Last Updated on June 20, 2022

On 21st November 2019, the ‘Agreed Methodology for Assessing Damp in Traditional Buildings’ was launched.

As our partner, Stephen Boniface, discussed in previous articles, for many years traditional buildings, many of which are Listed Buildings, have been damaged by remedial ‘damp-proofing’. Often this will start at the mortgage valuation stage with the valuation report requiring a ‘timber and damp report’. We also see many surveyors recommend a ‘specialist damp inspection’ as part of a building survey report for a home-buyer. Such inspections are often done for free, or very low cost, and will contain a quotation for remedial repairs that might be many thousands of pounds.

In the case of Listed Buildings, it would be rare that Listed Building Consent would be granted for such works, but we often see work done without consent. Once a wall has been treated, it cannot be reversed.

In response to what has become a cultural practice for many within the industry, the new Agreed Methodology seeks to address these problems. This Document is currently a working draft and there is a way to go before it will be formally adopted.

RICS have said..

“RICS has been working with Historic England and the Property Care Association to create a methodology centred around investigating moisture-related issues in buildings. The aim of this initiative is to draw wider awareness to the issues that can occur in traditional buildings if the correct damp inspection principles are not followed, and to raise the bar in the investigation and reporting of moisture-related problems in our built environment. RICS supports this initiative and will be consulting with its members and the wider industry on a draft methodology that has been produced following a series of discussions between the organisations”.

Ultimately, the aim is to provide a holistic assessment of any form of moisture within traditional buildings and the possible consequences of that moisture. It seeks to unify best practice within the entire profession and to ultimately stop mistakes being made, misdiagnosis, buildings unnecessarily damaged and providing consumer confidence in the reports that are provided.

Over the next few years we will see an increase in awareness, professional training and changes made to reporting of moisture issues. We expect to see the Agreed Methodology formally adopted and instilled into Regulations of the professional bodies so that surveyors and contractors will be held accountable for their advice and actions.

RICS has also recently released the new RICS Home Survey Standard. This will further reinforce the raising of professional standards of building survey report.

Stephen Boniface is pleased to have been involved in the drafting of this document with others on the RICS team being: Craig Ross (for RICS), Duncan Philips, Mike Parrett, John Edwards, David Watt and Peter Ward.

Click here to download the document.

Damp Wall historic buildings photo