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Damp and waterproofing issues are among the most common problems
Damp and waterproofing problems are among the most common issues encountered by HouseCheck inspectors when inspecting South African properties.
In fact, quite often clients contact us to request just a waterproofing inspection, or to check the waterproofing of the foundation. Wherever possible however, we prefer to do an inspection of all of the components of a property – rather than just limiting our investigations to a “waterproofing inspection”.
Waterproofing issues often linked to other problems
This is because waterproofing and damp issues are often linked to problems with various other components of the property.
For instance: The roof may be leaking for a variety of reasons, there may be internal plumbing problems, or perhaps the waterproofing issue has arisen as a result of defective walls, or paintwork, or (very often) from inadequate ground water management in the areas around the house.
There are three kinds of damp which result in the need for a waterproofing inspection.
Waterproofing inspections focus on three kinds of damp
- Penetrating damp: This can arise from roof leaks, plumbing leaks or from water penetrating through cracks in the walls.
- Rising damp: This is a waterproofing issue resulting from water “wicking up” through the masonry structure from damp ground below. It is often the result of a failed or absent damp proof course (DPC) between the foundation and the walls. Sometimes rising damp can also be caused because ground levels on the outside are too high – above the level of the DPC on the top of the foundation.
- Condensation: This problem which mostly manifests itself as mould on the ceiling, is the result of poor ventilation and the resultant build-up of water in the air as a result of human breath or the use of hot water (showering).
Waterproofing above foundations is important
HouseCheck inspections reveal that poor management of water from the downpipes is often the cause of a waterproofing problem. This is because water from the downpipes, which is allowed to seep under the foundations, can cause a waterproofing problem in the walls above the foundations. Water undermining the foundation of a house will cause the foundation to “settle” and often result in cracks in the wall above.
A HouseCheck waterproofing inspection will also identify cracks in the window sills (which have resulted from foundation settlement) as a major cause of waterproofing problems.
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We recommend that buyers make their offer to purchase (OTP) subject to a satisfactory HouseCheck.
No house is perfect and your HouseCheck report will separate Vital defects which need immediate attention and maintenance issues which you can handle over time. We include cost estimates for both. This is your negotiating tool.
HouseCheck finds a variety of situations. Whilst most of our clients are buyers, we also have sellers paying for inspections and occasionally estate agents as well. Until 2020 buyers were prejudiced by the voetstoots clause and therefore it was and is still in their interests to get a HouseCheck.
Sellers and Agents are at risk under the Property Practitioners Act of 2019 and the associated regulations. Therefore more and more agents and sellers are initiating inspections.
No, but now that you know what the defects will cost to repair, you can check if the property is priced at a reasonable level.
A seller may also offer to correct the defects prior to the sale. Your agent may advise that despite the defects you still have a good buy given that the comparative market analysis indicates that the property could sell for more. Some sellers price for a quick sale.