House purchase & existing damp proof course

Hello all,
Could anyone offer the advice on the following, I'll keep it as brief as possible!
I'm in the process of a house purchase. Survey recommends a damp-proof course. Independant company (registered with Federation of Master Builders) comes in to quote and says that 2 walls require damp-proofing.
A few days later my solicitors send me the vendors completed "Sellers property information form" & "Fixtures, Fittings & Contents form".
Attached to these is a photocopied 30-year guarantee (from 1982) for a complete damp-proof course (by another company - also registered with Fed. Master Builders). By my poor maths standards, this leaves about 9 years still to run on this guarantee before it expires.
Should this company honour this guarantee or I am in for some "grief"?!!
Any advise welcome before I give my solicitors a quick call!,
Cheers in advance,
Tony.
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First of all, ask the surveyor what he thinks. You can then write to the various other parties concerned. The damp course may have failed, or it may have been damaged by other parties. What sort of method was used? If it was electrolysis, the wires may have been cut or removed. Work on the property since the damp course may have spoiled the protection too. If the surveyor was not aware that this work had been done....
Well that's all moot. It sounds like a lot of technical stuff that a lawyer would make a right meal of. You might ask the firm that did the original job to send a rep out and tell him what the surveyor suggested and ask if he thought it necessary.
When he sends a quote in for umpteen hundreds of pounds tell him you just found that the work has already been done by them and could he come back and see why it had failed and where.
Damp course proofing or whatever it is called is a classic DIY jjob not expensive and not highly technical. Do a search on this site for it.
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Did you have a full survey done or just a basic one for mortgage purposes?
It is very common, that when a cursory survey is done for a comment to go in the report that a DPC is needed whether one is or not, simply to cover the surveyor.
It can easily be that there is nothing wrong or that something stupid has been done such as bridging the DPC by the ground being raised.
The first thing is to check the guarantee and see if it is transferable (should be) and that the company is still in business. If they aren't then check to see whether there is any additional backing. That will give you an idea on what the options are on that side. Then you can either go via your solicitor, the agent or directly to the vendor to raise the issue.
Assuming the company still exists, then the vendor should call them in. Of course the likelihood is that the company, if it exists will say that there is no problem. Then you have the option, if you had a full survey, to provide the report to the vendor.
A lot depends on the commercial situation. If you have the high negotiating position you can push the whole thing to the vendor under threat of walking away. Otherwise, you need to assess the risk of taking on the issue with any problems that might or might not exist.
.andy
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snipped...

Hi Tony.
I'd begin by getting more cynical, and seek to verify the facts first.
Then I'd check out the article on damp at http://www.onthelevel.in-uk.com / Then I'd read the thread "Do injection dpcs really work?" archived on Google. Have fun.
Regards, NT
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Thanks for all the comments guys, they are VERY much appreciated! But!...
Basically I'm trying to figure out what possible outcomes there might be (I know...it's time to get out the crystal ball!). I'm aware of the basic facts about damp-proof courses etc. (up to a level of being informed about it - no more!) but I'm in a position whereby I have different reports and conflicting views. Perhaps it's best to elaborate a little.
Mortgage survey stated "Evidence of damp on front & rear walls - suggest this is inspected by an independant advisor"
Ok, so it's the basic mortgage valuation with very minimal info (I've gathered that damp appears to be a common statement on mortgage valuations). The mortgage surveyor seems to be aware that a previous damp proof course has been installed and has said it's upto my conveyancer to seek guarantees (which they have, see later).
A previous, prospective, buyer had an independant survey done in September 2003 (which I was given copies of by the estate agent) that stated: "Partial chemical damp proof course to both side walls (adjoining neighbouring properties). (Note. SIDE walls, not front and rear as suggested by the surveyor - no mention of treatment need on front or rear walls).
Now my conveyancers have turned up the 30 year guarantee for work done in 1982 that said the house had a COMPLETE damp proof course.
Now either I get in touch with the conveyancers and ask them to consult the original company that did the work in 1982 and see if the damp proof IS required and if it's because there's been a failure in the original work. If the original company says there's no need for another damp proof then one or both of the others is telling porkies! I don't own the house yet (haven't exchanged contracts yet) so I definately don't own the 30 year guarantee yet (even if it IS transferrable).
The point I suppose I'm trying to make is: Why is a company offering to do a damp course on a property thats already had one and is still covered by a 30 year guarantee?!! Why doesn't the original company fix it (assuming it DOES require another damp proof!)?! Why should I pay for a damp-proof course when the existing one is still guaranteed?!
Does something seem not right here? Any pointers anyone?! All advise greatly appreciated,
Cheers, Tony.
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"Tony" wrote | Now my conveyancers have turned up the 30 year guarantee for work | done in 1982 that said the house had a COMPLETE damp proof course. | The point I suppose I'm trying to make is: | Why is a company offering to do a damp course on a property thats | already had one and is still covered by a 30 year guarantee?!!
Because they will make money if they sell you a damp proof course whether or not it's needed
| Why doesn't the original company fix it (assuming it DOES require | another damp proof!)?!
Because the sellers never found the property to be damp and never invoked the guarantee? Because they knew the Sept 2003 survey was rubbish?
| Why should I pay for a damp-proof course when the existing one is still | guaranteed?!
Well, you shouldn't. But maybe you don't need a new dpc.
| Does something seem not right here? | Any pointers anyone?! | All advise greatly appreciated,
The 30 year guarantee (if it's transferable and still effective) should satisfy any mortgage lender.
Visit the property when it's raining, lift a floorboard if possible, and have a sniff and a poke around. Do *you* think it's damp?
Rising damp can only be reliably determined with a core sample of the wall followed by lab analysis to tell from where the water came from (ground water vs rain water vs condensed cabbage-cooking water).
Owain
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We dont know at this point. We dont have the basic facts in yet.

