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  1. #1
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    Default Time to generate a report

    How long does it take for you to generate the written report?

    I am spending more time than I would like writing the report. Before I get more worked up, I want to see if I am to far out of line with the everybody else.

    I know some are using computers during the inspection so are filling in/checking boxes as they go so the report is done when the inspection is done.

    For those of you who collect data and them write the report after the inspection, how long to write the report, add the photos, and be ready to send?

    The second question is what steps did you take or changes in your report writing and/or data collection did you make to decrease report writing time but maintain quality?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I only use a camera on the inspection and i take a lot of photos. i can be in and out in 2HR or less. this is my way of doing things.
    Then i will go back to my office and put the report together. may spend 1 -2 HR at that. Everytime i go back a look at the photos i see things that i did not notice before. and then i keep all the photos for ever...

    Each home is on its own time line. BIG. Small. or ?

    If i post a lot of photos that will suck up some time.

    and then if i can stay off this web-site. that helps alot. L.O.L.

    Best

    Ron


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I do the same as Ron. Take a lot of pictures instead of taking field notes.

    Then when I get back to the office I scan through all the pictures before writing the report. I have them playing across 1 screen as I am writing the report on another.

    Most of the time, it will take an hour or so if not distracted.

    A quiet office is a big help too.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Rick thats to clean. Im out in garage with the Bikes and a drum set. and my lab under my feet...

    If my wife saw your office i would never get her to stop talking about it.

    Why cant your office look like Ricks. bla. bla. bla.

    Best

    Ron


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Ron,

    I hope that lab under your feet you mention is of the dog kind not the cooking type.

    rick


  6. #6
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Rough order of magnitude = one hour per 1000 s.f.

    No hard/fast rules on that as it can vary depending upon condition of home.

    I usually have notebook with me and enter notes directly to report as well as plenty of JPGs. Finish up report back at office while adding representative JPGs and review for errors, presentation and a 2nd or 3rd review of notes/images to try and be sure all bases are covered.

    My office is not as exotic as Rick's.

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  7. #7
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Well I guess I am in the minority. Of course I am 55 years young and do not speed around like I use to. Most of my inspections take at least 4-5 hours.
    Small houses take 3 hours. I only do one a day. New England has a lot of older large homes with basements and thats where I spend most of my time as all the Utilities are there also. My reports are taking me around 5 hours. I am not happy about this but By the time I review the photos and do report this is what it takes me. I am not going to get rich but I feel like I do a good job and sleep well at night. Another thing that helps I have no children and my wife works.
    I can not figure out how you guys do your reports in an hour. I can not do anything in an hour. Time speeds up when your older. Whatever works for the individual I guess.
    So Bruce your not alone with report taking longer than you want. There has been past threads on this subject and many people take as long as me but they get paid for it. Better to do 4-5 a week at $600 than 10 at $300.
    Easier said than done but is possible if you build up clientèle/referral base. But this may take time.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Inspect the house avg. 1hr/thousand sf. Writing the report varies from "I can't believe making money is so easy" (3yr. old slab, not occupied) 30min. max. To tears dripping on the keybd at 1:30am ( 30+ year. two basements and crawlspace, 3 attic, every possible plumbing config. and problem, knob & tube with Federal Pacific panel + subs at every turn, plumber reciprocating saw infestation, etc. on a 1800 sf. house. Ya just gotta love it!

    I take an avg. of 100 pics on a 2-3 thousand sf. house. Always go thru the inspection the same direction. Probe I carry tells whether floor is tile or vinyl by how it stands in the pic. Toilet lid up says loose. etc. Also carry a digital voice recorder for things that don't photo well, furnace size etc. I also keep the photos forever. Had one customer call back after 11 mos. with complaint that roof leaked and roofer said HI should have condemed the roof. When I looked at the roof I was shocked to see most of the granuals were gone and you could see the fiberglass. When I asked the customer when he had cleaned the roof he said he had not. When I produced the pictures of the roof that had some algae growth on the rear elevation, that was now gone, he said he was going to go after the seller. Just looking for someone to blame. What a scumbag. I'm glad I had the pic's.



  9. #9
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Average 1/2 hour to drive to and from job. 15 minutes to 1/2 hour to go over contract. 2 1/2 to 3 hours to do the inspection (average square footage is 1,200 to 2,700). 1 1/2 hours to write up the report. 1/2 hour for the miscellaneous things such as writing up the contract, taking the phone call and other things.

    The fastest way (in my opinion) is hand written reports. 1/2 hour drive time. 1/2 hour miscellaneous time. 2 1/2 to 3 hours to do the inspection. 1/2 hour to make sure ever thing is written in the report at the end of the home inspection.

    Setting up an office or a quiet place is needed or I can add another hour on the report writing.

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    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 06-07-2008 at 09:33 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    We have covered this "how much time to do an inspection" so many times, I'm sure there is an old thread where you can see opinions there too. It usually ends up with someone saying that "you can't do a good job unless you take this long, or do only one a day/week/month", or "your report isn't worth crap unless it has 6,000 photos in it, or is at least 600 pages". I'll press on anyway.

    I use a pocket PC around my neck during the inspection. I take photos too, but probably less than 50 for the normal house. I don't keep any photos I don't use in the report.

