Legal

Please only book a survey if you agree to the terms and conditions of service.

Here is information about the service, T&Cs and a link to an example report and YouTube video illustrating the perils of not identifying and stopping damp at source.
  • The terms and conditions of service are wordy following the case of Hart v Large. We are not trying to catch anyone out, just wish to make sure expectations are crystal clear.
  • There are a few critical requests and limitations drawn to your attention.
  • Only book a survey if you agree to the terms and conditions of service below.

Terms and conditions of service

Service

  • Damp survey site visits take 1 to 1.5hours.
  • Occasionally we will need to leave monitoring equipment.
  • It is often useful to see the other side of a damp wall, such as in a neighbour’s property and above or below.
  • In most cases damp is easy and quick to fix, once the root cause is correctly identified.
  • This is why most damp issues are misdiagnosed or over engineered by those quoting for work with a conflict of interest.

Fee

  • The fee is a fixed rate of £350 (no VAT payable) for a standard survey and standard PDF report (sent by email – please check your spam folder).
  • We send an invoice up to 2 weeks in advance confirming the appointment time, with payment details.
  • The fee is paid in advance in the form of a refundable deposit.

Report

  • Here is a link to an example report https://dampsurveys.com/example_detailed_report/ (note the report is old and limitations have not been updated in line with the responsibilities listed below).
  • Reports typically take about 1 week to prepare following the survey, but can take longer in complex cases.

Cancellation policy

  1. You may cancel a survey booked with Damp Surveys Ltd at any time up to 24 hours before the time and day of the pre-arranged inspection.
  2. We may cancel a survey at any time up to provision of the written report if we determine that a site is unsafe or that for any other reason we are unable to complete the service to our satisfaction.
  3. Cancelling a survey cancels the contract.
  4. If a contract is cancelled we will refund any payment in full within 14 days of the contract being cancelled.

