Property Care Association Property Care Association

Investigating dampness in buildings

The first step in controlling any damp related problem is to endeavor to understand and get to the root cause of the problem. In reality, investigating dampness is not always straightforward with there potentially being several sources of damp that all need to be remedied by several different solutions.  

Here we will briefly look at some of the key considerations professionals need to take into account for investigating & ultimately controlling some of the causes of damp within buildings.

Investigating condensation issues within buildings 

There are a variety of reasons condensation may be causing damp problems within a building or property. It is generally the result of:

  • Excessive moisture production, 
  • inadequate heating,
  • building elements with reduced thermal performance or cold bridging. 

Identifying which of these is “out of balance” so an appropriate remediation strategy can be employed can be difficult. It typically requires good investigation and good knowledge & experience from the investigating surveryor.  However, there are tools now coming to market to help property professionals investigate a condensation issue more thoroughly such as the PCA's Condensation & Mould Diagnosis System. Emerging surveying tools like these can help get to the cause of the issue and in turn, help you focus your remediation. 

However, generally speaking, most condensation issues are caused by a lack of ventilation in the property. Sometimes problems can be countered by relative simple, fixes e.g. better use of purge ventilation such as opening windows, cooking with lids on saucepans and alterations to the heating regime. However, for more serious problems, our property care surveyors may suggest installing professional ventilation solutions.

Condensation info for Professionals >>

Damp control - condensation and mould - PCA

Damp control - rain water ingress - PCA

Investigating & controlling damp from rainwater ingress 

Controlling penetrating damp issues necessitates good investigation to fix the fault within the building that is allowing the water to penetrate. More often than not, there may be restoration work required to make sure the building is returned to its natural, dry state.

For more here on tips to help you identify if it is a problem with rain water ingress, visit our ‘investigating dampness' page

Investigating Dampness for Professionals >>

Investigating & controlling ground water dampness 

Rising damp is the name given to the process of external ground water being drawn up through brickwork by what is known as capillary action. Investigating the ingress of ground water (Rising damp) and the possibly suggestions to help rectify the dampness issue within the building can take different forms. 

Firstly establish if there is a damp proof course. In modern build properties a damp proof course is usually installed near the base of the water to prevent capillary rise of water. Where an existing damp proof course has been compromised and bridged by raised ground, patios, solid floors, plaster, and debris in the cavity, the bridge should be removed and the existing damp proof course returned to efficiency. 

Where a damp proof course is: 

  1. Not present, 
  2. Located below raised ground levels that can not be lowered or 
  3. Has failed 

Then the installation of a remedial damp proof course may need to be considered. Details on the various options for retrospective damp proof courses can be found in the Code of practice for the investigation and control of dampness in buildings that is located within our professional damp technical library

Dampness below the level of a damp proof course or adjacent to higher ground level resulting in lateral penetration of moisture will require a different approach. Here suitable products to prevent moisture becoming a problem will be required. For areas that are substantially below ground level, there is substantial risk of hydrostatic pressure. The guidance in BS 8102 should be sought in these situations. 

Rising damp treatment info for professionals >>

More about damp proof courses >>

Damp control - ground water dampness - PCA

Damp control technical document library

Codes of Practice, technical documents & Guidance notes for surveying, construction & property professionals

Visit the library >>

What you need to consider when surveying damp...

As you may have gathered from the text above, getting to the cause of dampness is not always an easy process and any investigation should adopt a systematic and holistic approach to help get to the crux of the problem. In many instances, it can be a process of elimination, ruling out possible causes until the correct one(s) can be identified

For those wanting to know more about investigating and understanding how to survey and get to the source of a damp control issues, click on the button below.

Investigating Dampness >>

Surveying Dampness in Historic Buildings >>

Free training - Dampness related CPD videos

Want to learn more about investigating damp in buildings

The PCA is the trade body for the damp control industry and the foremost authority in providing training for the skills and knowledge to surveyors need to  investigate damp. Our training courses for surveyors and technicians are open to members and non-members alike and regularly updated to keep abreast of all developments in damp control. To speak to our training team, simply call 01480 400 000 or contact us online.

Property professionals may also be interested in our certificated damp control continuing professional development (CPD) courses. We also deliver courses for Local Authorities, Housing Associations, Wildlife Trusts and other organisations who can benefit from understanding property care issues in greater depth.

To find a training course you may be interested in, simply run a search using the search tool below.

Contact us >>

More about training >>

Search Courses

Surveying dampness in historic buildings

If you are a professional looking to learn more on surveying dampness in historical building click the link for more info.

Find Out More >>

Damp proof courses & membranes

Looking for more information on damp proof courses and membranes, click below:

Find Out More >>

The Property Care Association
11 Ramsay Court
Kingfisher Way
Business Park
PE29 6FY

Content Copyright © 2024 Property Care Association - All rights reserved. The Property Care Association is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England: No. 5596488

“PCA®” and the PCA logo are registered trademarks of the Property Care Association. Legal Information and Disclaimer.