The construction industry faces many challenges. One of these is around delivering projects on time and on budget. Refurbishment projects is one area where accurately predicting cost and time is notoriously difficult as all too often unforeseen factors come into play when a project starts, typically as a result of stripping away part of the building and finding something unexpected. Thermal imaging is one area where technology is helping to overcome this and is now a key part of Sika roof refurbishment offering.

Infrared thermography (IRT) and thermal imaging technology detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 9,000–14,000 nanometers or 9–14 µm). This produces an image called a thermogram. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero, thermography makes it possible to see an environment with or without visible illumination.

The amount of radiation emitted by an object increases with temperature. Therefore, thermography allows you to see variations in temperature. When viewed through a thermal imaging camera, warm objects stand out well against cooler backgrounds.

Thermography has a long history, but its use has increased dramatically with the commercial and industrial applications of the past fifty years. Typical uses include firefighters who use thermography to see through smoke, to find people and to localise the base of a fire. Maintenance technicians use thermography to locate overheating joints and sections of power lines, which are a sign of impending failure. In the construction industry it has been traditionally used to identify heat leaks in faulty thermal insulation and to improve the efficiency of heating and air-conditioning units.

Sika has been using thermal imaging technology since 2014. Investment in the technology was driven by the Sales Management Team as a way of adding value to clients. Sika has also invested in me as an individual to become a certified Level 1 thermographer, with training conducted by the world renowned Infrared Training Centre (ITC).