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3 steps to housing stock energy management with IRT

3 steps to housing stock energy management with IRT

Housing Stock Energy Management

As a housing stock manager, you have energy targets to achieve for the housing stock you manage and you have to make retrofit decisions with a limited budget and timescale. Applied InfraRed Thermography (IRT) will help  you take some of the stress out of this decision-making.

In a previous blog we explored how an IRT camera can see energy, but quantifying it for energy loss, that is the Holy Grail for thermographers and something that can be done. In fact IRT surveys received a patent for just that back in May 2013. 

find out how  an IRT Surveys stock survey can help below. 

Step 1: exploring pixels captured

Today’s Thermal cameras are digital and radiometric. That means every pixel records a value when you take an image. Every pixel is a temperature. A typical camera then has about 76,800 thermometers. Because everything is digital those temperatures are stored as metadata behind the visual bit of the image. So what? Well, this data can be accessed and interpreted. If you record how far away you were from the object you photographed then, with basic trigonometry, we can tell you the size of a pixel. Once you know the size, it’s easy to add them up and say 'You have 2.15 metres of red pixels on your wall'. That’s not quantified, I hear you scream. Hold ‘yer horses, I say. Step two involves capturing other data beyond the cameras abilities.

Step 2: adding building data

To truly quantify the images you need to know what the building is made of. We ask questions such as:

What is the U-value of the wall supposed to be?
How do you heat the property?
How much does that heat cost?
Where is the property
How efficient is the boiler?
What’s the temperature inside and outside?

Step 3: feeding templates

Over the past 6 years we have developed our own elastic templates. Stretching or shrinking them to fit clients buildings. We need to augment known variables from energy software such as SBEM or SAP, into the algorithms to arrive at a meaningful quantification. Weather data from the last 25 years is built into the models.

Boiler efficiency ratings from SEDBUK are added. Age and geographically relevant building regulations are taking into account. Eg. A home built in 1883 will most likely be solid, have high ceilings, large doors and a chimney. It’s likely more drafty than a more modern home.

The tricky bit for us as software developers was creating dynamic software that meant we didn’t have to physically enter a home to ascertain the internal temperature.

Our software re-calibrates itself to allow for differing internal temperatures constantly. When we survey 1000’s of homes we can’t ask all of them to be the same temperature inside, rather the software has the ability to moves its expectations. Missing insulation makes a difference of about 1-2 degrees to the surface of a wall. The difference between 18 and 19 is 1. The difference between 21 and 22 is also 1 – so we focus on the differential.

Housing stock energy management: the right data matters

 

Quantifying the number of pixels at a known size and known temperature becomes a lot more simple thereafter. Is it accurate? Yes.  Is it perfect? No.

Input the wrong heat source – say gas instead of electric - and the results are wild.

Input the right data, and the results are quite startling.

In a  recent survey of 60,000 homes for 83 housing associations we were never more than 3 SAP points away from full on investigative results. In the vast majority of cases we were bang on.

Being able to quantify energy for an entire housing stock is a rapid process that will help you

  • make informed decisions,
  • spend your budget wisely and
  • help you apply for funding and grants  for your investments.

Is housing stock energy management giving you headaches? Is your data ready to be fully exploited to ease your decision-making process? Please do contact us to discuss your energy management challenges  by clicking on the button below.

Data driven decisions for housing stock retrofit

Data driven decisions for housing stock retrofit

 

 

In the social housing sector, decisions for housing stock retrofit are persistently made based upon very little knowledge about the energy performance of housing stock in question. The consequence is that often the results are not what was expected or promised. The popular statement “rubbish in, rubbish out” applies in this sector too.

At the core of this situation is a budgetary reason:

"We can’t afford to carry out a wide ranging, in-depth, analysis of our stock,
so we make do with what we have”.

Consider the real impact of this approach.

Housing stock retrofit: Your challenges

You are an asset, estate or portfolio manager with energy efficiency as core element of your role. You have many challenges:-

  • Multiple assets, many problems,
  • Tight budgets,
  • Not enough staff,
  • Data you don’t trust,
  • Drivers and KPIs to deliver to satisfy environmental legislation and maintain the asset value,
  • Maintaining profitably whilst keeping the tenants safe and warm.

