From the Desk of Mark Berardelli, BCT, 30 Year Inspector

Why do inspectors write things like this?

Evaluation of the DDID formula in a report is recommended to completely understand the extent of the conditions and the full extent of the repairs required.

A proper understanding of the DDID method can positively impact your sales!

DDID: The NC Licensing Board has voted to adopt the DDID formula as a permanent rule within the NC Home Inspectors Licensure Board Standard of Practice. Like anything else; if used with discretion it can be a useful tool. However, using Describe, Determine, Indicate, Direct can also camouflage rather than highlight a defect. Understanding the proper use of DDID will help you to ease the minds of buyers who may be unnecessarily alarmed by a report written without discretion or by a liability-anxious/rookie inspector.

This formula is used by NC Licensed Home Inspectors when entering questionable conditions of a component or system on a home inspection/summary page. The reasoning for this recommendation was (1) to determine if a particular item or condition should be on the summary page at all, (2) under what descriptive category should the condition be entered, and (3) present better clarification of a particular condition to the buyer, seller, and real estate agents. Although not addressed by the continuing education format, it is evident that the formula would aid in determining if a particular item applied to the “Repair Contingency Clause” in the Offer to Purchase Contract.

DDID is:

Describe : Describe the component or system of concern. Give any pertinent information about the component or system. Describe the location.

Determine : What is wrong with it? What is the malfunction, failure, or performance deficiency?

Implication : What can happen if it is not addressed. This is a difficult section as it
is good to determine what can happen if not addressed, but will be a deal breaker if
it appears to be too rigid.

Direction : What should be done?
Should it be repaired? Should further investigated be performed by a licensed professional to determine if action is needed at this time? Should it be monitored over time to determine if repairs are needed? Consider the difference between these two examples.

Ex. 1) The roof is leaking and needs repair. The amount of damage as a
result of the leak is unknown. Rot in roof rafters sheathing rusting nails and damage to felt paper may exist. (A little harsh in my opinion and causes the client to unnecessarily read into the statement too much, but meets the I in DDID)

Ex. 2) The roof is leaking and needs repair. It appears to be a minor leak. Have qualified professional make assessment for repair. (With 26 years of experience I can competently state this and not give a glance to liability. It informs the client without alarming them. )

Imagine how this may blow a deal because of a cracked rafter, minor brick cracks, sub components or such that are no big deal but, when written in DDID format, can paralyze a client. With my experience in construction and inspections I can competently address this. If I hold to the DDID without proper discretion or explanation, report writing becomes more of an impediment than a benefit. Learning to comply and balance this is clearly a coveted skill set.

Experience with the inspection industry and, specifically, with the summary pages of reports clearly highlights the potential benefits of using the DDID formula properly.

There are several levels of action used in detailing a DDID. “Repair” is used if an item is defective, not performing the function for which it was intended, failure is imminent, or an immediate safety concern is uncovered. “Monitor” or “Further investigation needed” are used if a problem is suspected but cannot be determined within the scope of the NC Home Inspector Licensure Board Standards of Practice; the results of a malfunction are visible but the cause of such a problem can not be determined; or if monitoring the possibility of a defective condition over time is needed.

The DDID formula was intended to better clarify the comments entered on his/her inspection report, and clearly identify conditions such as Repair, Further investigation, or Monitoring of components as needed. Generally, DDID is a good guideline for a report, though it can be too cumbersome to use exclusively and discretion should be used. If used in an unrestricted fashion, it can be a source of frustration and blur the report rather than highlighting issues that require more clarity.At Building Sciences 16:3 Structural Environmental Inspection Center we only do one inspection a day. This gives us time to interact with our clients and explain the report as well as take the time to write the DDID with skill, taking the time to include additional comments and verify their clarity and intention.

We recognize that we are all trying to make a living for our families and we want to provide a clear and thorough inspection for your clients. We believe that the proper use of this formula will allow us to do so and hope that your understanding will provide for the same. We hope you will find satisfaction and a happy ending with the services we provide for you, your client, and all those involved.

Thanks for reading and have a Merry Christmas. Christ died once for all that we might live with Him forever.