    I'm also in that "about an hour per/1000SF" realm. Seems that most houses take me about 3 hours, sometimes close to 4 (talking about houses <3000SF), and that includes finishing the report (most of the time).

    There are times that I go back to the office to finish it: 1. If I'm finding something out of the ordinary, 2. If the agent or seller is being a pain in the butt, and I want more quiet time to finish, or 3. it's getting late and I want to go home and have a beer/dinner.

    I just don't like to work after I get home. I have always generated on-site reports (for almost 20 years now), so I like to be done with work when I'm done with work. With paper reports it was very easy. Then photos came into play and I had to haul around a photo printer. When I switched to computer reports, it didn't exactly change my life, it didn't make it any faster or easier either. It just made it better for my clients.

    I spent a lot of time working on my library. I tried to cover just about everything I would come across, so I really just had to check a box and move on to the next item. I may have to edit or add a word here or there, but it's very simple AND fast.

    One thing I did that helped me was to "pre-check" a lot of stuff, so I really only have to go to the pocket PC when there is an "issue" or problem. For instance, I have that the garage door opener operated OK and reversed properly pre-checked. I don't have to change anything unless something wasn't right when I inspected the door opener. It saves me time.

    My time to transfer the memory card, insert the photos, add notes is usually 30 - 45 minutes including uploading the report to the web site (that part only takes about 2 minutes). I also use that time to talk to my client and re-cap the inspection, so they get a half hour or so at the end bringing them up to speed on what took place during the inspection.

    I think the ability to move quickly is from being very familiar with the software and the experience of having done thousands of inspections. My way works for me, and may not work for someone else.
    JF


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Average size house 3-4 hours to inspect
    Report can be 1-2 hours or 4-6 depending on how bad. Usually +/- 3 hours
    I have a field version of my report that I take to insp to document conditions. I circle and write-in whatever is applicable. The computer version is different than the field version so I don't have to type everything.
    This allows me to have a field copy for audits and a clean computer copy to print/send out. Pictures as necessary.
    I don't do checkbox.
    I have an office but I could work in a war zone if necessary. Whatever is around me disappears when I'm 'in the zone'. (Corny, I know)

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Jack covered it fairly well, this has been talked about many times over the years.

    As for myself, I would say that a basic normal inspection on a 2,500 sf home with 2.5 baths on a crawl space would take no more than 3 hours. If it is empty and clean I would say that time would be cut down by thirty minutes. Even when I do a 5,000sf home I would expect to be done in about 3-4 hours, any longer and I'm not working efficiently. Time is money and it is about the only thing that we can control during an inspection.

    I have seen too many inspectors who do not have an established pattern to their inspections. They are jumping all over the place and waisting time. You know that you will need to check every room so why not do the electrical outlets, check the windows, doors, ceilings, floor, etc. while you are in each room. Limit the number of times you enter a room to only one time, unless you have a question. I have seen many inspectors do just the electrical and then do just the windows and on. All they are doing is waisting time and energy.

    As for writing reports: If you are writing the information down and then transcribing it into another document, you are waisting time. Take as few notes as possible. Rely on your brain and on photos to guide you after the inspection is done and your reporting time will be cut dramatically. This brings up another topic and that is that many inspectors depend on their software or reporting system to guide them through the inspection. This is the wrong way to do an inspection, it takes more time and it can also prevent you from seeing something that needs reporting but it is not covered in your reporting system.

    If all boils down to doing what you are comfortable doing. I'm comfortable in taking few if any notes and many pictures. About the only notes I take are of things that I find that are wrong.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  13. #13
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    The "waisting time" Scott referred to is guys sitting around eating donuts (aka real estate agents).


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I like getting this call on an average 2000' home.
    Joe HI stated he does the most thorough inspection, and takes 5 plus hrs to do an inspection. What is he doing that you are not doing?

    My reply.. How long did it take you to do your job when you 1st started?
    99&#37; chuckle and book the inspection.


  15. #15
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Use a checklist for your inspection. Pilots use them for a reason. If your relying on your memory to create your report, there is a term used to describe you. At some point, it will be defendant.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    My inspections and reports take about the same time as everyone else but My office beats Rick's by a long shot. My secretary, not so good.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    When I was in the trenches an average “cookie-cutter” 1,400 to 2,000 sq. ft. ranch style with foundation crawl space would take 2 to 2-1/2 hours, one-half hour longer if it where vacant. Lots of photos of which my clients never saw, but as reminders to me of what I saw. Used a field note work sheet and spent maybe 1 to 1-1/2 hours on preparing the finished report. By the end of my career I never did more than 2 per day and preferred one. Whenever I had any free time I worked on my report verbiage.

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    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Inspect the house avg. 1hr/thousand sf. Writing the report varies from "I can't believe making money is so easy" (3yr. old slab, not occupied) 30min. max. To tears dripping on the keybd at 1:30am ( 30+ year. two basements and crawlspace, 3 attic, every possible plumbing config. and problem, knob & tube with Federal Pacific panel + subs at every turn, plumber reciprocating saw infestation, etc. on a 1800 sf. house. Ya just gotta love it!

    I take an avg. of 100 pics on a 2-3 thousand sf. house. Always go thru the inspection the same direction. Probe I carry tells whether floor is tile or vinyl by how it stands in the pic. Toilet lid up says loose. etc. Also carry a digital voice recorder for things that don't photo well, furnace size etc. I also keep the photos forever. Had one customer call back after 11 mos. with complaint that roof leaked and roofer said HI should have condemed the roof. When I looked at the roof I was shocked to see most of the granuals were gone and you could see the fiberglass. When I asked the customer when he had cleaned the roof he said he had not. When I produced the pictures of the roof that had some algae growth on the rear elevation, that was now gone, he said he was going to go after the seller. Just looking for someone to blame. What a scumbag. I'm glad I had the pic's.
    I take 200-300 pictures and keep them. Had a foreclosure inspection in December. It had a fairly new heat pump system and took pictures of it and had taken pictures inside the service panel looking for data on electric elements (a macro shot or 2 records all the numbers). Client calls me up in Feburary, want to know how I could "pass", his term not mine, the heat pump system when the heat module was missing? I told him I was pretty sure I had pictures of the system and I would call him back. Went to his report file, scanned through the pictures and sure 'nough there was the heater module inside the system where it was supposed to be. I called him and emailed the pictures. Turns out the client had someone working in the house before moving in. So apparently, the fixer-upper guy decided he could use the module and no one would miss it. A lot edited out here but I figure keeping pictures in a file saved me a few coins.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    OK Rick, Nolan, Kevan, Wayne and Jerry. We see the offices.

    The big Q. What is it like on the inside of your trucks ?

    Do you drop coke can on the drive ways when you get to your inspection ? L.O.L.

    Best

    This is Max. He keep an eye on things when im out.

    Ron

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Ah, having Max on your inspections is great Ron, but can he write reports?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Max? Smarter than your average broker, FOR SURE!!!
    Jerry, Now that's an office!!


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I sure cannot compete with Wayne's office.

    But here is my office.

    There are two rows of code books above those seen in the 2nd photo, as shown in the 3rd photo.

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    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  23. #23
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Jerry, I see you have a OKI printer. I've had mine for around 5 years now. Printer is a work horse that keeps on printing. Toner not cheap but get a lot of pages out of it.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I stop printing report 3 years back. no paper, no ink all email now.

    Best

    Ron


  25. #25
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    It would be nice but it's easier to print up a report for the 65 year old lady than for her to go buy a computer and learn how to use it.

    About 35% of my clients want a hard copy.

    Just one more service we provide.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Kevin,

    I went from a Xerox Tektronix Phaser printer to the OKI about the same time as you went to the OKI printer.

    To me, its the best printer out there.

    Like Ron, though, most of my reports were 3-mailed out or downloaded from my web site. I still printed all my new construction final inspections - so my client could have a printed copy for them and one for the builder.

    I'd rather point out code and manufacturer's installation requirements than argue about why the builder should print their own copy. That does not do your client any good, and we are there to do good.

    If you can't afford to print copies for your clients, you are not charging enough.

    I quit printing copies for myself about 12-14 years ago ... all on the computer anyway.

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

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    75% of my work is Real Estate. I had to get people to get with the 00s.
    I can have my report on there desk top the next day by email.
    they then have power over the report. and access to it any time they want. its not a cost thing its a time thing. info now.

    Some people that are not up to the net can access a report from the agent or the Excrow Co. Next day service.


    This just works for me.

    Best

    Ron


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Back to the original question...

    I'm fairly consistent at hitting 3 hours at the average house around here. 1.5 hours on the report which I do in my office if I can sit still for that long. Usually I have to break it up and review first thing in the morning before sending it out.

    As soon as possible after scheduling an Inspection I will prepare and e-mail the Inspection Agreement, which is required by Illinois Law. The client can look at it before the inspeciton but I always bring 2 paper copies with and get one signed for myself. I promise the report the next morning by email and clients are not dissapointed they don't get one on site.

    I take notes in a digital voice recorder but have not archived them yet as I have only been using since February. When I used a micro-cassette recorder I would record over at about 6 months later.

    I take 15- 20 picures per inspection but only 6-7 end up in the report. 90% of the report gets written by memory then I listen to the voice recording and fill in the blanks.

    I email a PDF. I also send a hard copy of the report but consider that for marketing purposes only. Something the client can show to others.


  29. #29

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    How long does it take for you to generate the written report?

    I am spending more time than I would like writing the report. Before I get more worked up, I want to see if I am to far out of line with the everybody else.

    I know some are using computers during the inspection so are filling in/checking boxes as they go so the report is done when the inspection is done.

    For those of you who collect data and them write the report after the inspection, how long to write the report, add the photos, and be ready to send?

    The second question is what steps did you take or changes in your report writing and/or data collection did you make to decrease report writing time but maintain quality?
    Bruce,
    The only way to dramatically reduce your time needed to create your report is to collect the data electronically as you are doing your inspection. This means you need to use "data collection" software and not "reporting software". This in no way means that you are diminishing the quality of your report but in many cases after tweaking of your boiler-plate comments it can actually improve the quality of your inspection because you can actually inspect more of the home without running into a time constraint of getting close to 4 hours or more of inspection time. (based on the condition and size of the house of course). It will also virtually eliminate your time needed to reenter all of the inspection data you gathered during the inspection into the reporting software later in your office. Jack and Scott are on the right track.

