Should you have free damp and timber survey, or pay for a damp and timber survey? Some damp surveys are free, especially if it’s a recommendation from a local Estate Agent. Lots of damp surveyors work for Estate Agents, with the added benefit that they get ‘highly recommended’ they have a good chance of getting the work, after the damp survey.
Personally from my experience you should steer well clear of this free damp survey situation, as I have personally seen terrible advice in these circumstances. The Estate Agents job is just to sell the house, and they don’t want in depth surveys, that can slow the process, and possibly the loss of a sell, if a thorough damp survey reveals an issue which can cost a few quid more than perhaps a quick free survey.
When getting a damp survey quote, you shouldn’t be put off by the price, what you should be interested in is what that damp surveyor can actually do for you. Why would you want a cheap, or even a free damp survey, if you knew they wouldn’t be giving the best advice? Unfortunately a lay person doesn’t know what they really need in regards to the correct survey, along with equipment required to carry out a damp investigation.
The one trick pony damp surveyors will literally turn up with a damp meter, poke the walls with a damp meter and form an opinion. Mostly then customers are offered a cover up job, masking the damp with a damp proofing solution. This is often the case with the Independent damp surveyors also. Just because you pay for an Independent damp survey, don’t for one minute think the advice will be any better. This might seem that I am bias, which could be the perceived case. Well actually I am passionate about offering the correct advice, and that’s why I have spent a small fortune on setting up a laboratory for plaster sampling analysis, along with the very best in surveying equipment to find the root cause of your damp issues.
What if the damp surveyor hasn’t inspected the drains? What if they haven’t carried out an acoustic test on the mains water, to check for a leak? What if the surveyor hasn’t carried out a carbide –speedy meter test to test and see if the wall is damp? What if they haven’t removed any plaster/mortar samples to check if the wall is actually damp, or hygroscopic salt contamination? From my experience which is over 20 years in regards to damp issues, and sometimes providing a repair solution, it is extremely likely the wrong diagnosis will be offered, if the correct survey hasn’t been carried out initially.
If the above hasn’t been carried out you should certainly be suspicious of any advice being given in regards to the damp advice given. The British Standard BS 6576, and the latest joint document by Historic England, RICS, SPAB, CADW, and the PCA, or point to initially eliminating root cause of damp before coming a conclusion, and offering a solution.
The below video explains to you the questions you need to initially ask to ensure you can get the correct damp survey. There is even the guidance from the British Standards in regards to damp surveys. The below video will probably save you money, when it comes to the correct advice for sure.
A common trick damp specialists offer is a ‘cheap’ non invasive survey, and then in the report tell you if you need exact confirmation of your damp diagnosis, you will need to pay for another damp survey to include opening up, and gravimetrics / carbide tests.