Identifying Building Defects using Thermographic Building Surveys
Thermography measures surface temperatures of buildings by using infrared cameras. These instruments see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the video record the temperature variations of the building’s envelope, ranging from white – for warm regions, to black for cooler areas. The resulting thermal images help the thermography engineer to determine whether insulation is required within existing buildings and/or there is missing insulation in new build projects and it has been installed correctly. Thermal imaging can also identify excessive cold bridging, air leakage, breaks in insulation and/or electrical and mechanical faults.
A thermal building inspection can be carried out to both the exterior and interior of buildings. The energy assessor usually decides which method would give the best results under the prevailing weather conditions. For instance for BREEAM, external thermal imaging inspections are more common. However, if it is windy on the day of the test it may be harder to detect temperature differences on the outside surface of the building; because of this difficulty, interior surveys can be more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.
Thermographic building inspections can also be used with blower doors used for air tightness testing. The blower door helps exaggerate air leaking through defects within the building envelope i.e. the floors, walls and roof. Air leakage paths will appear as black streaks in the infrared camera’s viewfinder. Here is some more information on using the powerful combination of air tightness testing and thermal imaging for BREEAM building inspections.
The importance of using one of our Level 3 trained thermographers cannot be understated as they are trained to be write predictive maintenance and inspection practices and to develop test procedures and ascertain severity criteria. To try and help clients prepare for the thermal imaging survey to their building, we have written the following article: How we carry our thermal Surveys on commercial buildings. Also, this article explains how we previous articles on how to prepare for thermal imaging surveys on commercial buildings.
To help facility managers with their electrical and mechanical thermal surveys, we have written the following article: thermal imaging inspections for facilities management. Also, throughout the UK BREEAM projects are becoming more common place. BREEAM provides extra points to projects that have a BREEAM Thermal survey undertaken. As not many clients are aware of BREEAM thermal surveys, we have included more information in our ‘What is a BREEAM thermal Imaging Survey’ article. Also to try and help clients prepare for their survey please download our Thermal Imaging Checklist.