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 06-11-2008 at 11:59 AM. Reason: forgot
    Knights Software Solutions, Inc.
    www.knightssoftware.com
    "Leading handheld inspection software for 15 years."

  30. #30
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Bruce,
    The only way to dramatically reduce your time needed to create your report is to collect the data electronically as you are doing your inspection. This means you need to use "data collection" software and not "reporting software". This in no way means that you are diminishing the quality of your report but in many cases after tweaking of your boiler-plate comments it can actually improve the quality of your inspection because you can actually inspect more of the home without running into a time constraint of getting close to 4 hours or more of inspection time. (based on the condition and size of the house of course). It will also virtually eliminate your time needed to reenter all of the inspection data you gathered during the inspection into the reporting software later in your office. Jack and Scott are on the right track.

    What software out there is considered "data collection"? I remembered this being talked about before but I can't remember what was said.


  31. #31

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    What software out there is considered "data collection"? I remembered this being talked about before but I can't remember what was said.

    Kevin,

    "Data Collection Software" is built with the emphasis on collecting data as you are walking around and not on creating a report. If the software screen looks like it is creating an actual report then it is "reporting software". A simple example of this would be the InspectIT software built on top of MS Word. The whole premise of the software is to use it AFTER the inspection is done and to create the report in a Word processing type of manner. Most of the software out there is reporting software.

    "Data Collection" software (or what I call "True Inspection Software") is meant to be used AS you are doing your inspection and it does not look like an inspection report on the screen. You are not really worrying about the look of the report as you are doing your inspection...you are trying to collect the inspection data in a very efficient manner on a device that you can carry around with you very easily. It should minimize ANY scrolling and it should use the screen to its full potential for each item as you are inspecting. At the end of the inspection process it should create an actual inspection report based on the data collected whether it be directly to a portable printer or as an actual RTF Word document that can then be edited freely in Word itself but without having to reenter any data.

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 06-11-2008 at 01:48 PM. Reason: typo
    Knights Software Solutions, Inc.
    www.knightssoftware.com
    "Leading handheld inspection software for 15 years."

  32. #32
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I understand (since I have InspectIT ReportPlus) and agree (to a point) on what you are saying. I was wondering what software you feel falls under "Data Software Collection"?

    Just wondering, nothing else.


  33. #33

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    I understand (since I have InspectIT ReportPlus) and agree (to a point) on what you are saying. I was wondering what software you feel falls under "Data Software Collection"?

    Just wondering, nothing else.
    I would consider the PalmTech (PocketPC version), InspectWise and InspectMate from my company (Knights Software) as examples of "data collection" software.

    There are other "Reporting Software" packages that have an add-on "data collection" piece of software that helps somewhat to eliminate the rekeying issue but you still need their "Reporting Software" also to actually produce the report and their interface on the data collection side still mimics their Reporting interface which makes it more difficult to use in the field. Examples of this would be 3D, HomeGauge and Porter Valley.

    Knights Software Solutions, Inc.
    www.knightssoftware.com
    "Leading handheld inspection software for 15 years."

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Jeff,

    I guess the correct term for the program I wrote and used would be Data Collection / Report Writing software.

    I collected my data as I did my inspection, the screen did not look like the report, yet, with the click of an "OK" button after collecting the data, the data and information I collected was placed into the report.

    I could click my "Edit" button at any time and access the report (which was under the overlaying data collection program) and edit it at will, pressing the "Esc" key to return to my data collection program.

    Virtually all of my report was written at the same time I collected the data, including inserting coder references, etc.

    My program was also laid out "geographically" and "systematically", i.e., I collected my data "geographically and systematically" while the data was entered into my report "systematically and geographically".

    I could be in a, for example, bedroom (geographically), collect the data for each system (systematically) in that bedroom, then the data would be entered into the report under the heading for that bedroom (geographically) and into the systems sections also (systematically) with reference to that bedroom.

    Alas, though, I worked with Word Perfect, so my program ran on top of Word Perfect, and most people used Word.

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

  35. #35

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Jeff,

    I guess the correct term for the program I wrote and used would be Data Collection / Report Writing software.

    I collected my data as I did my inspection, the screen did not look like the report, yet, with the click of an "OK" button after collecting the data, the data and information I collected was placed into the report.

    I could click my "Edit" button at any time and access the report (which was under the overlaying data collection program) and edit it at will, pressing the "Esc" key to return to my data collection program.

    Virtually all of my report was written at the same time I collected the data, including inserting coder references, etc.

    My program was also laid out "geographically" and "systematically", i.e., I collected my data "geographically and systematically" while the data was entered into my report "systematically and geographically".

    I could be in a, for example, bedroom (geographically), collect the data for each system (systematically) in that bedroom, then the data would be entered into the report under the heading for that bedroom (geographically) and into the systems sections also (systematically) with reference to that bedroom.

    Alas, though, I worked with Word Perfect, so my program ran on top of Word Perfect, and most people used Word.

    Jerry,

    Did the entire report have to be recreated each time you clicked the "OK" button ?

    Would the interface have worked efficiently on a PocketPC sized screen also ?

    Because of your description of the "Edit" button I am assuming that the actual data selected during the data collection process was static and could not be changed until it was converted into the report side which I then am assuming that there were codes that were used during the data collection portion that were mapped to the actual text it represented.

    I am just curious as to how your software worked on top of WordPerfect. In my opinion you do not need to see what the actual report is going to look like until after you are done doing the inspection and not during the inspection.

    Our software also lets you collect the data in a room-by-room fashion and then each item can be mapped to a report we call the Major Systems report which would list all plumbing issues, electrical issues, structural issues together even thou they occured in different rooms.

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 06-12-2008 at 08:56 AM. Reason: formatting
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Did the entire report have to be recreated each time you clicked the "OK" button ?
    No. The report was created, and added to, every time I clicked 'OK', the new information was simply placed into the underlying report in the proper locations.

    Would the interface have worked efficiently on a PocketPC sized screen also ?
    Possibly, for those with better eyes. I have trouble reading those things anyway, so for me, no, but then the Pocket PC would be too small anyway.

    Because of your description of the "Edit" button I am assuming that the actual data selected during the data collection process was static and could not be changed until it was converted into the report side which I then am assuming that there were codes that were used during the data collection portion that were mapped to the actual text it represented.
    No, once I clicked 'OK', that information was inserted into the report, I could then click the 'Edit' buttons (depending on which one I clicked depended on where I went to in the report) and I could edit anything I had already entered.

    I am just curious as to how your software worked on top of WordPerfect.
    I'll attach a couple of screen captures showing a typical sequence, the resulting information was then inserted into the underlying report.

    In my opinion you do not need to see what the actual report is going to look like until after you are done doing the inspection and not during the inspection.
    I agree ... "you do not need to" ... but it allows you to edit and make changes easier, and, if you want to go back and check something you forgot to look at while reviewing what you are editing, you are still on-site. Of course, a better inspector than I would probably not need to use the edit feature and thus would not be on-site when they did look at the report.

    Our software also lets you collect the data in a room-by-room fashion and then each item can be mapped to a report we call the Major Systems report which would list all plumbing issues, electrical issues, structural issues together even thou they occured in different rooms.
    Sounds like it does the same thing my program did.

    I could collect all the data at a given location (say a room), then insert that data into the report under each system (structural, plumbing, electrical, etc., plus, when at a given room, that information would also be entered into the report under that locations heading.

    The information was in two forms: geographical (room by room, etc., with everything found at that location listed) and systematically (electrical, plumbing, etc, with all related system components together in their appropriate sections, with the locations as a heading for each comment.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  37. #37

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No. The report was created, and added to, every time I clicked 'OK', the new information was simply placed into the underlying report in the proper locations.



    Possibly, for those with better eyes. I have trouble reading those things anyway, so for me, no, but then the Pocket PC would be too small anyway.



    No, once I clicked 'OK', that information was inserted into the report, I could then click the 'Edit' buttons (depending on which one I clicked depended on where I went to in the report) and I could edit anything I had already entered.



    I'll attach a couple of screen captures showing a typical sequence, the resulting information was then inserted into the underlying report.



    I agree ... "you do not need to" ... but it allows you to edit and make changes easier, and, if you want to go back and check something you forgot to look at while reviewing what you are editing, you are still on-site. Of course, a better inspector than I would probably not need to use the edit feature and thus would not be on-site when they did look at the report.



    Sounds like it does the same thing my program did.

    I could collect all the data at a given location (say a room), then insert that data into the report under each system (structural, plumbing, electrical, etc., plus, when at a given room, that information would also be entered into the report under that locations heading.

    The information was in two forms: geographical (room by room, etc., with everything found at that location listed) and systematically (electrical, plumbing, etc, with all related system components together in their appropriate sections, with the locations as a heading for each comment.

    Jerry,

    Couple things....

    There is always a misconception that PocketPCs are hard to read. Not true at all. In fact the 4 inch diagonal screen HP iPaq PocketPCs with 480x640 resolution screens are easier to read then most small laptops. The fonts are actually physically larger and because of the resolution are very sharp. The menus and checkboxes are actually bigger then checkboxes and menus on software running on a laptop. There is even a 5 inch diagonal screen PocketPC that was just released this year. Inspectors need to see these devices for themselves live. I have NEVER had an inspector look at our software on a PocketPC and said "I can't read that. It is too small." They are always surprised at how readable it is if they had that preconception.

    Could you select multiple comments then for a specific item in your software and each one would get appended to the specific area of the report or did you have to use the Edit button ?

    I am assuming then that there was a lot of Edit buttons on the data collection interface screen then...one for each specific item in the report.

    You don't need to have a "report style" interface to switch to to be able to edit and review your items for the inspection. As long as you can easily see all your comments you selected for each component in the report you can edit them there and review the actual text for each item on the screen in the "data collection" side of it. The actual creation of the report can be done at the conclusion of the inspection process.

    Good discussions by the way.

    Jeff

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 06-12-2008 at 01:33 PM. Reason: good discussions
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I might as well add my 2 cents in.

    I use the most basic software with just a narrative report with a comment section. If I write something I have not written before I just copy then paste it into my comments under that section. I don't use the drop down section much. I do not run into the exact/identical concern that would be written the exact same way (except the basics)

    I inspect the outside and the roof and put it into my computer when done. I inspect the inside of the home and may stop back at my computer a few times when inspecting the interior depending on the amount of findings (sometimes just once with a cream puff home). I inspect the attic and go back to my computer (we don't have basements down here) I go into the crawl if there is one, go back to my computer, finish the report, add the pictures and go on to the next one. When I am done with my inspection I am done with my report. Fresh in mind, fresh in the computer, fresh off to the next inspection.

