Damp found by Surveyor

I had a surveyor round the house as part of my Remortgage process. He used his sensor on all the downstairs internal walls and said that it showed him damp readings in the front lounge, dining room, and on the hallway walls. I`m on an end terrace, so the hallway is exposed, ie not joined to another house.. The lounge wall divides the lounge at the front of the house from the dining room in the centre of the house, with an access door between the two rooms. (Just for useless info, really) .
What I want to know is; how foolproof are these readings? His gizmo was of the type that had a series of lights climbing up from green, then amber, to red, in a black box affair, with two metal prongs he put against the walls. Also, what sort of cost am I looking at to get this addressed? I know that it will probably mean all the plaster knocking off to about 2 feet up from the skirting level, then replacing once its dried out, and finally repainting it all :( .The rooms aren`t huge, approx 3.5m x 3.3m and 3.7 x 3.1m.
TIA
--
Carolyn



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Carolyn wrote:

used his sensor on

readings in the front

so the hallway is

lounge at the front

access door between

theyre not. They use them because of the outcome of a court case, not because theyre diagnostic. Quite simply they detect damp, condensation, conductive building matrials etc. Oh, and are designed to measure moisture in wood, not other materials.

a black box affair,

dampmeter, 9 from any hardware outlet. What they actually measure is electrical resistance.

deends if theres a problem or not, and if so what it is.

the skirting level,

.
Thats one thing it wont involve. At least not if you identify the cause and rectify it.

OK, start here: what signs of dampness are present? Are there any?
NT
ps these folks regularly field this one: http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/cgi-bin/discussing/forum2.pl
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Carolyn wrote:

used his sensor on

readings in the front

so the hallway is

lounge at the front

access door between

I have a Protimeter in a drawer somewhere, and they don't measure moisture in wood very well either. Timber merchants use a version which allows you to hammer the prongs an inch or so into the wood where you might just get an accurate reading. Putting them on your skin usually registers obscene amounts of moisture
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Carolyn wrote:

About as much use as waving a crystal and chanting an incantation.
> His gizmo was of the type that had a series of lights climbing up > from green, then amber, to red, in a black box affair, with two metal > prongs he put against the walls.
Hm, did he make it himself from a traffic light simulator circuit and some parts from Maplins,

Which, if you did have damp, would just mean the damp would come back a few months later.
If you've lived in the house for a while you should know if you've got damp or not. If it doesn't smell damp and you aren't getting mould/mildew/rot then it probably isn't damp, and Mr Surveyor won't be getting his thank-you bottle of whisky from whichever damp proofing company he professionally and impartially suggests.
If you do have damp then it will be -
- rising damp, which some people say doesn't exist - penetrating damp, which usually means raised soil/paving levels bridging the damp proof course, or water splashing above the DPC - condensation, which means open the windows, extractor fans in the kitchen/bathroom, and heat the place.
Owain
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Owain snipped-for-privacy@stirlingcity.coo.uk wrote:

Thanks for all your comments; made me feel a little better about the whole thing.
The surveyor *did* say I should get someone to look at it professionally and that they shouldn`t charge me, just for giving their opinion on it...hmm... I`ve certainly never smelt any damp in the house, and their definitely isn`t any water or condensation present in the areas he looked at, its a living space, not a water park! The house is fronted directly by a street and is level with external paving too, so I can`t see what the issue is (or not, as the case may be).
I just hope the new Mortgage Lenders won`t take this up as an action point if its mentioned in his report?
--
Carolyn
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thing.
if its

There's far more mortgage lenders than the market needs. Just remind them of this if they get awkward.
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Carolyn wrote:

whole thing.

professionally
that is primarily a means to avoid any comeback. 'Well we did say you should have the electrics tested, damp tested, drains cctv'ed, roof rebuilt, and house upgrading to all modern standards, so you cant blame us if you didnt do that.'

it...hmm...
then youve been badly advised. Free damp surveys are only available from companies looking to flog you overpriced damp treatments, and are a well known rip off business sector.
If you did genuinely need advice on damp, free surveys should be avoided, full stop.

