What to do if a valuer insists on PCA timber and damp survey

We are seeing an alarming number of house purchases and sales collapsing due to PCA damp proofing companies quoting stupid prices for fraudulent and unnecessary damp proofing. It is due to RICS valuation surveyors using a standard 'get out of jail free' phrase of: 'You are required to get a timber and damp report from a PCA registered contractor and act on its findings'
This, and other similar phrases are part of a collection of standard text that the Mortgage Lenders Association (UK Finance) have agreed with the RICS valuers and I understand, with the PCA. We have been fighting this for years - together with other well known and respected Chartered Surveyors and scientists.
We are putting together a dossier of information to add to our already huge pile of examples - but want to make this a formal approach that we take to the relevant authorities (who are now listening). What we need is:
Name of mortgage company
Copy of valuation report (with damp clause)
Copy of building survey if there was one
Ideally name of RICS valuer and his RICS number
Any communications with mortgage coy/valuer etc
Copy of PCA damp 'report' with inevitable 'quote'.
Is the building Listed or not?
If we flood the RICS and UK Finance with complaints, something will be done. Both these organisations realise there is a problem, but I don't think they realise just how massive that problem is - I'm given to understand that over 30% of all mortgage applications fall over because of PCA damp wallies giving fraudulent diagnoses of rising damp, followed by totally unnecessary quotes for thousands of pounds worth of fraudulent damp proofing.
If an RICS member has acted unethically, broken the rules of conduct, or given a client bad advice, then you need to report this to the Complaints and Regulation team. This is a link for that team and what to say...
There is something of a grey area here, which the RICS and UK Finance need to sort out - and if there are enough complaints, they will sort it. This is the whole practise of telling clients to get a 'PCA timber and damp report'.
In my view, and it is the view of several other very experienced, senior and prominent RICS professionals - surveyors have a professional responsibility to understand damp. A valuer is typically able to spend a few minutes in a house doing a valuation.
  • Is that valuer acting unprofessionally in recommending another person to look at timber and damp problems?
  • Should the valuer even be DOING a valuation if he / she doesnt understand the basics of damp?
  • If the valuer uses a damp meter to find damp, when we all know they are NOT to be used in anything but clean, freshly felled timber, is he / she acting unprofessionally?
  • If valuer recommends the PCA (Property Care Association) who he / she knows are unqualified, generally unintelligent morons who hand out quotes for damp proofing, is he acting unprofessionally?
  • If the valuer, when questioned as to whether another choice is more suitable (as in Heritage House for example which is a RICS accredited survey company) is that valuer acting unprofessionally if insists on the PCA?
  • If the client is then forced to undertake thousands of pounds worth of unnecessary damp proofing on the basis of a pca 'diagnosis' of rising damp with a damp meter - is the valuer and mortgage company then guilty collectively of fraudulent mis selling along the lines of PPI - personally, and in the mind of a few lawyers I've spoken to, they are.
  • If the bank / valuer insist on a retention and demand the work to be done, despite the fact that you can prove no damp proofing is needed, are they guilty of the above - PPI style mis-selling?
  • If the valuer insists on a PCS survey of a Listed building that forces the client to damp proof / remove plaster/ drill holes etc - this is Criminal Damage. Is the valuer then also guilty of inciting criminal damage - and therefore has given bad advice, broken all the rules, and acted unethically.
All of these points need to be raised with them as part of your complaint.

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