    I have tried many types of software and by the time you do this and then go back and do this and then go back and go back and go back, it all takes way to long. Put it into this hand held, down load it into the computer and, and, and, and it is just to much.

    Ted
    Just my opinion

    You folks that live up north where I use to might make a difference with my opinion due to the time of Christ homes up there.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 06-12-2008 at 05:11 PM. Reason: Wrong word

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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    Could you select multiple comments then for a specific item in your software and each one would get appended to the specific area of the report ...
    Yes.

    I am assuming then that there was a lot of Edit buttons on the data collection interface screen then...one for each specific item in the report.
    Depends on how you use and place them. See attached screen captures.

    The first one is the System Menu, where I could go wherever I wanted to.
    The second one is what I would see after clicking on the "Electric" button. The third one is what I would see after clicking on "Panels/Switchboards". The last one is what I would see after entering the information about the panel, that last one let me enter was was not right with it.

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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I know this is probably going to sound pretentious ... but 'great minds think alike'.
    I just read Jerry's post a few up about his report writing data collection software; geographic and systematic set-up.
    The explanation fascinates me. On the one hand because it is such a great marketing/self-promoting way of explaining a way of doing a report that is so obvious to me. Jerry's essential set-up is what I fabricated for myself in Word a few years ago.
    This is not a slam Jerry. Since marketing is my weak point, I quite frankly would probably never have thought of explaining what I do in that manner.
    HI inspections software has always been too remedial for me. I don't need cut&paste phrasing. My layout and appearance isn't as nice as some I've seen but the info is rock solid.
    Jerry, can I steal/buy the 'geographic/systematic' phrase?
    It has always amazed me when guys go into a room multiple times to look at different things. Each room in my report has it's own page(s) and everything within that room is on that page(s).
    It isn't that hard to automate a template file for easy multiple data entry.

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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Jerry, can I steal/buy the 'geographic/systematic' phrase?
    No problemo.

    The first attached screen capture is for Interior Rooms and is where I enter the what room/where/what is there in it other information. The second screen capture is where I enter what is wrong with what.

    The report places all that information together under interior room (so you could be in that room and read everything that is not right with it in one continuous section.

    Then, that information is also placed in the system areas where there were deficiencies. An example would be if there were no smoke detectors, that would also be put into the electrical section as well as the interior section. If something was not right with the windows, that would go to the structure/window section where all the other windows were.

    When the report is done, the client can read through all the interior rooms and know what is wrong with each room.

    However, for the repairing contractors, say the HVAC person, all the HVAC items which were not right will all be located in the HVAC section. No need to go through the entire report to hunt out what they need to address. Same for the electrician, the roofer, the plumber, etc.

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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I also have major mechanicals and exterior on separate pages. I did it because I thought it was simple and easy for the client to find info. I never thought about convenience to contractors until a client mentioned it to me. They were able to send out individual pages to contractors for bid and not have to give the contractors unnecessary info about the house.
    Exterior
    Structural
    Mechanicals/Systems
    Interior rooms
    Additional items
    People seem to like it.
    I saw another HI's report recently. Most everything was listed as 'Serviceable'. Some items had one sentence after that. I don't even really know what that means. Maybe that's his way of saying it's basically OK. If I were the client I would be pissed to get that BS.

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  43. #43

    Talking Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    I saw another HI's report recently. Most everything was listed as 'Serviceable'. Some items had one sentence after that. I don't even really know what that means. Maybe that's his way of saying it's basically OK. If I were the client I would be pissed to get that BS.
    That is a whole other thread on ratings and what type of rating inspectors use, if any, in their report. We could discuss for weeks whether you should use the words "Serviceable" or "Functional" or "Acceptable". Then get a few lawyers in the mix discussing these words and that is a whole summer discussion getting nowhere fast.

    I think that an Inspector should just put a big red "OK" stamp on a blank piece of paper with the property address on it and be done with it....oh wait....the agents wouldn't be happy with the red...that could be considered being an "alarmist". :-)

    Jeff Knight

    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 06-13-2008 at 08:02 AM.
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  44. #44

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Jerry,
    Could you show us an example of just a specific section of the end resulting report ? like the Electrical section and how it is shows all the electrical issues in each of the rooms that have an electrical type item ?

    I don't think your data collection interface would work currently on a smaller device to be carried around with you during the inspection. Too many large boxes and lists. You could change the interface some and change the selectable boxes into selectable list items instead and that would make it easier to run on a smaller device plus it would make it possible to duplicate the items on the fly...for example if there were multiple garage doors or fireplaces you can just select the line item and duplicate it. See attached as an example.

    First attachment would be your main screen of Categories/rooms to go into. When you tap on a Category in the list it opens to the second attachment which is the items to be inspected in that Category. When you tap on any item in that list it brings you to the 3rd screen where you can check items in the Materials tab or the 4th screen enter all your comments from a dropdown list or on the last attachment even have lookup info like you have. The last attachment is a screenshot from the PocketPC screen version even.

