Report writing strategy using Horizon Home Inspection Software

Our report writing goals are quality and speed, in that order. Horizon is like lots of tools. You can use it in a primitive way to get the job done, or you can use it elegantly and do a better job. Here are some ways to use Horizon Laptop to save time writing great reports.

Descriptions and Limitations

This is the boring stuff. We include descriptions to meet the standards, and limitations to manage our liability. You can use Required Items or Templates to get these done. Let’s start with Required Items.

Set up your Required Items on the Web. They are easy to set up and easy to change. Include all the items that you need to meet the standards. Here’s our list:

  1. Describe the methods used to inspect under-floor crawl spaces and attics (You might do this in Limitations.)
  2. Describe the foundation
  3. Describe the floor structure
  4. Describe the wall structure
  5. Describe the ceiling structure
  6. Describe the roof structure
  7. Describe the cladding/siding
  8. Describe the roofing materials
  9. Describe the methods used to inspect the roofing (You might do this in Limitations.)
  10. Describe water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials
  11. Describe the water heating equipment including energy source(s)
  12. Describe the location of main water and fuel shut-off valves
  13. Describe the amperage and voltage rating of the service
  14. Describe the location of main disconnect(s) and sub panels
  15. Describe the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring
  16. Describe the presence or absence of smoke detectors
  17. Describe the wiring methods
  18. Describe the heating system
  19. Describe the energy source for the heating system
  20. Describe the cooling system
  21. Describe the energy source for the cooling system
  22. Describe the insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces
  23. Describe the absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces
  24. Describe fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances
  25. Describe chimneys

To start writing your report, click on Required Items. Then click on the Quick Edit tool (see below).

The Quick Edit Tool

The items for the first Required Item will pop up. Select the item you want and Horizon will move you to the next heading. You can complete all of your Descriptions and Limitations very quickly. Use the Back and Next arrows to move forward or back.

Using the Quick Edit Tool

Using the Quick Edit Tool

Templates are another option. Set up templates for different homes in Profile on the Web side. You might have templates for new homes, 1980s homes, 1960s homes, 1930s homes, century homes, ranch bungalows in a certain part of town, intercity rowhouses, etc.

Once your templates are set up, they will be carried down to Horizon Laptop the next time you sync. To complete your Descriptions and Limitations for any report, simply click on the applicable template. It will make all of these entries for you. Use the Report so far tool to make sure that these say exactly what you want to say.

Recommendations

Recommendations are the meaningful part of the report. If you use photos, you can use the photos to guide your work in adding recommendations. Some inspectors actually use their camera instead of a notepad or clipboard. You can take a photo of anything you want to comment on. Photos are faster to take and are more accurate than written notes. You can take photos of equipment data plates too.

When you start writing reports, upload the photos into the first recommendation you make. Uploading photos is fast and easy – from the Notes screen just click Load photos. You can load a folder or just one file. Horizon goes to the same folder on your computer every time to find the photos, and uploads them in the order you took them. You can select small or large previews. You can select any bad photos and delete them as a group, fast.

Use the photos to guide you to the next recommendation you want to make. If the first photo is a rusted metal chimney go to the Chimney recommendations. Make the Chimney Recommendation, and add the photo. You can easily add edits and a caption if you want. Before you close the photo area, note what the next photo is. That will be your next recommendation. Make that recommendation, add the photo, and move on to the next, and so on.

Any photos you don’t use in your report are kept on file for your records.

Summary

Use Required Items or Templates to enter Descriptions and Limitations. Use photos to enter Recommendations. It’s fast, it’s easy and it makes for great reports!

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