Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

Using Infrared Technology in Construction Law: Collecting Forensic Evidence and Performing Due Diligence

Originally posted 2012-02-17 09:00:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For this week’s Guest Post Friday here at Construction Law Musings, we welcome Brian Connolly. Brian (@infraredscans)is a professionally certified Level III Thermographer at IR Services, LLC. My main focus of business is the art and science of commercial infrared thermography including Building & Roof Scan, Energy Audits, Electrical Surveys, and Block Wall Scans. He a member of United Infrared – the largest National Network of Certified Thermographers trained in the application of infrared thermography in building investigation and analysis. IR Services provides: electrical infrared system surveys, mechanical infrared system surveys flat roof infrared moisture surveys, building envelope infrared surveys, thermographic energy audits CMU IR Surveys (Standard CMU’s are commonly used for partition walls, load-bearing walls). IR Services believes in keeping up to date with industry standards and regulations through professional development as well as maintaining relationships with other thermographers.

What if your client was sued for alleged construction negligence? Or what if your client purchases a large commercial building, and despite standard inspections, discovers shoddy construction that will incur substantial repair and recovery costs? How do you prove negligence or defend against unfounded accusations?

The use of infrared thermography to find construction defects is a valuable tool for law firms specializing in both real estate and construction industries.

What is Infrared Thermography?

Using a special camera, infrared thermography detects the radiant energy that is emitted by all objects and converts that energy to a visual picture that shows temperature variations. These pictures can then be analyzed to determine if problems exist that cannot be seen through a visual inspection.

Using Infrared for Due Diligence For Real Estate Transactions

In using infrared thermography during a due diligence inspection, numerous conditions can be observed, including:

  • Moisture penetration and retention in roof substrate
  • Electrical components experiencing abnormities indicating impending failure or devastating fires
  • Energy loss from walls, roofs and windows
  • Missing CMU, insulation or other inconsistencies that don’t match building specifications

The thermography report can be used to identify needed repairs or to certify the condition of the building. It is also an effective tool for negotiating repairs or price reductions.

Using Infrared for Forensic Investigations

In forensics investigations, the infrared camera is used effectively in tandem with other investigative devices to:

  • Detect the source of entrained moisture in roofs, walls and floors
  • Identify improperly constructed structures allowing air infiltration that reduces the energy efficiency and impacts occupant comfort and health.
  • Evaluate electrical systems for loose connections, improperly sized components, damaged wiring and components, overloaded bus ducts and violations of applicable electrical codes.
  • Document the lack of adequate specified or improper installed insulation.
  • Verify improperly installed grouting or insulation in CMU (concrete masonry unit) walls in large box stores.
  • Determine the air leakage around can lights, windows, doors, roof penetrations and electrical receptacles that allow air to penetrate the thermal barrier.

The results of these inspections and the recorded thermograms can be used as supporting evidence in construction-related cases. The use of qualified and certified Infrared Thermographers with the proper thermographic equipment is another valuable tool in collecting evidence for use in repair and/or litigation.

As always, Brian and I welcome your comments below. Please subscribe to keep up with this and other Guest Post Fridays at Construction Law Musings.

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