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Neil

Survey Request Form

To arrange a survey or for more information on any of my services please fill in the form below and I will be in touch shortly.

Domestic & Pre-Purchase Damp & Timber Surveys

Commercial surveys Specialist training Domestic surveys

A Fully Qualified (C.S.R.T) and Experienced Damp & Timber Consultant At Your Service.

For as long as I have been in the industry I have been listening to clients complaining at the poor level of expertise throughout the 'Damp Proofing & Timber Sector'. The industry has always attracted the unqualified and unscrupulous looking to make a quick buck. 'I don't know who to believe' is a comment that has been used on an almost daily basis by clients. They may have obtained 2 or 3 'Free' quotes that vary from hundreds of pounds to thousands of pounds. Which one do they trust? If you are searching for free surveys it is almost impossible to get unbiased advice. No company can provide a 'Free' survey service and survive long term. It is unrealistic to expect them to provide such a service. More often than not you will receive a quote for remedial work, sometimes justified and sometimes not. It really is a case of 'are you feeling lucky' as to which you get. As an Independent Consultant, I have no vested interest in finding or looking for work. If there is no work that it what you will be told. If there is a problem that needs addressing you will receive a detailed survey followed by a comprehensive report identifying the problem and the most cost effective solution putting you in control. You can then decide how you wish to proceed. Many clients save the cost of my survey fee many times over by eliminating the need for expensive damp proofing work when simple maintenance work will deal with the problem. For many the purchase of a property will be the largest investment they will ever make. That is why you should employ a qualified professional to give you the right advice first time, every time. Please contact me for further advice and an indication of the cost of a professional survey.

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Damp related issues

I am happy to provide honest, unbiased advice on any damp related issue that you may have concerns about. There will be no hidden agenda to sell you an unwarranted damp proof course or other unnecessary costly remedial work. I will explain in plain English what the defect is and the most appropriate solution. You will receive a very accurate indication of the likely cost of any necessary remedial work.

If urgent remedial work is needed I will tell you but if it is not urgent you will also be told just that. I do not have sales targets to achieve and I am not on commission.

There are many causes of damp in buildings and that is why it is essential that you seek the advice of a Qualified and experienced specialist surveyor. More often than not the cause of the damp is not the obvious. Getting it wrong can cost thousands of pounds and a lot of heartache to the client. As a minimum, the surveyor should hold the CSRT qualification which demonstrates a general understanding of damp related issues, (I gained the CSRT in 2002 as the candidate of the year).

Common forms of damp that affect buildings are as follows: -

  • Rainwater ingress via defective guttering, roof coverings, poor maintenance etc...
  • Condensation (very common).
  • Rising Damp
  • Hygroscopic salt contamination of wall finishes

Whatever your concerns make Neil your first port of call for complete peace of mind that you are getting 30 years worth of experience backed up by solid qualifications.

A recent quote that I totally agree with 'If you think a professional is expensive, wait until you see what an amateur can cost you'

If you look for free advice, it is generally worth what you have paid for it.

Failed DPC Installation.
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pre purchase damp reports

If you are looking to purchase a property it is highly likely that your lender will request a 'Damp and Timber Survey' prior to approving your loan or mortgage. They will often stipulate that the survey must be carried out by a PCA accredited Surveyor.

I am accredited by the PCA as an independent Surveyor which provides the additional assurance that you will get totally unbiased advice. The condition of the property will be assessed at face value. I have no vested interest in finding work to achieve sales targets etc. You will receive an honest appraisal of the condition of the property and recommendations to deal with any issues along with an accurate indication of the likely costs involved.

There will be no pressure to carry out all or part of the work. If it is considered urgent you will be informed so you can make an educated decision based on facts.

Surveys can be turned around very quickly with the report always being sent out within 48 hours of the inspection taking place. The survey findings can be used to negotiate on the price of the property as you will have all the necessary information at hand. I regard myself as being very friendly and open to discussing the report should you have any queries.

I can be contacted via email, phone or the contact form on the right of this page.

Moisture profiling
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Timber preservation

If you have any concerns regarding woodworm, fungal growths on timber etc it is essential that you get a professional to investigate and accurately identify the type and the cause. The wrong diagnoses can result in unnecessary treatments at great expense. I do not have to meet sales targets and I am not on commission so you can be confident that you get honest advice at face value.

Not all woodworm/fungal decay require the same treatments. Often no treatment is necessary other than general maintenance work or a change in lifestyle. If remedial work is necessary then you will receive a specification detailing the extent of the work and what you would expect to pay for that work. It eliminates the guess work and the inflated prices that some companies commonly charge.

Any competent surveyor should have as a minimum the CSRT qualification. This demonstrates a general understanding of timber related defects. I have this qualification (gained as the student of the year in 2002). As well as the above I have a number of other professional qualifications which are backed up by over 30 years working as a surveyor. I have carried out over 35K surveys and I am happy to share the experience gained with you.

