Damp Proofing – Who can you trust?

Posted by on Jun 30, 2012 in Building Surveying

Damp Proofing – Who can you trust?

The past few weeks of relentless rain have shown up a few problems and the “damp proofing specialist” contractors will be having a field day.  GLM has just been involved with a couple of thoroughly damp ground and basement flats in Edinburgh’s New Town.

In one the whole flat had been subject to the damp proofing specialist’s standard assortment of treatments.  They had correctly identified a leaking downpipe but had ploughed ahead with some very expensive “cures” to a problem that evidently had not existed before the leak.  The theory seems to be that traditional buildings must be in need of tanking and injected damp-proof courses for no better reason than that they have not got them!  Actually all that this work had done was to shift the problem around.  The “remedial” plasterwork accompanying the injected damp proof course was itself quite dry but wherever it finished there was a line of dampness.

In the other case we were able to catch the problem in time before the “specialists” got to work.  It turned out to all be caused by an open joint at the junction between a drain and a downpipe. Simple.  Fix the problem!

Dry Rot will be the next problem and you can be sure that the same “specialists” will be quickly onto the case with their casual approach to remedying the source of the problem and their heavy emphasis on expensive and damaging “solutions”.

Professional surveyors, estate agents and architects who routinely recommend to clients that they take advice from so-called “specialist” contractors do them a disservice.  These guys do not provide independent advice and often their recommendations are not very “expert” either.


David Gibbon, (Director and Conservation Accredited Building Surveyor)