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Last Post 08/17/2008 10:34 PM by  okclarryd
Disto and Xactimate
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07/15/2008 9:10 PM

    Can anyone tell me anything about this duo from experience? Are there less expensive measure devices that will do the

    same thing? Is it all about the bluetooth technology or is Xactimate the only software this works with. I know nothing about

    how it works. Appreciate any input.

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    BobH
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    07/15/2008 9:19 PM

    The Disto is awesome, but I really would not want to do the blue-tooth -> Xactimate thing.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but seems I read that when you use Sketch and do the Disto input with blue-tooth, that the rooms end up being separated from each other (visualize a puzzle where the pieces are not connected).

    EDIT: The user's guide makes that comment, and says you can then drag the rooms together...  but see the updated info below (the comment on the user's guide is not the only way to do it).

    I have never done the blue-tooth thing, and consider that feature to be "gee-whiz" technology that I do not need, and will not really speed up my job. Here's a link to a page on the Xactimate site where you can download a brochure for X-25 with a brief mention of the Disto for entering measurements. The laser does help me, no doubt, for interior measures (but I type in the measurements manually, on a keyboard)

    Are there less expensive measure devices that will do the same thing?

    I paid $500 for my Disto years ago, and it has paid for itself many times over. When the Stanly Fat Max lasers were discounted to $79 at Amazon I got one to compare (they have a license from Leica-Disto and if you read the back of it, it mentions Leica).

    I compared them at the same loss location on a repeated basis, and the Fat Max = the Disto.  It is dead accurate for interiors (though it is a different class laser and not rated for 600 feet). The Fat Max does not transmit the measurements to your computer using Bluetooth (neither does my older Disto)

    Jim Gary got his Fat Max lasers very cheap by shopping Ebay.  I would start with that one if you are tight on funds, but I really like the Disto because of it's back light (makes big difference in a hammered house without electricity) and that it "beeps" when you tell it to shoot the distance, gets the reading, etc.  My old (discontinued) Disto is much larger than the Fat Max (now Disto makes smaller ones) but it also has larger numbers on the display which is a plus for my 52 year old eyes.

    Bob H
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    Davidad1
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    07/15/2008 9:44 PM
    I agree with Bob. The xactinate- Distro thing I would not trust .The laser is awesome tool for interior use and the insured's are impressed .
    Estimating is living on the edge between greed and fear
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    jnhawk
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    07/15/2008 11:50 PM
    Just pulled out my Disto A6 with Bluetooth. I've been planning to use a Tablet PC, Xactimate, and Disto to write the estimate real time while walking through the loss. I was able to make adjacent rooms, closets etc. (connected) with no problem and enter the measurements very accurately using Bluetooth. It does take a little practice - 5 minutes.

    The trick is to have good macros, with all the possible extras included, which you use like a tick sheet. Set all the macros to use Xactimate's "variables" so once you sketch, the variables are automatically figured for you. So you sketch, call up the macro(s) for that room, delete the items you don't need, adjust depreciation for each room, roof etc., and you're done. You just use the pen stylus, no keyboard, except if you have to enter contents. Your estimate is almost written before you leave the house - just enter pictures and captions before driving away. Why write everything twice????

    This time savings makes the Bluetooth seem worthwhile to me.
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    BobH
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    07/16/2008 12:11 AM
    I've been planning to use a Tablet PC, Xactimate, and Disto to write the estimate real time while walking through the loss.

    John - is this something you have been planning - or something you have been doing? I am just curious how it may be working for you over a period of time. I also prefer to do my complete estimate on site (but set a laptop on a stand, and type in the measurements)

    Posted By John Hawk on 07/15/2008 11:50 PM
    Just pulled out my Disto A6 with Bluetooth. ...I was able to make adjacent rooms, closets etc. (connected) with no problem and enter the measurements very accurately using Bluetooth. ...This time savings makes the Bluetooth seem worthwhile to me.

    So you are able to sketch a complete home floor-plan with rooms connected?

    I'm glad this topic came up, I see that Xm-8 has this on their site, says updated June 18, 2008:

    Step 6 Once you have established a connection, you can enter in a measurement from the DISTO device. Anywhere that you have a feet/inch spinner, (width, length, ceiling height, etc.) you will be able to enter in a measurement. Note: You must be in 2nd mode when using the DISTO device with Sketch.

