Are Damp Surveys a waste of money?

by Readers Question

8:55 AM, 31st August 2016
About 2 years ago

Are Damp Surveys a waste of money?

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Are Damp Surveys a waste of money?

Before buying a property I got a Homebuyers survey done that identified some damp at the rear of the building. I’ve done a decent amount of research and I’m confident this is rising damp and not condensation.sponge

This is what the report said.

“The type of damp proof course was not visible and mostly no evidence of dampness was found
inside the house which would have been caused by a faulty damp proof course. The exception to
this is the ground floor WC where there is dampness and the damp proof course has either
broken down or is non-existent to this area”

I’ve been told I need a Damp Specialist Surveyor to who have said:

“A condition check of any Chimney Stacks if present.
The condition of elevations including Pointing, Brickwork and Render deterioration if applicable etc.
The external ground levels in relation to the internal floor levels.
Internally for each room we undertake a detailed survey which includes:
A Moisture Content and Relative Damp assessment in order to ascertain any areas of interest on the walls and floors.
Salt analysis if required in order to ascertain if the moisture has originated from the ground.
Thermal Imaging survey to ascertain the extent of the damp, and potential source points and the causes of the damp.
Ascertain if there is any leakage from pipe work causing or adding to the damp.

At the end of the investigation the Surveyor will be able to tell you the causes of the damp issue(s), the extent, and make recommendations for rectification works”

I’m keen to protect my investment and pay for what is needed to avoid ongoing headaches but is a damp specialist survey necessary?

Tom



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:57 AM, 31st August 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Tom,

Are you purchasing with a mortgage, because the lender may insist on a Damp report being done anyway?

Steven Way

7:51 AM, 1st September 2016
About 2 years ago

And that is the problem with HomeBuyers Reports and level 2 surveys, they don't actually tell you very much and send you off to get more reports. I'm as surveyor carrying out building surveys etc. Pretty much all of the things the damp surveyor will do should be done by a surveyor on a survey even a HomeBuyer. Report certainly the first four, I also use a thermal imaging camera on a full survey.

But to your point, the surveyor didn't find any damp except in the WC, he has made a diagnosis [quite how when he previously states he can't see a damp proof course] but offered no further remedy other than to cover his rear end. WCs are notorious for condensation and for surface dampness when floors are washed down etc.

Ultimately it's up to you. I take the view that some damp in an old house is inevitable and to be expected. It doesn't always need fixing, especially in ancillary spaces such as WCs. I always consider three questions - does it affect the structure and performance of the house, is it visible and look bad, does it represent a risk to health. If the answer to all of those questions is no then I'm not sure ever of the necessity for remedial work.

Chris Clare

11:33 AM, 1st September 2016
About 2 years ago

Well said Steven

I would like to add in 20 years of working with a surveyor I rarely if ever saw genuine rising damp, it is in most cases a myth developed by the damp proofing industry.

In pretty much all cases it is high external floor areas, poor rainwater goods or something is bridging the damp course such as soil or other items or structures leaning against the wall outside. Poor sills with no drip ridges are also common causes of damp below windows.

Damp courses work both ways they stop water coming up but they also stop water going down. So let's say there is water being introduced to the wall by a paving slab leaning against it or leaking gutters, this water will be prevented from draining out the bottom of the wall by the damp course thus giving the obvious appearance of damp. This is often misunderstood to be a breakdown of the DPC when in fact they could not be further form the truth.

Finally toilets are notorious for moisture as they are rarely heated and cold, this space then collects all the moisture from the house and condenses it onto the nice cold walls though I note you said this is not condensation.

It might be worth moving into the house getting it warm and see if you still have the issue before resorting to damp surveys that will inevitably suggest works need to be carried out.


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