The Property Care Association (PCA) is a prominent organisation within the UK’s damp proofing industry. Initially established as the Chemical Damp Proofing Association, it later absorbed the Wood Preservation Association, expanding its scope and influence. The PCA serves as a representative and advocate for the damp proofing industry, similar to how the National Rifle Association (NRA) operates within the US. Here’s a closer look at the PCA and its impact on damp proofing practices:

  1. Industry Representation: The PCA lobbies on behalf of chemical damp proofers, providing a voice for this sector within the broader construction and housing industry.
  2. Training and Certification: The PCA offers training programs and certifications for its members. While much of the training is of high quality, there’s a significant focus on chemical solutions for rising damp, which is often misdiagnosed as the root cause of damp issues in properties.
  3. Guarantees: Many Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) surveyors rely on the guarantees offered by the PCA against rising damp, despite evidence suggesting that rising damp is rarely the actual cause of dampness in properties.
  4. Training Limitations: A notable limitation in PCA’s training is the lack of practical demonstration of rising damp, and no instruction on leak detection or differentiating rising damp from other forms of damp at the base of a wall, like condensation. Previously, the Wood Preservation Association differentiated condensation from rising damp, but this practice ceased post the PCA’s takeover.
  5. Misdiagnoses and Financial Interests: The core membership of the PCA comprises damp proofers who financially benefit from the misdiagnosis of rising damp. The training provided does not adequately equip surveyors to identify the actual causes of damp, leading to a cycle of incorrect treatment and guarantees that don’t address the real issues.
  6. The Myth of Guarantees: The guarantees provided are often solely against rising damp, ignoring other common causes of damp, which are typically the actual culprits. There’s a notable contradiction in the prevalence of properties treated for rising damp and the continued profitability of the damp proofing industry, indicating a systemic misdiagnosis issue.
  7. Need for Improved Training: The PCA could better serve the country and consumers by enhancing its training programs to cover a broader range of damp causes such as above floor and sub-floor ventilation, humidity control, leak detection, differentiating hygroscopic salt from rising damp, and understanding groundwater dynamics. A more comprehensive training curriculum would equip surveyors to accurately diagnose and treat damp issues, ultimately benefiting homeowners and the industry’s integrity.
  8. Conclusion: The PCA plays a vital role but could significantly improve its impact by refocusing its training and advocacy towards addressing the root causes of damp rather than predominantly pushing chemical solutions for misdiagnosed rising damp.
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