Hodgson view – The case of the anonymous letter!

Welcome back to another ‘Hodgson View’. This time it takes the form of a response to an anonymous letter we received last week that points an accusing finger at me, the Association and our members.

An anonymous pointless argument!

The writer gave a few clues to his identity but decided to address his highly charged letter to me anonymously citing that he “does not have time for a pointless argument”. Still, the author seems to have found time to write a well-constructed letter and then commit the time to form biased and ill-informed opinions that he boasts to share with his clients. Well, in the hope that “Ronald from Canterbury” or even “Alan from Faversham” might bump into my blog post, here is my reply.

FACT – Rising damp exists!

Rising Damp exists. It is a fact! It has been studied and documented by universities and academics on every continent of the planet except Antarctica. Don’t be lazy. Do your research and if you can not be bothered, we can send you the references.

Buildings made of bricks and mortar do not breathe!

Buildings do not breathe. They get wet and then they dry out. Every building material has a different capacity to get wet and then dry out. These characteristics can be massively affected when they are layered. Vapour transfer between the inside environment to the outside through solid construction products – irrespective of their porosity – is dwarfed by the diffusion that occurs as the result of even minor cracks or opening a window!

Breathability’ is a term that even Historic England have said does not make any sense. The term is misused by well-meaning people who have done nothing to try and understand what they are trying to describe.

PCA Members prove their knowledge

Property Care Association (PCA) members know a vast amount about older buildings and how they were built. I would wager that every one of them has taken more old buildings apart and put them back together than you!

They are competent to do the work they specialise in. What is more, every PCA member has proved it through audit, examination and experience! You, on the other hand, have not even had the courage to show yourself and yet you assert to know more than those you criticise.

If you think you know your stuff why not take the exams that ALL our members have to go through. The PCA will cover the cost. All I will insist on is that we publish the results.

Let us see your findings

The letter cites two reports that were submitted recently that you say were wrong. Who says they are incorrect, you? What are your credentials and what diagnostic investigations did you carry out?

If you feel strongly enough to write a letter, then let us see your findings. How did you diagnose a condensation problem in the middle of the summer? And how on earth could you “assume” (your words) that salts present at low level on the wall is the result of using unwashed sea sand. Without detailed diagnostic investigations who is to say you are right?! Moreover, what would you suggest as a remedy?

The role of a general surveyor

You assert that general practice surveyors are better qualified than industry specialists to diagnose dampness. This is a point I strongly dispute however, if you do want the gig let’s see you do it.

Most general practice surveyors I know are good, highly diligent professional people who do a fantastic job. A very small handful of these people have specialists’ knowledge relating to damp and timber defect diagnosis. I can think of less than five of these people that would be happy to risk their Professional Indemnity Insurance by writing detailed specifications for rectification works. My PCA members do it every day and then stand by the work they deliver!

Why not engage with us directly?

It really bugs me when apparently intelligent people make inaccurate and ill-informed statements about the Association and its members. This is made worse when they do so without allowing a right of reply.

To all those who think they know the PCA, unless you have seen us up close you probably do not know us at all. We appreciate there is a whole array of misinformation out there that seems to be constantly recycled with what is probably jaded, outdated views. This is exactly what we are trying to fight against! Why not engage with us directly?

Come and see for yourself the good work we are doing. Read our publications, white papers, technical documents and technical guides. Look at what we teach and how we test and certify our specialist members. See the scientific research members have funded with our university partners and perhaps attend our conference in November!

Mr Anonymous – please do this one thing…

Look at us in 2019 and form an opinion that is your own, not one formed by reading the ‘garbage that is blown into the gutter’ of the World Wide Web! PCA members are the best in the business, they are highly visible, and they prove their worth every day.

Ronald (or is it Alan?) – you are probably a lovely chap who wants to do the right thing, but I do personally feel it is a bit of a cheap shot and not a fair reflection of the PCA members.

PS. The company you refer to in glowing terms (in the attachments you send to clients) is run and operated by a friend of mine who is a PCA member. Please do talk to him – he can advise you a great deal, but where do you think he started his education with respect to the diagnosis of dampness? My door is always open for a chat…

Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on twitter

More information and previous Hodgson Views: