Thermographic Surveys

A thermographic survey is a collection of photographs taken using a thermal imaging camera which show the temperature of a building or object.

The benefits of thermographic surveys include:

  • A thermographic survey report can provide you with BREEAM credits in a cost efficient way – under BREEAM 2014 Man 04 Commissioning and Handover one credit is available for commissioning the building fabric, which may be done by reference to a thermographic survey
  • They can show where heat loss is occurring in a building, highlighting inadequate or missing insulation
  • They can locate and classify thermal bridges
  • They can show the location of air leakage paths through the building envelope
  • They can show water leakage from the building envelope or internal systems failures
  • You can locate with ease hidden or buried systems like pipes, central heating, under floor heating
  • In the case of a historic or listed building a thermographic survey is a way you can undertake a non-intrusive visualisation of structural or other components

HRS can undertake thermographic surveys on foot, by using a cherry picker, by using a drone with a thermographic camera, or by a combination of these methods.

In the UK the training and accreditation of thermographers is regulated by the UK Thermography Authority. To be recognised for BREEAM credits, a thermographic survey must be undertaken by a professional holding a valid Level 2 certificate. There is a comprehensive explanation on the UKTA website, but the competencies of a level 2 thermographer include:

  • select the appropriate infrared thermography technique and understand its limitations
  • specify the appropriate hardware and software for both portable and permanently installed systems
  • measure and analyse thermographic data
  • perform advanced image post processing (trending, montage, image subtraction, statistical analysis etc) and diagnosis
  • apply thermography theory and techniques, including measurement and interpretation of survey results
  • prepare reports on condition, and report on effectiveness of repairs

What is a Thermographic Survey & Why Is It Used?

A thermographic survey is a collection of photographs taken using a thermal imaging camera which show the temperature of a building or object. These highly detailed images show differences in temperatures which can tell you a lot about a building which you may not be able to detect in any other way.

Thermographic Surveys/Thermal Imaging Surveys have many benefits:

  • A thermographic survey report can provide you with much needed BREEAM credits
  • They can show where heat loss is occurring in a building, highlighting inadequate or missing insulation
  • They can locate and quantify thermal bridges
  • They can show the location of air leakage paths through the building envelope
  • They can show water leakage tracing from building envelope or internal systems failures
  • You can locate with ease hidden or buried systems like pipes, central heating, under floor heating
  • They are great for examining all buildings, but in the case of a historic or listed building a thermographic survey is a way you can undertake a non-intrusive visualisation of structural or other components.

What is a building thermographic survey?

A thermographic survey is also sometimes referred to as ‘thermal imaging’ or ‘infrared surveying’.

A thermographic survey is used as a way of indicating the heat distribution over the surface of a building envelope. This remote-sensing technique can be carried out with minimal disturbance by a single operator and allows qualitative detection of air leakage pathways and insulation discontinuities.

Thermographic Surveys are carried out to BS EN 13187:1999: Thermal performance of buildings – qualitative detection of thermal irregularities in building envelopes – infra-red method and BRE Report 176 – A Practical Guide To Infra-Red Thermography For Building Surveys.

When would I need a thermographic survey?

Credits for BREEAM 2011/2014 are available if the following is carried out:
The principal contractor accounts for a thermographic survey within the project budget and program of works.
Once construction is complete a thermographic survey of the building fabric is undertaken in accordance with the appropriate standard and overseen by a professional body holding a valid Level 2 certificate in thermography (as defined by the UKTA website http://www.ukta.org)

The survey confirms:

  • Continuity of insulation in accordance with the construction drawings Avoidance of excessive thermal bridging Avoidance of air leakage paths through the fabric (except through intentional openings) Any defects identified via the post construction inspections are rectified.
  • Thermographic surveys are also a means to demonstrate compliance with Part L Building Regulations for continuity of insulation.
  • Thermographic surveys can also be used to identify water penetration/moisture ingress, underfloor heating pipe location and district heating pipes and anomalies.

What are the site requirements for a thermographic survey?

