Building surveys vs Specialist Damp Report

As a firm of professionally qualified surveyors, there’s nothing much that annoys us more than those who sit on the fence when they find damp and recommend a ‘specialist damp report’. These are usually poor quality surveyors intending solely to sell their own ‘specialist’ service or solution.
Only last month I carried out a timber damp inspection following a detailed and very damning report from a ‘specialist’. It had identified dry rot, timber decay in the floor and rampant rising dampness. The dry rot was in fact a very small area of wet rot, the timber decay in the floor was impossible because it was made of concrete(!) and the rising dampness was a leaking radiator pipe. That’ll be an entire remedial cost of over £10k from the ‘specialist’ and an entire £500 or so after we had looked and reported.
It seems to me that you employ a surveyor to identify damp, the cause of that damp and the remedial solution – not to pass the buck. Chartered Building Surveyors are very capable (or should be) of doing this – it’s what we are trained to do.
Then of course we have the building societies who will only accept a ‘specialist’ report and not a Chartered Surveyors. That’ll be much the same as the ‘specialist’ reports they commissioned on 125% mortgages and sub-prime then rather than consulting Chartered Accountants who may be boring, but at least know their stuff.
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(Originally published by Steve Way, 11 March 2009)