... snip a lot
None of this is relevant at this point. As I said, you need to find out if theres damp first. Look up the signs and symptoms of damp, go see the property and examine it. Until youve done that, the rest is by the by.

companies usually offer to do work for the profit.

thats quite a big assumption.

why should you pay for it at all? Its not normally needed.

yes.
see above :) Good luck.
Regards, NT
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http://www.onthelevel.in-uk.com /
I've seen that before and sort of accepted it until last summer when I made a small slab of 4:1 mortar for test purposes, waited for it to fully set and dry for a few weeks, then stood one end in a bucket of water for an hour.
Damp rose up about one inch on the outside, probably more on the inside. And that was with the waterproofing admix being sold by Screwfix.*
I also did some rendering outside. In its unpainted state, if you leave a puddle of water in contact with the base, it eventually rises several inches.
If you take a concrete building block (the type with the coarse texture) and slowly pour water on to one edge, it all sinks in. Pour more and more and it eventually starts to come out the sides part way down.
The holes in the block are probably too big for capilliary action to carry water upwards, but they allow water sideways and can act as a resevoir. This may feed the mortar which most certainly does have some wicking action - seen it with me own mince pies!
Bricks may of course be a lot less permeable.
So how high does damp have to rise before it's classed as rising damp? I can't vouch for it rising a foot or more, but there is and effect which may be greater in other circumstances.
W.
* That doesn't mean the admix doesn't work. When it rains, adjacent mortar soaks more water and holds it much longer. The new mortar with admix dries very quickly, sometimes in minutes. So it does do something but it is not suitable for tanking and says so on the bottle.
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Woodspoiler wrote in message ...

3ft is reckoned to be the limit for rising damp so all remedial work inside is done to that level. I wonder how much of it is actually falling damp. With rain lashing against the whole of an outside wall it seems illogical to be blaming everything on the small amount coming up from below ground by capillary action. Possibly what happens is that the water penetrates the wall all over, makes its way down (mainly through the mortar) and then hits the damp course, which forces it out on to the surface.
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message

Hi
I too have seen damp rise: it does, it spreads in all directions. But the proper treatment is normally to identify the source of the damp and fix it.
Regards, NT
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Tony wrote in message ...

Go back to the house now that we're getting some miserable weather. If you can't smell/feel/see damp, then there probably isn't a problem. If your lender insists, that's another issue.
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in
Are those external walls? Start by checking the gutters and downpipes - you'd be amazed how many cases of 'rising' damp are in fact poor rainwater goods, especially at this time of year when the gutters are full of leaves.
I looked at a house for a friend last weekend, and the gutters had a dip - just above the damp piece!
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