There are several reasons why we occasionally need the help of a damp-proofing specialist. These can range from a damp patch on wall plaster; mould growing on walls and ceilings or, a pre house purchase damp survey.
By far the best way of finding any contractor is by recommendation and if you are lucky, a friend will have first hand experience of using a local damp proofing firm and that’s always worth looking at.
However, assuming that’s not the case, how do you find a good firm and avoid the cowboy trader?
These days the web is the place we tend to start and of course Google and Bing will throw up lots of firms, when you type in ‘damp proofing’. But before believing all the claims on company web site like ‘honest service’, ‘high quality workmanship’ or ‘fully qualified staff’ it can pay to look a little deeper.
In saying this we need to recognise that most people haven’t got hours and hours of time to spend pre-vetting a damp proofing company before engaging them, so some short cuts are justified (most of the time).
In the UK there is only one nationally recognised trade association for damp proofing contractors, so the Property Care Association is a good place to start. The PCA have written standards they work to and companies have to meet these, and pass a strict financial, health and safety and insurance test before they can join. Better still, member firms are visited regularly and subjected to an independent quality audit.
Okay so the PCA want members and the members pay the associations running costs; if they threw them all out they’d be out of business, so can these checks be relied on?
On their own no, they can’t; all organisation have the odd bad member and you could be unlucky and get the worst PCA member, rather than the best. The thing is though, by choosing a PCA damp proofing member, you are already weeding out the non-members, those who have been vetted by nobody. On balance, you’ve already increased the chances of finding a good damp proofing firm, who are qualified, financially sound and well insured.
Right, so now we’ve narrowed the field down and a quick search using the PCA find a contractor widget on the PCA web site will give you a list of PCA members in your area.
I hope the above helps you find a good contractor for you damp proofing project – here’s a checklist for finding one: