What to do when your bank or building society tell you to get a PCA timber and damp report

We get hundreds of calls from people being told to get a PCA registered Timber and Damp surveyor, or worse, a PCA structural survey by the RICS Chartered Surveyor doing a valuation report for the bank.  Why are the banks still recommending them?

Money... The PCA spends a lot of time entertaining, bribing, schmoozing, trying to present themselves as professionals. Just once in a while, some idiot listens to them.

The Property Care Association is a collection of mindless thugs, out to sell chemicals. They have not a single qualification between them.  The average PCA operator is essentially an out of work builder who hasn't the brains to make it as a decent builder, dragged into the fold, given a quick sales talk, armed with a free website and some classy sounding qualifications of CSRT and CSSW - and sent out to sell chemicals.  These people cannot be trusted to survey your mailbox.

It is a sad fact of life that the mortgage companies - whether banks, or building societies, have somehow been entranced by the rubbish that these people spread about their abilities, and insist that PCA registered people do these surveys.  I know they are paid handsomely doing so.  We have the evidence.

If YOUR lender - as happened twice today in the office - asks for a survey of a roof, by a PCA registered brain dead moron, or a 'timber and damp survey' by a PCA registered contractor, tell the bank, or building society this:

The PCA is NOT accredited in any way

The PCA does not issue academically accredited qualifications - CSRT and CSSW are not even NVQ level 1 - they are less than a joke.

You refuse to have anything to do with an organisation that sells chemicals and represents chemical sales

You want a proper, accredited professional to undertake a survey to BS 7913: 2013 level. To do this, they need to be either conservation accredited rics, or IHBC member. 

It pains me to say this - but there just is not the training, or the understanding in the professional world, to properly diagnose timber and damp problems with houses.  Most of the issues are very simple to diagnose - but there is no academic commitment by RICS in particular, to overcome this need.  You have therefore to aim high, to achieve what SHOULD be very simple - an intelligent understanding of what has been done to the house you are buying. A PCA survey from a brain dead moron will cost you nothing, or perhaps £100, as they now seem to realise that most people know what they are up to. A good surveyor will cost £900 or so.  

Unfortunately at the moment we are seeng a rash of supposedly highly qualified RICS Chartered Surveyors, all of whom advertise that they are Listed Building Specialists, with very flash websites - often with multiple degrees - one of whom has a PhD.  When our clients challenge them to say how they measure damp - we get one of two answers:  1)  We use a damp meter  2) Oh - we can't tell you that via email, we'd rather discuss it with you.  The fact is that these people haven't a clue what they are doing. 

If you have ANY form of timber and damp survey - ASK HOW DAMP IS MEASURED.  If the answer is a damp meter - forget it.  Ask how they treat timber.  If the answer is to spray it - forget it.  The real answer is that dry timber doesnt need anything, and if its not dry, then dry it.

OK - so you spend £800 to £1000 on a decent 'timber and damp survey' - but at least you now have closure - you understand your building, you have a professional to look over the place and explain what REALLY is going on. You will also now understand - and know what any problems are - how they are caused, and most importantly, what are the solutions.  And they won't be to use any form of damp proofing.

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