Hodgson View: Damp in Traditional Buildings

It’s funny how things turn out sometimes.  At the very beginning of 2019 I was asked to attend a meeting by a friend and colleague at Historic England. That initial meeting, of what became a working group to a new Methodology for dampness in traditional buildings, took place at Historic England offices in London and it got pretty spicy!

It did get better – traditional building concerns addressed

Despite some initial grouchiness the outcome was conciliatory and set the scene for what followed. In a nutshell, that first meeting attended by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance (UKF), Historic England (HE) and the Property Care Association (PCA) saw agreement that focused on a shared desire in the prevention of damage to historically important buildings. This initial point of agreement subsequently developed into a document that attempts to describe a methodology for the “Investigation of Moisture and its Effects in Traditional Buildings”.

The work to create this document was handled by a small group of people. Craig Ross from RICS took charge of the initial draft, but meetings were attended by Professor Duncan Philips, John Baguley, Iain McCaig and me!

This NEW document is a recognition of best practice

During the drafting process the document was placed under a total embargo. This was insisted upon by RICS. The fact that a chap by the name of Peter Ward then boasted about its creation on social media while the news blackout was in place, undermined the trust between members of the drafting group and almost stopped the work in its tracks.

What has emerged from the process however, has been very worthwhile. It still needs work and a little polish, but the contents are sensible and deliverable. The methodology does not constitute a revolution in damp diagnosis, more a recognition of best practice and the evolution of an area of surveying that will benefit from a jointly agreed statement.

Taking a pragmatic view of damp & traditional buildings

The methodology came about because a number of sensible people took a pragmatic view of the subject. They sat down and talked, respecting one another’s contribution. As a result they discovered common ground and built on concerns.

This work –  and what has followed  – was not the result of pressure imposed by a few evangelists who have only ever sought to widen divisions, nor is it a document that can be credited in any way to the growing bunch of delusional, self-promoting, loud mouths who are taking to social media to claim their part in its creation. I attended every drafting meeting and responded to every round of consultation – you didn’t! If your name is not Duncan Philips, John Baguley, Craig Ross, Iain McCaig or Stephen Hodgson, this document happened to you – you didn’t make it happen!

2020 will be used to inform and roll out the methodology

The methodology still needs to be tidied up but for the removal of any doubt, the PCA is the only organisation that has provided a voluntary undertaking to adopt this methodology into the normal operating expectation of membership. Even though almost every element of the new methodology is already required knowledge for PCA members (as demonstrated by the CSTDB syllabus), 2020 will be used to inform and roll out the methodology with compliance promised from January 2021.

For the PCA, full compliance with the Methodology is within easy reach. Many members already exceed the scope of the document in their everyday work. For others, including the co-creators, compliance remains an aspiration with no dates attached.

DOWNLOAD: – Moisture & its Effects on Traditional Buildings >> >>

 

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