    This type of interface design will work on almost any size screen because of the dynamic lists that are used instead of static boxes. Just FYI.

    Jeff Knight

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    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 06-13-2008 at 08:06 AM.
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  45. #45

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I might as well add my 2 cents in.

    I use the most basic software with just a narrative report with a comment section. If I write something I have not written before I just copy then paste it into my comments under that section. I don't use the drop down section much. I do not run into the exact/identical concern that would be written the exact same way (except the basics)

    I inspect the outside and the roof and put it into my computer when done. I inspect the inside of the home and may stop back at my computer a few times when inspecting the interior depending on the amount of findings (sometimes just once with a cream puff home). I inspect the attic and go back to my computer (we don't have basements down here) I go into the crawl if there is one, go back to my computer, finish the report, add the pictures and go on to the next one. When I am done with my inspection I am done with my report. Fresh in mind, fresh in the computer, fresh off to the next inspection.

    I have tried many types of software and by the time you do this and then go back and do this and then go back and go back and go back, it all takes way to long. Put it into this hand held, down load it into the computer and, and, and, and it is just to much.

    Ted
    Just my opinion

    You folks that live up north where I use to might make a difference with my opinion due to the time of Christ homes up there.
    Ted,
    Maybe I am confused but your description of how you do your inspection above sounds a lot like you are the one doing a lot of "you do this and then go back and do this and then go back and go back and go back". With a handheld you are entering it as you are doing your inspection and there is no going back to anything except at the end of the inspection going to within 30ft of your portable printer and printing your report wirelessly. Maybe I am missing something in what you are describing as to how you do your inspection and report.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Jeff,

    Keep in mind that I started my report program out in 1994 on Windows 3.1, for use on my then sub-notebook computer ... a Compaq Aero 25.

    And that I have not needed, nor used, my report program for 2-1/2 years since I retired from home inspections.

    Thus, my program is now a "dinosaur".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  47. #47

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Jeff,

    Keep in mind that I started my report program out in 1994 on Windows 3.1, for use on my then sub-notebook computer ... a Compaq Aero 25.

    And that I have not needed, nor used, my report program for 2-1/2 years since I retired from home inspections.

    Thus, my program is now a "dinosaur".
    I understand that and I thought that was the case but I thought I would show you some of my screen shots since you were nice enough to show me some of yours.

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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Post 44 written like a true checkbox advocate.

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  49. #49

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Post 44 written like a true checkbox advocate.
    Markus,
    Not sure what you mean. I do not in any way, shape or form advocate "true checkbox" type reports. If anyone actually knows what that means. Our report is what I call a "semi-narrative" style report in a self-defineable tabular style. Attached is a sample page.

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    Last edited by Jeff Knight; 06-13-2008 at 10:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Knight View Post
    I would show you some of my ... since you were nice enough to show me some of yours.
    I thank you for showing my yours.

    Trying to ridicule my 3-1/2" floppy?

    I was just explaining, though, that, while your reporting system was designed for todays computers, ... back then ... only Dick Tracy had that fancy wrist watch TV and cell phone gadget.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    As one of the resident dinosaurs on this BB I began with Doss in 86 in a reporting system developed by Ben Vitcov an early pioneer in home inspections in the SF bay area. (San Jose to be exact) It was a system by system approach and I thought then and still do today that it was one of the best I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen plenty of them. By 1992 I had developed a windows program that I constantly tweaked until I hung up my flashlight and ladder at the end of 98 to concentrate on teaching, consulting and providing litigation support.

    I’ve shared my report verbiage with many CREIA members and constantly see some of my old expressions in doing inspection report reviews. Basically in our profession we, ah-hem, “borrow” from each other and I have no shame in admitting that whenever I found a better expression, verb, description, deferral, or disclaimer, I stole it.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all report verbiage was basically alike? Then it would only separate the ability of the detective and code knowledgeable from the pack. However, it’s not just knowledge and experience that is required for any degree of success in this profession, but having communication skills and an overriding dedication to detail, but even then your number can come up in the litigation lottery.

    PS: raise your fee schedule!

    Jerry McCarthy
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    Smile Re: Time to generate a report

    Hey Jeff

    I know I made it sound like running back and forth but in reality I may hit the computer a few times so in fact when I am done with my inspection I am done with my report.

    Not knocking other software but 3, 4 or more different screens for different areas and pull this up and that up. Hand held, lap top. I have a drop down menu that has concerns in it in the section I'm in, drop it down, hit the button, on to the next section, done. I usually type everything in anyway even with the comment drop downs. It just works for me, thats all. Like I said just adding my 2 cents in. Oops, 2 cents is only worth a half a cent now. By tomorrow it may not be worth anything.

    I don't use a voice recorder either. I have never had anyone ever come back at me for anything all the way back to my first inspection decades ago with the exception of someone looking for something for free and not having to do with my findings.

    It works for me.

    Thanks

    Ted


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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Jerry you bring back old times. I started off with a comador 64 computer and a Smith Corona Standard And ElectricTypewriter for the printer.
    The dot printer at that time just did not get.

    We have some very nice stuff to play with today.

    Best

    Ron


  54. #54
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I have never mastered how to complete the inspection report on-site and still be available for the client during the inspection. I have a lap top and pocket PC that now stay in the office. Congrats to you guys who can do the inspection and report in three hours. My product was inferior when I tried it so I went back to the 3 hour inspection and a 2 hour report.