Role and responsibilities

  1. The role of Damp Surveys Ltd (“the Company”, “we”) is to identify current dampness in walls of habitable rooms, diagnose the primary cause of that dampness, recommend further investigation and price up remedial actions to stop dampness.
  2. Over the past 50 years there has been an increasing tendency to stop the symptoms of dampness by injecting chemicals or covering walls with impermeable plaster. The reason for this increased focus on symptoms is because diagnosing has become more complex and time consuming with the use of modern materials. In our experience most damp properties have previously been treated using chemicals and impermeable plaster and that such treatment should only be considered at best a short-term measure which can lead to long-term damage unless moisture is stopped at source. In our opinion identifying and repairing the cause of dampness is the only safe way to damp-proof. While we normally identify the primary root cause we offer no guarantee. For that reason we offer to repay the full survey fee for up to two weeks from the date of the survey report.
  3. Time permitting and to help identify the root cause, we often unblock drains, gutters or ventilation thereby fixing damp during a survey. However this cannot be done if there are complex or extensive damp problems. We are not a replacement for a drain or gutter clearing service, ventilation repairer or a plumber. We don’t carry long ladders.  By identifying the root cause of damp last year we saved clients £2.5Million that they might otherwise have spent on short-term damp-proofing treatment such as using chemicals and impermeable plaster.
  4. We endeavour to uncover the primary cause of dampness during damp surveys and report on what we discover.  Our reports are not a guarantee against dampness or the consequences of dampness such as rot, woodworm, mould and decorative spoiling. By way of example;
    • Almost all properties occasionally leak following strong wind and rain. Such leaks can only be detected if it has rained recently. The only people who spend enough time in the property to know, are the occupiers, so they should be asked as part of a buyers enquiries.
    • Leaking mains water, wastewater and heating systems can be hard identify and pinpoint without dyes and tracer gases which are not messy, time consuming and not offered as a part of a standard survey. Leaks are especially hard to identify when pipes have been out of use, such as radiators in summertime.
    • Damp Proof Courses (“DPC”) are used to stop groundwater, that is water from under the water-table from rising up a wall, known as rising damp. Most properties built after 1875 have a DPC but it is rarely visible and rarely required as groundwater is rarely in contact with walls. The only way to determine if the DPC is sufficient to stop groundwater causing rising damp is to flood the ground below the DPC. The cost and consequences are disproportionate to the benefits of that knowledge. We will endeavour to identify rising damp and will establish and report on the risk of rising damp from groundwater. The height of the water-table under a building can vary due to factors outside of our control.
    • Insufficient ventilation, insulation and heating and excessive vapour will result in condensation and mould in all properties.
    • Most properties over 100 years old have hygroscopic salts in walls mainly around chimney breasts. Hygroscopic salts are not a source of water. They rarely result from rising damp. They cannot cause rot or mould but can cause decorative spoiling. These salts are normally hidden by building material such as plaster. They can only be detected when relative humidity is high, typically in excess of 70%RH.
    • Cellars and below ground floor storage units were not designed for habitation. Below ground brick walls are best left uncovered or painted with lime so that rain water can evaporate away. Sub-floor vents are best left as originally designed unimpeded to ensure moisture that enters the sub-floor void is evaporated away safely.
    • Properties require six monthly checks during or immediately after a rainstorm to ensure rainwater goods are working correctly. Roof valleys, gutters, hoppers, down-pipes,  gullies and drains should be checked and unblocked. All cracks should be filled as they appear including render cracks and cracks around openings. Damaged or slipped roof tiles or flashing need replacement as they occur.
  5. Many measures can be employed to temporarily repair or paint over cracks or obscure dampness including damp proofing walls. We will use our best endeavours to identify cracks and uncover dampness in walls but cannot be held responsible for actions taken to obscure cracks and dampness. If you are a buyer you should instruct your lawyer to ask the vendors if they have covered up cracks or covered up dampness in walls such as through damp proofing treatment and ask for details of what work was done.
  6. Most dampness in properties results from the unintended consequences of changes made to a property. We will try to identify the changes most likely to result in dampness and look for damp resulting from those changes. However, if you are a buyer, you should instruct your lawyers to ask the vendors to inform you of all major changes that have been undertaken over the last 10 years, such as a loft conversion or extension. Buyers should then instruct lawyers to request all Professional Consultants Certificates, Building Regulations Compliance Certificates, Planning Approvals, FENSA certificates, supplier and builder’s warrantees and any other guarantees or compliance certificates. If there are any certificates you or your lawyer believe are missing then you should ask your lawyer to pursue the matter or insure against deficiencies. Ask the vendor to provide builder/ supplier guarantees/ warrantees and establish if the builder/ supplier is likely to remain solvent for the guarantee period and if so, what price and over what period, would they consider transferring the guarantee/ warrantee. These are responsibilities of the conveyancer and therefore is not a surveyor’s role or responsibility.
  7. Identifying dampness in walls is done both visually and by testing with a damp meter at the inside base of all external walls every 1 meter where accessible. The base of internal walls and walls at ceiling level are sample tested where there are signs of dampness.
  8. Mainswater and central heating leaks are often distinctive. If we suspect a leak, we will attempt a mainswater pressure test. However these tests rely on a leak free connection with an external tap. We cannot test for underfloor or central heating system leaks.  Mains pressure tests are not always conclusive. There are occasionally false positive and false negative results. While we can often identify a mains water leak, we cannot identify where that leak is coming from unless we can see the section of pipe that is leaking.
  9. We are keen to encourage homeowners and damp proofers to diagnose and treat the root cause of damp before considering chemicals and impermeable plaster. We often publish damp related images from surveys on websites or reports to educate and inform the public of damp, rot, mould, their causes and the risk of using chemicals and impermeable slurry.
  10. We are keen to encourage homeowners and damp proofers to diagnose and treat the root cause of damp before considering chemicals and impermeable plaster. We often publish damp related images from surveys on websites to educate and inform the public of damp, rot, mould, their causes and the risk of using chemicals and impermeable slurry. We respectfully request that you don’t book a survey with us if you are unwilling to allow us to use images taken at your property. We make every effort to ensure individual and corporate privacy is protected.