Making decisions that truly deliver savings becomes very difficult when you are under pressure and being pushed and pulled in different directions – let alone the fact you don’t have faith in the data.

Over the years the organisation you work for has merged with others, has acquired, sold and transferred housing stock. You have been left wondering what the true picture of the assets you manage is.

As the trend for merging continues, it will inevitably lead to your new colleagues being let go. They were the ones who understood your newly-acquired stock very well. This will leave  you, as a lone manager, in the unenviable position of getting to grips with both your current stock and the new stock you have just inherited. You will then be asked to make investment grade decisions costing millions.

It is uncomfortable at best. Risky and expensive at worst.

Housing stock retrofit: Adopting the right approach

Which approach are you going to adopt?

  1. Let's just do the oldest houses first, as they surely must be the worst.
  2. Let's do the most recent houses first to try and leverage warranties before they expire.

If you make decisions based upon poor data, you won’t get the kind of result you hoped for. Let's take an example:

If you invest £50M insulting walls with EWI without considering changing the boilers first, or switching the lightbulbs, you could be wasting your money.

Or it could be exactly the right thing to do.

That’s the problem. You don't know, because you do not have the data to tell you.

What made you decide upon EWI? Your reasons could be numerous: Did it look good? Do the tenants like it? Does it add value to house? Does it improve the EPC?

All great, valid reasons, but is it the best bang for your buck? Can you leverage more grant money from schemes such as ECO to flip the boilers at the same time and rally ramp up the retrofit process?

One thing is for sure: social housing is becoming more commercially orientated these days. In a world of survival of the fittest, the smart money is on the provider who can demonstrate knowledge of their risk. A provider who understands the road ahead fully. Business hates risk. Anything you can do to mitigate risk and uncertainty has to be a good thing.

Housing stock retrofit: data-driven decisions

In our time, we have surveyed over 250,000 houses, largely for the local authority and housing association sector, such as Yarlington House Association,  and shown them where they truly are as regards the performance of their assets. We have empowered those clients and enabled them to

  • leverage grants,
  • hit their KPIs and
  • get people out of fuel poverty.

Which all adds up to a profitable business with less exposure to hidden nasties. We can also mention happy warm tenants with more spare money to spend on their rent instead of their utility bills.

We can do exactly the same for you.

Whether you are thinking about changing lightbulbs on 50 houses, or merging your stock with a neighbouring housing association, wouldn’t it be good to ascertain the value and condition of your own assets before those decisions are made?

Make sure you are getting decent returns on your investment by first investing in the tools that will remove the guesswork, provide you with accurate and impartial data about the condition of your housing stock and help you make data-driven decisions about your retrofit programme.

Before you even start thinking about what your next energy efficiency initiative is, do contact us by clicking on the button below.

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Case Study – Fusehill Pipe Survey

Case Study – Fusehill Pipe Survey

Project Scope

Our Client, an estates manager for the University of Cumbria's North Campus, had issues with broken pipework within the district heating system. The broken pipework was resulting in a loss of 1000's of litres of hot water from per week resulting in increased energy bills and reduced functionality.

It was planned that the road would be excavated to locate the pipework and find any leaks. IRT Surveys proposed that a UAV thermal drone survey of the area would highlight the pipes location and find the source of any leaks without the need for full scale excavation.

 

 

How IRT Surveys Helped: 

Using our state of the art, thermal imaging UAV drones we  can offer an entirely new and unique perspective.  We can get closer, are more manoeuvrable and go where traditional aircraft can’t. 

Our visual and thermal  survey was completed, safely and accurately,  in a single day meaning minimal disruption to the tenant, students and the general public. 

We have full Civil Aviation Authority permissions to operate drones for commercial aerial work – are fully insured – and are experts in gathering aerial images using remote controlled aerial systems, also known as UAV Drones. We process and edit in-house using the latest commercially licensed post-production applications.

 

 

Outcome

The use of our drone gave our client the best perspective on the problem region , expert analysis found 2 areas of increased temperature and created an easy to understand overlay, highlighting areas of significance directly onto the image. 

