INDEPENDENT DAMP AND TIMBER SURVEY SERVICE
If you own property or you are about to buy a property that has damp or timber related problems and you know little about these subjects then you will almost certainly have to seek the opinion of someone who does. Ideally you want an objective honest opinion from an experienced person who has no vested interest in their findings or reccomendations - so what options are available to you and what should you be aware of?
1. Have an independent survey undertaken - this is probably the most sensible course of action
A sensible and very often cost effective option is to engage the services of an experienced independent damp and timber decay surveyor such as Peter, who derives no financial gain from any remedial work that may be necessary. It is important to remember that an independent surveyor such as Peter is working for you with your best interests in mind and will therefore only recommend work or treatment that is absolutely essential. This approach very often saves you money by avoiding unnecessary, inappropriate or ‘blanket treatment’ proposals.
Peter is a qualified independent specialist damp and timber decay surveyor with over thirty nine years of experience. Peter investigates or, subject to his client's instructions, seeks to identify problems in buildings such as woodworm, dry rot, wet rot, rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation. Because Peter is totally independent of contracting companies, manufacturers and suppliers he has no other interest beyond the findings of his own inspection which means that you will receive an objective opinion devoid of any external influences.
Peter’s many years of experience also means that he is a realist. He acknowledges that treatment processes or procedures are sometimes required and in such circumstances, whenever possible, non chemical methods are recommended otherwise best advice and guidance is provided. When treatment is deemed necessary Peter firmly believes in ‘targeted treatment’ rather than a ‘blanket treatment’ approach which very often saves his clients unnecessary expenditure and inconvenience.
Peter's mode of operation:
As a general rule Peter will only make one appointment in a day (unlike some who make 6!) which means he has no time constraint whilst on site enabling him to undertake a thorough investigation which on numerous occasions has revealed problems not seen by others. Peter's normal procedure is that he will visit your property and carry out a thorough inspection of the problem already identified or, subject to instructions, locate as far as practically possible any damp or timber related issues that may exist in a property.
If you are present at the time of Peter's visit then naturally he will discuss his findings with you and when practical and safe to do so he will show them to you. A few days after his site visit you will receive a detailed report explaining what was found where together with advice and recommendations on how best to rectify any problems located. His reports are often accompanied by informative Guidance Notes which provide a more detailed explanation of some of the problems and situations encountered. Peter is a member of the Property Care Association.
Peter is able to offer the following services:
An independent survey, opinion and report in respect of rising damp, condensation, penetrating damp, woodworm, wet rot, dry rot and basement conversions in a property
Report and tender appraisal
Laboratory analysis facilities
Monitoring systems and periodic inspections
Work supervision and inspection
Guidance on building preservation materials and application methods
Should you require Peter to conduct an independent damp and/or timber survey for you please use the 'contact' facility in the menu on the left or telephone Peter directly on 015242 71794 to discuss your requirements and for guidance on fees. Peter will quote you a fully inclusive fee and unlike some, he will not charge extra for inspecting in roof voids, raising floor boards or inspecting cellars.
Other options that are available to you.............
2. Have several ‘free’ or low cost surveys undertaken:
You may arrange for several 'free' or 'low cost' surveys to be undertaken by commercially trading treatment companies. There are some good honourable companies out there but If you choose this option you should be aware that the experience of surveyors working for such companies can vary considerably. This often results in you being presented with differing opinions and proposals leaving you confused and not knowing who is right and who is wrong (See Survey Case Study No: 6 and Informative Article No: 8 on this site for examples). You should also consider that commercially trading contractors derive their income from treating and carrying out work that they have diagnosed and they consider to be necessary thus there is no denying that they have a significant vested interest in their diagnosis and recommendations. One further important point to consider is that the surveyors of some contracting companies are incentivised to generate orders for work by being paid a commission or payment from a profit sharing scheme.
3. Consult with a local builder:
Whilst local builders have a wide range of skills, experience has shown that on many occasions they have not fully grasped of all the consequences associated with many damp and timber problems that occur in buildings. This often means that inadequate or incorrect work is undertaken which eventually fails resulting in further costly and disruptive work at a later date to rectify the problem correctly.
4. Engage the services of a chartered surveyor:
This is usually a very expensive option. Like the local builder chartered surveyors have a broad spectrum of knowledge but again experience has shown that many only have a superficial knowledge and understanding of damp and timber problems. In much the same way as a doctor refers you to a specialist many chartered surveyors adopt this approach by engaging the services of a remedial treatment company (see 2 above) to accompany them on their inspection and to draw up a specification of work they find and consider necessary - often without your knowledge. It is important to remember that you will be charged for this privilege and in many circumstances you are basically back to Option 2 above.
5. Do it yourself:
If you are sufficiently competent and certain that you fully understand the cause, extent and consequences of the problem then there is no reason why you should not tackle the problem yourself. You would need to be familiar with the correct specifications to use for specific circumstances and also consider the Health and Safety implications for yourself and those who may be affected by your actions. You should also consult your property insurance to make certain you are covered just in case the worst should happen. There is information on this site about timber treatment procedures under the 'Treatment Guidance' menu button.