SURVEY WEATHER CONDITIONS

HRS have assumed that the survey will be carried out under the following weather conditions: On a dry and reasonably overcast day or night. Ideally no direct sunlight on the building in the 12 hours prior to and during the survey. No heavy precipitation, mist, ice, fog, snow prior to or during the survey. Wind speed should be no greater than 5m/s (11 mph) for external surveys.

DUE TO THE STRICT WEATHER CONDITIONS NEEDED FOR AN ACCURATE THERMOGRAPHIC SURVEY, HRS SERVICES ADVISE AGAINST CARRYING OUT SURVEYS BETWEEEN MID-JUNE AND MID-SEPTEMBER.

BUILDING CONDITION/READINESS

The integrity of the building envelope should be complete for the survey. Drawings (plans and sections) and specification details regarding the areas to be surveyed shall be supplied prior to the survey taking place.

For a BREEAM credit, 100% of the roof and elevations must be surveyed, unless it can be demonstrated to be unpractical.

HRS have assumed that the building will have the following conditions:

Internal / external temperature difference on the entire building must be a MINIMIUM of 10°C for AT LEAST 12 hours prior to the survey. If not, you will not achieve compliance for BREEAM credit or BS EN 13187:1999, whichever applies.

If possible, the internal pressure of the building should be raised by 10 Pascals by switching off the extract units.

Plant rooms can be included in the survey if the thermal line of the building follows the plant room walls.

Solar panels and plant on a roof is a limitation to the survey. Please check with your BREEAM assessor if this is acceptable.

Alternative is to do survey internally if possible.

HRS require the client to advise them of any adverse weather conditions on site on the day of the survey.

HRS recommends that the client takes their own internal/external temperatures before the survey to ensure temperature difference can be achieved.

How can HRS help?

HRS has over 10 years’ experience of carrying out thermographic surveys and hold PCN Level II certification for Building Thermography with Professional membership of the British Institute for Non-Destructive testing (BINDT). This means that we are fully competent and qualified to provide compliant reports for local authority and BREEAM requirements.

HRS’s wide ranging technical and practical experience of building technology, design issues and potential faults in buildings allow us to give a high level of service during the survey, interpreting the results and providing pragmatic solutions.

What can a thermographic building investigation be used for?

  • Identifying moisture, condensation risk in a structure – can detect risks before a problem occurs.
  • Identifying  heat loss / heat gain in buildings.
  • Detection of where leaks are coming from within the walls / floors, windows, etc.
  • Identifying odour problems.
  • Identifying air leakage to comply with Part L.
  • Checking the standard / quality of work that cannot normally be seen.

Benefits of carrying out a building investigation using a thermographic survey:-

  • Can be a very cost effective and time saving way of identifying problem areas within a building.
  • Large areas of a building can be surveyed in a short period of time.
  • Doing a thermographic survey is a non-invasive / non-destructive way to identify problems.
  • Can show the invisible defects that can be hidden behind a wall, floor, etc. that could lead to expensive unexpected costs.
  • Identifies areas of the building that could be made more energy efficient – reducing energy bills and improving the thermal comfort of the building.
  • A thermographic survey can be used as evidence when trying to arrange / sort a problem out and how reasonable it is to fix / pay for the problem to be sorted out.

Depending on the location and access, HRS can carry out thermographic surveys: on foot, using a MEWP, by drone or using a combination of these methods.

If you would like more information, advice or a quotation, one of HRS’s very experienced level 2 thermographers would be happy to discuss whether a thermographic survey would be beneficial to you. Please contact us on 0800 030 4391 / email: info@hrsservices.co.uk

Thermal Bridging

Continuity of Insulation

Air Leakage

Moisture

Investigation – District Heating Leak

 

Thermographic Drone Surveys

If you would like more information, advice or a quotation, one of HRS’s very experienced level 2 thermographers would be happy to discuss if a thermographic survey would be beneficial to you. Please contact us on 0800 030 4391 / email: info@hrsservices.co.uk

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Thermal modelling example

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