Limits of our responsibilities

  1. We minimise the risk of duty of care claims made against us by being careful and diligent. In the unlikely event that we have not fulfilled our duty of care the total of all claims and costs you can make against the Company together with its directors and employees are limited to a maximum of 30 times the invoice value of the contract with the Company. For a fee of £350 the total maximum liability limit is £10,500. If you do not deem our liability limit adequate, then please find another damp surveyor, obtain suitable insurance or otherwise limit your financial exposure to an amount less than our liability limit.
  2. Our expertise is in identifying the root causes of dampness and valuing remedial actions to stop moisture. We are not RICS home-buyer surveyors. We don’t value properties. We are not structural engineers. We are not plumbers. We are not roofers. We are not builders. Any comments outside of our expertise as damp surveyors should be checked by someone with relevant expertise.
  3. It is the client’s responsibility to check that a contractor has sufficient insurance and competence to undertake any work that we recommend, Which! TrustedTrader and CheckaTrade are valued trade listings.
  4. You can only rely on advice written in the report. Conversations are not to be relied upon as ideas may not develop into advice written into the report.
  5. All claims against Damp Surveys Ltd together with its directors and employees must be made within 90 days of the damp survey site visit for which the invoice was raised. The date of the site visit is stated on the invoice. The Company must be allowed full access to the property within 90 days of a claim being received to determine merits of a claim. Correspondence and updates to the survey and report do not extend the date that claims have to be made by.
  6. Claims can only be made if you have followed all our recommendations and the property has not been materially altered which could have resulted in dampness since the damp survey.
  7. Damp surveys undertaken for a client before exchange of contracts carry a much greater level of risk for us than normal surveys. We will state on the invoice if we understand the client to be the buyer. The client must write to us in advance if the invoice does not correct identify the client as buyer of the property if that is the case. The report will be written in the name of the client named on the invoice. Unless expressly stated otherwise in the report nothing in the report confers or is intended to confer any rights on any third party pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.
  8. Diagnosing the root cause of damp is through observation, profiling and tracing techniques. We use a capacitance damp meter for surface measurements and radio frequency damp meter that can detect dense matter such as significant dampness up to about 70mm within a wall. No disruption will be made to the building’s fabric save for a few pin sized holes left by a device. Access hatches and inspection chamber lids will only be lifted where it is easy to do so. We cannot report on anything we cannot see or measure. We will try to gain access where possible but cannot move objects we consider too heavy or fragile such as cupboards, beds, ornaments, vases etc. nor can we lift floor coverings without permission. We cannot report dampness in the voids under floors or above ceilings unless we have sufficient access which should be arranged and agreed in advance by the owner. If we are required to open up floor coverings or secured floorboards we request the owners agreement in advance by email or writing specifically excluding us from liability resulting from damages incurred regardless of whether damages were caused by negligence.

Questions following report receipt

It is understandable that you may have a few questions following receipt of your report. We respectfully ask that these are emailed within a week of us emailing you the report, while the survey is fresh in our minds, and that we are given a week to answer questions, unless you tell us there is greater urgency, as we prioritise surveying and report completion. Frequently answered questions will be directed to an online FAQ page.

Insurance claims and dispute resolution

We understand that occasionally reports are used for insurance claims and dispute resolution such as with neighbours and freeholders. We would like to be told before we make a commitment to survey, if that is your intention.

Rising damp guarantee

  • We will repay the full fee, no questions asked, if we find rising damp is the root cause. It is that rare in London.
  • We would also like to be involved in ongoing monitoring, as data is important for the scientific study of this rare and illusive phenomena.

Satisfaction guarantee

  • While we normally identify the primary root cause we offer no guarantee.
  • For that reason we offer to repay the full survey fee for up to two weeks from the date of the survey report.
  • Please see for complaints policy below and other legal matters.

Advance of a survey

Reviews

We work hard to earn informative reviews from clients and hope that you will add to them in time.
Not only is it vital for our income, but there is a wider social interest in drawing public attention to damp-proofing by identifying and stopping damp at source.

Remote consultation

Our damp surveyor, Simon offers education and remote consultation services through a separate company called Surveyor Tips Ltd for:
  • reviews of RICS homebuyer and PCA damp proofer surveys,
  • peace of mind advice,
  • use of damp detection equipment,
  • tips and tricks for solving damp,
  • urgent advice,
  • less complex cases where a property may not need to be visited,
  • pre and post on-site survey support.
Simon may be contacted directly through https://surveyor.tips/contact-and-service-request/

Complaints policy and Dispute Resolution

We always endeavour to provide the best service for our customers. Despite our offer to repay costs in full, we recognise on rare occasions our customers may not be completely satisfied. To ensure we are able to put things right as soon as we can, please read our complaints procedure below and we will respond promptly to ensure complete satisfaction.

In the unlikely event that you have a complaint, please contact us within 14 days of the survey so that we can rectify any problems as soon as possible.

Where we cannot resolve any complaints using our own complaints procedure, as a Which? Trusted trader we use Dispute Resolution Ombudsman for dispute resolution. In the unlikely event of a complaint arising and you wish to refer the complaint to them please contact us on 0117 456 6031 or via their website DisputeResolutionOmbudsman.org/which-trusted-traders-partnership.

Insurance

For peace of mind, Damp Surveys Ltd have Public Liability insurance of £1,000,000 and Professional Indemnity insurance of £250,000 (annual aggregate).

Who we are

This website is run by Damp Surveys Ltd.

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