Contractors dug up the locations identified within our report and found the broken pipe saving time and money on investigative works with minimal disruption.                                               

What Did We Provide?

After survey completion; images were uploaded to our head office to be evaluated by our analyst team. Our upload system allows for instant handover from surveyor to analyst and fast turnaround.

  • The completed report was with the client in 5 working days.
 
  • A full colour PDF format report was uploaded to our secure server  and a link sent to the client for instant access to his results.
 
  • Our reports are designed for readability and understanding.
 
  • Each page of the report includes a thermal and visual image with corresponding location plan.
 
  • The primary plan indicates which page you can find analysis for your chosen section.

Services Used

  • Thermal Imaging
  • Drones
  • Image Overlay Technology
  •                              

"After recommendations from my line manager, I contacted Ray Langford (IRT Surveys). I needed to identify the location of an underground leak to the heating pipework serving our Halls of Residence on our Carlisle Campus. I sent IRT site layout drawings, the following weekend an aerial survey of the site had been carried out. Within a couple of days, I was emailed all the data, from the data, 2 areas were identified as potential leaks. By using this method, we were able to pinpoint the problem, therefore reducing disruption to site operation."

Alan Ewing - Estates Manager North -University of Cumbria

Managing your expectations for a stress-free IRT survey report

Managing your expectations for a stress-free IRT survey report

Commissioning an infrared thermographic (IRT) survey is easy. We tell you here what you can expect during the survey process so that you have a stress-free IRT survey.

Reasons for commissioning an IRT survey

We have already pointed to a few strategic reasons why you would commission an infrared survey. We have been providing infrared services to the construction professional sector in the UK for 15 years and the reasons are wide and varied but can be distilled down into 3 main headings.

  • You have a problem and nothing else seems to be helping resolve it.
  • You are not sure if you have a problem and want an expert opinion.
  • You definitely have building issues and no-one can agree who is to blame.

More often than not you are seeking a reactive survey to a problem which manifests itself in a new building or refurbishment project. IRT surveys is often called upon as a “silver bullet” solution.

Managing your  expectations as a client is part of what’s involved in the process. Most of our clients have little technological knowledge of IRT. They rightly rely on us to know what we are doing and wrongly  do sometimes ask impossible things. No, we cannot find a leak on a roof from a satellite in space. You need a thermal imaging camera mounted on a drone and a thermographer for that.

The technology has its limitations. But you will be blown away by just how useful a tool IRT is for the maintenance of your site. Here are the 4 common expectations from our clients that we systematically need to address if we want you to have a stress-free IRT survey. 

'My thermal pictures will be really sharp.'

We have already discussed the technology and science behind IRT. Today’s cameras are digital, radiometric (every pixel has a value), portable, un-cooled and affordable. They fit in our pocket and can be bought for less than £500. That alone is great news for us all.

Don't expect great resolution as this is still way behind that of your average smartphone though, but that will change. Fast forward 10 years and they will be embedded in every smart phone.

We use FLIR cameras with a minimum resolution of 320x240px specific for building surveys. These ensure that images taken are clear and focussed. 

'The survey will be conducted as soon as I submit the purchase order'.

How do we take an image properly, i.e. an image you can rely upon to make an investment-grade decision?

Once you have established your need to get a survey done and contacted us to describe your problem to one of our team members, you decide to proceed. Your deadline will be our major hurdle.

The weather is the biggest challenge we have. We need the right conditions to carry out a successful survey. No point promising you that it will be on your desk tomorrow if it is raining today and is too windy the next day. We need cool, dark, dry evenings to take thermal images. This means that you will have to wait until the weather conditions are correct.

'You can come and survey at anytime.'

The shape and height of your buildings are not a problem: with our fleet of drones we can survey flat roofs quickly and efficiently. We even take care of the civil aviation and insurance bureaucracy.

Access to your premises may be a problem though. We need to be able to see the entire fabric externally, internally, in daytime and again at night time. Sometimes special entry permission are required as invariably there will be out-of-hours access required. You need to make sure that security personnel has been informed, that someone is available to open and close the doors, that required authorisation  has been given and recorded. We can't enter premises without this, and will have to come back if we can't get access, hence delaying the survey and the reporting.

