The ASHI Code of Ethics Committee is charged with developing ethics education and awareness for ASHI’s membership, and answering Requests for Interpretation of our Code of Ethics. Two Requests for Interpretation (RFIs) from earlier this year are published here. The first explores the inspector’s responsibility to report violations of the Code. The second deals with the potential challenge to the inspector’s objectivity when the inspector’s client is a family member. In each of our monthly Focus on Ethics articles, we present one or more RFIs and the responses developed by the committee since the new Code of Ethics was approved. Our membership is encouraged to submit RFIs to the committee if serious questions about the intent and applicability of the Code should arise. The necessary form is available at the ASHI Web site under Downloads/ASHI Forms & Documents.
—Keith A. Oberg, Chair, 2006 ASHI Code of Ethics Committee
Request for interpretation
e060221-2 Felony Reporting
If I am aware that an ASHI member has been convicted of a felony and is now incarcerated, do I have an obligation to report the member to the CEPP, per 3.B of the Code of Ethics, since ASHI policy holds that a member shall be subject to discipline if such member has been convicted of a felony during his membership?
The Code of Ethics states that “Inspectors shall avoid activities that may harm the public, discredit themselves, or reduce public confidence in the profession.” Clearly a felony act would discredit the inspector and reduce confidence in the profession. The Code also says, “Inspectors shall report substantive and willful violations of this Code to the Society.” It would, therefore, be our obligation as inspectors under the Code to report the violation to the ASHI Director of Compliance, or other staff member acting in that role, for review by the appropriate committee per ASHI policies and procedures.
Request for interpretation
e060221-3 Inspecting for Daughter
Is it unethical for a father who is an ASHI member to perform a home inspection for his daughter who is buying a home, in light of the principle that “Inspectors shall avoid conflicts of interest or activities that compromise, or appear to compromise, professional independence, objectivity, or inspection integrity?”
Any parent would want to help his or her child during a home purchase, including offering his/her expertise regarding the property condition. Performing an inspection under such circumstances would not be a violation of the Code so long as there was disclosure, and it was understood by all parties, that such an evaluation was not purported to be an independent, objective inspection.