Property Care Association Property Care Association

Investigating dampness

Getting to the cause of dampness is not always an easy process and any investigation should adopted 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. 

However, in all cases, it is imperative that all dampness is investigated without delay. Failure to do so may result in any issues escalating.     

This section will briefly look at some of the key overarching considerations for professionals when conducting a damp investigations. 

Find damp specialists near you >>

General consideration when investigating damp

It is important to have an understanding of the various ways that dampness can manifest itself within a building prior to undertaking any damp inspection. This should be combined with consideration for the “context” of the building, including its position, orientation, construction type and consideration for the occupants and how they use and occupy the building.   

Equipment for investigating dampness 

The significance of visual observations during damp investigation should not be understated. However there is various equipment that can assist with the inspection including, but not limited to; 

  • Anemometers 
  • Hygrometers
  • Thermometers
  • Moisture meters 
  • Thermal imaging devices  
  • Calcium Carbide 'speedy' moisture meter

Further information on each of these can be found in the PCA Code of Practice - Investigation and Control of Dampness in Buildings. 

View the code of practice >>

Penetrating damp thumbnail - damp proofing advice - PCA

External inspections when investigating damp

An external inspection should always make up part of the diagnosis even if this is to conclude that no external defects exist. 

A methodical approach should be taken, for example work from roof level downwards. Consideration should be given to; 

  • Damaged roof coverings
  • Defective and poorly maintained rainwater goods
  • Condition of masonry and mortar joints
  • Condition of wall coatings
  • Presence and location of any Damp Proof course 

This list is not exhaustive and consideration must be given for any defect that may allow excessive moisture or restrict drying of the building envelope. 

Internal inspections when investigating damp

An investigation should “follow the trail of evidence” from any defect that may have been noted during the external inspection. Establishing the location and extent of any dampness.  

A systematic approach should then be taken to get to the probable causes of the issue. 

It is important to note that not all defects will be visible and many will require deeper investigation such as bridging of DPCs from within a cavity.

Rising damp thumbnail - damp proofing advice - PCA

Key documents for the inspection of dampness

There are a number of key documents that having an understanding of will assist with any inspection of dampness in buildings. 

  • BRE Digest 245: Rising damp in Walls: diagnosis and treatment
  • BS 6576 - Code of practice for diagnosis of rising damp in walls of buildings and installation of chemical damp-proof courses
  • Code of Practice - Investigation and Control of Dampness in Buildings
  • RICS-Historic-England-and-PCA-Joint-Methodology
Free Dampness related CPD training

How can I learn more about investigating damp

For those wanting to learn more about investigating dampness, you can always take a look at the variety of damp related training courses we have by using the search tool below or by visiting our training & qualification section.  

Alternatively, get in-touch with our training team on 01480 400 000 and chat to them about available training options or contact us online using the form.

More about training >>

Contact us >>

Search Courses

Surveying dampness in historic buildings

Needing more information on surveying historical and listed buildings and the problems that they often encounter? Click below for more information.

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.