Build quality needs to focus on envelope integrity

Thermal imaging can address building-envelope integrity issues.

A thermal imaging camera from FLIR of Sweden.
A thermal imaging camera from FLIR of Sweden.

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Using thermal imaging to assess the integrity of building envelopes will go a long way to address quality issues in new build in Dubai, says Trent Technical Services LLC MD Iain Fryer.

“Basically what this means is we can pick up any air leakage coming from the building envelope itself, thereby reducing energy use and carbon emissions.”

Fryer says the company has received enquiries from customers stating that thermal imaging is a compulsory component of some contracts.

“However, they do not know of anybody in the market who can do it. We are one of maybe two companies here with this capability.”

All Trent’s engineers have undergone certification courses by FLIR, the Swedish manufacturer of the thermal imaging cameras it uses. The company will also be approaching the Emirates Green Building Council about this particular application.

“There are various other products on the market you can use, but for high-rise it is difficult and expensive, for example, to hook up fans to pressurise these structures. Thermal imaging is an ideal solution for the large number of high rises in Dubai.”

Fryer says that, in the UK, it has been compulsory since 2006 for any new development to have its building envelope subjected to pressure testing or thermal imaging.

“I hope that such a regulation eventually comes into play in the UAE, as it will have a marked impact on overall build quality,” says Fryer.

“More and projects are coming back on-line, which is good for the industry. This is another potential market for us, as stalled projects have health and safety issues that need to be addressed before they can start up again.”

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