definitely isn`t any water

space, not a water park!
any disintegrating plaster? black mould? Decaying woodwork? Visible mould growths? Floor that shakes? If none of these, not much likelihood of a damp problem.

paving too, so I

External ground should be 6" below internal floor level. In practice its often less than this, but as long as its lower than internal floor, things should be fine. If its higher, problems are possible.

point if its

they probably will if youre borrowing a high percentage of value. If so, couple more options:
- a qualified persons statement that in fact there is no evidence of damp, and that the dampmeter method of assessment is well known to be flawed
- a word with the surveyor, pointing out the facts and saying you intend to get core samples analysed if he does not reassess his survey. If he thinks youre for real he may wish to re-evaluate the situation with a bit more care to avoid embarrassment or comeback.
If going down this path I might be tempted to first innocently ask if theres any damp survey co he would recommend first: if he does, he has made room for doubt in the interpretation of his intentions, and might be a little keener to satisfy your request once he realises you know exactly what youre doing. If the survey has already gone to the mortgage co, this may be harder to achieve.
NT
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On Sat, 7 May 2005 21:52:21 +0000 (UTC), a particular chimpanzee named
keyboard and produced:

No one works for free. Anyone who gives you their 'opinion' without payment works for a damp-proofing company and is doing it on the chance you give them vast amounts of money to fix your damp 'problem'. If you want an impartial opinion you'll have to pay an independent surveyor for it.
--
Hugo Nebula
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Excellent advice - if you have not noticed it and there is no damage then why get it treated. Don't try to "seal" it in because it will only come out somewhere else causing more problems.

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his sensor on

readings in the front

My comment would be if he is a proper surveyor (member of RICS) he should know this instrument is not supposed to be used like this, and if not, ask for a proper surveyor to come and do the job.
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Mike snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

Why is the instrument not supposed to be used like this? He was from Countrywide Surveyors, thats all I know, so I assumed he was a Chartered Surveyor with his luminous jacket, ladders, big torch...
thanks for all the comments so far; making interesting reading!
--
Carolyn




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I've got a luminous jacket, ladders, and a big torch...
--
Andrew Gabriel

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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

I've just got a ladder and an ordinary torch - so I'm only a Surveyor... ;-)
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Carolyn wrote:

Have a look at this, which answers a lot of your questions: http://www.pdoyle.net/Rising_Damp.html . The site belongs to an independent Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatment (CSRT) who is a member of the BWDPA (http://www.bwpda.co.uk /). (I know nothing about the bloke in question other than having found his website, by the way).
Contrary to what you've been advised by your building society surveyor, CSRTs are the guys who you should consult; apart from anything else, because their advice is *NOT* free; you pay for it because they have no vested interest in "finding" rising damp in your property. If you end up being compelled by your lender to undertake lots of remedial work before they'll let you remortgage, I suggest it would be well-worth engaging a CSRT, who may well be able to provide a report which would completely refute the original 'findings'.
Also you might want to look at this site, from Jeff Howell who is well known for his radical view that 'rising damp' doesn't exist anywhere at all except in the minds of sensor-wielding surveyors... http://ask-jeff.co.uk/building-rising-damp.htm
Good luck David
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Hi Lobster

Terrific site, thanks for the link! Wish I'd read that 20 years ago!
Dave
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Lobster snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Those two links are really useful! Makes things a lot clearer now, and I certainly feel confident at discussing this issue with the `surveyor`.I just might ask him `innocently`, as I have been advised, where I might find a damp survey company, and see what he says... Be interesting to see how he responds.
many thanks, all
--
Carolyn



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Our mortgage company asked for a survey to be performed by a BWPDA member. From memory the survey cost us about 80 but was knocked off the bill if we had the works done by them.
No help in your situation, but it enabled us to negotiate with the house vendors.
Tim

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Say No More!!! I think they have to do 100 surveys a day, and write them up before they go to bed.

--
Richard Faulkner

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It's designed to measure damp in wood - for wet rot, roofspace condensation and so on. It is NOT intended for measuring brick, plaster or stone walls.
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