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Damp FAQ's

Are you able to give advice over the telephone?

Yes, we’re always keen to talk through your concerns over the telephone and give professional advice though this may be limited, as we always need to undertake a thorough site survey, so as to see the type of property construction, the defect, the extent of dampness, rot or wood infestation and to give comprehensive recommendations on the most suitable remedial treatment.

How long will the survey take?

In our standard quote we allow for time spent on-site for upto 2 hours. This is sufficient for most three bedroom semi-detached houses.

However if the property is particularly large or the defects numerous and you feel we need to spend longer, then please advise us at the quotation stage. wish for us to spend longer with you, please advise us before or during the survey, and we discuss the options available.

Are you able to undertake invasive and non-invasive surveys?

Yes, our standard quotation is for a non-invasive survey, as this does not damage the fabric of the building, or the finishes to the ceiling, walls or floor. During a non-invasive survey we use a variety of specialist equipment including surface and sub-surface damp meters, thermal imaging camera, wall and laser thermometers, and relative humidity meters.

On occasion, such as where rot is identified beneath floorboards, or where a leak needs to be traced, then an invasive survey is required. This type of work involves drilling holes, cutting and lifting floorboards, breaking through plasterboard etc. It can result in damage to the building’s finish and therefore before commencing, written permission of the owner is required. Please note, we are not liable for damage caused or reinstatement of finish.

Do you undertake ‘free’ surveys?

NO, we don’t! Whilst there are a number of reputable businesses within the industry that offer 'free' or even make a nominal payment upto £120 for a survey, these quick site surveys are followed up by a sales pitch and a quotation for their company to undertake the remedial work.

There has also been instances of cowboy treatment companies employing unqualified, commission based salesman, calling themselves Surveyor’s but who have nominal experience and little or no interest in diagnosing the actual problems that are affecting a property.

We also regularly come across instances where a ‘free’ survey has been undertaken and the work quoted for, will not actually tackle the damp defect found. Therefore, we like to make clients aware that a ‘free’ survey is entirely different to our comprehensive and thorough site surveys where we typically spend upto 2 hours on site, followed by a full report detailing findings, photographs and/or recommended remedial treatments, or health implications.

Why do you charge?

Healthy Abode charges for the damp survey as we are independent certified surveyors in remedial treatment (CSRT), members of the property care association (PCA) and of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (MCIEH). We are not builders or product installers. Therefore, we are not touting for business when we visit. Our job is to give you impartial, accurate information, diagnosing the defect fully and issuing a schedule of works, so that the recommended remedial works can be followed by a competent tradesperson. We give details of appropriate tradesbodies who you can contact, so that vetted competent contractors can price against our Schedules and undertake the works stated.

This means that if you need to carry out any works, you will know precisely what needs to be done, and the best way to do it, to ensure you are rectifying the defect correctly; at a sensible cost.

Our surveyor aims to give you professional advice to help you to:

o make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with buying the property;

o gain a thorough understanding and take account of what potential remedial treatments/improvements are required.

o advise on any health implications to the occupant’s of the defects

Can I ask for any of the additional services during the survey?

If during or after the survey you decide you would like an additional service, e.g. the surveyor to spend longer than 2 hours, or for a breakdown of remedial costs this can be arranged either on-site with the surveyor, or over the phone with the office. You will be agreeing to the additional charges, which will need to be paid before the report is released.

When will the report be ready?

We ask to allow for 14 days from date of inspection before the report is ready. However, we try to turn the report around within 7 working days. If you need the report a lot quicker, then please ask about our costs for a 48 hour fast track service.

How can we pay?

Healthy Abode will provide you with an invoice, which has all our payment details on it. You can pay by online or telephone banking (BACS), we can take a credit or debit card payment over the phone, or you can post a cheque.

Please note that it is company policy to ask for a 50% payment to confirm the booking with the remainder to be paid after the survey but prior to the report being released.

Who are your clients?

Our clients are diverse and therefore we tailor our survey and report to suit their needs, these include property purchasers, management companies,
property developers, builders, project managers, tenants & landlords,
housing associations and councils
solicitors.

Can you cover health implications?

Our independent Environmental Health Practitioners, are often contacted by tenants, concerned homeowners solicitors, letting agent and landlords to undertake damp, timber and mould surveys, so as to reveal the true cause of dampness, recommend the most appropriate remedial treatment and crucially comment upon health impacts. For these surveys, we assess the premises under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System, Hazard 1: Damp & Mould, and dedicate a comprehensive section of the report to the impact to the occupants health. This includes, illnesses and disease linked to damp and mould defects, a thorough description of the causes of ill health, triggers and ill-health symptoms and makes a judgment on the severity of risk and harm to the occupant.

