Independent damp surveyors, now cowboys too?

Independent damp surveyors – now joined by cowboys.



There was a time when the phrase ‘independent damp surveys’ could be relied on to lead to good diagnosis and the likelihood of a fair damp diagnosis with money saved as a result.


However, the Internet, which we all love, is a great place for mischievous con artists to make money. These days they even make money by pretending to be the consumer’s friend… this is how it’s done now, if you want to really make money.


What you do is set up as ‘an independent damp surveyor’. Ideally add additional specialist character by also advertising as an expert in traditional old houses, listed buildings and treating all damp problems in a ‘holistic way’.


This is the foundation of the new breed of con artists in the damp industry. There’s a great double ‘bluff in the forgoing, because these guys also claim not to be in the damp proofing industry and they will decry damp-proofers and the damp proofing industry as all cowboys and charlatans. How does this charade work?


It’s great for them. It means that those who are anxious about damp, but who are also anxious about being conned about damp, come willingly to the door (web site), of the person who just wants their money. The only difference is that the person rips them off for the crap junk science advice given to them, rather than mis-selling them a new chemical DPC.


It’s very lucrative too. I have come across one of these guys; a really nasty one, who slags all the damp proofing companies off as snake-oil salesmen… he then charged up to £900 to visit clients in their homes and carry out a few chemical moisture meter tests, claim that there is no problem and leave them with holes in the walls, out of pocket and no solution to a problem they had – brilliant! No material costs, just a busy web site to keep spinning and a few quid in petrol to the house and back.


These chaps are usually one-man bands so the profit margins are super. Initially they tend to leave behind a happy consumer simply by telling them what they wanted to hear, when they fell for the honey trap web site in the first place. Others are also builders so they recommend a suitably ‘traditional’ repair and they never guarantee or insure the results. The initial happiness of clients usually turns to bitter disappointment, when they find they can’t sell the house, due to the damp and have received  a huge bill for ‘traditional repairs’ at hugely inflated prices.


It’s damp-proofing without the men, office, materials, or responsibility for failed house sales, continuing damp and wasted time…..


I may become one 😉


For those looking for independent advice on damp and similar issues you can find qualified and independent surveyors and consultants via the Property Care Association web site. Many RICS members can also help with good advice. Beware those who merely award themselves ‘expert’ status via a few self-reverential anecdotal opinions,  combined with fear mongering outraged justification for their ‘solutions’ – they are nearly all quacks!


  1. Good call, Bryan

  2. £900 for drilling one hole and doing a speedy meter test, absolute waste of time! Not following BRE Digest 245 and using a thermal imager with no qualifications……………..

  3. I don’t think that was me Brian, I normally drill more than one hole!!


    • Dry Rot says

      Hi Paul,

      You are a true independent Paul. It’s the hired guns I refer to…… these guys are only independent in the sense that they are loners. Their emphatic hatred of all damp proofing firms and their refusal to consider rising damp as a phenomenon, means that they can never be independent or be trusted to give consumers impartial advice.

      Dry Rot.

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