Article 12 - What factors might influence the diagnosis of rising damp, woodworm, dry rot or wet rot?
This article looks at commercial pressures that might influence the diagnosis and repairs necessary when dealing with rising damp, woodworm, dry rot and wet rot.
If a company or individual making the diagnosis of a problem predominantly earn their income carrying out work that they consider necessary to rectify the problem they diagnosed then perhaps their inspection may not be as objective as you would hope.
With the exception of surveyors, architects, engineers and other property professionals the building industry has various self imposed ‘voluntary’ qualifications covering a variety of trades, but does this mean that you will get a correct diagnosis from someone who is qualified? One hopes that that you will but it should be remembered that in most cases qualification is not compulsory and anyone is able to set themselves up as an ‘expert’.
Whilst examination based qualifications are very good it should be remembered that an individual’s qualification does not exonerate the holder from commercial pressure that might be applied by their employing company or their own commercial needs.
In the building preservation industry commercial pressures exist in many forms. Some companies for example set their surveyors monthly sales targets to be achieved – in other words a surveyor must achieve orders for a minimum amount of work to be undertaken by his company over a defined period or his job or part of his income could be in jeopardy. Another form of this is where all or part of a surveyor’s salary is made up of a commission on the sales that he achieves – the more he sells the more he earns.
Of course the most fundamental commercial pressure for all, especially for smaller companies and sole traders is the need to earn a living. Whether we like it or not commercial pressures where livelihoods or pure business survival rely upon diagnosing work to be necessary and obtaining the order to undertake it has the potential to create what some may regard as an over zealous diagnosis of a problem.
How do I avoid commercial influence?
One solution is to employ the services of an experienced independent surveyor, such as Peter, who has no financial interest in any work that may or may not be necessary. Of course you will have to pay for this service but in very many cases this approach has proven to be more cost effective.
When one considers that out of eight companies polled (Feb 09) the average operative day rate charged was £435.00 and an ‘average’ damp course and replastering job takes 4 days. This equates to a job price in the region of £2100.00 - £2500.00. Balance this against the cost of an independent damp survey of an average property costing in the region of £250.00 plus travel costs the potential for saving money by engaging an independent surveyor is huge.
For more information about Peter’s independent survey service click here.