(FRICS. BSc. M.A. CSRT.)
a leading national surveyor and author based in London,
specialising in the diagnosis and remediation of damp.
- has solved countless cases of damp over more than thirty years in the industry and is in wide demand, and respected in diagnosing and remedying dampness problems.
- is a chartered surveyor and fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
- has worked as a senior lecturer and researcher in surveying at South Bank University, specialising in diagnosing and remedying dampness problems in buildings.
- acts as an advisor on surveying to the BBC TV program Rogue Traders.
- is the author of two textbooks: Diagnosing Damp and Remedying Damp. These are industry standard texts and guides on diagnosing and solving damp problems
- Has published various research papers,
- frequently lectures to conferences, universities and industry forums
- Ralph sits on an expert panel at the National Flood School
Independent Dampness Investigations Explained
Any building new or old can suffer damp damage.
Ralph has conducted around 800 independent investigations over the past eight years.
An independent investigation is different to the kind of inspection many are familiar with. Inspections by remedial treatment contractors, for example, would most often have the prime aim of producing a quotation for specialist remedial work. The inspection will usually be relatively brief, and mainly a visual inspection with the aid of a damp testing meter. The same applies to most pre-purchase inspections by chartered surveyors.
Independent Dampness Investigations can involve exhaustive inspections taking from 3 to 6 hours. The inspections will involve visual observation and use of basic damp meters, but after preliminary checks the survey would nearly always go through additional gears. Use of additional equipment, often some opening up eg of ducts or panels will often follow. Floorboards are regularly taken up. Sometimes invasive inspection too when drilling for samples may be needed. Typically material samples are taken for chemical or moisture content analysis.
The full range of dampness investigation techniques is described in ‘Diagnosing Damp’. Inspection can progress through ‘stages’ - from visual inspection, to use of damp meters, to use of salts testing kits, humidity sensors and viewing devices such as borescopes moving on to moisture content tests using the carbide meter. Conditions in a building can also be monitored using data loggers. But more than anything else, Ralph's dampness investigations involve more time spent assessing the history of the defect, its progress and the damp damage resulting - more time measuring moisture and more time on and off site evaluating findings. Remedy advice would nearly always offer a selection of approaches for the Client to consider.
Ralph travels widely across the UK to inspect damp issues often to destinations distant from London and at times involving an overnight stay.
This kind of thorough building examination will more often than not follow a chain of cursory inspections by others, that were not able to fully track down the source of dampness or make sense of the damp symptoms presented.
Clients can be local authorities, solicitors, property organisations, architects - but also private home owners and occupiers who regularly contact Ralph for inspection advice. It could be when a pre-purchase survey flags up, but does not fully diagnose dampness. Further Investigation is then needed. Some residents are sensitive to mould and need to know the extent and significance of mould, and how to get rid of it and improve air quality in the home.
Sometimes damp-proofing fails and an independent assessment is needed to confirm defects, and to most usually re-think and re-design the approach - to stop or control dampness more effectively and over the longer term.
Ralph has acted as advisor to BBC TV’s ‘Rogue Traders’ and appeared on TV as expert surveyor in November last year when he travelled to Northampton to determine whether a modest bungalow needed a £10,000 external paint application to solve damp problems...........................
Work has been commissioned from solicitors, when for example a chartered surveyor was recently accused of failing to identify flood risk to a basement and the basement indeed flooded soon after purchase. Other cases have involved looking into unsatisfactory work by damp-proofers.
Increasingly properties that have flooded are inspected . Question marks may be raised over the standard of post-flood refurbishment or whether damp problems emerging after re-occupation were actually established long before the flood event................
Dampness investigations aim to diagnose the cause of damp problems and advise on suitable remedial work to address damp problems.
Rates are competitive and are subject to the size and location of the property or properties as well as the extent of the survey and report required. For further information and quotations, contact Ralph.
Reports are frequently cited in court cases, out of court settlements, by insurance companies and loss adjustors, as well as to advise and instruct dampness contractors.