    Step 7 For example, if you want to use DISTO to change the dimensions of a room, click on the Select icon , then click the wall you want to modify. The wall handle appears as a small square at the wall’s mid-point.

    Step 8 Place the pointer over the wall handle. The pointer changes to the grab tool.

    Step 9 With the grab tool, click and drag the wall toward or away from the room’s center.

    Step 10 As you start to move the wall, Xactimate displays the new width or length of the room. Click on the dimension to bring up the feet/inch spinner.

    Step 11 With the focus in this field, use the DISTO tool to make a measurement. Once you have the correct measurement on the screen of the DISTO device, press the Enter button.

    Step 12 The dimensions from the DISTO screen will automatically replace the dimensions of the sketched room. For the measurement to take effect, remove the focus from the feet/inch spinner by clicking once on the workspace. The room’s dimension will change.
    ------------------ 
    This makes no mention of anything other than just doing a routine sketch, and the only change is how the measurement gets entered into your computer. Disto rather than type (or rather than dragging the wall and watch for the correct measurement)

    You don't have to own Xm8 to read their help info on site, you can just register, then search the "previously answered" 24-7 help topics in the Xm8 E-service center.  It has photos for these steps, so it is easier to follow.
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    I couldn't find anything currently on the Xm8 site about the rooms being separated, but it is mentioned in the X-25 users guide (and when I compare it to the info above, it seems like bad advice).  Doing it as described above seems like it would work better.

    Here's what the user's guide says:

    TO USE DISTO™ IN CONJUNCTION WITH XACTIMATE
    1. From the Xactimate Control Center, click the System Settings (for all users) or User Preferences (for yourself only) tab. 
    2. Click System under Sketch General in the navigation tree to the left of the window. The System page appears. 
    3. Under Disto Laser Distance Meter, click to place a checkmark in the Enable Sketch/Disto Integration checkbox. 
    4. Click the Projects tab, then open (or create) an estimate you want to use DISTO on. Click the Sketch tab. The Bluetooth® icon appears in the upper-right corner of the workspace. When this icon turns white, it means Xactimate has established a connection with DISTO. 
    􀂄 Chapter 6 Xactimate v.25 How-Do-I? Help Topics 􀂄 Page 222 􀂄 Xactimate v.25 User’s Guide 
    5. Click the Room drop-down button and choose Dimensions Rooms. The Room Dimensioning window appears. 
    6. Select (or type) a name for the room, then click the Shape drop-down button to select the room shape. Xactimate modifies the Dimensions area to account for the shape of the room. 
    7. Press Tab on your keyboard. Xactimate moves the highlight to the first Dimensions field; in most cases, this is Length
    8. Use your DISTO measuring device to input the length of the room into this field, then press Tab on your keyboard. 
    9. Use DISTO to measure the requested dimension, then continue pressing Tab and entering your dimensions until you have finished entering room dimensions. 
    10. Click Insert Room. Xactimate adds the drawing of this room onto the Sketch workspace (you may not be able to see this sketch behind your Room Dimensioning window. 
    11. Repeat steps 6–10 to add all the rooms you need for this estimate. Xactimate adds all the rooms on your Sketch workspace. The room walls will not be merged, as is standard with Sketch. 
    12. After you have all your rooms entered, click Done. Your rooms will be laid out on the workspace in a grid pattern. From here, you can (if you choose) move them into position as they appear in the home, or simply work with them as they currently stand. 

    Bob H
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    jnhawk
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    07/16/2008 9:29 AM
    Bob, you asked "John - is this something you have been planning - or something you have been doing?"

    Give me a hurricane and it won't be something I've been planning. I'm not doing day work, so all I can do is practice once in a while. But it does work. And I've done houses, in practice, so I find it works easily over time.

    Using Bluetooth and Xactimate Sketch I can do a complete floor plan with rooms connected.

    The Xactimate instructions you posted are correct when you use the dimensioning function, but in simple sketch and tablet mode it's a lot easier. Also in the Disto instructions, they assume you have a regular notebook, and you can use the tab button. I use a Tablet PC that converts from notebook mode to tablet mode (read no keyboard no tab key).

