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Damp surveys are commonplace. In fact, they have almost become the rule rather than an exception.
They have always been fairly common, but ever since the economic crash of 2008, mortgage lenders have been ‘tightening their belts’.
This means they will often need a damp survey to lend on a property.
Most damp surveys are a result of previous surveys that have uncovered damp. These have ususally been carried out for mortgage funding, be that a conventional mortgage, re-mortgage or equity release.
Damp surveys have almost become just one of the list of associated costs of buying a home. With that in mind, let’s look at damp survey costs across the UK.
The pitfalls of damp survey costs
Before we move on to look at what a damp survey is actually going to cost you, it’s worth setting a bit of context. As we’ve already said, there’s been a fairly sharp rise in requests for damp surveys.
Surveyors working on behalf of mortgage lenders, only do what could be described as a ‘light touch’ survey when they produce a Homebuyers Report. They will take random moisture meter readings around a property and reference any adverse readings in their report.
This essentially puts a condition on the mortgage. The instruction being that a damp specialist must be engaged. This is to assess the severity of the damp problem and quote for any remedial work and treatments required. This will be required before the mortgage application is accepted.
Unfortunately, this is carte blanche for unscrupulous individuals and companies. Many businesses offer ‘free’ damp surveys. The old adage ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’ applies here.
In this day and age you are very unlikely to get anything for free. It’s common for such firms to diagnose rising damp problems (often that aren’t really there) and recommend expensive treatments.
Before you know it, the damp survey costs that were free, have morphed into a potentially very expensive quote for work on the property.
This is why it is always best to employ the services of an independent damp surveyor. This would mean a registered chartered surveyor with the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).
Also one that is accredited with the relevant qualifications. Such as CSRT (Certificated Surveyor of Remedial Treatments), or a member of a trade body such as the PCA (Property Care Association). Click here to learn How to find an independent damp surveyor.
How much does a damp survey cost?
So, what should a damp surveys cost? How much can you expect to pay?
Damp survey costs can vary depending on a number of factors. A lot depends on the size of the property, its location and the nature of the survey itself.
There are several levels of survey available that companies offer. These will include specific packages aimed at pre-purchasers, homeowners, the rental market and commercial properties.
Based on the average 3-bed terraced or semi-detached house, the typical prices for a damp survey should range between £150-£350, from a fully registered, independent damp surveyor.
As you would expect, prices are a little higher in London and the South East, but the differences in costs aren’t as pronounced as you might think. Even in London, you can find prices for damp surveys for £200-£220.
With £150 probably at the lower limit of the expected price range, many companies offer special deals. For example, a damp and timber survey combined for £200-£250.
Add-ons such as same-day or next-day reporting usually costs around £50. Similarly, you might see quotes of £30-£50 per ‘extra room’ beyond the usual three covered in standard damp survey costs.
A local professional, CSRT qualified, but not independent might offer services for £50-£100, and of course then you have the ‘free’ options.
There will be, and are, perfectly reputable individuals/companies who operate in this way. The best advice if you are considering this route, is to remember, their genuine independence might be questionable.
You should always do a bit of digging about any company before you hire them.
Check reviews, look at testimonials and ask lots of questions before committing.
One popular choice to find someone reputable, is to use an online service to get multiple quotes. One of the most popular here in the UK is Bark. They will give you 5 or more quotes from rated local surveyors.
The best thing about a service like this, is all the surveyors have reviews and testimonials you can read. Also they know they are competing with each other. This means the prices can be very competitive. We have seen as much as 60% discounts.
You can get some no obligation online quotes in just a couple of minutes by Clicking Here
What does a damp survey involve?
During a damp survey, the surveyor will go through several checks. This will involve a thorough external and internal inspection.
In many cases a homebuyer’s survey will have been carried out previously. This will have identified areas of concern, meaning the damp surveyor will already know where to focus his inspection.
The homeowner may also comment on areas they have personally noticed damp.
On arrival the surveyor will carry out a full inspection to the outside of the property. This will be looking for defects in the outer surfaces of the building, which could be allowing penetrating damp to enter.
This will include:
- Cracks and defects to brickwork
- Damaged pointing
- Holes and cracks in render and pebble dash
- Sealant around windows and doors
- Damage to guttering and downpipes
- Roof defects, including slipped or broken tiles and damaged flashing
- Defects to chimney stacks
The goal of this process is to identify any possible areas where water ingress could be occurring.
Once areas of concern are identified, they can potentially be linked to internal issues in the next part of the survey.
The next part of the survey will be an internal inspection. At this point the surveyor should have plenty of information to guide this part of the survey.
They can use information from any previous surveys or homebuyers’ reports, as well as information from the homeowner. This can be combined with observations from the external inspection, to start identifying internal damp.
As a result, the surveyor should be able to link outside defects to internal issues. This will be achieved with visual inspection and the assistance of a damp meter.
Also, If the property is built with a cavity wall, this may also need further inspection. The goal here is to identify potential bridging. This is when water is penetrating at a certain point outside, then travels down the cavity and bridges across lower down.
At this point the surveyor will be able to identify the causes and potential solutions for any kind of penetrating damp.
Other things the surveyor will look for are signs of rising damp and condensation.
Identifying rising damp during the damp survey
For rising damp, the surveyor will inspect the properties existing damp proof course (DPC). This will involve looking for potential failures and defects, as well as obvious signs of moisture rising above the DPC.
In some older properties, it is also possible that no DPC exists. In this case, if penetrating damp has been ruled out then the surveyor will likely recommend a new DPC. Potentially, this could be as simple as using a chemical damp proof course, which would be injected into the mortar at DPC level.
Identifying condensation during the damp survey
In many cases a process of elimination can help to identify condensation. If penetrating damp and rising damp has been ruled out, then condensation is usually the cause.
Condensation is by far the most common type of damp. This is mainly due to the amount of moisture the average household produces.
The moisture comes from the people who live in the house, via bodily functions such as breathing and sweating. It also comes from household tasks such as washing and drying clothes, bathing, and cooking.
Due to these factors it is quite easy to identify condensation. In most cases the solution is to improve airflow and remove the moist air. This can be achieved by opening windows, using a dehumidifier. Or in some cases you can install extractor fans to help remove moist air.
Does the damp survey cost include a report?
Every damp survey will include a report following the inspection. The damp surveyor will take notes throughout the survey. This may include pictures and potentially drawings of the property layout.
Once the survey is completed, this information will be taken away and the report will be compiled.
In the report the damp surveyor will give details of all the issues identified, as well as recommended solutions.
There are a few things during this entire process that can affect the damp survey cost. These will include, but are not limited to:
- The size of the property.
- Access for external inspection, this could include accessing the roof.
- Ability to access the cavity if bridging is suspected.
Finally, the person/company that carries out the survey will also affect the price. As we have mentioned previously, we do recommend getting multiple quotes.
To get multiple quotes and read previous customer reviews click here
To conclude, damp surveys are now so common that damp survey costs have to be factored-in to most scenarios. We all want a good price, and the advice in this article should help to ensure you get a fair price.