Avoiding Litigation: A Continuing Dialogue by Dr. Keith Swift


Dr. Swift’s articles about Avoiding Litigation are very helpful - I’ve learned a lot by reading them. But it doesn’t seem accurate to call it a “continuing dialog.” A dialog implies a conversation, and there’s no mechanism to respond directly to Dr. Swift - a couple of weeks ago when I wanted to ask him a question, I could not find his e-mail address anywhere on the message board or the member list. This doesn’t make the articles less valuable, but they aren’t a “dialog.”

I have read much of Mr. Swifts work and he is on the ball. Couldn’t agree more. His work should be required reading for all home inspectors.

Raymond Wand
Alton, ON

Comment to Dr. Keith Swift;:slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I have read his letter and would like to comment on a few items of it’s contents.

Comment was made that to be a professional inspector you must be well-trained and training on a continued basis.
I totally agree with this comment. And I believe that NACHI, has covered this territory properly.

I don’t quite understand his statement, that the Courts would title us (Home Inspectors) as Specialist, because , I do not think we are.

The definition of Generalist= one who is knowledgeable in different fields.
Specialist= one who devotes himself to one subject or to one particular branch of subject or pursuit.

Specialized tools, to me, tend to bring you in the specialization category because of what they are. No one else has them, therfore you are specializing yourself by using them.

I don’t think that I would ever endorse a roof even with one layer. I am not a specialist in that trade. I would, on the other hand indicate the condition.
I guess that if all the work were accomplished by professionals, we would not have a job, right? ha. ha.

I can tell Mr. Swift is of the PHD level and I am not, because he is politically correct in his statements. I am only an Epert=having made trial,experienced, skillful; taught by use or practice; adroit for my Canadien friends.

I think there is a misconception in the publics eyes as to what a Home Inspector is.
If this were to be explained verbally, as much as it is redundant to the written report, it might help you stay out of litigation. More education and recourseful acummullation of data would be helpful to anyone.

I defended a Contractor last year as an expert witness and House Inspector of detailed performance.
The Contractor was kicked off the job for building this client’s house when it was 75% complete. Court case was for non-standard performance.
I inspected the house after it had been completed by someonelse.
To make a long story short, the Contractor was sued for $40,000 and the Contractor counter sued for the same amount. Settlement= $25,000 for Owner, balance for Contractor, he owed it the the building supply that had a suit in also.

Litagtion= no matter if you win or lose, there are no winners

I do have to say that in the Home Inspection business, you need to do your homework before and after the inspections.
Best advice, as Roy Cook would say; Talk alot, and note everything. Sorry Roy and can’t remember how you say it. ha. ha…:wink: :wink:

Make what you are and not make what you are not.


I say “dialogue” because of the message board, and my hope that inspectors will continue to dialogue, or share, with each other. Litigation is a very real threat in our industry, and the our clients and the courts do tend to regard us as specialists, not that they’re right. As to the specialized instruments, you’re also right. But I honestly believe that they offer me greater protection against litigation than I would otherwise have. However, remember, that I do not purport to be an expert in legal matters or in issues involving inspections, for that matter. Sorry that my email address was not available. It is kswift@pvsoftware.com

As always Mr. Swift, I enjoy everything you write. And boy do I agree with this
“Even when a roof appears to be new, I recommend that my clients obtain documentation that would ensure that the roof was installed with permit and by a professional.”

2 years ago I had a new roof installed. It leaks around the skylight…and the wood stove. I have learned the roofer/contractor wasn’t even licensed, insured or bonded when he installed the roof.

thanks for the articles…good reading

Dr. Keith Smith;

I hope I did not affend you with my previous post and would like to add that your readings are benificial to all members and that is good.

Dialogue is good for everyone and I was just expressing my opinion, and as you know we all have one, but I somewhat try to keep it intelligent as a Frenchmen can be.

Maybe it is time to find out from our legal friends out there as to why the Court Systems have baptized Home Inspectors as Specialists, when in by the book of learning, School of Hard Knox, I could prove otherwise.

Alot of the education provided to consumers that in turn hire us, have been educated by not so ligite RealEstate Marketers and a wrong impression has been brought upon us inadvertently through these actions.

RealEstate Agents, trying to escape the realm of liability, have forced the Home Inspection constituents to further their type of inspection and performance. This therefore, has created a legal eye assumption that all Home Inspectors have now become Specialized and now have become more liable due to their specific type of conclusions that have been created by this whole mess of liability transfer.

I for one, am a strong believer in the way NACHI Agreement was written.

Would it be conceivalbe to maybe educate the Public Home Buyers more as to what we do and how?, to eliminate us from possible liability suits? For as long as we are or have been labled Specialists we are in trouble.

Has the fact that Home Inspectors are not:

Code Enforcement Officesors

Maybe the Legal Sytem needs to be updated in the definition of a Home Inspector.

I believe we have some liability to some extent, but not as a Specialist.
I believe Liability stops at the amount of Fraudulent statements or reports that might conspire through one’s career startup. That is what you need to wary for.

Education as to what is required as a NACHI Inspector to me has been covered by NACHI. Read the SOP, it explains all, and any deviation from this protcoled outline, is playing in danergous territory.

I have been a Builder (Commercial) all my life and would never categorize myself as a specialist, because of the definition, I do not do just one category of building. I do some of the time, most of the time, but not all the time.

Make what you are and not what you are not.

Hope I have not bored you to much.

I enjoy your writings, and keep it up.

Thank you.


:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I was certainly not offended. Thank you for your observations. What a boring place the world would be if we all thought and felt alike.

Thanks for even reading it.
I am looking foward to anymore of your writings, mabe I can comment to that also. ha. ha. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Thank and take care;


In such situations like this it is best to keep it a dialogue open to all by posting on this message board. This allows others to benefit from the dialogue.

If you must privately email Keith or anyone, you have several options the easiest of which are:

  1. You can private messsage them from this message board by clicking on their name at the top of any of their posts. This brings up a drop-down menu and an option to send a private message. You can also view their public profile which has a send email option.

  2. You can click the “Featured Inspectors” link http://www.nachi.org/memberlist.htm in the left blue border of every page of nachi.org to get their contact info.

  3. And if the person holds a position at NACHI, as Dr. Swift does, you can click the “Contact Us” http://www.nachi.org/contact.htm button at the top left corner of any page of NACHI to get their contact info.

I thought this was an open Dialogue?
Educate me, I was computer iliterate five years ago and have not been tested since, so I have no Idea as to how I do this protocol of procedure.
I was making an honest comment hoping it was available to all. If I did something wrong, I would appreciate how to do it. I am a great NACHI fan and hope that I can learn from these post as well as what I can teach in an unorthodox way to some.


Sorry if my procedure was inccorrect.

Marcel How do I add smiles to this quick reply? (smile)