Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why  should  I  pay  for  an  independent  damp and timber survey  when some  Companies offer  'free' surveys?


A. Whilst there are a number of reputable businesses within  the industry  that  offer   'free'   surveys,   some   treatment   Companies  employ   unqualified, commission based salesman, with limited experience and  little or no interest  in  diagnosing  the  actual  problems that are affecting a property.


Q. Can you give me an example of how that may affect me?


A. Yes.  Let's  suppose that you  are  considering   the   purchase  of  a   typical mid-terrace   Victorian   property.  You   have   commissioned   a    Chartered   Surveyor   to   undertake  a  Homebuyer type survey, as required by your mortgage lender. He arrives at the property and as part of the survey uses an electronic moisture  measuring meter to test the wall plaster at  random points around the property,  recording  a high reading to the front bay and noting that the surrounding plaster is  visibly damp. He compiles his report, in which he advises that  this may be rising damp and should be further investigated  by a  damp proofing specialist.


Q. That  all  sounds  reasonable  and  professional so far, what's the problem?


A. Well,  the  important  thing  to  note here is  that  your unbiased  chartered surveyor  has not determined whether the readings he recorded  are  actually  attributable  to  true  rising  damp,  just that they may  be. For  a definitive diagnosis, you are relying on the  honesty  and  integrity  of  the specialist surveyor that you call in, who, coincidentally,  relies on  the diagnosis of rising damp in order to make a living.


Q. Shouldn't I  just  go to a Company that  charges  a  fee for the  survey but refunds the fee if work is undertaken, surely that implies a  more professional approach?


A. Yes it does. However, many Companies that offer to refund the survey  fee may add it on to their quote in the  first instance  and then take  advantage of the  fact that most  Clients tend  to have  fewer  quotes  if   they  are  paying  for  each  one  and  don't forget  they  are still in the business of selling remedial works and treatments.


Q. But surely  rising damp  is a common  problem  affecting most properties, if the Homebuyer  Surveyor  has identified  an issue  with  damp, then  it's just a  simple  case of  getting  two or three quotes from different Companies?


A. Not  necessarily,  there  are  many  factors  that  can give  a high  reading  on an electronic moisture meter, many of them not attributable  to  true  rising  damp.  In fact,  both  the  Building  Research   Establishment,   in  it's   digest  245   "Rising  dampness   in  walls:   diagnosis  and treatment"  and the  BWPDA / PCA  who  run  training  courses and  organise examinations for  surveyors,  both  state   quite  clearly, that a  surface moisture meter alone cannot give proof

of  the  existence  of rising damp. With  no vested  interest in quoting  for chemical treatments

or specialist re-plastering works, you can be sure that our surveyor will carry  out a thorough  inspection of the  property, in order  to determine  whether a  high meter reading is attributable  to true rising damp, or some other building defect that can be rectified  by a competent  builder,  without  the need  for expensive  and disruptive treatments.


Q. But  what  if  the   property   does  have  true   rising  damp  after  all, I  will have occurred additional costs by instructing you, that will not  be refunded, how has that benefited me?


A. In a worse case scenario where a  property is  affected by  rising damp  our surveys  and  reports  will  not   only  determine  the  full   extent   of  the  works required, but  also  the most appropriate  method  of   treatment. Some  treatment  company  surveyors  are  happy  just   to  find  something  to  quote  on  and will  choose to  ignore  the more  awkward  or  inaccessible  areas  of  a property as  they may  be  time  consuming  to  treat and  therefore  less profitable, they may also be tied in to  one  manufacturer in order  to gain the best  possible  price for their materials. As  your  best  interests  are  our  primary  concern,  we  will provide  a  report  that  specifies  the  complete  scope  of  the  works  that  are  required   and exactly  how they are  to be undertaken. We will do  this in a clear and  concise manner, provide a sketch plan where appropriate and give an educated opinion  as  to  the  likely contract  value. This leaves you  in   a  very  strong position to  invite Companies  to  tender for the works   specified,  safe  in   the knowledge that there are no hidden agendas and that all the invited Companies  are  tendering  for the same works.