Author: Alan Little

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Five Common Flat Roof Defects To Be Aware Of

Five Common Flat Roof Defects To Be Aware Of

Slide the image above to reveal hidden flat roof defects visible only by using infrared

When it comes to flat roof defects, how many of us go about our day-to-day lives with a problem quite literally hanging over our heads?

Chances are, if your building is topped off with a flat roof and you haven’t had it checked recently, you are one of them.

Flat Roof Construction

Flat roofs offer many advantages for building:

  • they can help keep the interior warmer by absorbing sunlight at a higher rate than slated roofs.
  • they are ideal for solar panel installations.
  • they can often be the most economical option for construction.
  • they are quicker to install than other traditional roofing methods.
  • they are also more accessible, allowing for easier inspection processes.

Flat Roof Defects

Unfortunately, however, property owners too often adopt the old mantra of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to what’s above their heads – and this is particularly problematic with flat roofs.

More than any other style, flat roofs need to be monitored regularly since there is no way for water to naturally filter away. It doesn’t need to be problematic but when problems do not visually present themselves on a daily basis, it’s easy to take your eye off the ball.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most common flat roof problems and what they could mean for your property.

Flat roof defect 1 – Standing water

This is one of the primary causes of flat roof leakages. Water will start to damage your roof’s material if it does not drain or evaporate within 72 hours and that means regular inspection is particularly important during winter and spring months. The problem is usually caused when there is insufficient drainage or the roof itself is just too flat. Despite the name, there should always be a small amount of slope for effective drainage. Snow build up can also be problematic as snow and ice can block drains and gutters.

Flat roof defect 2 – Blistering

Even small amounts of trapped moisture can result in your flat roof membrane detaching from the layer below and cause roof ‘blisters’. This is the most common roofing problem and it tends to get worse during the day when the heat of the sun causes the trapped moisture to expand. When blistering occurs it is vital to identify the source of the moisture.

Flat roof defect 3 – Thermal movement

Repeated cycles of heating and cooling cause flat roof materials to expand and contract. Materials must be equipped to deal with these movements without cracking under the pressure to avoid water penetration.

Flat roof defect 4 – Exposed layers

Taking all a British winter, and sometimes summer, has to throw at you isn’t easy. Throw continual roof traffic (accessibility has its downsides) into the mix and it’s only natural that, over time, your roof’s protective layers will suffer a bit of wear and tear.

Flat roof defect 5 –  Poor quality flashing

Given the importance of drainage on a flat roof, it’s vital to regularly inspect the condition of the flashing. This is used to prevent water from penetrating a junction and problems can occur when it has been poorly installed or damaged and bent over time.  Flashing damage can also be caused by fungus growth from moisture build in problem areas pushing away flashing.

These are only five flat roof defects most commonly encountered. They overwhelmingly highlight the need for certainty in terms of refurbishment.

That’s why an increasing number of organisations are using infrared thermography to assess their properties which can reveal exactly where and why problems are occurring.

With the summer weather on its way, there is no better time to carry out flat roof inspections. With our state of the art technology, we can

  • pinpoint the exact location of trapped moisture within the roofing system,
  • determine ingress points,
  • and tell you how much it is costing.

In addition to this the IRT Commercial Envision report can provide you with a list of refurbishment options with potential savings in £s, kWh and CO2. This information can be used to build a powerful case to leverage grants and budgets.

We have helped many organisations save £000s on their flat-roof refurbishment. Contact us now to find out how you can do the same. 

What Cloud Computing means for the Housing Sector

What Cloud Computing means for the Housing Sector

What’s the fuss about the cloud?

More than just big fluffy life giving stores of water floating in the sky, today the cloud gives life to your computer. If you think of the cloud as a vast bank of computers you can use as and when you want to carry out tasks way beyond that of your humble PC then you understand what the cloud in essence is. You basically borrow their processing power to carry out complex time consuming tasks. Unlike having to own a server farm, like the 1990’s, today’s companies can harness the power of the cloud only when they actually need it. Driving down costs, accelerating development and making businesses much easier to scale and to attract investment into.

What is Big Data?

Turns out Big Data is more than just using a size 18 font in Word, who knew? The actual definition is - "Big data is high volume, high velocity, and/or high variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization."

Big words huh? We humans have never had access to such powerful datasets and analytics before. Without computers and mathematics we would be overwhelmed and powerless to make sense of the information. Software and the power of the cloud enable an unprecedented insight into statistical analysis. Result? Big data and the cloud are the future of almost all decision making – software, politics, commerce, you name it – people are harnessing data to drive decisions.

What are the real benefits to using them?

Size 18 font docs floating on clouds wouldn’t be too handy, but mass data available when ever and the most powerful computers you can imagine available to you at the click of a browser? – That is appealing. For business, the benefits are immediate and tangible. You can raise investment to create analytical platforms that 10 years ago wouldn’t have been feasible. Investors don’t like spending millions to build server farms ahead of revenues. SME’s get to make big bold plans reliant upon access to the cloud, plans they couldn’t hope to achieve without the processing power enabled by the cloud. End users get access to software and analytics that run faster, cost less, can be updated daily and don’t have to invest in hardware to run the software. They only need access to the internet.

 

 

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR THE USE OF DATA IN HOUSING?

Data drives everything. Without knowing the likely impact of a decision people are paralysed and static. If you knew the road on the left was busy and the one on the right empty, yet they both took you to your destination, you would take the right. You processed data.

Now make some investment grade decisions on a property portfolio that need retrofit measures to become compliant with legislation.

What do you fit? Why? And how much will it cost? Is there something better out there? Who provides the service? How do you ensure best value? And is that solution best for all your stock or just a handful? Are there grants available? If so, who administers them? How do you communicate that information to your boss? The board? Your investors?

Data empowers and enables exactly this sort of decision making process. 

With the additional data the thermal image can provide in conjunction with IRT DREam, you can harness the true power of data and discover the most efficient way forward with your properties.

Julian Scott – Yarlington HA

Yarlington Housing Group approached IRT Surveys because they offered a unique service for assessing our housing assets using infra-red thermography and because there was limited data around the quality of the wall insulation of our properties. IRT helped us by thermally surveying our entire stock and integrating the information into a comprehensive database which we are incorporating into our new 2020 Fuel Poverty Plan. We are able to interact with the database using their online tools in order to answer the ‘what if’ questions when considering fabric alterations. One thing I liked was their ability to quickly understand our requirements and to deliver the project on time and to budget. I found the experience positive and engaging; IRT did a brilliant job of carrying out a comprehensive thermal image stock survey which provided an actual picture of our stock portfolio’s thermal performance.