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STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
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DEFINITIONS of ENGINEERED WOOD OSB LVL etc
DISASTER BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FIRE DAMAGE vs MOLD DAMAGE
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
FRAMING DAMAGE, INSPECTION, REPAIR
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
KIT HOMES, Aladdin, Sears, Wards, Others
LOG HOME GUIDE
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
PRE-CUT & KIT HOMES
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
ROT, FUNGUS, INSECT DAMAGE
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
STRUCTURAL WOOD ASSESSMENT
TIMBER FRAMING, ROT
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
WOOD STRUCTURE ASSESSMENT
Using thermal imaging (thermography) for determining the soundness of wood structural members: this article discusses the role of thermal imaging in assessing the condition of wood structural members such as beams, timbers, joists, rafters, posts.
This article series surveys methods used to test & evaluate the structural integrity of wood-framed buildings where focus is on the condition of structural wood posts, beams and other framing members. We discuss the problems surrounding hidden rot or decay, the presence or absence of moisture or other instrument-detectable clues, and the problem of subjective decisions to replace or not-replace suspect wood structural members.
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Are Thermal Images Reliable for Spotting Areas of Extra Risk of Structural Rot Damage or Hidden Mold in Buildings?
Paul Probett, Clinton Craig, Blake Probett, Incodo Forensic Building Specialists 
This article series is adapted & expanded from the author's "An Introduction to Micro-Drilling Technology for N. Z. Structural Timber Assessment" and is used with permission. We [DF] have added comments, some illustrations, and additional article citations.
At the references section we include a link to the original article as well as contact information for the authors and Incodo Ltd., a Tauranga, New Zealand forensic engineering firm.
[Click to enlarge any image or illustration]
OPINION: DF: Thermal images and IR have been widely used with some success at spotting areas of heat loss in buildings and these tools have a longer history of use in examining overheated electrical connections, motors, etc. But for finding hidden mold, moisture, rot, or structural damage, thermography is a risky proposition.
Thermography, based on observing temperature differences, reports just that: temperature differences. In some but not all circumstances, a temperature variation in a building may relate to a leak or moisture presence that in turn might indicate an area where there is risk of rot. But what if an old leak caused rot damage but has now dried out? In short, as with any study, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence of a problem.
Image at above left, courtesy Paul Probett, Incodo 
Watch out: in the hands of the un-trained or unscrupulous these and other tools can wreak havoc or harm to consumers. The most egregious instrument snafu I've come across [DF] recently was a Hudson Valley New York "mold remediator" uses an IR camera to tell his clients where the hidden mold is located in their home - it was a modern version of the guy with the light meter who sold people replacement windows by showing clients where their heat loss was occurring - wherever there was light.
I did find areas of basement water entry and moldy insulation - in an area not addressed by the New York mold-thermographer. Details about using thermal imaging to look for hidden mold are at THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS. Also see FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
Paul Probett adds: We had major problems with people buying thermal imagers, using ex military units and making ridiculous claims. In 2008 I gave a power-point presentation  to a conference explaining how IR results can be fudged and I described the limitations of thermal imagers. (Our staff had been through the Infraspection Institute USA on-line course to level 2 the year before).
Mr. Probett's power point presentation on using thermography in building damage or mold surveys is adapted and expanded at THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY
For thermal building heat loss screening see HOUSE DOCTOR, how-to be, and for a more broad look at spotting air leaks and heat losses see AIR LEAK DETECTION TOOLS and HEAT LOSS INDICATORS along with HEAT LOSS DETECTION TOOLS.
Note: Above information is copyright, commercially sensitive and is yet to be peer reviewed. It is not to be copied or circulated without the express and written permission of Incodo Limited. Adapted here by InspectaPedia.com, with permission from Incodo 8/5/2012, technical review is in process.
Article series contents
V4a 06/12 - ####
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