The Importance of Thermal Imaging in Building Inspections

Posted On Wednesday, 23 September 2020 22:35

Technology is constantly evolving and today, new and innovative equipment such as thermal imaging is used to complete building inspections to a higher standard than ever before. Thermal technology provides a detailed inspection of an entire structure and can highlight defects that would otherwise be missed with the naked eye. 

So, what is thermal imaging?

Thermal imaging is a technique using infrared technology and thermal energy to obtain information about objects. It is used in an array of settings some of these include forensics, medicine and building inspections. In comparison to other forms of testing such as radiographic and ultrasonic imaging, it is non-invasive and non-damaging. It can reveal even the smallest defect or damage promptly and effectively.   

How does it work?

Thermal imaging is conducted using thermographic cameras. They have sensitive heat sensors that can detect the warmth and radiation that is omitted from all objects. From the radiation detected, it then puts together an image based on the changes and differences of the temperature measurements. The hotter the object is, the more radiation will be emitted. This provides a clear view of the differences in the temperature of the object. It is highly noticeable when an object is warm as the colour appears a reddish orange colour whereas cooler areas are green to blue. This makes it easy to see animals or humans even in the dead of night. They are commonly used in surveillance settings and in the military.

What can thermal imaging detect in a building inspection?

Most building inspection companies have thermal technology that they use on a regular basis to conduct building inspections. This allows them to detect even the smallest issue with ease and it also ensures that a small problem doesn’t turn into a big one later on down the track for their customers. Here is what thermal imaging is commonly used for: 

Roof leaks

Roof leaks can be an indication of major structural damage, if not seen to promptly it can exacerbate the problem further by damaging additional areas in the house. By using thermal imaging, the building inspector is able to see where there is excessive moisture. Sometimes roof leaks go unnoticed until there is heavy bout of rain and by the time its noticed the water has already done damage to the buildings structure.  

Shower leaks 

Shower leaks cause similar issues to roof leaks. While it's easy to assume that a small shower leak is nothing to worry about, it can cause significant damage and makes the perfect environment for mould to grow. In some cases, the mould grows behind the wall and the homeowner is unaware. Mould, if left untreated can cause many health issues so its best to treat a shower leak as soon as possible to avoid this scenario.

Inferior insulation

Insulation plays a huge part in the efficiency of your homes heating and cooling. If it isn’t up to par, you can guarantee it will have a negative impact on your energy bill. Thermal imaging is an effective way to check on the quality of your insulation. It can detect the temperature within your home as well as any faulty areas. A thermographic inspection can reveal heat conduction between the structural materials. Inferior insulation is a common issue and there are several reasons as to why this occurs, including:

1. Poor quality materials used
2. Incorrect installation
3. Hiring someone who is not qualified or experienced


When it comes to building inspections, termites have to be the most troublesome to find. It is easier to find them with thermal imaging if the area is wet or there is significant moisture behind the wall. Termites are notorious for causing significant damage when not seen too quickly and can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs. It is important to be vigilant and keep an eye out for any signs of termite activity. 

Why should I get thermal imaging done?

If you’ve organised a building inspection and they’ve asked if you want to include thermal imaging, you may be wondering if it’s worth it? Here are some of the advantages to consider when making your choice:

Non-invasive way of inspecting your home

Thermal imaging allows the building inspector to conduct an in-depth inspection of your home without having to move or remove any part of your house. The entire property can be viewed via thermal imaging from plastic pipes to dry wall and everything in between.

Can save you money down the track

Whilst it may be more money now to include thermal imaging in your building inspection it can save you significant money down the track on missed water leaks or defects that can lead to major building repairs.

Can cover a large-scale area quickly

Thermal imaging can view a large area quickly and efficiently. This enables building inspectors to get a general idea of the condition of your home from a large-scale view and then narrow down any areas of concern.

Only used a trained professional

If you are going to spend money on thermal imaging, it's important that you hire someone who is experienced to do it. They need to have an in-depth understanding of thermal imaging and different emissivity values to ensure that nothing is missed.

Organise your building inspection today 

Here at Premier Building and Pest Reports we use the latest thermal imaging technology to conduct complete and precise building inspections. For more information, get in touch with our friendly team today. 

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