

    In my state we have to describe even more details than the ASHI standards of practice require. This is mandated by law and the president of the board that grants our license has made it clear that 3 or 4 omissions can cost us dearly ( very large fine, or suspension of license ).

    In my college days I could zip through the aisles of the supermarket and remember 100% of the items that I and my roommates needed without a list.

    Today when I go to the market I need a list if I have to get more than 3 things. To me a checklist is like a grocery list after I have filled my carriage.

    It will ensure that all the defects I found are memorialized. We can not limit our liability in Massachusetts. We and our insurance policy are a guarantee for our clients and if they don't already know that the salespersons will inform them of that fact. So, there is a benefit to a checklist.

    Let he who has never forgot the capers or Cheeze Whiz cast the first aspersive stone at the checklist.

    My method is to use my ratings report, present it in a personalized 3 ring binder to my client on site, put my copy into my office computer
    and then create a very impressive fresh narrative that is limited to the major issues when necessary. If someone wants the boilerplate narrative they still get the ratings report which serves as notes to create the tedious narrative.
    I charge an additional $200 for the narrative because it take time to create.
    That is if one uses photos and edits the paragraphs to make them seem like they were freshly created for this specific property.

    I'm not limited to one report method. I've yet to encounter a client in my Urban setting who wants to spend money for a tedious narrative for a small apartment or the typical condo in Boston. Anyones checklist and a brief and concise narrative for major ($$$) problems will do the job for condos.

    The largest and most successful inspection company in America ( Tiger Home inspection ) use an unbound checklist that uses handwritten comments.

    TechHackers


  34. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    1,072

    Default Re: checklist

    Hey Ken how about putting where you are from in your profile so we know where you are coming from when you post something..........

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •