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  1. #1
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    Default Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    Explanation of "Further evaluation",etc by specialists

    I have thought about creating a standard disclaimer/explanation to include in inspection contracts. I think seeing the term "Recommend having a licensed _____ (structural engineer, contractor, roofer, plumber, etc.) further evaluate" a situation could be a bit daunting to a homeowner or prospective real estate buyer. There are plenty of times when such a statement is really necessary and probably more times when it is used simply as a CYA defensive action. Does anyone know of a good - don't let this necessarily scare you out of the deal - clarification?

    I categorize the summary as 1) "MAJOR Deficiencies and Safety Concerns", "Requires Further Evaluation/Repair", and "General Observations and Comments.

    The MAJOR/Safety category is not a problem. Something has been observed that could be or IS a really big deal. Its all the lessor items that add up. Things, that if it were me, I would check and fix myself but the cost and time having further evaluations will start to add up quickly. If there is a Realtor involved, well, daggers would be preferable to the what's in the looks you get. Slowly boiling in oil is not on my "must do" list.

    So - how could you explain the options open to the client without totally depreciating the need for further evaluations? (must remember to write what you say and say what you write)

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    Thanks Jeff - I'm open to other opinions & methods. I agree with you in a way. But I think this largely a case of semantics. I learned to say - recommend further evaluation by a licensed (whatever the trade) and repair as necessary" and you say "Recommend qualified contractor make repairs ...". And I like the postfix "additional repairs that may be warranted, discovered, or created during the course of repairs".

    I have found that most people want a compact list (summary) to review and don't care to pick through 16 pages of itemized systems information in a typical checklist or matrix type of report. Especially in a real estate transaction. It comes down to the bottom line. I'm not saying all the information isn't needed, just a people observation.

    Not every inspection has to have a "major" item. And, my majors are MAJORS. Like roof-ready-to-fall-in structural defects, broken or detached handrail on 2nd floor landing/hallway. Subjective? Yes! No argument. But to me, pointing out what I would consider a major structural failure or safety issue is part of the job.

    Perhaps a summary list itself is some sort of implied priority.

    But Thanks - all intelligent comments made with thought and concern are always appreciated and tossed into the thought mill. So far in this group I've seen very little of anything that looks like jerks trolling for a flame war.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    I also think "further evaluation" is a cop-out. They hired you to "evaluate" it. You should know enough about it to call for repair.

    If it's broke, fix it.

    Is it semantics? Heck the whole report is semantics.

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    To many times "Further Evaluation" is really meaning I'm covering my butt.

    Have someone else tell you whats wrong with it.

    rick


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    Try this scenario....

    Thermostat on wall is physically busted so you can't test the hvac system.

    Basic report: Replace thermostat and recommend further evaluation of system.

    There are other ways to say the same thing but you had better use one of them. See why?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Try this scenario....

    Thermostat on wall is physically busted so you can't test the hvac system.

    Basic report: Replace thermostat and recommend further evaluation of system.
    Huh? Why? Did you, or did you NOT "evaluate it"?

    If the thermostat was "busted" and did not work, then you did not "evaluate it" and you need to just state that: Thermostat broken and did not work, have thermostat replaced and system checked at that time.

    "further" evaluation implies you did it already, but you did not.

    And, if you did, just state 'fix it'.

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

  7. #7
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    Before I read Jerry's post, I was thinking the same thing he posted...

    How the heck can you evaluate something that was not working (the thermostat). Why would you say that you did???

    "Bad medicine..." says, the big Chief of the Slapa-ho Indian tribe.

    rr


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Further Evaluation"

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kelly View Post
    Hmmmm, so the thermostat is busted and you walk away?

    you don't jump the red and white wires and operate it anyway?
    I certainly HOPE NOT!

    Regardless how well, and for how long, you "look at it", unless it is "operating" there is no way you can "evaluate" it.

    Without it running you can visually determine that is a rusted out piece of crap, and, if so, state so ... NO "further evaluation" required.

    But if it ain't operating, you ain't "evaluating" nuttin'.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    I liked the statement, "Thermostat broken and did not work, have thermostat replaced and system checked at that time". Just would added by qualified/licensed HVAC contractor.

