Electrical terminology: who is the report for?

What terminology to use would seem to depend on who the report is for.

  1. It’s for the client. We should use terms that the client is most likely to understand. If they misunderstand and are electrocuted, we might be liable and/or at fault.

  2. It’s for the plaintiffs attorney. If we wind up in court, we need our report to stand up to attempted shredding. Terms should be proper electrical terms whether the client is likely to understand them or not.

  3. It’s for the electrical contractor who makes correction. We should use whatever terms the local electrical contractor uses so that he’ll understand when he’s contacted what he’ll have to deal with.

  4. It’s a combination of 1,2 and 3 and we give it our best guess.

  5. It’s a combination of 1 and 2 and we give it our best guess

Any good electrician should understand what you are referring to whether you use code terms or layman’s jargon.

The report needs to be understood by the client and must stand up in court. Many courts will be more in favor of using common terms provided that there is no room for ambiguity.

1 & 3

The client must understand.
The contractor needs to know what they are looking for.
For those that do not take pictures, for fear of being sued for what might be in there, You can talk to a contractor in 20 paragraphs less than you can with the client. So write it for both. I attach :

I agree…1 & 3 would be my best opinion…I dont worry about those attorneys too much…

I would say the client and the client’s attorney.

If the client is smart enough to hire an attorney.

I’m with Paul on this one.

My whole report is written for everyone, all the while knowing that if the Client understands, he won’t be suing me in court. So technical jargon in my report is out the window unless I have to use it (e.g., TPR valve). If I have to use it, I also show a picture of it. This is a case where a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

Nothing wrong with using the proper words and spelling them correctly to describe what one is viewing and reporting on.

Creating a hyperlink in the report can elimate calls.


Scroll down for construction dictionaries.

Mama Mia!
That site would drive one to drinking.
Where’s my margarita? :margarita:
I don’t think I could/would ever make a Client try to sort through all that to try to find a definition, especially when I can use layperson’s terms and pictures to get the message across.
I’m still thirsty.

As an electrical contractor and after a few service calls to repair the white thingy with red and black buttons in the kitchen that the home inspector said wasn’t working, I much prefer a good description. Especially when I arrive with a GFCI receptacle and find that it’s the range hood that doesn’t work.

I include one of these in all my reports.


It keeps the Surgeons and Butchers from calling me about the fascia.

75¢ each!
Holly non-Guerrilla Marketing, Batman!
Could you not create your own glossary and print them much less expensively, or include them as a PDf file or something?
You’ve got more money than I do.
(“Well, duh!” says the employee who needs to go home, “you spend all yours on margaritas.”
“Yeah, margaritas for employees! Ouch,” says the margarita buyer.

RR of course I have more money than you do, I am not paying a franchise fee or employees wages. :cool:

I will not mention your favorite beverage.

Any thing we write must be written for its intended reader, in my opinion. That would mean that if I were a Master Electrician, I would need to spend the time and effort to “dumb down” my report so that it could be readily understood and utilized by the person paying for it. A generalist home inspector wanting to impress may strive for more technical jargon, but the bottom line should always be whether or not the report accurately reflects the condition in such a manner as that it can be understood by the client.

I think most would agree with this. right?

Yeah, but I don’t have your air conditioning bill. :mrgreen:

You got my agreement.

If Jerry Peck is anywhere around, though, he hates you and me now. :smiley:

:wink: …Jerry Peck…Jerry Peck…the name rings a bell. Vaguely…

Is that message board still going? I think we used to call that H6 or something. If you have it, Russel, mail me that URL. I’d like to pay my respects to that crowd if they are still active.