    To do a room in sketch using Bluetooth, I select the room icon and place the default room image on the "page" then I start dragging one end until the dimension box appears. Then I highlight that dimension box by touching it with my pen. Once it is highlighted Xactimate is ready for you to send the Disto measurement wirelessly using Bluetooth. You take your measurement on your Bluetooth Disto and simply press the Bluetooth button. Magically Xactimate automatically adjusts that wall's measurement to be exactly what your Disto had. This means I'll be eliminating one more chance for human error because I don't have to read (misread) and transpose the measurement. You can do complex shaped rooms just as easily. You just have to use the break tool, drag until the dimension appears and then highlight the measurement you want to send your Bluetooth measure too..

    I have used the computer to do roofs, real time, too (I can read the screen in sunlight most of the time). However, I do have to enter the measurement from my tape measure. This requires either dragging with the pen until getting the right measurement, or using the Tablet PC on screen keyboard, also called input panel. That is a little less elegant, but it only takes a few more seconds.

    My Fujitsu T4220 has a "bump" case so I can put a strap around my neck to avoid dropping it and the strap helps me hold the tablet in position while sketching etc. It weighs about 4.5 lbs even with the second battery installed in my media bay. I get about 4.5 hours continuous use. But I don't use it continuously, and I will plug it in, driving between appointments, so it should last all day. I'm also thinking of buying a backup set of batteries with charger once I get deployed.
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    BobH
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    07/16/2008 11:22 AM

    John, I am really glad you posted this info. When I glanced through the user-guide a while back, It only described the Disto-bluetooth as creating separate rooms not connected.

    That could work for simple floor plans, dragging the rooms back together. But for complex ones, with 45 degree angle halls, etc, there is just no way it would merge the room back together.

    Anyone who has done the Xm8 tutorials knows that the secret to Sketch is to create the first room, then "drag" the 2nd room from one of the walls by clicking on it to select it, holding the Ctrl key, drag it to the desired length.

    In practice, it's easiest to just "start" to drag it, then over-ride the feet-inches with the ones you want, and the room jumps to the correct length. Per your experience, the Disto WILL spit that measurement into the drawing at that point in time. And the updated 6-18-08 thing on their web site confirms it, and seems to describe what you are doing.

    Posted By John Hawk on 07/16/2008 9:29 AM

    Once it is highlighted Xactimate is ready for you to send the Disto measurement wirelessly using Bluetooth. You take your measurement on your Bluetooth Disto and simply press the Bluetooth button. Magically Xactimate automatically adjusts that wall's measurement to be exactly what your Disto had. This means I'll be eliminating one more chance for human error because I don't have to read (misread) and transpose the measurement.

    Nice. Does the software round your measurement to the nearest inch? My Disto spits out 1/16's of an inch, and I wondered how the software deals with that.

    Bob H
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    BobH
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    07/16/2008 11:49 AM

    Sketch dragging out a wall

    For those who don't use Xm8 and are falling asleep...

    The user's guide for Xm8 25 has the graphic above, and these instructions:

    1. Click the bottom (south) wall of Closet1. 
    2. Press and hold the Control (Ctrl) key on your keyboard, then click and drag the south Closet1 wall until it is aligned with the south wall of Bedroom 1. 
    If you forget to hold the Control key, this move will simply expand Closet1. If this happens, press Control Z (Undo) and try again.

    ------------------------------

    That is an example of "adding another room" by dragging it out from the wall of an existing room.  They are making a 2nd closet, that goes to another bedroom.  The user's guide works as a tutorial, and there is quite a bit of info in the "help" part of Xm8.

    Xactimate is not easy (and I have been using it 16 years and still have that opinion).  But it is very powerful, once you are it's master, and not it's servant.  I got the X25 basic and intermediate training DVD's, they are also very helpful for those who want to master this beast.

    Bob H
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    okclarryd
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    07/16/2008 7:31 PM

    Gentlemen,

    This is an excellent example of what this site is all about.

    Acquiring knowledge and sharing it without reservation.

    If we all make each other better, the entire community grows.

    Now, that being said, I'm gonna have to print and read this stuff several times for it to sink in. But, .........I'm still young and trainable

    Larry D Hardin
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    Davidad1
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    07/16/2008 8:51 PM
    Bob and John
    Thanks for the info. I guess if I every get the chance to use the Bluetooth-distro together I may try it now.. Thanks again.
    Estimating is living on the edge between greed and fear
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    BobH
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    07/16/2008 9:41 PM

    Ever wonder where the name Bluetooth came from?

