Rising Damp and Independent Reports
We can offer Building Surveys also known as Structural Surveys and Home Buyers Reports. We also do Specific Defects also known as Engineers Reports or Damp Reports. We can also carry out Independent Valuations. Note these are not for bank lending but are to advise you how much we feel the property is really worth.
If you have a property problem we may even already have written an article on it and we would refer you to the many articles we have on our home page 1stAssociated.co.uk.
Contact us on free phone us on 0800 298 5424 and a surveyor will call you back.
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Why do people have damp reports and why are they concerned about dampness problems?
It is becoming more and more common for us to be asked to carry out a rising damp defects report, which is interesting as there is much speculation now that rising damp doesn't exist!
Dampness reports, three main reasons
A report is usually requested for one of three reasons. Interestingly, the main reason isn't that rising damp has been seen (and, as we will explain later, and have already mentioned, many argue that rising damp doesn't actually exist) it is:
1. The mortgage company recommends a specialist damp proofing company
The mortgage company's surveyor (which should correctly be known as the mortgage company's valuer or salesperson!) recommended that a specialist company be employed to get rid of the dampness that has been found during the mortgage valuation.
2. The specialist damp proofing companies prices and what they diagnose differs
Where damp proofing specialists have been called in to carry out quotations. Most wise homeowners get two or three quotations and when comparing them they found that their free survey (that are really quotes, which are always free) recommend different solutions to the same problem. Whilst we agree there can be different solutions to building problems we have found that the property owner's concern is usually that the areas in which the two companies have found dampness are different.
3. Smells damp
There is a smell of dampness in the property, peeling wallpaper or discolouration to the wallpaper.
Why do mortgage company surveyors / valuers recommend you need a specialist to look at the problem, when they themselves should be more specialist than the specialist!?
The reason why the mortgage company's valuer, often known as the surveyor, and usually is a surveyor, recommend someone else comes and has a look at the dampness is lack of time and often, though not always, lack of technical expertise. The mortgage company surveyors, being targeted to carry out so many valuations a day, have little time and patience for any problems they come across and wish to deal with them as quickly as possible. A very quick way to deal with the problem is to refer it onto someone else, in this case, what they refer to as specialist damp proofing companies.
The whole industry of specialist damp proofing companies has grown up to serve the mortgage company's need for an instant solution
The mortgage companies require the certainty that any properties that they lend on do not have problems. This means they need a solution that is quick and guaranteed and specialist damp proofing companies offer this solution.
History of specialist damp proofing companies
The history of the BWPDA, which is the main recognised body representing the damp proofing specialists, from the website shows that they have quite a long history, starting as the BWPA, British Wood Preserving Association, in 1929/1930, merging in 1989 with the BCDA, although we have been unable to find out what these initials stand for (please e-mail us if you do know), to form the British Wood Preserving and Damp Proofing Association (BWPDA), which for many years was the recommended trade body for damp proofing companies.
More recently The Property Care Association (PCA) and Wood Protection Association, both formed by the BWPDA in 2003, have featured more prominently, with the Property Care Association separating in 2006.
We would refer you to the following websites: BWPDA bwpda.co.uk , Property Care Association property-care.org and the Wood Protection Association: wood-protection.org .
Why does this all need explaining?
We have explained the above in detail as there needs to be a far better understanding of the difference between property professionals that give independent advice and property professionals that give sales advice (usually the sales advice is free and usually the technical advice is chartered for!). Whilst many of them are trained, the training is carried out based on a one scenario solution fits all, rather than a general overview of the problem.
Vested interest of the mortgage company surveyor
There are various vested interests at work when you are advised to get a damp proofing specialist. The interest of the bank/mortgage company is that they lend on a property that is structurally sound. Ironically, all properties are damp to a certain extent. There is a vested interest of the mortgage valuer/surveyor who wishes to carry out the valuation as quickly as possible and not get sued for negligence.
Vested interest of the damp proof surveyor
Then there is the vested interest of the damp proofing company who wish to give a quick solution that the mortgage companies are requesting with a guarantee and of course many damp proof companies have an incentive on sales, as does any good sales company.
Where the non-problem begins
All this would work very well if there were a problem! We believe the problem relates to the misunderstanding of what a mortgage valuer does. Unfortunately there is no-one whose interest it is to explain it. Let us explain further:
The mortgage company is connected to the estate agent, who is connected to the surveyor, all of which need the mortgage to go through to make a profit, or, just their own bank or mortgage company, be they independent financial advisers, have the incentive to sell mortgages.
Estate agents, why they never recommend having a survey, of if they do it is the absolute minimum
The estate agents will never advise having a survey, as this could affect their commission, which they get for selling property. Estate agents are in the lovely position where they can sell something and not be liable for it. Having been a Partner in national association of estate agents and surveyors we know the very last thing an estate agent wants to see is a good survey, as, we mentioned, it can stop the sale of the property.
The surveyors that are not really surveyors at all but are valuers (which is a far different skill)
One of the biggest misunderstandings is that not all surveyors are the same and they come in many different forms. Very much like general practice doctors, there are those who have general skills and those who have specialist skills. In the case of surveying a general skill is to carry out a mortgage valuation, but they would then run a mile if asked to carry out a home buyers report, which is the most basic form of survey (please note it is not the middle survey, as is sold by many estate agents) and they simply would not want to know if they were asked to carry out a structural survey, or, as it is now known, a building survey. It would be similar to asking your general practitioner doctor to carry out surgery on you, or, a more cringing example, ask him to remove some of your teeth!
Should you trust a bank / mortgage company?
From our own experience, when we were part of one of the largest surveying and valuation companies, which, incidentally, were owned by the mortgage company and also owned many estate agents (so we are not sure how they could give independent impartial advice), we were part of a team of building surveyors that were set up to take on work that the valuers didn't want to do / couldn't do. Valuers in the country range to a few hundred whereas; the building surveyors could be counted on one hand. However, sadly, the vast majority of the time they are avoiding using our service by simply not recommending (mis-selling?) the need for a survey, rather than just having a valuation.
But, the bank will lend on it, so it must be in good condition?
Many people would argue that if a bank/mortgage company will give a mortgage on the property then there is no problem. As we all should be aware, the banks will give mortgages on most things, providing they can get their money back. The excellent moneysavingexpert.com website explains further how banks and building societies are moved from being advisers to product sellers.
So, what has all this got to do with rising damp?
Coming back to the problem of rising damp, you really do need independent advice, or it is likely that you will be advised to have a specialist damp proofing company carry out work that may or may not be necessary. It certainly isn't as necessary as the number of times as it is recommended! You will become part of the process and, in turn, this will cost you several thousands of pounds to solve a problem that doesn't really exist in many cases.
You may wish to read some of our other articles on dampness issues:
Resolving Dampness in your Basement
Dampness in Buildings - Basics Article
Dampness in Buildings - Technical Article
Dampness Defects Report
Shared Freehold and Problems with Damp
Damp proof courses defined
Damp Proof Courses - What are these for?
Damp Proof Specialists - Talk to us First
How do Older Properties keep dry without a damp proof course?
Please see our section on:
Specific Defects Reports
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, dampness issues, dilapidations, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.
If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com .
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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If you require any information about Dampness in
Properties please telephone us for help and advice
0800 298 5424