Thermal Imaging has many applications and the construction industry is beginning to harness its potential by using it during both construction and renovation processes to find faults and to establish compatibility with environmental standards.
Roof inspections are a key component of this and the attachment of the thermal imaging camera to a drone or UAV makes these possible with minimal setup, safety risk, or danger of property damage. The drone can bear the camera over the roof (or series of roofs in the case of a larger property or housing development) and take both standard and thermal images to assess for damp ingress, flat roof leaks, and insulation performance amongst other things.
Heat loss through windows and walls can be similarly assessed through the thermal photography of the property elevations at any height without having to erect scaffolding or ladders and temperatures read to the exact degree where required.
These non-invasive techniques can be applied to a property or group of properties with minimal disruption and no downtime – in fact, it’s best if the assessment is carried out when everything is running at full capacity. Problems can be found without using invasive diagnostic techniques or even pinpointed before they have time to develop to save time, money, and inconvenience.
Flat Roof Leaks
Heat loss from walls, piping and HVAC components
Identification of fault double glazing units
Detecting thermal bridging issues
Checks on underfloor heating pipework
Poor insulation performance
Assess dampness and mildew invisible to the naked eye
Identify cladding, delamination, bonding and rendering faults
Assess compatibility with environmental and sustainability standards
Thermal Fire Monitoring Following a Grain Store Terminal Explosion Grain Store Explosion and Year-Long Fire – July 5, 2020 – Tilbury Port, London On July 5, 2020, a series of events (possibly by a spark) triggered a large dust explosion and a subsequent fire at the Grain Store Terminal at the Port of Tilbury in London. This was a serious event that required the attention of a large-scale emergency response to get the subsequent grain fire under control and avoid additional explosions. No one was seriously hurt, which is nothing short of a miracle given the number of people on the scene and the amount of reinforced concrete and debris thrown high into the sky before raining down on the surrounding buildings. Traditional firefighting methods and techniques are ineffective in the case of grain storage fires. Using water to extinguish the inferno is ineffective with grain and dust fires, and the added weight might have caused a catastrophic structural collapse, exacerbating an already challenging situation. As a result, London fire teams were on the scene for days while a proper fire strategy and plan was developed and implemented, with staff always remaining on-site to monitor the situation over the following weeks. Throughout this early period, there was always the possibility of more explosions and the fire spreading since the grain stored in the linked silos generates dust that may ignite if the temperature is high enough. Drone Media Imaging was contracted to fly thermal imaging flights to collect temperature data to estimate fire spread and track fire management efforts over time. For instance, were the temperatures rising, falling, or remaining constant? We began operations on July 7, 2020, flying three flights each day, seven days a week initially, to compare temperatures and report back to crisis management teams and emergency service gold commanders. We eventually completed our thermal imaging missions one year and a month after the initial Grain Store explosion in late August 2021! While not all of the silos were full with grain, many were, and several were burning at temperatures far beyond 800°C. Before the fire could be quenched, the building had to be entirely demolished. Temperatures more than 80°C were still being recorded in the grain that remained on the ground after demolition 13 months later. Gaining safe access to the terminal to fly was not without difficulty, as emergency services had imposed a 50m exclusion zone surrounding the terminal due to the possibility of additional explosions. As a result, our risk assessments and method statements had to be developed specifically for this circumstance and rigorously tested to assure both safe drone flights and the most accurate thermal data gathering at this vital juncture. We continued to provide the Port of Tilbury London and the accompanying emergency services with daily and weekly calibrated temperature measurements that documented the progress of the grain store fire over 13 months. As thermal infrared aerial specialists, we provided data in the form of detailed reports, thermal imaging, RGB photographic and video footage.