    It was named after a Danish Viking and King, Harald Blåtand (translated as Bluetooth in English), who lived in the latter part of the 10th century. Harald Blåtand united and controlled Denmark and Norway (hence the inspiration on the name: uniting devices through Bluetooth). He got his name from his very dark hair which was unusual for Vikings, Blåtand means dark complexion. However a more popular, (but less likely reason), was that Old Harald had a inclination towards eating Blueberries , so much so his teeth became stained with the color, leaving Harald with a rather unique set of molars.

    Here's another link, going back a few years when Bluetooth was just being introduced:

    Why name a modern technology after an obscure Danish king? Here's a clue: two of the most important companies backing the Bluetooth standard—L.M. Ericsson and Nokia Corp.—are Scandinavian.

    And this

    Bluetooth started as the code name for the association when it was first formed and the name stuck.

    Bob H
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    BobH
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    07/16/2008 11:36 PM
    Posted By David Dickerson  ... I guess if I ever get the chance to use the Bluetooth-distro together I may try it now...

    I may try it someday, but even though I am a "gadget freak" I do not feel compelled to upgrade my Disto to a Bluetooth model so that it can send the measurements electronically to my computer on site.

    Why?  Because that is NOT the bottleneck in my production.  If I didn't have a Laser measure device, and had the extra funds, I would consider it - but seriously, it just isn't the reason why I may stay extra long at a site inspection.

    I have had a couple points in my career where I got rusty with Xactimate, and my best bang for the buck was focusing on learning the software better.  Doing all the tutorials, and then applying that info the next day at a loss location.

    Even though I had done a lot of staircases, I "forgot" half of what I knew when I hit a very complex floor plan a while back and had to re-study.  And just recently had a breakthrough on how to get around some issues with angled walls in the middle of a sketch, that seem to prevent you from "dragging" out the next room...  (treat them as big square blocks, do the angle adjustment last).

    And I recently bought the DVD set on construction training, ILX which has taught me some things I didn't know.  I am still working on those.

    To say it differently, I think that an adjuster who is just starting out would benefit most by putting their limited resources of time and money into REALLY learning their software (whatever it is) and what are the needed repair steps for wind, fire, water damage.  It is kind of a mystery at first, but there is a stable road of truth that is fairly consistent, house to house. 

    Send off for the Haag guides on recognizing damage to a roof vs deterioration and manufacturing defects, etc. 

    I spent $300 without any hesitation for some mountain climbing gear with harness, ascender, descender (after getting off a very spooky roof - with Cougar Paws that likely saved my life).  I spent $200 for a ladder "walk through" (they have gone down in price).  I have ladder leg-levelers, 3 different ladders, racks on a commercial van, a gutter "stand off", so I am willing to get the toys - but this one is just not as vital to me as those other things. 

    I was using an old "probe type" moisture meter for years, and last month bough a "non penetrating" meter when I realized I was missing water damage under tile or hardwood floors, moisture soaked into cabinet panels or about to start a problem below the toe-kick area.  I bought another digital camera this week, that's where my rubber meets the road, it will save me time because the huge 3" display lets me know right away if the photo came out like I wanted or not.

    Bob H
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    Davidad1
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    07/17/2008 12:29 AM

    Bob

    I like you are tool /gadget freak at work . I like anything I can find to help me do my estimates faster and be more accurate. I would not spend the extra money for the bluetooth model . I already have a older Hilti and Bosch laser and a bunch of other gadgets, reference books .In the past 12 years I have had an issue with sketch. I always felt I could draw out a house/ room of graph paper and enter it into Xactimate faster than some one on sketch. That may have been from the adjusters who I had met on site that were not that fast or knowledgeable about the tricks with sketch. It was always a option for us in the past. With more of the carriers requiring us to use it. I made a decision to co exist with Sketch this year and attempt to learn it inside and out like I have done with xactimate in knowing what is and what is not included in each line item code and to keep up with the price change additions and modifications. My company sent me to a two day advanced class this year , which helped break my issues with sketch. I have used it more this year than I have in the past 12 years and I am starting to dare I say .... like it as another tool to help me be more of an asset for my company to the carriers and to expand my knowledge of sketch. I still have so much to learn on sketch. Now if I could talk my boss into a table notebook .... Bob. I do enjoy all the info you provide....you are a wealth of knowledge ...

