M is for Mortgage Report (Damp & Timber Pre-Purchase Survey).
In this episode of The A-Z of Damp from Atlantis Damp & Timber Proofing Specialists Ltd, we see how M is for Mortgage Report (Damp & Timber Pre-Purchase Survey).
Has dampness been noted on your mortgage lenders Home Buyers Report?
Is it rising dampness due to a failed damp-proof course? Is the answer chemical damp-proofing? Or is it a bridged damp-proof course? Penetrating damp? Condensation?
You may not know the answers to these questions. At Atlantis Damp Proofing & Timber Specialists Ltd, we are committed to getting you the answer so you go into any purchase with your eyes wide open.
Why do I need a pre purchase damp survey?
The slightest hint of damp will therefore get the mortgage surveyor to include statements referring to damp. You may read- ‘Random moisture meter readings were taken and adverse readings were recorded on some walls, this indicates an on-going damp problem at the property. A competent Damp & Timber Specialist should be commissioned to assess the severity of the rising damp to the property and quote for necessary damp-proofing and timber treatment works.’ We are just the specialist firm that you require.
What is included in your damp report?
Depending on the instructions you give us, accessible walls at ground floor level will be inspected for rising damp. We will use an electric resistance meter, together with visual observations (internally and externally). Generally, non-destructive techniques are used in the diagnosis of damp. However, if you require our expert opinion to be confirmed, samples are sent to the lab for analysis. Where required we will take various plaster samples to determine the true moisture content of masonry by Carbide Testing. If we have to take samples then these are usually taken from walls behind furniture, curtains etc so to minimise any visual impact and all holes made by us will be made good.
- typical external observations will be made such as:
- position and type of any physical damp-proof course,
- any current building defects,
- any faults with rainwater goods,
- the roof condition,
- external render condition,
- whether ground levels are at sufficient height to cater for rain splash
- sub-floor ventilation will be included where appropriate in the report.
- visual evidence of timber decay.
We will then provide a written report detailing any defects together with recommendations and specifications for alleviating any dampness. If required, we will also submit a quotation for the works and if we subsequently carry out the works then the survey fee may be deducted from the invoice. In many cases no chemical damp-proofing is required and any ‘rising damp’ has been confused with condensation and penetrating damp.
What is included in a timber report?
Depending on the instructions we receive, accessible timbers will be inspected for wood boring insect attack or fungal decay (i.e. wet or dry rot ). e will inspect roof timbers if suitable access through a loft hatch is available. Where permission has been granted, we will move items of furniture and take up sections of carpets to gain access to timber floors. We will lift floorboards to inspect the sub-floor voids for signs of dampness and timber decay. All staircase timbers will be also inspected, but this is often limited as carpets are difficult to remove and replace, and the underside is often also covered. Any visual evidence of timber decay and infestation will be reported on. We will inspect external joinery if you require. Accessible surfaces of internal joinery will be visually inspected. Internal and external observations will be taken, and comments on general building defects likely to affect internal timbers will be included where appropriate, in the report, if submitted.
We will then prepare a written report on the condition of timbers together with recommendations and specifications for any repairs which may be required. Usually it is possible to control any rot or infestation by environmentally friendly methods and chemical timber treatments or dry rot irrigation can be avoided. Sometimes localised treatments with an organic preservative are recommended.
How much do our surveys cost?
The charge we make depends on the size of property and the type of inspection you require. This indicates to us the time we require to deliver to your expectations. As an example, for a detailed inspection and provision of written report you can expect:-
Damp survey and report/quote: from £90.00 plus VAT
Timber survey and report/quote: from £90.00 plus VAT
Combined damp & timber survey and report/quote : from £120.00 plus VAT
How long do they take to complete?
The time it takes us to complete the survey depends on a number of factors but we aim to have the report back to you in 3-5 days.
We have noticed a change that lenders are only asking for damp and timber surveys very late in the mortgage application process. This puts you under severe pressure when trying to complete on a property. To help you we have introduced a fast-track service for an additional cost of £50 plus VAT. Whenever possible we will carry out a damp or timber survey on a given day and guarantee to produce a damp and timber report within 24 hours.
What do I need to do next?
We would suggest that you steer clear of damp-proofing firms to offer free Damp & Timber Surveys. You don’t want a company who routinely diagnoses rising damp and then recommends chemical damp-proofing together with associated re-plastering. Instead, trust us to save you from unnecessary, expensive and disruptive damp-proofing and timber treatments.
We can also provide quotations for any remedial damp and timber decay repairs which have been specified by a Chartered Surveyor (RICS) or any independent Remedial Surveyor (CSRT) who is a member of the Property Care Association or Institute of Specialist Surveyors and Engineers.