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Property Care Association Surveyor required for pre-purchase Damp & Timber report?

Posted by: Neil on 04/01/2018


It is becoming increasingly popular for mortgage lenders to request that a Damp & Timber Survey is carried out before they will offer a mortgage. There are hundreds of Damp Proofing companies out there who will offer to carry out the Survey. Some will charge a modest fee whilst some others will actually carry out the Survey for free!!! Sounds like a bargain? Be careful who you choose to carry out the Survey.

In the past 3 days, I have received Survey enquiries from 5 clients who have had Damp and Timber surveys carried out only for the lender to reject them as the companies were not members of the Property Care Association (PCA). In three of the instances, the clients have paid between £90-00 and £180 for the Survey (the other 2 did the survey free of charge). The reports were a waste of time and also the client's money.

Obtaining free or even paid for Surveys from a non-PCA member company will result in delays in the sale/purchase of the property and can result in making what is already a stressful process even more problematic. Having a Survey carried out by a company who are not accredited by the PCA means that you are trusting a company who are completely unregulated to advise you on what for many is the biggest single investment they will ever make i.e. your property.

Most damp proofing companies offering to carry out Surveys will have had little or no formal training will have no formal qualifications and are answerable to nobody. They are very happy to take your money for a Survey fee knowing full well that the report is almost certainly going to be rejected by the lender.

At the risk of repeating myself (previous posts), please please do your homework before instructing a company to carry out your Damp & Timber Survey. Check the company out, ask what qualifications the Surveyor has (being accredited by a chemical manufacturer is no proof of competency), ask what qualifications the technicians they employ have attained, enquire which trade associations they are affiliated to and then check out those associations. An hour or two on the internet may well save you money and increased frustration throughout the house purchase/sale process.

Lots of companies/Surveyors have a load of initials behind their name and when you check out the Initials and the association they refer to more often than not they are meaningless. Unfortunately, the world of damp proofing is plagued by rogue companies (there are some very good companies out there but they are often hard to find). As a Property Care Association (PCA) Independent Damp and Timber Surveyor, I often act as an expert witness in disputes between clients and damp proofing companies so I see first hand what the financial and emotional cost can be to clients involved in such disputes.

If your lender asks for a Damp and Timber Survey, you can visit the PCA website and the postcode search facility will give you the names of the member companies in your area. You can go to a Damp Proofing contractor for your survey or chose an Independent Surveyor such as myself, many clients prefer to use an Independent PCA Surveyor who has no vested interest in looking for work and who will report on the property at face value. All PCA independent Surveyors must have professional indemnity insurance which provides a considerable degree of assurance to their clients in the unlikely event that something should go wrong.

If you require any further advice I am always happy to speak with you (my contact details are on my website). Good luck and all the best for the New Year.


Roof timber inspections Roof void inspection carried out as standard.
Sub-floor timbers inspected. Sub-floor voids inspected
Gutters choked with vegetation Defective rainwater goods.
Dry rot in french doors Dry rot hidden by curtains
A failed Damp Proof course installation The new damp proof course was installed less than 2 years ago.
Historic woodworm in floorboards An old infestation of common furniture beetle in floorboards.
Plaster fungus- indicates plumbing leak. Non wood decaying fungi- Peziza
Cavity wall choked with rubble Often misdiagnosed for rising damp- blocked cavities.
Bitumen Damp proof course A perfectly functioning damp proof course (DPC)
Condensation in a roof void Severe condensation in a roof void.
All case studies