    Estimating is living on the edge between greed and fear
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    BobH
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    07/17/2008 12:40 AM
    Posted By David Dickerson on 07/17/2008 12:29 AM ...I made a decision to co exist with Sketch this year and attempt to learn it inside and out ..

    Yeah, I resisted that for years and kind of "bit the bullet" in layers.

    When Sketch first came out, it would hang-freeze and was buggy, so it was easy to stay away from it.  But with the last 2 versions it has become very stable, and I rolled up my sleeves and focused on it.

    Like we were saying in another thread, it is just a tool, like a musical instrument, and you can make music or make noise with it.  Kind of depends on how much we are willing to practice it.

    One of my recent "ah-ha" with sketch is realizing you can create a reference area (for where the tub is in bath, or cabinets in kitchen) then RIGHT-CLICK on it and within properties make it a MISSING AREA (they call it "hole") and then the vinyl removal ignores that area, replacement ignores that area but will do the normal waste. And of course with sheet vinyl, you have to check to see if they had 6' wide goods, or 12' (look for seems when on site) and see how the actual cuts are going to go on the roll. Can't leave it up to the computer, but for removal of existing it is a good tool, and a good "visual" for those reviewing the estimate. A normal "reference" area has solid lines if it is a "hole" it has dotted lines

    One of the very powerful reasons for sketched drawings for the estimating software is do do the carpet cuts, and save the cut diagram as a "view" that is one of the pages of the estimate.  I had a cut-up floor plan the other day with lots of waste, and that feature enabled me to show why it needed more waste.

    But that tool isn't perfect, you have to work with it, change default settings (use scrap? - yes) or it won't take the cut from one room and use it as "fill" for the other room (but the software doesn't know if they have the same carpet in both rooms unless you tell it).  And that tool doesn't work at all if you didn't enter the carpet line items by dragging and dropping onto the sketch diagram - which is not my familiar habit - so at first it was a "gotcha" source of frustration.

    In the old days this stuff was so simple, and sketch has given us some good things, but I fear most people don't have the patience to master it and will just make noise.

    Bob H
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    HuskerCat
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    07/17/2008 2:31 AM

    You both mention some of the detailed items that Sketch can calculate if the trained user knows all the tricks of the program.  And from the field adjuster's perspective, this pride in his work this is great.  But then you have to wonder if it is really appreciated or understood by the reviewer of your work product, when they have not actually been behind the wheel of Xact.  You might be surprised at the number of examiners that blow right past the guts of the estimate & look only at the final line.  They probably equal the percentage of those that pick the field adjuster apart over the most minute mistake.  And then you have that good middle ground that reviews the entire estimate and accepts it as is, or cordially asks the field adjuster to make certain changes or additions to the estimate.  Bottom line though, is, many haven't had hands-on with Xact in the field lately.  Good supporting report & line item notes go a long way toward establishing your rep.

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    07/17/2008 7:26 AM
    "Does the software round your measurement to the nearest inch? My Disto spits out 1/16's of an inch, and I wondered how the software deals with that."

    Xactimate drops the fractions and rounds correctly to feet and inches.
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    BobH
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    07/17/2008 10:54 AM

    Thanks for confirming that John. I figured it HAD to do something like that, because none of these estimating programs have fractions of an inch.

    Posted By Mike Kunze on 07/17/2008 2:31 AM

    You both mention some of the detailed items that Sketch can calculate if the trained user knows all the tricks of the program. ... But then you have to wonder if it is really appreciated or understood by the reviewer of your work product, when they have not actually been behind the wheel of Xact...

    Yeah, I have noticed for years some claims examiners are so buried they don't even read my report, let alone the individual pages of the estimate. You get a call from the Insured weeks later asking for status, so you call the exam, and they say "just tell me how much to pay - what is the check amount".

    In a way, that puts more burden on me to make my work OK, because there is one less set of eyes to review it from another angle.

    But our work product (estimate) is eventually shared with the homeowner, and trickles down to their contractor - so if the estimate stands on it's own and explains its findings, there are less calls back to the adjuster.

