If damp was found in a property of yours, you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, damp is a common issue which affects a high volume of properties in a variety of ways.
Damp, no matter how big or small the affected area, can have a real impact on the building, leading to wood-rotting fungi, extensive damage to wall plaster and structural timbers being affected. The consequence of this can lead to difficulties selling a home because both mortgage lenders and buyers can be put off.
Of course, calling in a professional to conduct a damp report for peace of mind and as a precaution is common because a lot of the time surveyors and/or valuers will want to make certain in order to protect their client from any unwanted surprises further down the line.
Other prime examples of why a damp report can be carried out include;
- A building contractor working on a property finds damp issues
- A property management company is notified of problems with damp by tenants
- A property owner finds specific damp troubles in a property
- A potential buyer, who has had a structural survey carried out, finds damp issues, with the recommendations of a further survey to be conducted.
Each case of damp is addressed individually, although, when a report is conducted, this is generally what will take place…
The assessing surveyor will assess the general construction of the property, and any information that can be provided relating to the structural layout of the building, as well as details of any work that may have been carried out to the building in the past can be very useful in coming to a correct conclusion.
The surveyor will then get to work on running through a general external inspection. This is to check for any apparent signs of defects that could be the root cause of the damp. The construction of the property is taken onboard too, such as assessing The construction type of the walls; whether they are solid natural stonework, modern cavity masonry etc.
As part of the process, signs of damp ingress will be searched for by the surveyor by looking for defects in the fabric of the property. This will involve the surveyor seeking unusual features that might appear, such as; loose or missing pointing, defects in external gutters and down-pipes, cracks in external render coatings, gaps around door/window frames, poorly fitted flashings. These are just a few areas, with the list not exhaustive by any means.
Once the external inspection is complete, the internal survey will take place. This can also be a restricted survey that focuses on a specific area where a problem has already been acknowledged.
As part of the internal inspection for the report, surveyors will gauge areas on a visual level as well as with the use of a damp meter. Checking of the walls where there are no apparent visual signs of damp might be required too; this is in case a fresh issue with damp is spotted, so the problem can be resolved before decorative finishes become damaged.
Additionally, where a visual problem is seen, or where a higher damp reading is discovered, the meter will be used to assess the extent of the damp, vertically and horizontally. Should high damp readings be recorded, the area will then be profiled in order to establish the extent of the distribution of the moisture. A moisture profile offers the surveyor the chance to form the damp diagnosis. The visual internal and external inspection is then combined with the damp diagnosis to give a full and correct interpretation of the cause of the damp and how best to overcome the issue.
What else might happen in a damp report?
A thermal imaging device can be used if needed. This aids in the identification of patterns in order to confirm whether the damp is rising damp, damp ingress from the outside or from a concealed, leaking pipe.
At this stage, there are no invasive works, and drilling holes in walls, removing plaster, skirting boards etc. may come at a later stage, if required.
A damp report will typically include details of the observations made during the inspection, as well as any readings that have been taken. When required for the sake of clarity, photographs will also be included, and in some cases sketches of affected areas.
The report will generally conclude with details of the findings and recommended next stages, which may be the completion of remedial works, or further intrusive investigations if the source of damp cannot be determined by non-invasive means.