Thermal imaging cameras from FLIR Systems Australia helped an Italian court draw the right conclusion in a case involving moisture ingress and mould formation in a new apartment complex.
In this particular court case, the residents claimed that the building construction was flawed, while the building contractor claimed that the inhabitants were to blame because they did not heat and ventilate the apartments properly.
Due to lack of reliable information, the technical consultant of the Vicenza court hired the services of the thermal imaging experts of Multites Srl, who specialise in thermographic analysis and research of water infiltration.
Inspections with FLIR thermal imaging cameras helped the court decide correctly.
According to Eviana Faccin, thermography consultant at Multites, the building inspection detected significant heat leakage and thermal bridges.
A thermal bridge is an area with less insulation. Since heat follows the path of least resistance, it will 'short circuit' through an element that has much higher conductivity than the surrounding material. This is called a thermal bridge.
Further inspection showed a direct link between mould formation and the thermal bridges.
Circumstances not ideal
The temperature differences between colder and warmer patches of wall ranged from 2ºC to 5ºC, which was lower than the recommended difference between inside and outside temperatures.
Faccin explains that the best practice is to only inspect buildings when there’s at least a temperature difference of 10ºC between the inside temperature and the outside temperature.
Although the temperature difference was not quite ideal at that moment, the thermal imaging inspection clearly showed that the moisture damage and mould formation were caused by construction flaws.
Based on the inspection and detection of thermal bridges, Faccin concluded that the damage in the apartments should be charged to the manufacturer.
Faccin used a FLIR B335 thermal imaging camera with a 45º lens for the inspection.
In addition to the good quality thermal images it produces, the camera has exchangeable lenses as well.
The 45º wide angle lens was useful in capturing specific parts of the building in a thermal image from space-constrained locations.
Key features of FLIR B335 thermal imaging cameras
- Designed specifically for the building industry as a tool for building diagnostics
- 320x240 pixel image resolution
- Temperature range: -20ºC to 120ºC
- <50 mK sensitivity
- Humidity and insulation alarm
- 3.5-inch LCD touch screen
- Integrated 3.1 Megapixel digital camera
- Bluetooth connectivity with FLIR Meterlink
- FLIR Reporter software to produce reports easily
According to Faccin, FLIR Reporter is a user-friendly software program that allows the user to quickly and efficiently draw up a building inspection report.
The software is fully compatible with Microsoft Office, enabling users of FLIR thermal imaging cameras to swiftly compile reports with MS Word.
FLIR also provides training in co-operation with the Infrared Training Center (ITC), the world's leading educational and training resource for thermal imaging professionals.
Qualified international thermography instructors from the ITC offer high-quality interactive thermography training in nearly 50 countries and in over 20 languages.