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Sustainability Leadership for the Built Environment (IDBE)

Part-time Master's and Postgraduate Certificate courses from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Top building pathologist’s lifelong action on damp misdiagnosis is honoured

Mike Parrett

Call for strengthened building control, and more collaboration through interdisciplinary design and holistic dampness diagnosis

Michael Parrett, IDBE graduate and leading UK expert on the investigation of dampness and failures in buildings, is receiving key industry recognition and honours for over 40 years of work, as he prepares to further spread his pioneering message about the need for a holistic approach to the diagnosis of dampness problems by making himself available internationally for training, mentoring and public speaking.

Michael, founder of the non-commercially affiliated Damp Diagnosis Consultancy (part of Michael Parrett Associates), has been awarded Fellowship of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), in recognition of his considerable knowledge and experience in the spheres of land, property and construction. This honour will shortly be marked at a reception hosted by the RICS president at the institution’s central London headquarters.

“Michael Parrett is an outstanding professional and we are delighted that the RICS is recognising the integrity and breadth of knowledge that he has brought to the surveying profession,” say RICS fellows Mike Taylor and Martin Wade.

On 14 November, Michael Parrett and Liverpool Housing Trust – already winners of the North West Regional Construction Awards 2014 (business and innovation category) – will attend the National Constructing Excellence Awards in London, to learn whether they will also gain national honours for their work in diagnosing dampness during their project ‘the appliance of science’ to Liverpool Housing Trust’s housing stock. Michael was involved in training Liverpool Housing Trust staff teams to use and interpret data retrieved from scientific equipment: the new damp response package significantly lessened the number of customer calls, reducing disruption with year on year savings and enhancing service to customers.

“Mike Parrett’s work has been inspirational. The importance of this work is demonstrated by recognition from the construction industry which was well deserved,” says Simon Brown, director (asset management) with Liverpool Housing Trust.

On 9 October, Michael Parrett also became the Junior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Constructors.

He first came to public notice through the success of the BBC2 series Raising The Roof; in which he established the misdiagnosis of dampness and the extreme rarity of rising damp caused by a damp proof course failure. The series was hailed as a piece of landmark journalism in exposing the widespread misdiagnosis of rising damp and concerns over the effectiveness of chemical damp proof course injection. 

Damp Diagnosis Consultancy now works with industry on the independent investigation of dampness in buildings and complex major loss claims; the development of new diagnostic tools and techniques and the education and training of practitioners and homeowners both in the UK and worldwide. Its extensive portfolio of clients includes English Heritage, The American Society of Home Inspectors, The Antiquity and Monuments Office, Hong Kong SAR and The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, together with numerous registered social landlords and local authorities.

“I feel very honoured by the recent recognition I have received,” says Michael Parrett. “The RICS eminent fellowship is especially meaningful as this award is made by way of peer review.

“During most of my building surveying career I have concentrated on investigating dampness and flooding in buildings, from modest homes to large scale public and Industrial buildings and from ancient to modern. There is a huge cloud over a built environment that places too much reliance on commercially driven diagnosis; along with poor or difficult to construct building designs; inadequate material selection and bad workmanship coupled with a lack of adequate supervision I see these as the most common reasons for building failure and dampness/water intrusion into buildings of all types.

“There needs to be a strengthening of building control, in numbers and with more powers to ensure a better build quality. There is also a powerful need for an interdisciplinary design approach across the built environment, and we need another professional tier of independent qualified building pathologists who can take dampness diagnosis investigation beyond a symptom all the way to the cause and source of the problems. There also needs to be tighter, uniform regulation for dealing with flooded buildings that is more able to differentiate pre-existing defects to buildings and their impact on drying a building after it has been flooded.”


Michael Parrett’s recent honours follow widespread previous industry recognition, despite the continuing absence of holistic approaches to building pathology and the prevalence of unnecessary remedial work in response to damp. For example, in March 1999 he was awarded a Lewisham Council Pride Award for his pioneering in work in over 30,000 council-owned properties, which produced savings to Lewisham Council in excess of £160,000 per year over 15 years. During that period, Michael Parrett solved all damp problems in the Lewisham Council-owned property stock he had been charged with investigating, without once using chemically injected damp proof course. 

He was the outright winner of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (formerly IMBM) British Building Maintenance Awards in 1997 for his work in diagnosing dampness using the Calcium Carbide method. Further awards followed in 1999 for the Parrett Brick Index, together with the President Award for Building Pathology, a DVD training guide which investigates why buildings fail, how to diagnose problems and what remedial measures can be put in place.

A regular presenter and lecturer at conferences for the American Society of Inspectors and various other organisations and academic institutions in the UK and a retained consultant to the Antiquities and Monuments Department of the Hong Kong government,  Michael Parrett is a published author with the RICS, which also distributes his award-winning Building Pathology DVD training resource. He has also produced several other industry standard training films on investigating dampness in buildings, including condensation and mould.

For more information about Michael Parrett’s availability for training, mentoring and public speaking engagements, please contact:

For more media information please contact Deborah Hyde on               or 07956 320 486