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Property investment: how important is it to have a damp and timber report?

A question that we are often asked by people investing in property is: “Is it important to have a damp and timber report before purchasing a property?”

The simple answer is yes. In this article, we explain why it is important, what goes into a damp and timber survey and the implications of not having one.

Choosing a timber and damp surveyor

Just a casual search on Google for a timber and damp surveyor will throw up hundreds of companies and surveyors. Always make sure that you choose a company that is registered with the Property Care Association – this is the trade association that governs the timber and damp industry and is your guarantee of peace of mind.

Any surveyor you use should also hold the qualification of CSRT (Certificated Surveyor in Remedial Treatments).

Having a timber and damp survey carried out

To ensure all potential damp and timber problems are identified, the surveyor will first inspect the exterior of the property. This inspection will identify any potential issues such as water ingress from damaged rainwater goods, any obvious damage to the roof as well as the condition of any existing physical damp proof course if present.

Ground levels may also be checked to make sure that they do not breach any existing damp proof course that may be in place. The surveyor will then move onto the inside of the property.

The ground floors will be checked for any signs of damp present. The carpets will then be lifted to inspect the timbers underneath. With permission, the surveyor may also check underneath the floorboards to check for any signs of timber decay in the sub floor.

The types of property care issues that can affect timbers are predominantly wood rotting fungi and woodworm infestation. The surveyor will also check all areas on the first floor of the building for signs of damp and timber problems.

Once the inspection has taken place, then the surveyor will compile a written report for the property owner detailing the potential issues found. The report will include a plan of the work that will need to be carried out to rectify the issue.

The implications of not having a damp and timber report

There are several implications of not having a damp and timber report carried out when buying a property. If you have a specialist surveyor provide an inspection at the property this will be detailed in the report, so the necessary works can be implemented before a potential buyer purchases the property.

For anybody purchasing a new home, there are several issues that if not highlighted in a survey could come as an unwelcome surprise. While damp can be easily rectified to start with, if left untreated for a period of time, the expenses for the new homeowner could increase quite dramatically.

The cost of having damp proofing works carried out at their new home should be the least of their problems when moving into a new house.

Dampness can also make your property look aesthetically unappealing for a potential buyer. Penetrating damp and rising damp can have an effect on the inner walls of the building with plaster falling off the wall with tide marks visible as well.

Damp in your property can also have an effect on your health if left untreated. This is due to condensation mould occurring in the property. Condensation mould, or black spot mould as it is known, is one of the main causes of asthma in the UK.

On the timber front, dry rot is the most serious of all the property care issues and can cause a significant amount of damage to the structural integrity of the building.

All different types of property care issues can cause damage to your property and if left untreated for some time then there can be serious damage to the fabric of the building.

When looking to buy a property a potential buyer should have a timber and damp survey carried out to identify any issues that will need to be rectified.

People looking to sell their home may wish to have a Property Health Check survey carried out prior to putting the house on the market – this would identify any timber and damp issues that would need to be rectified prior to the house going on the market.

At Timberwise, we provide further information on all types of damp and timber problems that can affect your property and what treatments are needed to get rid of the issue.

*Robert Owen is PR Executive at Timberwise

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