I recommend a GFCI for this area for two reasons…One, like the unfinished part of a basement where GFCIs are required, this area is subject to discovering a puddle or two from a leaking drain or service pipe/valve.
The second reason is by demonstration. Usually, as I bend over and reach under the sink to plug/unplug something into the receptacle, my other hand is on or in the sink for balance.
When I explain the advantages of GFCIs to clients, the word “code” never comes up. It is a safety device on the market that can save a life. Why not install them under the sink?
I’m not Paul and would defer to his opinion, but I would call it out as deficient as you did. If asked why, I would say because they serve the kitchen countertops (even if that’s not where they are located).
Keep in mind that sometimes the receptacle under the sink may have 2 circuits on it.
1 for the dishwasher and 1 for the disposal. GFCI receptacle would not work in this situation.
Another problem with replacing the receptacle with a GFCI is if it has the disposal and the dishwasher plugged in to it is the disposal is switch controlled and the dishwasher is not. GFCI receptacles will not operate properly like this.
The problem is they dont serve the counter top in the example. The NEC is clear on what has to happen to be considered serving the countertop. Now, with that said it is perfectly FINE to suggest GFCI’s anywhere you feel it is needed. Never feel uptight about recommending GFCI protection. The problem is when an HI does not recommend it but says that code would require it and in this case it would not.
“Code requirements” are subjective and can only be “required” by the AHJ who enforces it.
Pity the poor inspector…and his soon-to-be starving, homeless family…who quotes a “code requirement” that kills a deal and the homeowner who loses the sale brings THE authority having jurisdiction to look at the so-called defect, and who does not agree with the home inspector.
When you read the code book…particularly the administrative sections…you quickly find where the authority having jurisdiction is THE last word. What you call out as a defect is ONLY a code violation if HE says it is. What you call a code violation in a report or in a conversation with a client…is nothing more than an exercise in ESP.
Now, it is correct to say that “In some instances, some AHJs have considered this to be a code violation”, but the very fact that you are looking at it and seeing it exist is a good possibility that some other AHJ did not.
GFCIs save lives. If there were no code references to them at all, we as home inspectors should recommend them in every area where they could prevent electrocution. This is how we must see our jobs. Any other vision of what we do (as home inspectors) is a fantasy.
Thats why I always start phrases in my reports with the words recommend and suggest.
I make exceptions only for State code on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors which requires them with in 15 feet of bedrooms in my area though I use that only to declare that I recommend them in bedrooms.
My point was that it is clear cut.(on smoke,though notice the slight loophole with Co)
Safety is always big.
Section 20. Exemptions. The following residential units shall not require carbon monoxide detectors:
(1) A residential unit in a building that: (i) does not rely on combustion of fossil fuel for heat, ventilation, or hot water; (ii) is not connected in any way to a garage; and (iii) is not sufficiently close to any ventilated source of carbon monoxide, as determined by the local building commissioner, to receive carbon monoxide from that source.