We’ve got other questions, you’ve not covered?

Don’t worry, it’s not possible to answer all questions asked in this section, so just drop us an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give Josie or Stuart a telephone in the office on 01245 206 250 or 0203 371 9801 and we will be glad to chat through your concerns, give advice and a verbal quotation (followed by an emailed written quotation) to undertake the survey and produce a report.

Types of Damp

Damp:

The main types of damp found affecting properties are condensation, rising damp, penetrating dampness and internal and external flooding.

Condensation – This is caused when moisture in the air cannot escape the property. The water is held as vapour, suspended and invisible in the air. Upon coming into contact with a cold surface such as a corner of a room, ceiling, mirror or window. The water vapour condenses and settles upon the surface as minute water droplets. These droplets then dampen the material, encouraging conditions for mould spores to develop and multiply. Black mould is often a sign of condensation having occurred.

Rising Damp – This occurs when moisture rises up through the walls of the property due to capillary action; within microscopic pores in the building materials allowing water to be drawn upwards. Rising damp can be caused by a variety of defects, such as materials bridging the damp proof course (DPC) due to high external ground levels, missing DPC’s or damaged and defective DPC’s. Over time, continual ground water drawn upwards, transports ground salts, such as chlorides and nitrates, which work their way through the masonry, plasterwork and wallpaper, causing a tide mark. Any timber such as floor joists, skirting boards and floorboards in contact with the damp walls is at risk of rot.

Penetrating Damp – This is when water from outside finds its way into the fabric of the building, generally, but not always the water source is rainwater. The point of entry could be due to a multitude of defects, such as soft pointing, defective and spalled brick or stonework, damaged windowsills, poor flashing around the chimneystack or missing roof tiles.

Internal Flooding – Flooding can cause damp to structural components of the property, finishes and fittings and furnishings. This can be due to internal flooding, such as plumbing leaks to the radiators or a wash hand basin, sink or bath, waste water leaks and from boilers, dishwashers and washing machines. Often where the water damage manifests, is not where the source of the water leaks from.

External Flooding – This is where floodwater has entered the house. It could be due to a burst rising main, leak from neighbouring premises or due to torrential downpours, with water flooding off the road, farmland or across impermeable surfaces. Our survey will advise on the levels of moisture retained within the fabric of the building, as well as confirming when it has dried out suitably.

It is important to make sure you can firstly identify the type of dampness affecting your home, before identifying the source of the problem and the most suitable remedial treatment required. Our comprehensive survey and reports do all that work for you, identifying defects, severity of damage and suggesting the most appropriate remedial treatments. As an additional service, we can even price up works, so that you have a clearer idea on what the remedial treatment works will cost.

If you need help recognising the type of damp in your property and knowledge on how to treat it, call Healthy Abode now on 01245 206 250 to discuss our services in greater detail.

Timber Surveys

Timber Surveys:
At Healthy Abode we undertake Timber surveys.

Clients ask for a timber survey for two reasons:
* To ensure that wood has not been in contact with moisture, so as to become damp and/or rotted. This affects the timbers structural integrity and can encourage fungus to develop.
* To check for wood boring beetle infestations, to determine whether an infestation is active or historic, to confirm whether wood needs to be treated with insecticide and/or replaced where structural strength has been lost.

Timber and Damp:

If timber gets damp it can rot, which will put structural timber’s such as joists and beams at risk of decay, whereupon they lose their structural integrity. At Healthy Abode, we use specialist equipment, to measure the % wood moisture content in the timber. Following a thorough survey, we will produce a comprehensive report, detail any findings, include photographs and state the most appropriate required remedial works.

Wood Boring Beetle Infestations:

Having a Timber Survey conducted before treating timber for potential woodboring beetle infestations is vital. Our surveyors will inspect the timbers in the property to determine if there area any active wood boring beetle infestations and identify if it is a historical or active case of infestation.

On occasion, we find that the emergence holes are historical and that there is no longer an active infestation, therefore the timbers do not need to be treated, which will save you money and hassle, whilst ensuring that the environment does not need to be exposed to insecticides.

If the infestation is potentially active, then our surveyor’s will advise you on the best methods, to confirm the severity of active infestation as well as the modern accepted method of eradicating the infestation.

Common Furniture Beetle:

Anobium Punctatum (commonly known as common furniture beetle, more commonly known as woodworm!)

Common Furniture beetles (‘woodworm’) tend to attack both softwood and hardwood, but prefer the outer sapwood of both. Often where woodworm has been, you can see evidence of little bore tunnels left behind. This evidence is usually seen close to the surface area of the wood as it is easier to consume. Therefore it is unlikely for woodworm to affect the structural integrity of the timber.