    Sketch

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Estimating programs have always listed out the missing wall areas, that is nothing new.  The one benefit to sketch is the ability to see "oh that's where the Living - dining room have that 5' 10" wall that's missing" and it opens to the kitchen...

    You can see dotted lines at the top in a long rectangle.  The larger diagram (last page of estimate) is easier to read, says "Tile" and that is the non-carpeted area of this room that is set up as a missing area of the floor.  I don't expect a Claims examiner to follow along with that, but if someone questions my work it makes it easier to explain on the phone (while they are looking at my estimate) how I arrived at my findings, because it is a bit more visual than simply text.

    If you look at the right side where the kitchen is, the cabinet "areas" have solid lines, and are not "missing" from the floor (because the ceramic tile in that room was not damaged, no need to change properties).  When you change those reference areas to "missing" and compare the Sf ceiling to the 'Sf floor, you will find that the floor area is smaller than the ceiling because of these areas you backed out.  For a kitchen with banks of cabinets along multiple walls and an island in the center, this can be helpful.  I had one the other day with hardwood floor glued down the slab in the kitchen, lot of extra cost to remove due to "glue down" and this feature was helpful (but my scope notes and field diagram would have enabled me to simply come to the same findings myself for the area of wood floor).

    With all that said, my favorite version of Xactimate was in the mid 1990's, DOS version 5.8 because it was simple, and bulletproof.

    There are some incredibly difficult software programs out there for graphics work (if you have ever worked with Photo-shop's "layers") and they keep trying to come out with non-pro versions of their software, made simple for consumers.  I would love to see Xactimate come out with something that is more "lean and mean" like it was in the early days.

    Sketch has some benefits, but it is almost like learning a CAD program when we are just trying to arrive at a fair settlement amount without taking time that could be used to help the next insured on the next claim.

    Bob H
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    CATdawg
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    07/18/2008 9:36 AM

    This may be a dumb question, and if I had more time I could probably find the answer online. Nonetheless, please be gentle and answer this: How does the Disto store various room measurements for retrieval later? Is there a keyboard to name rooms, or a menu such as "Living Room, Dining Room, etc."; or does it automatically name rooms "Room 1, Room 2, Room 3, etc.", which would be confusing later?

    On another note, this thread has been fascinating for a couple of reasons. I've been in eastern Oklahoma for the last 6 weeks writing wind and hail claims. I arrived with but a perfunctory knowledge of Xact 25 , and practically none of Sketch (my experience in the field is with IntegriClaim and PowerClaim). Big mistake, but my examiners have been quite generous in accepting what are often bizarre-looking Sketches (LOL). They're accurate as far as measurements go, but don't always match up properly in plan view since I have to cut the roof surfaces up into subroofs to deal with multiple gables, ridge offsets, and pitches. It's embarassing, but I simply haven't had time to refine my techniques.

    The point is that I've been learning what I don't know, and this thread has given me additional ideas as to how to approach my training after I'm released from this storm. I might as well integrate the Disto into my self-study efforts.

    There have been many instances recently where a laser measuring device would have saved me from stumbling all over the piles of crap, I mean contents, that seem to occupy every square inch of floor space in some of these homes...LOL...In fact, I vaguely remember a day long past when I was able to park my own truck in the garage.

     

    Lee Norwood, aka "CATdawg"
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    BobH
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    07/18/2008 10:32 AM
    Posted By Lee Norwood on 07/18/2008 9:36 AM
    How does the Disto store various room measurements for retrieval later? Is there a keyboard to name rooms, or a menu such as "Living Room, Dining Room, etc."; or does it automatically name rooms "Room 1, Room 2, Room 3, etc.", which would be confusing later?

    You do the sketch on site, in real time, and enter the measurement you just took as you create the floor-plan.

    The new "bluetooth capable" lasers have an extra button that mine doesn't, and you basically use that to "send" the measurement to the laptop or tablet PC once you have that field active (and could otherwise type in the number - but at this point you "zap" in the number wirelessly).

    The scenario you describe, storing measurements for various rooms, would sound like a situation where you take scope notes on site and enter them to the computer later - and that isn't how this works.  You do the sketch on site - and I STRONGLY recommend that even though I am not using Bluetooth. 

