How a purchase survey led to mis-selling of damp treatments

The original survey

This is a little period cottage in Warwickshire.  Dry as a bone.  I know - I've inspected it and checked every inch of the place.  Tested the walls with probes beneath the injection holes, above them, everywhere - No Damp!  It's even been on TV.

The surveyor 'diagnosed' rising damp - he 'attached our damp meter to all external walls and found rising damp throughout the ground floor'.  This simple statement cost the new owner money that she did not have, and was totally unneccesary.  Think about it - £500 added to the mortgage, over 25 years - turns into income for the building society of £1,240, in addition to the repayment of £500.  Scandalous.  No wonder the building societies like the damp companies.

The young lass in this case was told that she could not have a mortgage until this work was done. The surveyor also strongly reccommended timber treatment for all the exposed timbers in the house as well.  

So here we have a typical example of an incompetent and untrained RICS surveyor forcing someone to have a totally unneccessary and mis diagnosed chemical soup injected into an historic building.

This is pure scandal, fraud - I really am at a loss to describe the effect that this sort of behaviour has on people all over the country - every day.  It is a National Scandal. 

The damp proofing chemicals have interfered with normal movement of moisture in and out of the stone walls, and caused flaking and spalling to the stone that would not have happened. In essence, the surveyor has caused irreparable damage to the building through his negligence.  

The question has been asked often enough about negligence of RICS Chartered Surveyors who recommend this sort of approach.  They are clearly negligent in that they have no knowledge of the causes of dampness in old buildings.  Of that, there is no doubt.  Similarly, by recommending somebody else to do a survey, they are admitting they do not have the knowledge to diagnose the causes or reasons for supposed dampness.  Can you take them to court?  It's a tricky one - we will try to answer this question on a separate page relating to negligence and legal issues.

The Mis-Sold Dampco survey

First, Dampco arrive and do their 'survey' - they confirm that there isn't a damp proof course in place.  Of course, 'abnormal' readings were gained.  They don't say what constitutes abnormal. They don't say what instrument was used.  On the basis of a few prods with a ping prong meter, guess what .... they recommend an injection damp proof course to be inserted to the kitchen front and side walls, plus 'verticals' as required.

Do you know.. I have no idea what these 'verticals' are - or what they are supposed to do.  It's a mystery.. Always will be..

Now for the fun of sticking a load of useless holes in a massively thick stone wall - that have absolutely ZERO chance of completely saturating the wall with chemistry, Dampco quoted £462 plus the cost of their guarantee.  All money that the unsuspecting single lass buying the cottage could ill afford.

Now for the guarantee... or not....

Now then.. you have to read carefully.  The guarantee looks great - 30 years - wow!

Read closely.  It says " if the areas in the guarantee are affected by.... "RISING DAMP!!!" we will, after you have paid us a fee to inspect it......

You really don't think they are going to come back and sort out the problem do you?  Silly... in all my years doing this - not once have they re-done any work.  Everyone is conned into paying the inspection fee, after which they decide the damage is now NOT due to rising damp, but a host of other things, very carefully laid out in the "Damp Course Information" sheet - which I reproduce below.  You will notice the important bit under "Other Sources of Dampness" - yup - you got it - item c:  Where condensation is present, our surveyor will be only too pleased to make recommendations, but this type of work carries no guarantee. And guess what - the new damage to the plaster is ALWAYS condensation related.  

Think about it.  The damage was condensation in the first place.  They have just sold you a useless damp course for rising damp that never existed.  They KNOW its condensation all along - and it's specifically excluded.  They take your guarantee money, knowing full well that it will never have to be acted on - if you claim, they charge you, say its condensation and run away laughing.

EVERY damp company plays the same trick.  I've never known a guarantee be honoured.  In fact, the Triton Chemicals guarantee even states that their overall annual policy limit for claims is £100,000 - for all the guarantees they have ever written.  So with annual sales of many millions, there is only a piddling pot of £100k to go round every guarantee ever issued.  They know full well it will never be called on, and the whole guarantee system is yet another scam with which to make millions in extra income.

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