Would it be acceptable if during the course an inspection an appliance or part of the physical plant of a home knowingly failed which would cause damage to the property being inspected for the interNAHCI inspector to not shut down the appliance? Specifically, if a water heater began to leak during an inspection, would it violate the code of conduct to not shut the water supply off to the water heater? Would the standard of care or the code of ethics apply differently if the NAHCI inspector knew that the homeowners would not return for at least two hours? Finally, would the inspector have any duty to notify the homeowners of the failed device?
The root of my questions comes from the fact that during the course of an inspection on our property, our water heater began leaking. The inspector noted that the water heater began leaking during the course of the inspection and was not leaking prior to the time of the inspection. The water supply to the water heater was not shut off causing the amount of water flooding a finished basement to far exceed what would have occurred had the leak been isolated to the water tank of the heater exclusively. The inspector relied on the buyer real estate agent to contact me and I did not receive notification until an hour after the inspector, buyer and buyers agent had vacated the property with the knowingly leaking water heater. I was unable to return to the property for another hour after I received notification, meaning the water heater continued to leak without mitigation for at least two hours.