Agreed Methodology for moisture investigations in traditional buildings

By Nathan Foley | 23 November 2019 | Listed Building Surveys, Professional Standards

Agreed Methodology for moisture investigations in traditional buildings

The ‘Agreed Methodology’ is an initiative from RICS, Historic England and PCA that seeks to reform the inspection and reporting of moisture related issues in traditional buildings and to raise professional standards and consumer confidence.

It was released on the 21st November 2019 and was launched at the PCA annual conference.

For years the remedial damp industry have caused irreversible damage to many traditional buildings by carrying out “Damp Proofing”.

This is also seen when many surveyors recommend a ‘specialist damp inspection’ as part of a building survey report for a home-buyer.   These simple 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 addition to this cost most are not needed or at the very least damaging to the building they are trying to protect.

In the case of Listed Buildings, it is highly unlikely that Listed Building Consent would be granted for such alterations and unfortunately the work has frequently been seen to have been done without asking first.  Once done, it can’t be reversed.   Holes drilled into historic brick, stone and timbers can’t be taken away.

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 wider industry on a draft methodology that has been produced following a series of discussions between the organisations”.

By way of explanation, the methodology is designed to take the reader through a structured approach to understanding dampness issues, within a framework that covers legal aspects of any invasive works. It takes the approach of holistic diagnosis – examining building construction, materials present, interventions to the structure over time and how they affect its response to applied moisture. Care is taken to ensure that diagnosis includes analysis of a range of factors – how the building sits in the landscape, physical construction defects, and the way in which it is lived. The final diagnosis must provide a carefully, scientifically derived result. Correct scientific measurement is crucial – no longer can ‘damp meters’ be used to arrive at unscientific declarations of ‘rising damp’.

We expect to see this included and adopted by RICS and other professional bodies in due course and a drive of educating surveyors and home owners alike to the new methodology.

You can read it here from our site:  RICS Historic England and PCA Agreed Methodology