What is a BREEAM Thermal Survey inspection?

Thermographic surveys are now a feature of BREEAM – the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. BREEAM New Construction and BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment programs both recognise the benefit of a thermographic survey by awarding credits for a Level 2 certified thermographer carrying out a suitable thermal survey. The BREEAM thermal survey to will assess the integrity of the building fabric to assist in diagnosing suspected problems with the building fabric or comfort levels. Where there are suspected problems with the building fabric such as moisture ingress, condensation and mould growth the use of thermography can provide excellent visual and quantitative evidence of the causes of the suspected problems. The survey will also demonstrate compliance with the construction specification on newly constructed buildings in-line with Building Regulations Part L and BREEAM.

Infrared thermography is a type of photography which is based on infrared wavelengths, rather than visible wavelengths. Conventional photography relies on reflected energy from a light source, whether it’s artificial lighting or the sun, which is visible to our eyes. Thermal imaging relies on radiated energy in the infrared (IR) spectrum which cannot be seen by our eyes. A thermal measurement works on temperature differential, it is possible to assess the performance of the insulation. In order to correctly carry out this thermographic assessment, it is necessary to achieve a 10ºC differential in temperature between internal (heated) and external (ambient) – or the inside and outside of the building envelope. When you are facing the external of a building envelope with the thermal camera it should be possible to view escaping heat through poorly insulated walls or badly sealed windows as elevated temperatures. Likewise, if viewing the same envelope internally, these same areas will show up as areas of lower temperature.