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Should I pay for a damp and timber survey

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How do you know what to do? You have a problem with some damp (you think rising damp maybe), and so you go to www.yell.com.

There you find a bewildering selection of ‘Damp and Timber Specialists’, ‘damp proofing and plastering’ types and builders. When you call some people there’s no answer and there’s a bit of a grisly answer phone message, others are driving; but eventually you get through to someone.

What will I get from your Damp and Timber Survey? How much will it cost? Are they trying to sell me something I don’t need?

In essence there are three categories of Damp and Timber Survey:

Independent

These reports cost you anything from £150 – £350. This will get you a report from CSRT qualified surveyor who has no bias IE. there is no interest in finding any work that needs doing. This is the pick of the bunch. Lenders love these reports and if you’re hoping for sound professional advice with no coercion this is the one to go for.

That said, make your instructions clear. If you want a report from which you can obtain a number of quotes for repairs let them know. We provide (at additional expense) a schedule of works which may be sent to a list of good contractors allowing clients to compare like-for-like quotes.

Local Professional

A local professional will normally charge you between £50 and £75. This will get you a report from a CSRT qualified surveyor. Although not independent, these surveyors are audited for technical competence. The biggest problem with going down this route is how many reports do you obtain? And then once you’ve got a couple of reports how do you wade through the contents and compare the quotes?

Unqualified Tradesman

Surveys are normally free; but the surveyors lack training and equipment to correctly diagnose the issue. This can lead to unnecessary work costing thousands of pounds. Furthermore, the reports tend to be little more than a page of typing and the guarantees are worthless. When you come to sell your home lenders aren’t satisfied because the work doesn’t carry the necessary certification.

Damp in homes is a complex specialist area and that’s why Chartered Surveyors differ to “Damp and Timber Specialists” (normally specifiying CSRT qualified members of the Property Care Association) .

Always make sure that your surveyor is CSRT qualified. If they aren’t you have to wonder why they haven’t bothered getting appropriate training and relevant qualifications.


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Specialist survey of defective gutters

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I’ve just finished a report on a modern Listed Building with significant defects to the gutters.

defective gutters

The property inspected is within the overhang in the above image and suffers from dampness in the walls. From the investigation it turns out the gutters are behind parapet walls, and while the parapet is covered in lead, the gutters themselves are of concrete.

concrete gutters

Leaves and other debris block the gutters and although the maintenance company have taken some action I think that the down pipes have been blocked – hence the dampness in the brick peers in the first image.

What fascinates me is that this building is only 40 years old, but its been Listed by English Heritage for its architectural value. This means that repairs to rectify these issues will necessitate the involvement of the local conservation officer. He/she is likely to expect the maintenance company of this building to use materials etc. in keeping with the original construction. As a result I would anticipate repairs to the roof/ windows/ gutters amounting to a huge expense.


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