Insulation, Damp Proof Courses
And Energy Performance Certificates
If you need help and advise with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, engineers reports, thermal imaging reports, defects reports, including things such as cracks, dampness, condensation, foundation problems, etc, home buyers reports, please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat.
The requirement to have an energy report on nearly all properties, old and new, is a good step forward in managing the energy losses in a property. We do appreciate it is the first step in reducing a building's carbon footprint, as well as saving energy and money. However, the present system that is being used is very generic and based on a visual inspection.
The problems are the inspections are only visual
There are many areas in a building that you can't see, although you can obviously see some areas, such as the roof insulation (assuming you can gain access to it).
Wall insulation problems
There are other areas, such as the walls, where assumptions have to be made, such as whether cavity wall insulation is present, or the thickness of insulation panels and there are the floors where, again, assumptions have to be made, based on the age of the property, as to whether or not insulation has been added. Items, such as double glazed windows, can be seen, although their efficiency is perhaps appreciated, or not appreciated!
Looking at the efficiency of insulation
It is very difficult to assess the efficiency of insulation, it is even harder to assess the efficiency of insulation from a visual inspection. This is because many factors can affect it, for example damp insulation is said to be worse than no insulation.
Flat roof problems
This can occur in roofs, particularly flat roofs. You also have the problem of not being able to see within most flat roofs as to what, if any, insulation is present. The same applies within walls, which can have a variety of insulation placed within the cavity, or indeed insulation added afterwards. You never know how good this is, particularly if the property is not detached and there is no way of limiting the insulation that is being pumped in from going into the adjoining properties.
There is also the additional problem of where the insulation compacts, or sags, at high level, which unfortunately is exactly the place you want the insulation, because heat rises and therefore leaves a gap.
Double glazed window problems
Other problems, for example double glazed windows, where they have been poorly fitted and there is a space for draughts around the top, is a more common problem than you would expect. Another area is sheer bad workmanship, for example, where insulation has not been put in the floor, or insulation bats have not been correctly put in the walls, or insulation has been missed in flat roofs or in a concealed vaulted roof. This is where infra-red thermal imaging can make a massive difference.
Infra-red thermal imaging
Infra-red thermal imaging can be used for looking into buildings to see how much heat loss is coming out of a property. Thermal imaging offers the ability to differentiate the conductivity. One of the most amazing demonstrations we saw of it was where a kitten was leaving heat footprints behind it as it played on the floor. We have tested this with our not so young cat that, having finally moved from being asleep for most of the day, left a heat impression on his rug!
Some examples of how thermal imaging can help
Thermal imaging also offers the ability to establish where leaks of heat are. For example, in flat roofs, where water is getting into the structure, possibly even causing dampness to the insulation and wet rot, the differential in heat transmission from a wet and dry material can be noted by a thermal imaging camera, to windows. If a double glazed window is fitted it can still be a problem if it is fitted poorly. Equally, so can doors and windows. It is good to have some ventilation but it needs to be controllable, for example, a trickle vent in the on a window.
Trickle Vents Defined
Small vents to the windows to allow air movement inside the property to stop a build up of fumes or humidity.
Thermal imaging report as part of your survey
We can carry this out as part of your building survey, or structural survey, or property report, or as an individual energy assessment; the choice is yours. As you can see this goes a step further than the standard energy report, as we can literally look into the property using the thermal imaging device.
You may also be interested in these other articles about damp proof courses, insulation, thermal imaging and energy surveys:
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, thermal imaging reports, defects report, including things such as cracks, dampness, condensation, foundation problems, etc, dilapidations, homebuyers reports or any other property matters please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.
If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com .
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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