Traditionally, property reports could be over fifty pages in length as they often commented on items that were in an acceptable condition or defective condition. From a layman’s perspective, such comprehensive reports could be difficult to understand as there was simply too much information to absorb.
Reporting on an 'exceptions basis'
The rationale behind exceptions-based reporting is to give the client a clear and concise description of any defects evident at the time of inspection.
Reporting on items in an acceptable condition can also have unexpected outcomes. The following is an account of one inspector’s experience.
The inspector’s report indicated that the range hood in the kitchen was in ‘good’ condition. The client when reading the report was bemused as the stove did not have a range hood above it. The client told the inspector that his report was erroneous and that the inspector should pay for the supply and installation of a range hood. Reluctantly the inspector agreed to the request as the client was a referral by a conveyancer that often gave the inspector work. The inspector made a commercial decision to pay rather than possibly damaging the long-term relationship with the conveyancer.
The inspector’s report was set out with a series of default items marked in ‘good’ condition that would appear in the report unless deleted or altered by the inspector. In this case the inspector simply overlooked or forgot to take out an item which was not applicable to the particular inspection.
This inspector has now changed his reporting philosophy to ‘if it’s not broken why report on it’.
It is up to the individual inspector to determine the extent of their reporting to meet client requests and expectations.