The Portrait Of A British Surveyor

14 February, 2024

Ross Charters is a surveyor and drainage specialist in the United Kingdom with more than 20 years of experience in inspecting and repairing building defects. He is extremely knowledgeable, and he spends most of his working time offering full quantitative damp diagnosis, thermal imaging, ventilation, CCTV drain and duct surveys, drain mapping and leak detection.

Next to his passion for tools and trades, Ross likes to spend time with his family and, from time to time he does arts and crafts with his daughters. „Happy days” is his life motto; thus Ross always finds a reason to smile.

You can connect to Ross on Instagram - @complete_preservation, LinkedIn - Ross Charters and YouTube - Ross Charters

When we asked Ross to reply to a few questions he was more than happy to offer us the full interview below. We are lucky to call him a good friend of ours. Happy reading!


What’s your name and job title?

I'm Ross Charters and I am a surveyor and contractor.

When and how did you decide to start a career in trades?

I left school and qualified as a lithographic printer through an apprenticeship. Whilst I did enjoy my job, I needed to do something different. I was never really passionate about printing, and I needed something else. My parents' best friends owned a building preservation company, and I was very fortunate to be allowed to learn how to survey and repair buildings, which was over 20 years ago now.

How did you decide to start the Complete Preservation project?

My boss decided to move to Spain where he built a house. That was the moment I realized I had to go my own way, so I formed Complete Preservation.

Tell us about your everyday work – what kind of projects are you working on; which tools and technologies do you mostly use?

I’m very fortunate to have a few firms I work for regularly, and this is mainly related to damp issues in buildings, which is normally a mixture of condensation and mold issues or rising damp symptoms from leaks or damaged drains. I mainly use damp meters, hygrometers, thermal imaging cameras, drones, GPR, leak detection, and my RIDGID drain cameras. For drain mapping, I use my RIDGID SR20 Line Locator.

What’s the best part of working in the underground technologies field?

With my job, I get to investigate building defects as a problem solver, and I enjoy the challenge. It isn’t unusual for some of my clients to have already spent lots of money on previous repairs that have failed, before contacting me. It is a great feeling to find the root cause of the issues and help these people. That must be one of the best and most rewarding parts of my job.

What about the most challenging one?

I was involved in a Church survey where I had to find out where the old drainage culverts went, and why the building suffered with damp issues and intermittent flooding. For this job, we were using ground penetrating radar and our RIDGID drain cameras along with a sonde. I also carried out quantitative laboratory moisture analysis, and chemical hygroscopic salt analysis on mortar samples. Because these culverts were very deep and blocked, it wasn’t ideal to replace them, especially with graves within the churchyard. So, all mapping had to be absolutely perfectly done to ensure that when cleaning commenced at strategic points, we didn’t come across a coffin.

Which is your proudest moment since you are in this field?

It must be the moment I was the only person from England to visit the RIDGID HQ in America, as part of the first RIDGID Europe Experience. As you guys know I didn’t think it was real, and I wanted proof it was you. 😂

What is the most impressive job you ever worked for?

Thinking about it, the most impressive job has to be carrying out a survey of Bath Abbey, a very famous Grade 1 listed building in the World Heritage city of Bath. But I also really enjoy doing even the smallest of jobs and fixing clients' problems.

Which are the weirdest / funniest things you found during an inspection and drain cleaning job?

I have found adult toys in drains, and a really odd one was finding lots of lady underwear in a drain. They looked new, I still can’t understand why there were so many down there. I also recently found some teeth veneers.

How and when did you discover RIDGID?

I decided to get into drain surveys around 12 years ago. I looked at a few different types of cameras, and that’s when I tried the RIDGID SeeSnake. I found this to be a very versatile camera, which has served me well, and which I still use every week.

Which are your favourite RIDGID tools and why?

Without a doubt, my drain cameras, and my SR20 Line Locator are my favourite tools. I couldn’t do my job investigating complex damp issues in properties without them. But I also love my RIDGID RP115 Press fit.

When you think about RIDGID, which are the first things that pop into your mind?

The tools are durable and reliable, and RIDGID looks after their customers. One rare thing that I found with RIDGID is that many RIDGID employees that I met have been employed with RIDGID for many years now. This just shows that not only are they focused on the people who buy the tools, but also the staff they employ.

What’s your message to the young generation of students who decide to start a career in trades?

It can be hard work, but it is very rewarding when you work for clients that value you. I carry out many different repairs on buildings which certainly stop me from getting bored. So, if you want to get into the trades, make sure you pick something where you do mix it up a bit to ensure you stay passionate.

What’s your message for us, the RIDGID team?

Keep up the fantastic work, being innovators and looking after the trades with your robust equipment. #teamridgid