'I'll get the report the day after the survey is done.'

Once thermal images of your building have been captured, depending on the size of your project, there is in general up to 5 days worth of  skillful analysis to be conducted. We don't take this lightly and do make recommendations based on the findings so that you can target repairs or refurbishment. This is what your infrared survey report is here to deliver: visual results and impartial advice so that you can make informed decisions. 

Managing your expectations for a stress-free IRT survey report

With trouble-free access, the right weather and up-to-date equipment, we stand an excellent chance of successfully meeting your objectives.   If you are contemplating stripping off a flat roof on the advice of your flat roof leak survey report you are paying for, you best make sure you can trust the company providing that advice.

Used properly, IRT is an amazing technology which can save you thousands of pounds on your maintenance budget. By knowing what makes a valuable survey and its subsequent report, you are guaranteed a stress-free IRT survey experience.

Are you looking to refurbish your buildings and don't know where to start? We will be happy to advise you. Please contact us for your free no-obligation quote by clicking on the button below.

eDash – Help meet your minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) obligations

eDash – Help meet your minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) obligations

Help meet your minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) obligation

Take the hard work out of your portfolio decisions

eDash: the simple, easy and fast answer to your energy savings questions

Do you want to see if upgrading your heating system in your buildings will yield the EPC rating you are after in order to meet your MEES compliance obligations? What about changing the lighting? Will this achieve the required rating without the expense? 

Estimate changes to your EPCs without the survey - Simple, Easy, Fast

eDash is a simple way to interact with your property or property portfolio. You don't need to be a property professional or an energy expert to calculate achievable ratings and savings from building upgrades. eDash removes the consultant, adds impartiality, saves you money and puts you in charge.
Our easy to use cloud based software allows an unlimited number of projects to be managed under our subscription based service. 

Let eDash deliver the results and become your trusted advisor.

The beauty of eDash is its simplicity. What you see is simple to use and easy to understand. Meanwhile in the background, algorithms leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of savings. Thousands of calculations are happening in real time to deliver you one thing -  true and accurate advice.

With no vested interest in the outcome, you can rest assured the advice you are being given is honest and without hidden agenda.

Flat Roofs Core Sampling Surveying

Flat Roofs Core Sampling Surveying

Flat roofs are relatively inexpensive and very efficient to keep your buildings and your internal assets covered and protected from the weather. What can you do to identify flat roof defects?

Defects for flat roofs

 

Whilst their relatively low cost for a good protection plays to their advantage, this type of roof is also notorious for defects that often remain unnoticed until it is too late. As with any part of a building, they will be subject to wear and tear and will receive copious amounts of water.  Regular inspection of the roof is essential to make sure that this essential element is in tip top condition and kept free of defects.

One of the most common defects is water ingress which then leads to a leak inside the building. When water ingress does occur on a flat roof, damage often goes unnoticed for considerable time as water slowly penetrates and soaks the decking, insulation and/or structure beneath. This can lead to extensive damage. If left unattended and no leak detection surveying takes place, it can weaken the whole structure and have catastrophic operational and financial consequences for you.

Other defects can occur too. You can read our most popular blog post about the five common flat roof defects here

 

Flat roofs core sampling to detect water ingress

Core sampling allows the surveyor to see the make up of the roof and locate where water saturation may be.

The image above shows what appears to be a roof in a good condition with no obvious signs of moisture ingress, however;  the tenant has been complaining that there are leaks into his top floor office. 

Imagine, this is your tenant. You arrive on site with a surveyor and  the tools for the job, get onto the roof above the leaking office, but where should you start to take a core sample? You carry core samples, one is wet, two are dry. So we know that the insulation is saturated, but to what extent?

Using the roof image above, grab the slider and drag it across the image to reveal the thermal image, in short, red colours reveal saturated insulation (You can find out more about the meaning of infrared colours in our Understanding Colours post.). This  tells you everything you need to know about the accuracy of core samples. By relying solely on core sampling, your surveyor could mistakenly concludes that the entire roof needs replaced or on the opposite, that the roof is sound. How can you know for sure?