    It is much easier to do a good (and eventually fast) sketch on-site than from your best scope notes & diagram.  When something doesn't line up, you can walk around the house and see what went wrong. 

    There have been many instances recently where a laser measuring device would have saved me from stumbling all over the piles of crap, I mean contents, that seem to occupy every square inch of floor space in some of these homes...LOL

    I LOVE using a Laser for most interior measurements. It really helps to rise above the furniture and shoot a reading off the wall on the other side (avoid window treatment - hit the wall). The old "sonic" lasers that sold for under $50 gave all of this a bad name, innacurate, but the true lasers are dead accurate. It really helped me working Flood, but even with "daily claims" you run into gross carpet, fire damage hosed down with water, etc.  You don't want your tape measure slurping that stuff in and out.

    Bob H
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    BobH
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    --
    07/18/2008 11:12 AM
    Posted By Lee Norwood on 07/18/2008 ...but my examiners have been quite generous in accepting what are often bizarre-looking Sketches (LOL). They're accurate as far as measurements go, but don't always match up properly in plan view since I have to cut the roof surfaces up into subroofs to deal with multiple gables, ridge offsets, and pitches. It's embarrassing, but I simply haven't had time to refine my techniques.

    The point is that I've been learning what I don't know, and this thread has given me additional ideas as to how to approach my training after I'm released from this storm.

    When that happened to me, I discovered that THE FOOTPRINT of the house was way off - because I really didn't need to measure the footprint for that claim and didn't have the measurements.

    So there you sit, doing a roof claim when the sun has set, in the comfort of your room, and Xactimate has created something that looks like the Eiffel Tower with a pitch like 30/12 because you need to spread the walls farther apart...

    Seems it doesn't matter with a simple rectangular roof.  but you get a cut-up beast, and all of a sudden things stop lining up right with Sketched roofs if you don't have the footprint diagrammed out first before adding the roof. 

    Not a bad idea to get the footprint anyway, as you know - you can add the area of the eves to the foot print and multiply by "pitch factor" to see if your computer is telling you anything close to what that roof would be, based on that shadow that would be cast on the ground at 12 noon with "6 in 12 pitch" or whatever.

    If you didn't get the footprint measured on site, "right click" to check "properties" of the sketched roof, and see what pitch it thinks the roof is.  And this is the place where you can TELL IT the rafter length and over-ride some of its "assumptions". You can also try dragging the edge of the roof out, but if you don't over-ride the resulting "assumptions" of rafter length and pitch, the result can be a gamble.

    Roy has some http://www.catadjuster.org/Home/Blo...fault.aspx and I believe he knows a lot more about this than I do. 

    Also see what http://www.catadjuster.org/Default....EntryID=15

    Personally I do not rely on the computer to tell me the surface area of a roof, I just do my best to get Xactimate to come up with numbers that are very close to what I measured in the field using common sense math.  The claim may settle based on the numbers that the computer spits out, but I want those numbers to = or be very close to what I determined the "old way" with basic math.  The bible on how to do this is a short 4 page document written by http://www.npccrs.com/drlist.php?type=pdr">"National Property & Casualty Research"  publication # 517 as described http://www.catadjuster.org/Forums/t....aspx#8777">on this other thread.

    Using the "longest rafter x the longest eve" and then deal with the extensions to that main area, you get the right answer. After you go back and forth a few times from pen and paper to Xactimate sketch, eventually you become it's master and not it's slave.  You just open the "properties" and force the rafter length to the measurement you got in the field.  If the pitch looks bizarre, you over ride the pitch, you just use those tools and make it happen.

    I DO NOT use a Laser measure on a roof (even though I have the "red glasses" to helps see the dot).  For the same reason some carriers don't even want to see you with a roller wheel instead of a 100' tape measure, I just don't think you can point  a laser dot at the end of ridge and hit the exact end of the roof.  It is not like pointing against a wall, that is perpendicular to the laser beam.  For the same reason I don't measure fences with them, even though the literature shows "triangulation" methods etc.  I grab a 100' tape.

    I do find the laser helpful in shooting to the top of the gable even (from the ground) and then the bottom of the eves.  But that is shooting at something that is a real target, the eves are perpendicular to the line of the beam.

    Bob H
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