Deficient item affecting multiple systems

I cannot find the recent thread where at one point we talked about writing up a deficient item in multiple systems (as I was trained to do), so I’m starting a new thread here since it applies to TREC specifications and others (not from TX) will still argue this is just to buff up reports etc…but it won’t matter as they aren’t under TREC rules.

I wrote TREC to ask about a few details on the report form and how I could make modifications to the report in order to make it easier to read and yet still “pass” their form.
Since I was writing them about that, I decided to ask them this:

When an item is deficient and is connected to multiple systems, does this deficiency have to be repeated in the different systems?

Here is the answer I got from:
Sharon Harris
Standards & Enforcement Commission
Texas Real Estate Commission

“Yes, a deficiency that affects more than one system should generally be reported in both/all systems affected by the deficiency.”

So there we have it…

It would have been nice if she would have been more specific.

She wrote:
A deficiency that affects…

How about: that has affected…

Or: that may affect…

Or: that will affect…

Then she included the word “generally” which can be taken to mean that not doing this every time is ok.

This is true and I was waiting for someone to point out the “generally”.

In any case, just to CMA, I will copy and past the deficiencies that affected the different systems, in their respective systems at the time of the inspection.

Now I remember that the thread about that conversation was not on NACHI but was on Home Inspector Pro… :shock::mrgreen:

At the TAREI seminar this Saturday in Arlington, the instructor J. Fuller said the same thing … Defects affects MULTIPLE systems, REPORT it in each section that it affects.

He’s consistent with how he taught us when he was an instructor for AHIT.

In 2010 203,637 homes were sold in Texas. There were 2200 inspectors. That is 92 inspections per inspector. TREC had about 50 inspector complaints for the year. Most were thrown out. If 20 ended up with a TREC enforcement action then that’s 1 enforcement action for every 10,181 inspections. If you do 92 inspections a year you will have one TREC complaint every 110 years and be broke. If you quadruple that production will have one complaint every 27 years.

Moral: Don’t worry too much about TREC. Report writing is a skill and art. If you place the result of a defect in the cause of defect I doubt you will get in trouble. Example.

Roof section: The roof has leaked and stained the ceiling. Repair.
Ceiling section: No comment

Your probably OK. Even a judge would roll their eyes. :roll:

Roof section: No comment
Ceiling section: The ceiling is stained

You may get a complaint. The odds of the complaint going to TREC are pretty slim. Not saying ignore TREC; just focus on more important matters.

Merry Christmas.

Seems a hyperlink added automatically would be cool in a software.

John, well said! My thoughts exactly.

Good point, John.

William, in this situation I usually add a comment to “Also See ‘X’ Section for photos and comments” - on the same deficiency that overlaps sections.

It seems redundant to me to have duplicate photos and the same comments on 2 or three sections in the report, further confusing clients.

If you add overlaping defencies the summery will be so long It could further confuse the client.

I too may include an “Also see ‘X’ Section for photos and comments” but only because I want to, not because I am required to. For instructors or TREC Enforcement staff to claim otherwise is in error in my opinion. There is nothing in the TREC SOP that requires such. But, if that is taught as a ‘best practice’ then fine but it’s not a requirement. I know that at least one clarification RFI has been sent to TREC general counsel regarding this topic and I suspect they will ‘overturn on appeal’ or modify the initial reply from Ms. Harris.

I agree with Y’all and the redundancy.
I was instructed by J. Fuller to do so and I’ve seen a few softwares out there (when I was first looking for one, but can’t find them anymore) that had an easy way to copy the deficiency in multiple areas of the report.
Any time I come to a mutli-area deficiency, I copy/paste the item and but keep on writing the report in the order the systems are placed in the report. Once I get to the redundant item, I change it a bit to apply better to the system.
I wonder why TREC or even instructors tell us write it this way? Where did this come from? Perhaps an inspector got successfully sued because the items weren’t in multiple areas…

This would reduce my writing time, I like that.

I only duplicate the written part, not the photo.

I wrote back to TREC to ask them what they thought about summary pages.

Here was my question:

What does TREC think about summary pages? Is it something that is recommended?

Should it just include all the deficiencies found or should it just include the major deficiencies (for example a foundation failure would be in the major deficiencies, therefore be in the summary, however a corner crack is non structural by nature, therefore not considered a major deficiency, although still needs to be addressed and therefore would be in the full report but not copied to the summary)

Or should the summary have multiple “levels” of deficiencies for example,
Major Concerns
Safety Issues
Repair Items
Items To Monitor
Deferred Cost Items

If NO:
What would the reason be for not having one? (Litigation reasons, or practicality reasons etc…?)

Here was the same person’s answer:

TREC does not regulate the work you perform that is more than the minimum required by the License Act & Rule. Providing a summary is work you may provide although not regulated by this agency. Therefore, we cannot provide a recommendation as you requested below. We suggest, if you are a member of a professional association of inspectors, you may wish to direct your inquiry to the association for guidance or seek legal counsel from a private attorney.

So it got me thinking again… if TREC doesn’t regulate the work that is more than the minimum required by License Act & Rule, then why did she tell me to have the deficiencies in multiple areas of the report?? :shock:

Because you were asking about verbiage inside the body of the TREC 7-2 template.

Your clarification was about “your” added summary. TREC does not mandate that in any way.

Summaries are provided by inspectors to make it easy for agents. Many, many long-term Texas inspectors do not do them and many of those can tell you of horror stories related to clients/agents barely skimming through the ‘summary’.

I know of one Texas HI who ended up with a legal cost of near $15K due to an early experience with a summary. His attorney told him to “never again” produce a summary.

My attorney told me the same thing about 6-7 years ago.

Why repeat on more paper what you have already printed in the report?

Nolan Kienitz
Nolan’s Inspections, LLC

Just some advice here from an area where we are required to have a summary.
I have looked at most all reporting software and don’t like the overall layouts.

Here is how I do mine:

The lengthy writeups are under the title “summary” with pictures at the front end of the report.

The body of the report has other data, warnings and concerns that do not have enough evidence to place in the “summary” or are considered upgrades.

Then, at the end, I also have the same lengthy writeups as in the summary without the pictures so the writeups can be easily extracted and copied into repair agreements and contractor quote requests by the agents or buyers.

(my sample reports on my site are rev 75, I am up to rev 200 and do not have this latest and best version posted)

Nothing stops you from adding the simple phrase…(see roof section,etc)

I rarely duplicate verbiage from one section to another. Each observed defect gets reported independently. If I can correlate them with a high degree of confidence I will, otherwise they are reported independently. Determining whether separate observed defects are related and share a common root cause is diagnostic and in most instances, with some notable exceptions, goes beyond TREC’s SOP requirement. Using a variation of the previous roof example:

  • Roof section: Chimney flashing is deficient…
  • Attic section: Water staining & wood rot observed in attic at the chimney penetration.
  • Ceiling section: Observed water staining of ceiling at… Moisture meter indicates elevated moisture content at the stain (i.e., the stain is wet). Possibly due to defective chimney flashing.

If the chimney flashing is deficient, the roof section of the report better say so. If there is evidence of water penetration and staining in the attic, the attic section of the report better say so. If there is a wet stain on the ceiling in the family room, the ceiling section of the report better say so. You don’t have to figure out if the three defects share a cause and effect relationship.

I try to say things once and once only to avoid the potential of having “multiple versions of the truth”. IMO: This is also one of several good reasons not to publish summaries in your reports unless you are required to.

Chuck, You beat me to it!

I previously posted that continued redundancy is inefficient and not necessary. What I am saying is that you do not post the same thing in every section of the report.

If there is a damaged roof you need a roofer to fix it.

If the leak did damage to light fixture, you need an electrician to fix it.

If the ceiling was damaged you need a sheetrock contractor to fix it.

If the carpet was ruined and covered in mold you need a carpet contractor and potentially a mold test contractor.

If it didn’t get fixed for a while and the floor joist rotted out, you need a structural engineer.

Obviously (though it is apparently not obvious) that you should be discussing each section that originated from the roof leak that affects that particular section because a different person or contractor is going to work on it.

The way your initial thread was worded, and still is worded is that you put the same thing in every section and you wanted Dominic to make it easy to post the same thing multiple times in multiple sections without having to do more than click your mouse.

I was against this request for software improvement because there is no good reason to do this an inspection report. Regardless of what state you’re in. if you asked the question correctly I can almost guarantee you that even TREC would tell you that you can’t use the same paragraph and each section. That it must be reported in each section pertaining to that section.

Every component that is damaged has a specific criteria that you must be reporting for that particular component, regardless of what started the whole chain reaction to occur.

In other words, you need to do a lot of typing. That’s what you get paid for. It’s not inspecting the house, it’s doing the report.

Isn’t Licensing just great!

Tax dollars keeping an idiot like her employed in a useless job.