If your surveyor is employed by a roofing company, the impartiality of the advice could well be put into question. It is a matter of trust and reputation.

Flat roofs core sampling technique

The method and process of core sampling is therefore important. The core sample technique should be as follows:

  • take one core sample at a high point,
  • take one core sample at a low point and
  • take one core sample mid-way.

Critically this should be at random locations on the roof, not in a straight line. That way the surveyor can find out if water is coming in at parapets and tracking it down, if the area around the outlet is wet as water loves gravity and then try to ascertain the extent of the damage at the mid-point.

The surveyor will take appropriate notes and photographs. Then of course, they must patch the core sampling holes by resiting the sample and sealing the edges. Often this is made using blow torches.

This technique carries high risks for you and for the surveyor:

For you risk of fire from blow torches. Smouldering the flat roof away and causing extensive damage which could cripple your business,

Again for you invalidating roof construction guarantees by cutting holes through potentially perfect waterproofing.

For the surveyor, the risks are inherent to health and safety: slipping on a wet surface, working at height, stand alone working, fire protection, etc.

It is therefore easy to conclude that core sampling should be a last resort surveying technique, just before the nuclear surveying method.

 

Flat roof defects: infrared is the detection solution

If you are an asset manager, estate manager, building surveyor and are being asked to make a budget go as far as possible, then it is essential you get and give impartial advice to the building owner. By investing in an infrared thermographic survey,  you mitigate risk from a third party advising whichever solution meets their commercial needs and wants.

Thermal imaging can’t tell the difference between polyurethane and fibreboard. Wet is wet and that effects the temperature on the surface. Why? Simply put, wet insulation doesn’t insulate as well as dry insulation – so heat escapes the fabric. Also because water has a high emissivity. This means that water radiates its energy particularly well when it has finished absorbing it from the sun and from the building itself. This high emissivity makes the wet area appear warm to the infrared thermal camera.

Drones  are now extensively used to aide thermal imaging, thus eliminating most if not all health and safety risks for the surveyor as well as improving the accuracy of the surveying results, there is little not to like about infrared.

A thermographic survey may help you save hundreds of thousands of pounds by turning what you had assumed would be a complete “strip and re-new” into a partial strip and overlay. Conversely however the opposite may be true.

The point being: you will get the truth and if you are interested in delivering value to your clients and managing a sustainable portfolio, that’s an invaluable weapon in your armoury.

Core samples have their place of course. We will always advise you hand your infrared survey reports to your roofing company who may then core and confirm the infrared survey findings. More importantly the core sampling will allow them to establish what the roof is actually made of so that they can propose the appropriate solution for your roof refurbishment.

Do you own or manage buildings with flat roofs? We would like to know what surveying method you favour and why. Drop us a line, give us a call, let's talk all things flat roof surveying.

Understanding your stock survey report

Understanding your stock survey report

Surveying a large quantity of properties requires a certain degree of planning and execution. IRT regularly carry out housing stock survey programs for local authorities and housing associations to help  assess and improve the quality of insulation levels within the stock and meet standards, utilising ECO funding. 

Once we have surveyed and assessed each property for thermal performance and upgrade measures, what can you do with your report? The results are presented to excel to make searching and sorting as easy as possible. Follow our guide below to see how you can use it to maximum efficiency. 

Housing Stock Sample
Downloading will provide you with an easy to follow sample of a typical spreadsheet.

Introduction

The first group of columns shows the most basic information about the property, The property information provided by the client, calculated SAP and Environmental Impact ratings.       

Recommendations

Refurbishment recommendations are calculated for six main criteria. Wall insulation, Loft insulation, Window replacement, Boiler improvement, Draught Proofing measures and Energy efficient lighting upgrades. Each of the recommendations are detailed in these columns. Unless specified the measure will take the element to building regulations by default.

Energy

Each property is modelled using SAP2012 and the potential saving shown in kWh, CO2 and £s. Each refurbishment is calculated as a stand alone measure. Combinations of refurbishment measures can be calculated using the IRT Carbon Dashboard. SAP and EI improvements can also be included for each individual measure if required.      
   

