“As built” Vs “As designed” – Better to know

Category: Detect & Inspect Property Defects

‘As built’ energy performance can differ significantly from the “as designed’ you were expecting.

Infrared thermal imaging revolutionising building surveying in the three areas that matter most – speed, cost and accuracy. It unquestionably represents the most cost effective way to understand where you are now and what needs to be done in the future.

Prevention is better than cure. We know that for our own health, so why not for our buildings – and the sake of our budgets?

For owners of the UK’s 27 million homes and three million commercial buildings, the pressure has never been greater to optimise energy performance and refurbish in a cost effective manner – especially when issues may be preventable in the first place.

A vast disparity between the “as built” and “as designed” performance of UK buildings is common and the harsh reality is that nobody can really appreciate the extent until their property has been reliably assessed.

And of course, the ramifications of failing to address ailing properties are likely to be more than simply financial. Tighter and ever changing governmental regulations, as well as increasing social awareness, have intensified pressure.

For instance, as things stand, buildings that fail to achieve an EPC rating of E by 2018 face sustainable obsolescence – unable to be sold, rented or bought. Meanwhile a recent study revealed that 61% of commercial buildings in the UK do not have an EPC lodged.

Given almost 50% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions come from buildings, with the homes we live in responsible for 27% of the nation’s CO2 output, it’s little wonder that the Government has focussed much of its attention on the energy efficiency of properties.

The fact that initiatives such as Green Deal and ECO are likely to develop over time simply reinforces the belief that now more than ever, it’s a case of keep up or give up.

“Where to start?” 

Buildings need regular assessment – the same way cars need MOTs and people benefit from regular health checks. In this day in age, ignorance is no longer bliss – it’s risky.

Traditionally, this would involve the daunting process of hiring highly skilled, expensive operatives, who would conduct time consuming and destructive tests. Holes drilled here, floors lifted there – all for informed but ultimately speculative assessments.

That’s why thermographic surveys are revolutionising building surveying in terms of the three areas that matter most – speed, cost and accuracy.

Energy Efficiency 

Infrared thermographic technology works by converting infrared energy (heat) into an electronic signal. Using a non-contact infrared camera, this subsequently produces a thermal image that displays all the areas in which heat is being lost. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be quantified allowing for evaluation of the severity of the problems.

IRT have developed this further with their unique Envision software, which enables thermal images to be quantified for energy loss. This provides an instant analysis within which a client can literally see just how much energy is being lost from the building.

While a regular thermal image will simply show where heat is escaping, IRT’s patented software also provides qualified CO2 and financial loss figures. Meanwhile, their online portal analyses images in real time, removing speculation and adding even more value with an innovative carbon diet plan, which allows for real time ROI reporting on future refurbishments.

The revolutionising effect this has on the assessment of the energy profile of a building simply cannot be underestimated in terms of both time and cost.

Indeed, it takes around three seconds to capture an image capable of revealing areas of energy loss that could potentially go undetected with other methods.

Detecting Defects 

Defects can be difficult to detect even for the most skilled surveyors – and the later the discovery, the higher the costs.

For instance, while damage to the exterior of a wall is a fairly obvious indication of a problem, issues such as erosion of mortar joints and defective rainwater goods may not reveal their true extent until it is too late. Suffice to say consequences can vary dramatically – from lost rent and expensive reparation work to serious injury and potential lawsuits.

The compelling images created by infrared surveys, however, reveal all defects in a highly visual way that allows property owners to prioritise refurbishment programs.

Again, a three second image will identify problems in roofs, floors and walls. It will also

The surveys provide impartial advice and can also aid those looking to buy/sell buildings.

What next?

If ‘where to start?’ is a building owner’s first question, then more often than not ‘what’s the ROI?’ is the second.

While thermographic images and IRT’s patented Envision software provide the prognosis, the unique visual scales and carbon dashboard plan the road to recovery.

Advice regarding issues such as draft proofing, lighting, insulation and boiler upgrades is impartial and visual, allowing appropriate and cost effective action to be taken.

The carbon dashboard, meanwhile, is an online interactive energy simulation tool that enables fast and free assessment of potential energy savings.

Impartiality is key – IRT Surveys have no vested interest in the outcome and offer concrete ROI information based purely on the condition of your property.

Of course, “as designed”, your building may well appear to offer long term sustainability and effective energy efficiency; “as built” could be a very different story altogether.

Intensifying social, political and economic pressures now mean there’s no room for ignorance.

Your building’s health has never been more important – and that’s why you need a reliable, informed and impartial companion by your side.