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Should I pay for a damp and timber survey

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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.


About Author

Ben

I'm a specialist surveyor dealing with dampness in buildings incorporating issues such as: rising damp, timber decay, underground waterproofing and flood resistance.

8 Comments

Andrew Abusin

December 9, 2014at 9:55 pm

Had a survey report as in the process of selling house. No damp meter readings taken and property is structurally sound no evidence of damp or condensation but survey suggests evidence of damp. I require a damp survey to confirm no damp is present, what is the process? What is the cost? what is the time factor?
Could you please forward any advice.

    Ben

    January 5, 2015at 11:18 am

    Hi Andrew,
    Sounds a little odd, and that you could do with a freelance survey to give some impartial advice.
    If you go to http://www.propertycareconsultants.co.uk/contact-us/ and fill in the details I’ll come back to you to confirm instructions. I’ll then make arrangements for access and get the survey completed ASAP. I do a next day service for a small additional fee.
    Speak to you soon,
    Ben

Tony Browne

November 7, 2017at 3:03 pm

Hi Ben,
I am a Damp and Timber surveyor and have been for over 20 years now. I have been involved in building new houses, renovation old houses and in conservation work for over 30 years. I am not an unqualified tradesman. I have a BSc (Hons) degree which took 3 years of studying to get. I have a Cert. Ed. and I have taught Building Science at College. The CSRT is not an academic or national recognised qualification. It is an in-house qualification which takes 3 days to get.
You question why would someone like me not bother to get ‘appropriate training and relevant qualifications’ via the Property Care Association?. Its because I would be embarrassed to be linked with an organisation which proclaims itself to be the gold standard in Timber and Damp surveying when i have come across so many inaccurate surveys carried out by PCA surveyors which have cost householders thousands of pounds in unnecessary remedial works. Just refer to the ‘Which’ Magazine survey in 2011 in an article ‘Unnecessary Treatments’ where it found that of the PCA members it tested not one PCA member could tell the difference between a burst pipe and rising damp. Who needs the ‘appropriate training and relevant qualifications’ ?.

    Ben

    November 27, 2017at 10:46 am

    Hi Tony,
    Thanks for your comments.
    I appreciate that PCA members sometimes get it wrong. Nevertheless, as far as I’m aware CSRT is still the best most relevant qualification for a surveyor dealing with damp and timber. I’ve done a Post Graduate Diploma in Surveying Practice and this only covered building pathology in one module which dealt with lead and asbestos etc. This degree level qualification in surveying certainly didn’t compare to the CSRT qualification when in regard to damp and timber. (Maybe this was different for your degree and I respect that).
    I like when a contractor is a PCA member because I know they have annual audits and clients have another point of recourse if they receive a poor service. I’m also aware that occasionally contractors are removed from membership for poor practice and I find that encouraging in regard to maintaining standards.
    I’d encourage you to join up and see if RTDS.co.uk benefits.
    Best wishes,
    Ben

Sherley willetts

June 13, 2018at 6:08 pm

I’ve had a home buyers report done and the say they have found a bit of damp near the sink erea,
They have advised me to get a damp and timber treatment contractor to investigate to the full extent and get quotes of the full cost if any problems found

Eva Molero

August 31, 2018at 10:07 am

Where could I find a local specialist?

Geoff Flavell

January 21, 2019at 8:33 pm

Hi Ben I agree with the above Tony Browne, a 3 day course from the PCA gives you certification, for me an experienced surveyor wins every time we’ve been trading in the timber & damp industry for over 40 years worked with PCA surveyors many times before I started my own company in 1995 and going strong, I still come across surveys carried out by certified surveyors and mis-diagnosed problems concerning timber decay and damp proofing, they are in it for the money over exaggerating small problems, we are a experienced small Company with TrustMark accreditation in which we carry out worth to Government standards with no complaints and can issue a insurance backed guarantee through GPI, so I always say experience works every time not short 3 days courses.
Surveyors always get experience though on-site work over the years

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