Pivot Tables

The use of pivot tables can also be requested to create league tables for your stock, find the best/worst performing streets,postcode areas or cities. sort by recommendations, costs, CO2 potential savings and produce individual easy to follow reports.

Please enquire now and ask us more on how we can help.                                                     

See the Invisible - Slide to Reveal

Services used :

  • Thermal Imaging
  • IRT Envision for Energy Calculations
  • Spreadsheets

Additional services

In addition to our spreadsheet report, we can provide further reports to aid analysis if requested.

Thermal imaging Part 3: How much does thermal imaging survey cost?

Thermal imaging Part 3: How much does thermal imaging survey cost?

How much will a thermal imaging survey cost us?

By far this is the most popular question that our customers ask.

You may want to have an infrared survey carried out for a variety reasons. Your objective may be to discover and diagnose energy efficiencies or to detect and inspect property defects. Whatever it is, with a tight budget in hand, you want to know that you are getting value for money and that it is well spent. Our aim is to make sure you make informed decisions.

After looking at thermal equipment and science in Part 1 and understanding colours in Part 2, let's continue our thermal imaging education journey and look at the pricing and what is involved.

Pricing is based on two main elements: 1) the required time on your site conducting the survey and 2) subsequent analysis to deliver your project. We briefly consider each element.

 

 

Time conducting your thermal imaging survey

The first element of a thermal imaging survey cost is the survey time. Typically our certified thermographers will spend up to nine hours on site over a total 18-hour period, enabling both daylight and night time surveys of your property envelope. This thermal imaging survey of the building means visual and thermal images will be included in your report. This will allow easy identification of defects that you can subsequently instruct to get rectified on site.

As survey days are focused on time, multiple buildings can be surveyed very cost effectively. The price you pay is for the day spent surveying rather than the number of buildings. Therefore, this allows to survey as many buildings as you require within the time frame at no extra cost to you.  

 

Time analysing your thermal images

The second element of a thermal imaging survey cost is the image analysis. Once your buildings have been surveyed, the next stage is to analyse and quantify your thermal images. Analysis time is charged at a daily rate and typically takes twice as long as the thermal imaging survey time. One full day on site usually equates to at least two full analysis days although this does vary depending on the deliverable.

Roof and elevations together with the IRT eDash may, for example, require four days or more in our qualified analysts to carry out the work depending on the size and complexity of your buildings.

 

What else may be charged for?

Some companies may charge you for travel and expenses. At irt surveys, because we've got the UK covered, this charge does not apply.

Another additional cost you could be charged for is the hire of equipment such as cherry pickers in situations where access is impossible without an elevated platform.

These items should always be brought to your attention and quoted ahead of any purchase order being submitted.

 

A final word of warning

When it comes to thermal imaging pricing, there are no such thing as a stupid questions.  It is essential that you are aware of all the pricing elements and that these are clearly explained to you. Do ask as many questions as you need to until you are satisfied with the answers you are given. Get several quotes and make sure that you choose a reputable company renowned for impartiality and expertise.

Related articles: Thermal imaging Part 1 - Tech & Science , Thermal imaging Part 2 - Understanding colours

 

If you would like a quotation please get in touch using the button below. 

Gain BREEAM accreditation credits using infrared

Gain BREEAM accreditation credits using infrared

Introduction

IRT Surveys are fully trained and Qualified to undertake infrared BREEAM surveys with regards to continuity of insulation, heat loss and thermal bridging; in order to conform to the BREEAM accreditation process and BS EN 13187 Standard. 

Our client asked us to survey his new build exhibition centre property in order to gain BREEAM points under the scheme. The IRT thermal survey pinpointed 4 regions of deficiency in the building fabric at door detailing and suspected missing insulation. Our reports use clear thermal and visual images along with analysis in plain English. This allows building owners, contractors and non-specialists to understand the issues quickly and see the problems. The follow up thermal survey, after remedial works, found all regions in excellent thermal condition allowing the building to gain an extra credit and help achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.

How can IRT Surveys help you?: 

You can achieve an additional BREEAM credit for your project by having a thermographic survey carried out on completion by a professional thermographer holding a Level 2 certificate in Thermography. IRT offer a nationwide service providing consistent surveying and reporting from ITC qualified staff.