Frass or ‘timber dust’ is left behind from the flight holes of wood boring insects. After hatching the insects munch their way to the surface, emerging as adult beetles from late spring to summer. They fly off late July after laying eggs in the existing holes, starting the life-cycle all over again.

In past times, it was common place to spray timbers affected by common furniture beetle emergence flight holes regardless of whether the infestation was considered active or not. Now, there is an increasing support by surveyors towards long term monitoring and only

treating those areas which are currently or are likely to be affected. Which will ensure that the use of chemicals are controlled and only used where appropriate.

If you’ve noticed damp or rot to timbers or even emergence flight holes then contact us for a timber survey and get the most innovative effective solutions recommended.

Clients

Healthy Abode is engaged by a huge variety of clients.

Clients include:
         
Property purchasers
Management Companies
Property developers / builders / project managers
Tenants & Landlords
Housing Associations & Councils
Solicitors

The reasons for a survey are also diverse, for example we undertake surveys for clients wishing to purchase a home. This is often in response to a concern raised by either the RICS Homebuyer or RICS Structural survey, or when the mortgage lenders valuation surveyor has flagged a potential issue of dampness, timber rot or wood boring beetle infestation up. At times like these, our fast track services are essential as without an independent CSRT surveyor, who is a member of the Property Care Association, the property transaction cannot proceed.

We also undertake surveys for clients to present as evidence of a defect and/or costly damage having occurred to property and belongings to their building freeholders or insurance company. Our thoroughness and professional services ensure a comprehensive site survey is undertaken, the route cause of water ingress determined and if required, a full schedule of works listing remedial treatment raised.

For Management companies and insurers we undertake similar independent surveys, providing schedules of works for tradespersons to follow, ensuring that the fault is rectified, at minimal cost.

When converting such buildings as former offices, care homes, warehouses and barns into residential, the developer, main contractor, general builder or project manager is often required by the warranty provider to provide an independent CSRT report detailing the presence, type, condition of such physical fabric of the building as damp proof courses (DPC’s), damp proof membranes (DPM’s), timbers, height of external ground etc. These call for our CSRT surveyors to spend a morning or day on-site undertaking a full survey, prior to writing up a comprehensive report, detailing remedial treatment necessary as development progresses.

Our independent Environmental Health Practitioners, are often contacted by tenants, concerned homeowners solicitors, letting agent and landlords to undertake damp, timber and mould surveys, so as to reveal the true cause of dampness, recommend the most appropriate remedial treatment and crucially comment upon health impacts. For these surveys, we assess the premises under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System, Hazard 1: Damp & Mould, and dedicate a comprehensive section of the report to the impact to the occupants health. This includes, illnesses and disease linked to damp and mould defects, a thorough description of the causes of ill health, triggers and ill-health symptoms and makes a judgment on the severity of risk and harm to the occupant.

So, as you’ll have read, we tailor our reports to meet your needs and it’s therefore essential that you discuss with us your requirements and concerns, providing us with thorough
instructions at the time of quotation.

You’ll find more information on our blog site, so spend the time to have a look, or give us a call, we’re always keen to chat damp, timber and mould with you!

Housing Services

We specialise in Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) assessments, Decent Homes and stock condition surveys, private sector housing reports, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) and Schedules of Work. If you have a hazard or a problem then let us help you to resolve it quickly and efficiently.

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Environmental Services

Working as independent Environmental Health Officers we undertake a wide range of Enbironmental Protection and Health Inspections, Asessments and Reports and in turn offer advice on a wide range of environmental/health issues.

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Design, Plan & Project Management

We produce site plans scaled to meet local planning and fire authorities, commercial, residential and office layout and design requirements.  

We cover London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. Healthy Abode has surveyed countless offices, shops, restaurants and homes throughout London and the South-East. 

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Damp, Timber & Mould Surveys

As fully independent CSRT damp, timber and mould surveyors we undertake comprehensive surveys and provide specialist property reports detailing exactly any damp, timber and mould defects found in the property, together with colour photographs, health impacts and the recommended remedial works required.

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BS4142 Noise Assessments

The noise assessment and subsequent acoustic report will offer advice on how to achieve reasonable internal noise levels within the bedroom and living areas of residential premises, and also garden areas where applicable.

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Noise at Work

Thousands of people in the UK suffer from deafness, tinnitus and other ear conditions as a result of exposure to noise within the workplace. 

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 place a duty on employers to ensure that noise exposure levels are reduced to meet the new exposure limits and a specific requirement is placed on employers to ensure health surveillance is conducted.

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