    I just had an inspection on a foreclosure. House was 1 yr old. The bank/Realtor had locked the digital thermostat. I could not put it in "Heat" mode and there is no way I'm going to go out and do a Rambo stunt by jumping anything anywhere to try to make it work. Not my job and I don't want to have to pay to fix/replace it either. I did report not being able to test the heat system, why, and recommended having a licensed HVAC service "Evaluate" furnace operation prior to closure.
    Did I look at the furnace? Yes.
    Did I look at the gas supply, burners, fan, filter, wiring, venting, and what I could see of the heat exchanger? Yes. No problems noted.

    Does this seem like I don't know what I'm doing? Do I appear incompetent?


  10. #10
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    Thermostat broken - system does not function.
    Thats all you need.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Stanley View Post
    Thermostat broken - system does not function.
    Thats all you need.
    So the client buys the house, installs a thermostat and the system still does not work... calls the repairman.... compressor bad, leak in A-coil... total system replacement with new 13 seer needed.... client calls you....


    Its just like doing a house with no power, you must report the need for more inspections before purchasing the house with the power on.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Further Evaluation"

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    I liked the statement, "Thermostat broken and did not work, have thermostat replaced and system checked at that time". Just would added by qualified/licensed HVAC contractor.
    Yep, sounds good to me.

    I did report not being able to test the heat system, why, and recommended having a licensed HVAC service "Evaluate" furnace operation prior to closure.
    Only makes it look like you *did not* "evaluate it", and you *did not*, regardless of how much you did not do, or how much you did do - it makes no difference to someone reading your report stating that someELSE needs to "evaluate" it.

    'Oh, the inspector did not evaluate it, because we need to get an HVAC tech out there to evaluate it, wonder if the inspector reduced his fee by that much?', versus, 'Oh, the inspector said his inspection found that the thermostat was broken/not working and that an HVAC tech needs to replace the thermostat or get it working, then check the system.'

    In the first, you are not only implying, you are stating, that you did not "evaluate" it, in the second, you are stating that you did "evaluate" it, found the thermostat not working, and, of course you could not check to see "how" it worked - because it "was not" working.

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

  13. #13
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kelly View Post
    Stewart, I wasn't commenting on your inspection or evaluation, I was commenting on Richard's comment of "How can you evaluate something that is not working?"
    No!! I do not jump any wires to hot wire that sucker!!! Not no... but HELL NO!!

    Now... here's the deal. Everyone should always note any visual issues when going through your natural progression of checking the unit(s) and note any issues found and not just skip by that section of the report just because the theromstat is not functional. But, the bottom line is, you have to identify that section as "NOT INSPECTED UNDER NORMAL OPERATION CONDITIONS"-- observed items were identified without the unit in operation. Then you can note any areas you visually identified as additional isssues, such as; flex gas line entering housing, rust in burner chamber, flame roll-out cover missing, flue damage, etc...

    It's pretty simple... it's functional or not functional. Every recommendation or determination we say or do is derived from those simple terms. If the thermostat is not working--ITS A SLAM DUNK!! That sucker is NON-FUNCTIONAL and In Need of Repair.

    Anyone could say they did an inspection on a unit that is not working. Again, if it is not working... you did not inspect the unit in operation-- SAY SO!!

    rr

    Last edited by Richard Rushing; 10-12-2007 at 01:48 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Explanation of "Futher Evaluation"

    I can see from all the discussion why I might not want to use "further evaluation" as a standard phrase. It does look trite when used repeatedly.

    BUT - the original question was about how to phrase a list of things that should be checked, fixed, or just done without scaring them away from a house with "evaluated and repaired by a licensed/qualified contractor/roofer/electrician/plumber" thrown at them maybe 12 - 16 times in a report. A lot of things a handy-around-the-house person could take care of. BUT, the report writing gurus and insurance companies strongly advise using the phrase quoted above or something very much like it.

    Perhaps one could have a paragraph that included that type of statement as a catch-all for most everything and just use the words fixed, repaired, or corrected in the summary's individual line items.


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