A BREEAM Survey requires a survey of the entire external envelope (roof/walls) and in some cases, the internal envelope between conditioned and unconditioned spaces.

Each Survey Confirms:

• Continuity of insulation in accordance with the construction drawings.
• Avoidance of excessive thermal bridging
• Avoidance of air leakage paths through the fabric.
• Prove quality of workmanship
• Detect small issues before they become much bigger.

Any anomalies detected can be re-surveyed and analysed once remedial action has been carried out.

 

What Do We Provide?

After survey completion; images are uploaded to our head office to be evaluated by our analyst team for roof defects. Our upload system allows for instant handover from surveyor to analyst and fast turnaround.

  • The completed report will be available to the client within 5 working days.
  • A full colour PDF format report will be uploaded to our secure server  and a link sent to you for instant access to your results.
  • Our reports are designed for readability and understanding.
  • Each page of the report includes a thermal and visual image with corresponding location plan.
  • The primary building plan indicates which page you can find analysis for your chosen section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                   

Innovative surveying technology for built asset management

Innovative surveying technology for built asset management

 

It seems that you can’t move these days without hearing about drones, apps and thermal imaging, but are they truly helpful or just gimmicks? We managed to get almost all the way to 2016 without them.

Like every new industry that erupts from an emerging technology, there are people who take it seriously and do it professionally and those who charge in to make a quick buck. And like every other example in history, the cream rises to the top, the market consolidates and the cowboys are eventually driven out by the sheriff who is usually better known as legislation.

Innovative technology: Thermal imaging

Thermal imaging, or infrared thermography, has - and still is - going through this process. Companies like iRed, Thermascan, Ti and IRT surveys have been around now for more than a dozen years each. There is a healthy respect and competitive market out there. But there are a myriad of smaller companies buying low end equipment, not training themselves properly and going to market with nothing more than a nice looking website. This is why asking the right questions when making your research on infrared companies is important.

Innovative surveying technology: Drones

The same can be said of the drone industry, only it’s 20 years behind the infrared world. It is experiencing a lot of negative press also with an emerging industry to shoot them out of the sky – yep – anti drone tech is also out there. It is a little known fact that over 80% of drone pilots don’t renew their license after year one. It either means the vast majority of the market are novices, or that the failure rate is enormous.

Innovative surveying technology: IoT

The IoT industry is the next big thing for the built environment for sure. If you haven’t come across the anachronism before, it stands for the Internet of Things. Everything from your toothbrush to your fridge will be connected to the net. Lightbulbs will tell you when they become inefficient. HVAC systems will call the engineer themselves and tell him what parts they need, before they brake. Fuses will alert the electrician, or some form of R2D2 unit to repair them before they blow.

When the building itself senses that something isn’t quite right, drones will be deployed to survey a building at night, equipped with an infrared thermal imaging system. Smart meter and sensor technology is moving at an alarming pace. Or exciting pace depending upon your perspective. I love the idea that a sensor will send me a message with GPS co-ordinates to a defectuous building that we can survey and report on.

Innovative surveying technology: Caution required

Huge caution though. Just because things get all high tech and whizz bang, doesn’t make the operative an expert. Interpreting the cause for failure and understanding what the tech is telling you still requires a skilled person. No software will ever replace an experienced RICS qualified surveyor with 20 years under their belt. A sensor or thermal image may say your insulation is 20% saturated on your flat roof - a common defect – the image may point clearly to the origin of the leak but only a human can see that the roofer lapped the felt the wrong way, or didn’t seal the lap joints correctly.

Technological innovation for surveying is unstoppable.

The technology is coming, some of it is here already. It's unstoppable. Best embrace it, swimming upstream is exhausting. But fear not: the dystopian Star Trek world, where no-one has a job and everything is leisure time, is a long way off. De-skilling mundane tasks and de-bugging our built environment will free us up to focus on bigger challenges!

Would you like to know more about how thermal imaging and drones can ease the management of your asset portfolio? Click on the button below to contact us to discuss your surveying requirements and for your free and no-obligation quote.