"No Visible Evidence" Language May Be Evidence Against You.

“No Visible Evidence” Language May Be Evidence Against You.](http://www.nachi.org/visible.htm)

No visible evidence to support your claims. :wink:

Moisture stain on ceiling was visible at time of inspection, no visible evidence of current leak.

Moisture stain on ceiling was visible at time of inspection, no source of leak was found.

Both statements would likely be construed to monitor, ask seller etc

Not sure that either is really better than the other. I would imagine the recommendation for action would seal the deal.

Why would one even mention either comments.
Does anyone to around saying no evidence there is carbon monoxide or not evidence of a fire. Perhaps I should even say no evidence of mice and really increase the odds against me

For each item required in your chosen SOP…

Identify deficiency, implication, recomendation.

“No significant deficiencies were observed at the time of inspection.”

The point of Nick’s advice, as I understand it, is quite logical.

To say that “no deficiencies were observed” in the hands of the plaintiff’s attorney can be used as a confession from you that you clearly failed to observe the deficiencies that were present during the time of your inspection.

In other words, the fact that you did not see them is not evidence that they did not exist. It is evidence, however, that you failed to detect that they existed which is what you were paid to do.

Nick is emphasizing the need for precise language in an inspection report. “The blind man picked up his hammer and saw” is not the best way to describe the actions of a visually impaired person gathering his tools.

Neither is it a good idea to document, after you walked a roof, that you “observed no deficiencies”.

The point is that we do not report “negatives”. We report the things that we did observe and we do not report on what we did not observe.

What comment do you use for a system or component when you did not find any deficiencies?

Only report deficiencies that you observe
never comment on something that is not observed


Well then, to be precise, the problem is with the word Observed.

I list materials,location,energy source.

No. No one can argue about whether you observed something or not. You either observed something or you didn’t observe something. Everyone argues over whether it was visible or not.

Biggest reason I take so many pictures and a video.

The issue truly arises when there is something seen, but cant be explained. The example of a water stain is prime.

So, you see what appears to be a water stain, but you cant determine where it came from.

Simply observe and report, then recommend a follow-up by a competent professional.

Attorneys making a play on words is little more than annoying to most people. If an attorney is going to argue style as apposed to substance, he had better have been an english major.

A better argument may come when examining what the inspector did AFTER observing the stain, and this is where following the SOP is critical.

The other thing to consider is who is hearing the argument. Is it a judge who knows nothing about our industry? Is it a jury of your peers. COuld either be swayed by the fancy footwork and procedural harangings of Willy Whiplash, Attorney at Law?

F - the truth. This inspector forgot to dot that I, and cross that T. Hell, he even missed a comma…

This is why the homeowner’s best shot, and the inspector’s best shot, is to have their positions heard by somene who has contract experience, inspection experience, and construction experience.


“There were no Visible leaks at the time of the Inspection”

IMO Nick, the way you presented your Hypothetical scenario, it is like, no other person can dispute the BS that may come from Litigation.

Heck even my State Supplied WDI Form, has a Box specifically for “No Visible Evidence”, which for as long as I have been any kind of Inspector is Standard Language by Inspectors. :smiley:

And they will always argue about what was or was not Visible, whether you write it or not.

So take a few pictures. :smiley:

Client: “Nick, you missed the gaping hole in the center of my roof.”

Nick: “Did you read my report?”

Client: “Yes. It says that you missed the hole in the center of my roof.”

Nick: “Huh?”

Client: “It says right here under the section on Roof - ‘No defects were observed’. That is exactly my point and your report confirms the fact that you totally failed to observe the gaping hole in the center of my roof.”

Nick: “But there was no hole in the roof when I inspected it.”

Client: “Then why didn’t you say so?”

[In all seriousness…I am unaware of this ever really being an issue and wouldn’t sweat it unless someone can show it to have been brought up in a real case. I can see how stating “I inspected the roof and found it to be free of material defects as defined by the scope of the inspection” to be more clear and less ambiguous than “No defects were observed” but I can’t see anyone actually trying to build a case against me for what was clearly the intent of my wording.]

If and when you are in a Situation where Attorneys are parsing over what you wrote in your report, you have al ready LOST, IMO. :slight_smile:

I do enjoy the differing opinions and discussion though on how others write their defect Narratives… And have made changes to my narratives based on input form Members here. :smiley:

All the more reason to have your case heard by one who is familiar with our industry…


The smartest $90 you’ll ever spend, bar none.:wink: