First, Healthy Abode’s specialist surveyor, Stuart is not a contractor. This means we are not looking to get a foot past your door, by offering a ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ survey, only to try and push a product or remedial treatment upon you; which the property may or may not need!
Healthy Abode is a totally independent consultancy. We don’t do the remedial work. As an independent damp surveyor, the damp surveys and timber surveys that Stuart undertakes are for you, our client. This means that you our client, can rest assured that the advice paid for and received is unbiased and factual. Our professional advice is based on our detailed survey, using specialist equipment and years of surveying experience to determine the true causes of damp, the severity of damp and any associated timber decay, wood boring beetle infestation and/or mould defects. We’re not driven by the need to rush in and out of a property, give you a sales spiel or produce a quotation for various remedial works thinly disguised as a ‘survey’, and then push our remedial treatment works upon you.
At Healthy Abode, we’re the first to agree that the ‘damp and timber’ industry is a confusing place! The reason being that the majority of “specialist” damp and timber treatment companies employ salespersons calling themselves ‘surveyors’, but who are actually on a commission based salary, so really are ‘sales persons’. Their job then, is not predominantly to diagnose the defect, but to sell the remedial treatment services that the company offers and from which they can make their profit. At Healthy Abode, be assured our surveyors are true ‘independents’.
Take our surveyor, Stuart for example. Stuart worked refurbishing properties, went to university, has a Masters in Environmental Health and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. A registered Environmental Health Officer by profession, during his nine years in Local Government, Stuart inspected thousands of properties for damp and mould defects, specifying remedial treatments/schedules of work, discussing impacts to health and overseeing remedial works. He then sat his Property Care Association exams, qualified as a Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatment, came into private practice, surveyed an awful lot more property and recognizes the importance of ongoing professional development.
At Healthy Abode, Stuart understands the importance of setting aside sufficient time to undertake a thorough damp, timber or survey; we normally allow two hours. The detailed report that Stuart produces confirms findings, photographs, defects and recommends remedial treatments, together with pointing you in the direction of tradesbodies with vetted contractors who operate in your geographical area. These contractors can then follow our Schedule of Works, which lists out each of the remedial treatments we recommend. We’re also available by email, phone or over a cup of tea in the office to talk through works and your property over the coming months.
Now in contrast, consider some of the unscrupulous ‘sales’ surveyors out there. Typically he or she is in the property just a few minutes, often not using specialist equipment, not wanting to talk through findings in detail, not having the experience to accurately diagnose and wanting to push their product or system as being the ‘only’ way to cure a problem. They’ll want to sell guarantees and most likely omit to mention all the other damp, timber and mould defects, which the property may suffer and for which they don’t sell a remedial treatment!
But there surveys are ‘free’ I hear you say! In fact our office admin, Kate hears this every week. Well think about the ‘free’ aspect for just a second. OK, so they’re a private company they have to pay their staff salaries, fuel vehicles, have advertising costs and pay tax like the rest of us, and they’re sure as heck not a charity, so how come’s they’re ‘free’? Well, in truth they aren’t. It’s because what they’re really offering is to pop in for ‘free’ do a quotation to address the works, they feel they want to do! What they’re definitely not offering to do is a ‘free’ unbiased detailed survey, honestly highlighting all the remedial defects and recommending the most appropriate treatments.
Imagine, you had a £30,000 Mercedes (we wish!) and an apprentice mechanic offers to do a ‘free’ service on it, you’d think twice wouldn’t you? Well now, consider the average house price is now £286,000, do you really want a ‘free’ survey! Now, we’re not scaremongering, at Healthy Abode, that’s one thing we definitely don’t do. But, we do highlight facts!
At Healthy Abode, we go to a lot of properties; they’d be something wrong if we didn’t! After all damp surveying is our business! Some of these properties have already had a remedial contractors ‘survey’, often for ‘free’ and unsurprisingly, this report states a particular remedial treatment is absolutely necessary. But is it, how do you have the confidence on knowing that the works specified are actually necessary and/or will solve the problem. Well, in short you don’t. It’s why we often see treatments having already been carried out, at high cost, recommended by contractors and done following misdiagnosis, which haven’t cured the problem.
Now that’s not to say that every contractor offering to come and look at the house for nothing is disreputable, they’re clearly not. In fact, we’d argue that the damp and timber industry is better governed with more skilled persons and better controls that it was even fifteen years ago, they’re bundles of very professional, skilled contractor firms out there. We’ve seen countless examples of superb work. The problem is how do you know if the work detailed in the ‘free’ survey is the most appropriate, absolutely necessary, is going to solve the problem, if the persons doing the survey also does the work!
For example, we’ve been called to properties which have had thousands of pounds spent unnecessarily undertaking disruptive chemical DPC and waterproofing treatments, to stop rising damp, when in actual fact the damp is due to condensation or penetrating damp. So when it comes to ‘free surveys’ the old saying that ‘when something is too good to be true it usually is’ couldn’t be more apt!
So where does Healthy Abode make their money, to pay the bills and enjoy a beer? Well, at Healthy Abode, we make it by charging for our time to send a professional, qualified, independent expert, like Stuart out to get grubby, doing a thorough couple of hours surveying. This can save our clients thousands of pounds in otherwise unnecessary works. Our unbiased surveys and reports, also pick up on all the damp, timber and mould defects, enabling you to avoid situations and disputes caused by misdiagnosis, bad advice and approach taken by some of the ireputable contractors that are out there and potentially saving you countless hours of disruptive work and headaches,
We hope you’d agree that by charging a fair survey fee to provide you with a detailed damp, timber and/or mould survey, obtain facts and suggest the unbiased remedial treatments considered necessary, is a little price to pay for a lot of peace of mind.
In addition to Homebuyers, RICS surveyors, developers, housing associations, councils, solicitors, tenants, homeowners, landlords and builders, use Healthy Abode’s services. We cover Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, London and do travel further afield. Contact us on 01245 206 250 for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.