If you have any concerns please feel free to contact me via email, telephone or the contact form on the right of this page.

woodworm to a ceiling joist
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Remedial wall ties

Cavity wall ties come in various shapes and sizes. Essentially in properties constructed from 1920 onwards (they were around previously but were less common) they were either cast or forged steel in what is commonly referred to as a fishtail design. Later on, they were formed in mild steel with either a zinc or galvanised coating for protection. In the 70s & 80s butterfly, wall ties came to prominence. They were lightweight in nature and were generally galvanised (look like a dickie bow with a drip in the centre).

Both types of the tie will corrode. On the earlier ties, this corrosion process can result in the wall tie expanding (normally on the outer skin of brickwork) which then forces the mortar beds apart at regular intervals of 5-6 course depending on the location the wall ties. The wall ties are generally located at 450mm centres in a staggered pattern.The butterfly ties do not exert this same pressure on the mortar beds. They generally corrode to nothing with no tell tale signs.

As the wall ties corrode the stability that they provided between the 2 skins of brickwork is reduced and the 2 walls can start to move independently resulting in deflection on the outer skin of masonry. In extreme circumstances, this can result in the collapse of the outer wall.

The location, orientation and type of construction can influence the extent of the corrosion. It is not uncommon for one elevation to suffer from wall tie corrosion whilst others remain unaffected.

It with this in mind that it is essential that a competent surveyor is employed to inspect the wall ties. Visual evidence, as well as exposure of a sample of wall ties on each elevation, will reveal the true condition.

A lot of companies regularly recommend that all elevations are treated which does not make a lot of sense if it is not needed. We do not replace all of the tyres on our car just because one is worn.

For honest, unbiased advice please feel free to contact me to arrange a detailed inspection. The report will provide an accurate indication of the likely cost of remedial works if necessary. You can then obtain quotes confident that you know what you should be paying.

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Water proofing

If you are looking to convert your basement or cellar into habitable accommodation thenI can design and advise you on the most effective type of waterproofing to achieve the desired result. Any tanking/waterproofing work must be carried out in accordance with BS8102:2009 codes of practice. I am well versed in the requirements of the Codes of Practice and can design the system to ensure that it is fully compliant. I hold the Certified Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing Certificate (C.S.R.T) which I achieved in 2009 as Student of the Year).

I will design the system and provide a working specification and can supervise the work during the installation process.

Failed waterproofing systems account for a large part of the remedial costs within the industry. A failure traditionally results in a great deal of expenditure to rectify the defect. I was recently involved in a rectifying a failed tanking system on a house less than 5 years old in the Durham area. The client's insurance company were involved and the total cost of the remedial work including the reinstatement to cover the flood damage was £34,000. Unfortunately, this is not unusual.

Neil is not tied to any one supplier's products and therefore can provide advice on a range of products available to achieve the desired result which is a dry, warm and flood resistant space to be enjoyed.

If you have a project in mind feel free to contact Neil via email, telephone or the contact form at the right of this page. He will be more than happy to discuss your requirements.

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General Building Advice

With 30+ Years experience both as a tradesman and ProfessionalSurveyor I am more than happy to provide advice on general building defects from roof to foundation. Many people experience problems with their property and do notknow where to turn for reliable advice. If you have a problem that is causing you concern please feel free to get in touch. If I can help resolve the issue I will be more than happy to do so.

If I believe that you require more specialist advice in that field I will direct you to the appropriateprofessional to ensure that you get the correct advice.

There are many so-called experts willing to offer advice on building matters when they have no formal qualifications and very limited experience. It can result in huge expenditure with disastrous results both financially and emotionally. A large part of my career has been spent putting right failed projects carried out by others and seeing the heartache that is involved at first hand.

A recent testimonial from a client stated 'Thank you for putting my mind at rest. I have had my fair share of cowboys through the door and it has been reassuring to find a Surveyor that I can trust, I would not hesitate to call you before carrying out any future work on my property'

The above was received after Neil carried out a damp survey on her cottage. She had been told that the problem was due to old and ineffective windows. She was quoted £7,500 to replace perfectly good windows that were less than 6 years old. Neil advised that the condensation problem could be eliminated via a good quality dehumidifier at a cost of £230. The unit was supplied and the improvement was noticeable within the first week. It always pays to ask so feel free to get in touch. It may just save you a lot of money.

Contact Neil today

For more information or to book a survey contact Neil today on:

0191 4160 600 info@neil-marsden.co.uk

Or fill out the form on the contact page:

Contact Neil

Domestic Case Study

Misdiagnoses of Rising Damp

The client received a quote for approximately £1300 + vat for a new damp proof course. Neil carried out a survey and suspected that the wall plaster was bridging an effective dpc. The property was approximately 50 years old and would almost certainly have…

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Latest Blog Post

Free Damp & Timber Survey Required

I received an interesting phone call on Friday from a large established Established Estate Agency in Durham. The lady that called me asked if I was able to carry out a pre-purchase…

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