Based on your description, I am guessing that you are referring to Lorne Steiner and Porter Valley Software’s InspectVue. They were not the first to use pre-written narratives. We had already been in business nine years by the time Porter Valley came along.
Before I got into home inspection software, I had a team that had inspected thousands of electrical panels, and telemetry and control systems for the cities of Toledo, Cincinnati, and others. I wanted all our reports to look the same for the benefit of our clients so I developed a library of standard comments regarding deficiencies we observed. The inspections were also for code compliance and specification compliance so I had all the applicable references in my library so we wouldn’t have to look them up every time we needed them.
When I got into home inspection software a few years later, I carried that concept over to home inspection. There was nothing like it at the time. That is, we couldn’t find anything like it at the time.
As our library grew and we mentioned the number of pre-written comments in our advertising, Lorne would immediately come out with advertising that had a larger number.
I saw problems with the pre-written comments in home inspection almost immediately. I realized it worked in the controlled and more disciplined commercial world but not so much in home inspection.
It all came to a head for us when Lorne was doing his Avoiding Litigation (by using his software) talk in at a regional event in Columbus. I had a booth just outside the room where he was speaking. He left the door open so I heard him give his presentation multiple times. By then, I was well aware of the problems with inspectors relying on pre-written comments.
After Lorne finished his last session, he came over to talk to me. Lorne and I were never really friends but the software vendors were always friendly to one another. We were rivals but we were all friendly rivals (at least at that time). I think by then he was claiming something like 11,000 pre-written comments were in his software. I think we had 10,000. He mentioned that to me when he came over to talk to me.
I assured him that he would always have the larger number because I had made a decision at that event to REMOVE at least 90% of our pre-written comments. I was completely convinced that they were doing inspectors more harm than good and the harm was having a ripple effect through the home inspection industry.
We were doing things in the early days that no one else was doing. The only real other innovator at the time was Carl Fowler with 3D. Software like HomeGauge, Home Inspector Pro, and InspectVue didn’t even exist.
By the way, the #1 selling inspection report at the time was HomeTec. They outsold everyone else combined. Our first report was designed to compete directly with HomeTec. It is various versions of that report that we have given to more than 10,000 InterNACHI members FREE over the past fourteen or fifteen years. We just recently made version 20 available free to InterNACHI members.