Defect discovered after reviewing my published report...what to do?

Hi All!

Just got my first inspection job a few days ago. New to the communitiy…I published a report a few days ago, sent to client, and discovered that I forgot to include a defect. There were about 10 other significant defects and many maintenance defects that were reported on and on the report and I spent several hours dialing in my new software and completing the report and just didn’t catch this one until going back and reviewing the report after it had been sent and a few days have passed. A combo water heater/furnace roof vent was only about 20 inches high and didn’t have the 10 feet horizontal clearance to the roof, more like 8 feet and that point was maybe a foot below the high point of the ridge of the roof. I don’t believe it to be a significant defect but a defect none the less.

This was a seller client that I’ve never spoken with as the listing agent was the one that contacted me and ordered the report. When I inspected the home, they were already showing the home so the report has probably already been shared.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as to what you highly experienced inspectors would do in this situation.


I would update the report and re-send it with a note stating that the previous report was missing a defect, so you’ve updated it as such. Explain the addition, and let them know they can ask any questions you may have.

No one is perfect – revising a report is important. If you missed something, let them know.


Questions to ask yourself before committing to an addendum.
1: severity of said defect?
2: safety issue?
3: can it be seen as a limitation?
4: has the home been sold or is the contract finalized?
Then I would create the addendum. (an item of additional material, typically omissions, added at the end of a book or other publication)
We make mistakes. It is judging the severity of the mistake we become better inspector.

Reminder, Limitations plays a very important role in the report. I include reams of limitations the reporting software I use. Carson Dunlop HORIZON.

As well, pass on any liability to referred professionals.
It is very simple by the way. Refer… When referring, refer a licensed contractor.
At the end of your recommendations, for defects or deficiencies for the structure, system or component you add; “Act upon any recommendations therein” … thus giving yourself a blanket pardon for missing anything a professional could not find.
Hope that helps.

I would issue a “supplemental report”, and make darn sure it was the only supplemental report.

1 Like

Welcome to the forum David.

Firstly we’ve all done it. I would call the client to let them know I would be issuing a revised report with the issue noted.

Then you can do it a few different ways. Call it a revised or supplemental report or you can rename the report or just having a new date for the report could work. It depends on your state.

Lastly this is not your concern for this topic of reissuing a report with additional information that you have.


I disagree. If the contract was finalized, meaning that, the client negotiate in good faith and the offer accepted by both parties, closing the door to further negotiations, the prospective purchaser can make a justifiable claim.

Maybe you’ve been sued a bit too much, I don’t know, but IMO once you are aware of a defect that wasn’t in your report no matter how minor it may be, you are better off immediately notifying your client of the defect. That way you have made a good faith effort to inform your client rather than keeping it from them for fear of a claim.


Agree with Tony.

Notify your client as soon as you find the item you forgot. It happens and will happen again as you get busier. Not something anyone wants but it happens.

Tell them a revised report is coming and to destroy the first one.


Thank you all for your input, I really appreciate it!


Ate you sure that is a defect?


I agree with Christopher Currins…What is being described is likely not a defect. The distances cited are for chimneys NOT gas appliance vent termination. They are very different (yet this misunderstanding sure seems to come up a lot here). There is a HUGE difference between wood burning smoke, embers, etc. and clean burning natural gas exhaust.

As for the main question, I agree with Robert Young’s list. I’ve thought about things after the fact or realized I omitted something and don’t ever recall hearing back. I figure every once in a while it’s okay if I put out a report like my competition :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Addendum to the original report with new comments

1 Like

Timing is everything… if it were just this easy you could write an addendum report right after the lawsuit is filed.

Thanks again everyone for chiming in. It looks like there are many perspectives on this issue.
The reason I felt this is a defect is because of the training I received from both ICA and InterNACHI.
I learned the 2-10 rule. Not saying I’m right or wrong, just trying to learn and play by-the-book and inspect properly. Here is an excerpt from InterNACHI’s “Mastering Roof Inspections: Roof Penetrations”. It appears to me to include gas-fired combustion vents:

Vent pipes on roof Hopefully I uploaded this image correctly.

1 Like

Text directly above your picture: “This often (but not always) means that the vent should follow the “2-10 Rule” required by building code regulations for chimney terminations.”

IMO, that is poorly written and conveys information that will be inaccurate the majority of the time. “often (but not always)” I’ve never been an inspector to spend my off-time pouring over installation specs of gas appliances but I’m fairly comfortable stating that few (none?) recommend the 2-10 rule that is usually for wood burning chimneys, etc.

Basically, the course material is erring on the extreme side of caution and recommending “further evaluation” like they do for 5000 other things in every inspection. Spoiler alert - if you follow this advice you will never work since you are providing no service - A blind mouse can walk into a house and recommend “someone else” come evaluate everything. OP, I’m not trying to give you a hard time - this is actually a great question and topic.

Table of Rooftop Chimney Clearances for Metal B-Vent Chimneys & Flues
A: 8/12 to 9/12 2.0 feet above the roof surface
B: 9/12 to 10/12 2.5 feet above the roof surface
C: 10/12 to 11/12 3.25 feet above the roof surface
D: 11/12 to 12/12 4.0 feet above the roof surface
InspecaPedia: Type B-Vents Chimney Rooftop Clearances

Honesty is the best policy and it’s better late than never unless you hope you don’t get sued over it if you didn’t call it out and it fails and causes a costly repair. Personally, I would have reached out to the seller to discuss the issue…it’s only been 3 days….the appraisal probably hasn’t yet been done by this time, and they haven’t gone to closing yet. I had a similar situation when it was dry at the time of inspection so no moisture issue was noted in my report, but 2 days later when I returned to the home to get my radon unit, it had rained, and the basement had several moisture issues. I called the client to discuss, took lots of pics, and added an addendum to my original report concerning the moisture issue. The client was very appreciative. Had I said nothing, I may have had a day in court.

1 Like

I think there multiple situations where an amended report is not only justifiable but a necessity.

In this case, the flue is within one foot of the “rule of thumb”. Remember, this is a 1965 home. So what is the standard? Only the furnace age and manufacturer installation instructions would be applicable.

A recommendation could be made, but this is not a material defect in my opinion.


Understood, this is the constructive feedback I’m here for and that makes complete sense to me. The items that DID make it in my report were items that would destroy the house or kill people. As a home repair professional and someone with a little common sense, this issue never jumped out at me and said “They have to fix this”. Thanks for helping me understand that as a home inspector, I need to be subjectively objective, or is it objectively subjective? Lol

After posting this, I took a tip from my favorite home inspection show and went to google maps to look at all the other homes on this street. Virtually every other home had the same venting heights, and it’s a low sloped roof so I agree that this is not a defect that needs to be reported.


Welcome to our forum, David!

1 Like