What does a proper damp survey involve and how long does it take?
Most instances of dampness in the walls of a building have travelled from somewhere else before appearing at the surface. The exact route travelled is often unknown and unpredictable, making it impossible to know the source and severity without a detailed investigation. A proper damp survey therefore involves mapping the moisture patterns within the walls and their impact on timber components.
To achieve this, variations in the moisture within or immediately behind the plaster, as well as within the thickness of the walls, need to be measured and recorded at regular intervals for the length and height of the walls. This can require over 300 measurements for even a modest size room. As there is no single piece of equipment capable of taking the different measurements required, these measurements must be taken with multiple pieces of equipment (this does not damage the walls). Not surprisingly, even at a rate of 1 measurement every 12 seconds (which is often not possible when furniture etc. impedes access) it can easily take an hour just for one average size room.
Providing sufficient measurements are taken, the results can be used to create a 'map' of your walls. This map can reveal how moisture is currently flowing through the walls, where salts have been deposited, and where the real problems are occurring.
On its own, this detailed mapping of the walls will still not provide all of the information needed to come up with a solution to any problems found. To complete the picture, the measuring of the moisture needs to go hand in hand with a more general survey of the building to record the details of its construction, together with any defects present.
Without the full picture, any surveyor is really just guessing as to the problem.
To take the guesswork out of your damp survey, you have a choice of 3 fixed price survey packages which allow different amounts of time for the survey inspection, so vary in their breadth of coverage:
|Damp plus||Standard damp||Basic damp|
|Time allowed for survey inspection:||Up to 5 days||Up to 1 day||Up to ½ day|
|Interior checks carried out on:||Entire house||All indicated areas, plus those potentially vulnerable to damp||All areas affected by mould or damp patches, plus potentially vulnerable walls|
|Accessible roof spaces included||Yes||Only if there is evidence of possible leaks or damp||No|
|Checks for floor problems||All floors||Timber ground floors and floors in areas affected by severe damp||Ground floors only|
|Checks for damp in walls||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Checks for timber decay||Yes||Interior timber only||Interior timber where severe dampness is present|
|Checks for salt contaminated plaster||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Checks for missing or inadequate insulation||Yes||Only if mould is present||Only if mould is present|
|Checks for inadequate or excessive ventilation||Yes||Only if mould is present||Only if mould is present|
|Exterior checks carried out on:||Entire house||Walls to rooms affected by or potentially vulnerable to damp||Walls to rooms affected by damp|
|Checks for roof problems (subject to visibility/access)||Yes||Only where there is evidence of leaks||No|
|Checks for decaying brick and stone||Yes||Main external walls only||No|
|Checks for incorrect ground levels||Yes||Yes||Only where ground floor rooms are affected by damp|
|Checks for maintenance issues that could lead to future damp problems||Yes||Major issues only||No|
|Checks for previous building work that is incompatible with the house||Yes||Sizeable areas or areas where problems are starting to occur||Only areas where problems are starting to occur|
|Can the survey include additional checks on the building for a small additional charge?||Yes – discuss at initial enquiry||Yes – discuss at initial enquiry||No|
|Comprehensive report with prioritised advice||Yes – printed and electronic (pdf) versions are both issued as standard||Yes – printed and electronic (pdf) versions are both issued as standard||Yes – your choice of printed or electronic (pdf) version is issued as standard.
Both versions can be issued for a supplement of £15
|Back-up verbal advice included||Available for 3 years||Available for 2 years||Available for 6 months|
|Standard Package price||£2160 + travel||£800 + travel||£500 + travel|
My travel for all damp surveys is based on the shortest RAC recommended route from my office at Aylsham in North Norfolk to the survey location. To give you an idea of what this is likely to amount to, here are some approximate travel charges for various locations: Norwich £15, Lowestoft and King's Lynn £45, Colchester and Peterborough £90, Lincoln £110, Derby and London £145, Manchester £235, Cardiff £295, Edinburgh £440.
Your next step is to telephone me on 01263 734815 for an impartial discussion about your damp concerns. Often a discussion is all that is needed to provide the pointers needed to resolve your concerns.
© 2011-2020 David M. Kinsey. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or publication of any materials from this Site is expressly prohibited.