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We are regularly asked for advice on damp proofing and how to choose a damp proofing contractor. Below is our advice for choosing a damp proofing contractor.

Do’s and Don’ts when choosing a damp proofing contractor

Don’t choose a Company that is not a member of the Property Care Association (PCA). The PCA is the only trade association in the damp proofing industry. It publishes codes of practice and guidelines for damp proofing works, carries out training and actively monitors its members. Membership of the PCA shows that the Company meets the required standard of surveying expertise (comprising experience and qualifications such as CSRT and CSSW), carries out work to the PCA guideline standards and is qualified to offer guarantee insurance with the GPI scheme. As such, members of the PCA are Trustmark approved.

Don’t choose a damp proofing company that advertises using only a mobile phone number or PO Box address. These can be changed with ease and provide no means of pursuing damp proofing guarantee claims. Look at the information they provide in their website and supporting material, is it useful & informative or is it a cheap advert offering minimum information.

Don’t use a non-specialist Company to carry out damp proofing works. A Company that fits double-glazing, carries out roofing services or tarmacs driveways is unlikely to provide specialist damp proofing services.

Don’t use a Company that has not been in business for at least 5 years. Many new companies fail in their first year, and a significant percentage do not make it beyond five years. You can check the date of incorporation at the Companies House website.

Don’t use companies that sub contract their works to third party contractors. Many sub-contractors are poorly trained in remedial works and are only concerned with finishing the job as quickly and cheaply as possible. All staff should be full-time employees with CSCS cards and the relevant documented training in damp proofing and remedial services.

Don’t use companies that are not adequately insured against the risks involved in remedial works. Standard “builders” insurance will not cover the operative for carrying out specialist remedial works. Ask to see proof of “damp proofing and timber treatment” cover to a minimum of £10 million third party, £2 million public liability insurance plus the appropriate contractor and professional indemnity insurance.

Don’t accept a quote on the day, especially when companies offer large discounts for the works, ask to see a written quotation detailing the works to be carried out on a Company letterhead. Offering big discounts and other hard-sell techniques are frequently used by companies who misdiagnose, exaggerate or even make up damp problems and charge large sums for work that is unnecessary.

Don’t agree to any door-to-door salesman’s offer for a free damp survey. Damp problems are not particularly common and reputable companies do not canvass works by knocking on the door. If you think you have a damp problem, pay a survey fee and get an objective assessment of the area of concern.

Advice for choosing a damp proofing contractor

Do choose a contractor who is a member of the Property Care Association and is Trustmark approved.

Do check that they don’t sub-contract work and that they are adequately insured. Ask about trading history, whether they are a franchise firm and what qualifications do they have.

Do ask lots of questions of the surveyor, especially if the findings are not what you expected. If you are unsure, get another opinion. The Property Care Association can provide you with details of independent damp surveyors if required.

Do choose a company that is professional and efficient in all aspects (i.e. easily contactable, well-maintained vehicles, qualified surveyors and professionally produced reports), as this is indicative of a well-managed operation.

Do ask for references and follow them up. Well established and well managed companies will have a long list of satisfied customers who’s contact details they can pass on to you; do not rely on photocopied letters of recommendation.

Do ask for details of what is included in the price of the damp proofing works. Some companies will provide a seemingly cheap quote only to add a long list of extras during the works that can double the cost of the work.

Do ask yourself what could be causing the dampness. Simple checks can sometimes reveal the cause of the damp without the need for professional help. See our website page “Common sources of dampness in Buildings” for more information.

Do ask for GPI insurance for your damp proofing guarantee. Twenty years is the maximum period of insurance allowed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Should you require any further information regarding damp proofing in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire or Surrey, please contact Biocraft Ltd on 01189 451144.

Biocraft Ltd is based in Reading Berkshire and offers a comprehensive range of damp proofing services throughout Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Oxfordshire. Email Biocraft on [email protected]