Frequently Asked Questions

 

Pre Remedial Works

Why should I use a member of the Property Care Association?

The PCA ensures that the highest levels of professionalism operate among its members. Companies and surveyors applying for membership must meet a number of strict criteria to ensure they meet our required standards (including qualified surveyors, approved financial status, minimum length of trading). All companies are audited on a regular basis to assure their standards of workmanship. Furthermore, if you have a dispute with a PCA member about their standard of work, we may be able to get involved to help resolve any issues (see Complaints for further information).

Do your members charge a survey fee? If so, how much?
Many PCA contractors will charge for diagnostic inspections, reports and consultations. Members provide a valuable professional service that has a cost attached to it. The PCA believes that it is right to pay for good quality inspection services delivered by skilled and competent surveyors.

I've had three members of the PCA out to carry out survey reports, and each has come back with a different estimate for the works required. Why do they vary so much and what should I do?
You can, of course, expect the estimates to vary slightly between companies. Companies may employ different methods or products to achieve the same results and some companies will have greater fixed costs than others. Opinions may differ on the scope of any work that they consider is necessary. If the estimates differ significantly, you are perfectly entitled to ask the question to the companies directly and, if necessary, show them the other reports you have received and invite them to comment.

What is the TrustMark logo that many of your members have?
TrustMark is a Government endorsed initiative that allows consumers to identify legitimate tradesmen. The scheme is widely supported by consumer protection organisations and the building industry. The PCA has achieved the standards required to become a TrustMark accredited scheme operator and, as such, our members can display their logo giving consumers further confidence in their abilities.

I notice on your website you have Freelance/Independent Surveyors and Consultants as members. What do these categories of membership mean?
Freelance/Independent Surveyors and Consultants are PCA members who carry out independent surveying and specification services. Consultants are also able to offer expert witness services if necessary. Freelance/Independent Surveyors and Consultants are not looking to carry out remedial works – a contractor member should be contacted for this.

 

Post Remedial Works

I had damp proof work carried out several years ago by a PCA member and the damp has come back. What should I do?
You must contact the company who carried out the work and explain the situation to them (you can search for a member by name using the blue search box on our website). They will usually ask for copies of the relevant paperwork and may impose a re-inspection fee before arrangements are made to come back out to the property. In the event that a defect is covered by the companys guarantee, the contractor will then arrange to undertake the necessary repairs.

I need the company I used to come back and look at the work as the damp has come back and they have said I need to pay a re-inspection fee. Is this right and why do I have to pay?
It is normal for companies to charge a re-inspection fee before coming back out to inspect your property (as per the terms and conditions). If any faults found are attributable to a failure in the company’s work, the fee will generally be refunded (again, this is dependent on the terms and conditions you received). If the company finds no fault then the inspection fee will be retained. Customers should, however, receive a written report detailing any problems that have been identified together with suggested methods of control.

I had work carried out by a PCA member which I am unhappy with. I want to use a different company to carry out another survey, but they are saying they are unable to inspect works carried out by another member of the Association. What should I do?
Members of the PCA are required to work to a Code of Ethics and must demonstrate professional courtesy to fellow members at all times. Where a member is asked by a client to comment on the work of another they should only do so after advising the client to contact the original firm to allow it to honour its guarantee or warranty.

I used a company for remedial works that were a member of the PCA but are no longer. Can I still come to the PCA if I have problems with the work?
Unfortunately, we are only able to get involved in issues or disputes regarding current members. When a company leaves membership, we have no means of monitoring their work practices or standards of workmanship and are therefore unable to influence their actions.

 

Guarantees

I bought my house several years ago and the guarantee for damp proof works was passed on to me with the deeds. I have had the company out again but they are saying the guarantee is not valid as it is not in my name?
In most cases, guarantees for remedial works are issued in the name of the property owner rather than the property. If you purchase a property which has had damp-proofing or timber preservation work carried out, you must ensure you change the name on the guarantee (assign guarantee) as soon as possible (normally within 2 months) to ensure it remains valid (check the terms and conditions on each guarantee). Your solicitor or conveyance professional should flag this up for you.

My paperwork shows I have a manufacturer based guarantee. What does this mean?
This is a guarantee (normally 20 or 30 years) issued by the supplier of the chemicals used in the treatment and will warrant the performance of those products. In some circumstances the manufacturers guarantee will fully indemnify the work that has been undertaken.

I had work carried out by a member company and was offered GPI insurance. What is this and what does it entail?
All our members can offer Guaranteed Protection Insurance (GPI). The scheme insures the guarantee issued by the contractor and comes into force in the event that the issuing contractor ceases to trade. This is a specific insurance product provided by GPI, which is purchased by making a one off payment at the time of the work being carried out. Insurance cover is usually for a period of ten or twenty years (dependant on the type of work carried out).

What happens to my guarantee if the member I use ceases to trade or goes out of business in a few years?
If you purchased GPI (see question above), your guarantee may still be honoured through them (subject to terms and conditions). Unfortunately, if you do not have GPI, there is little that can be done.

I've had a company come out to carry out a re-inspection at my property as the damp has come back where they previously carried out work. The problem is in the same place. They are saying the guarantee does not cover this - how can this be the case?
You should refer to the original survey report received from the company to ensure the area in question is covered under the guarantee. Your guarantee will state exactly what is covered and the area it relates to. The validity of the guarantee is dependent on a number of factors which will be stated in your terms and conditions. For example, failure to maintain the property in a good, dry and weatherproof condition, interfering with the works carried out by the company or failing to inform the contractor as soon as the defect or reoccurrence becomes evidents may result in invalidating the guarantee. If you are still unhappy with the response and believe the work should be carried out under the guarantee, you may wish to enlist a Freelance Surveyor or Independent Consultant who can help establish the validity of your claim.

I had some work carried out a few years ago and the damp has come back. I can not find my original paperwork/guarantee and the company will not provide copy documents or service the guarantee
It is the client’s responsibility to keep and retain in a safe place all the original paperwork that may be required to enforce a claim under the guarantee. In some circumstances it may be possible to obtain copy documents from the company who undertook the work, although a fee may be charged.

 

Miscellaneous

I'm unhappy with work that has been carried out by a company who aren't members of the PCA. What can I do?
Unfortunately we are unable to comment on work carried out by non-members of the Association. You may wish to try contacting an independent consultant of the PCA as much of their work consists of supplying expert opinions on work done by both members and non members, or try contacting your local Trading Standards office for further advice on what to do next.

 

Complaints

For further information on complaints click here