Gerry Beaumont used to promote using a dry erase board and putting it in the picture.
I refined it by actually cutting a piece of plastic on to my sleeve and taking a picture of what I wrote.
(no extra devise or tool to carry that way)
After that I started using simple video notes and cameras that have touchscreen writing built in also.
Nothing beats a simple picture to cut down on-site time.
Pictures work great, but I’d say that most new inspectors will need to take notes or it’ll be easier for them to forget what was going on in the picture and the surrounding area. I’d still recommend notes & pictures that way if you’re not doing it electronically.
The only thing I hate about voice devises is they are not easy to scroll through" super fast" when wanting to jump around to various systems and you still need to put in the complimentary picture that goes with the comment.
That is what keeps me from doing all video, as still shoting takes far more time along with rewind to double check.
Tablets are cool if you can somehow multitask and carry conversation while running around and sticking your head into the screen.
Conversation is a very important part of any inspection in my opinion.
I** left my laptop case and camera @ home for an inspection a few days ago**… at a 4 unit apartment building inspection the other day. oops
I had my blackberry w/camera, notepad and all my tools…I said to myself, what the hell… I’m here. Probably the first inspection in 10 years I didn’t even have a checklist/field notes etc…
Although the blackberry takes pretty decent pictures and has flash… too slow. Other than that, was a piece of cake. I don’t recommend this method, I think some type of checklist is necessary, computer, printed… whatever.
I DID print a blank report out and am keeping copy in truck…
And JOHN… I know the feeling of leaving stuff @ jobsites… sucks… you WERE lucky!! “Please be there, please be there”
The nice thing about having an electronic data collection device is that it can also have reference data (Standards of Practice, Code Check data etc.) to help you do your inspection if you are a new inspector.
Hi: I use PalmTech Inspection software, and it runs on my Palm Treo smartphone which has Windows Mobile. I set up the inspection on my laptop, transfer it to the handheld, and then add items on site.
At first I thought the screen was too small, but I eventually got used to it, as you learn where various notes, common pull-down menu items are, etc… I usually write model #"s and serial #'s on a notepad, as it can be tricky entering the data on the little smartphone buttons while you’re lying on you side or kneeling!!
Once I am done on site, I go back to the office and transfer it back to the laptop to edit, enter data and photos.
I have found it very helpful to get the Mulitple Listing # from the client, and look up the listing if there is one. This gives you some basic info on the house (age, new roof? etc.) and you can really get a head start on the report on your laptop. Others in our Franchise use handhelds (not smartphones) such as Hewlett-Packard.
A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections-Waterloo, ON, Canada
(Douglas Wall, CIE, FL Lic. Mold Insp #2)
I love old cars but I would not drive one to work. (91 C4, 28,000 miles)
pictures, notes go straight to office, office assistant can have bulk of report done when inspectors gets back.
If you don’t have a problem keeping up with your work, don’t worry about it, but the future is iPAD.
We go home at 6 or 7 now instead of 8 or 9.
Work load is increasing and hours are still decreasing.
The iPad will be eclipsed by Android Tablets just like the iPhone has been eclipsed by Android Phones and the new Windows Slates, UNLESS Apple wakes up and ends it’s AT&T only stance. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
They do have great stuff, I just can’t stand how much control they exert over everyone. They’re much worse than Microsoft. You still can’t buy an iPhone or use an iPad built in 3G without being an AT&T customer (which stinks in my area), you can’t work on, or build your own computer without voiding the warranty, and good luck finding parts. Then a lot of their devices come with batteries that can’t be replaced so you have to buy a new one! If they’d combine their great style with a little more common sense they’d be gaining a lot of ground. Instead they’re losing out to Google’s Android and MS.
I know…I love my laptops with Vista and Windows 7 !!!:shock::shock:
Apple has the best interface hands down and for these inspectors that is important. I am not sure the AT&T issue is important to iPad users that are just using it as a data collection device and then jumping on a WiFi somewhere to send their reports or download to their PCs.
Apparently Ford has come up with something for those of us who have left tools onsite. Check out the Tool Link (I think that’s what they called it) system on this Ford Transit. If all your tools aren’t in the car the car tells you.
I think this would make a great inspection wagon. 25 mpg and on board PC with wireless keyboard.
It still matters now as many people don’t have wifi in their car or on site at an inspection so they can’t finish and upload on site without tethering themselves to AT&T. At least McDonald’s finally getting free Wi-Fi into every location so they can go there or Starbucks after and send it.
I don’t think inspectors need to upload ON SITE. Almost every inspector is fine with uploading the report at a later time. If the client or agent wants something immediately they can always print right on site.
Other markets me be different if they need a live connection to pull down other information that is needed during the inspection. An example may be an insurance claims adjuster or fire inspector that wants to pull info from a data repository about the client while on site.