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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    We have mostly slab homes in North Central Texas. The average home takes me about 4 hours, inspecting, reporting and doing a walk thru with the clients. I almost always insist that I can at least be there by myself during the inspection and they show up a few hours later. I am printing the report and doing the walk thru in the end. The only thing I might have to do when I get back to the house is email a copy off to the Realtor for the client if the Realtor does not come in the end.

    My first is 8 to 12 and the second from 12:30 to 1:00 at the latest and I am driving off at 4:30 5 pm.

    Do I have seriously longer reports some times as well as the inspection. Oh yeah. It is always the little turd home with everything wrong with it that you did not get near enough money for. Are some shorter, yes.

    Key to report writing is, just do it. Do not let yourself wander or stray. Once you have something to put in the report just do it and do not let anyone interfere with it, period. If someone talks just keep on going. If I let myself be interrupted when entering into the report it takes forever. Not to mention screwing things up due to interruptions.

    If the house is in good shape I will do the entire inspection then go right to the computer and fingers away. The only time I stop is to take a quick check on something. I type almost the entire report. I practically never use drop down comments. Every single item you inspect and find a concern on is always just slightly different than the last house. To find the perfect item to drop down and click on and then change a little wording to suit that inspection you might as well just type out your thought.

    Just me

    Ted

    This part is an edit. If I go home to do the report or 2 later It takes me for ever. Answering the phone, turning on the radio or tele, talking to future clients, eating. Holy moly, I'll be finishing up at ten in the evening.

    I never use to do the reports on sight. Always to many interruptions. When I started a long time ago forcing myself to do it, it became easier and easier. Just force yourself to and I am not talking methodically painstakingly and slowly writing the report. Push it, worry about it in the end, correct errors in typing at the end, if you can't find a drop down just type it. Its kinda like being in the military in the beginning. You think your arms are going to break, you think you are going to drown etc, etc, the drill Sargent or instructor just pushes you to and maybe beyond your breaking point. Just do it. I told this to an inspector that does at least a couple of inspections a day and use to be up till midnight after all the running, inspecting report writing, walk arounds, emailing. He tried it and pushed himself to just do it and he is done now when he gets home and might have to email a report off.

    Ted

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 06-14-2008 at 05:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    Average 1/2 hour to drive to and from job. 15 minutes to 1/2 hour to go over contract. 2 1/2 to 3 hours to do the inspection (average square footage is 1,200 to 2,700). 1 1/2 hours to write up the report. 1/2 hour for the miscellaneous things such as writing up the contract, taking the phone call and other things.

    The fastest way (in my opinion) is hand written reports. 1/2 hour drive time. 1/2 hour miscellaneous time. 2 1/2 to 3 hours to do the inspection. 1/2 hour to make sure ever thing is written in the report at the end of the home inspection.

    Setting up an office or a quiet place is needed or I can add another hour on the report writing.
    Now that is a poor looking office if I ever saw one. Where is all the junk that is suppose to be lying scattered about. Jeez, how can you find everything when it is all put away like that. Such an orderly world.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  57. #57
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    I was reading some information on the computer about using two monitors with one CPU. I realized I had all the components to set this up. This took me no longer than an hour to set up last night.

    I must say that this is a great feature. If anyone has the components or has to spend a little bit of money to make it happen, go for it. Windows XP makes it to easy.

    Note: I posted this here because I noticed that some others, such as Jerry P., has this kind of set up.

    Picture of the office with two monitors.

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  58. #58
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    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Now that is a poor looking office if I ever saw one. Where is all the junk that is suppose to be lying scattered about. Jeez, how can you find everything when it is all put away like that. Such an orderly world.
    I know what you're saying!


  59. #59

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Can you enlighten me as to why someone would want 2 monitors running off of the same computer?

    Geez, I thought I was high tech working off of 2 laptops at the same time.........


  60. #60
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    So you can always keep an eye on Inspection News while working, of course

    How about that storm, Brandon? Did you get any work through it? I actually have an inspection tomorrow and have to find all my stuff.


  61. #61
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,307

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Can you enlighten me as to why someone would want 2 monitors running off of the same computer?
    Because you can open up two windows and the same time (codes, documents, installation instructions, whatever) and copy and paste with ease, or work on photos and the report at the same time.

    The advantages are endless, try it, you'll like it. You'll never want to go back to one display. I would even like to have three displays, maybe four, working off one computer. You could do so much ...

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

  62. #62
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mustang
    Posts
    215

    Talking Re: Time to generate a report

    Less than 2 hours under 2500 SF give at the inspection. I made my own report as well.

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  63. #63
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,517

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Tony,

    How's the ole ticker acting now since your surgery?

    Rick


  64. #64
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: Time to generate a report

    Tony, It looks like your daughter is taking the information during the home inspection; how long have you been doing it that way?


  65. #65
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mustang
    Posts
    215

    Talking Re: Time to generate a report

    Kevin, 8 years now, notice we both have headsets and the printer is in the box as well. My 43 year old best friends wife will love you for that. Rick, I start back to inspecting on the 5th. I feel great except for a dead spot on my chest that has no feelings and I can't stand for my shirt or anything else to touch it.


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