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Infrared Camera Boosts Building Advisor Services Offer

Supplier: FLIR Systems Australia
13 July, 2007

Infrared cameras expand the range of services offered by building sector specialists and allow them to better serve their customer groups. Using a FLIR thermal imager suitable for building applications before and/or after every building valuation, transaction, or major HVAC repair maximizes value and minimizes costs.

Samenwerkende Adviseurs Nederland (Dutch for “Cooperating Advisors Netherlands”) is a building consulting bureau which consists of building business experts in all fields.
SAN’s experts advise architects, owners, project developers, local authorities and construction companies on HVAC issues, electrical installations and energy issues in line with the building physics.

Most public buildings need specific rules with regard to safety, security, heating, ventilation and electrical facilities. SAN takes care of the growing judicial, technical prescriptions that rule utility buildings – from an indoor shooting range to a hospital. SAN also calculates energy performance of new and existing buildings, thereby following the European Union directives that are about to be implemented in most member states. But this is not the only reason for SAN to invest in thermography in general and into a top-of-the range infrared camera such as the ThermaCAM P640 in particular.

Thermography is a product
SAN offers not only detailed planning and supervision, but also after-care for its projects. Infrared applications in the building sector are numerous: from preliminary inspection to monitoring and maintenance of facilities and installations. Infrared cameras expand the range of services offered by building sector specialists and allow them to better serve their customer groups. Using an infrared camera suitable for building applications before and/or after every building valuation, transaction, or major HVAC repair maximizes value and minimizes costs.

The company’s intention is to strengthen its maintenance segment and take it to the best possible level. ”That’s where thermography makes a difference” says W. van der Kamp, general manager of Samenwerkende Adviseurs Nederland. “Of course, we provide inspection of electrical installations as ruled by the Dutch NEN 3140 standard, but SAN wants to cover all the other applications of infrared thermography in the building sector with regard to the building’s physics as well as its installations.”

"We believe in the growing importance of infrared thermography. That’s why we intend to build up thermography as an independent profit centre and a cash flow generator that, similar to licenses in the IT business, keeps a certain amount of revenue constant."

The importance of training
Both in-house thermographer and electrician Willy Beumer and general manager van der Kamp took the five-day Level I course, provided by the local Infrared Training Centre (ITC) organization. They say that the courses provide a valuable platform of knowledge to build on and that certification ensures their clients a professional approach.
They mention the existence of black sheep on the market, offering a “thermographic image” or ‘inspection’ of an object for either ridiculous or exuberant prices.

Using the camera
SAN has invested in the world’s first handheld thermal camera with a resolution of 640x480 pixels. “We wanted to have the best handheld infrared camera for industrial use available on the market to build up the thermography product segment. “Image resolution and sensitivity matter for building application,” says Beumer. “And the image quality is sharp. Personally, I mostly work with the screen and hardly make use of the Viewfinder. And I like the manual focus for an optimum adjustment.”

Producing results with ThermaCAM Reporter: a business card and a communication tool
SAN has quickly understood the added value of the ThermaCAM Reporter 8 reporting software, a suite for analysis, fine-tuning of the measurements and presentation. “The report is also an image tool and a communication channel to the customer. It’s the only platform to show our expertise in thermography” says SAN general manager Van der Kamp. “With regard to content, the report is the result of our work and the cornerstone for important decision-making on the customer’s side: for example, before the sale or acquisition of a particular building.”

The expert factor
Van der Kamp and Beumer point to the importance of the interpretation of the imagery made with a thermal camera: the expert has to judge, not the thermographer. SAN’s infrared surveys are carefully reviewed and commented by its in-house electricity, building physics and HVAC experts. “Master the camera, but be an expert in your field of application is our credo. Our company philosophy is to keep balance between calculation and experience: the ThermaCAM P640 will definitely add to keep this while we increase our consulting power and range of services”.

Infrared thermography is the most economical way to discover construction failures and to communicate them. Infrared cameras contribute to:
• checking repair quality
• detecting long-time construction damages
• detecting and preventing mould and decay
• preventing formation of condensation
• preventing humidity intrusion in building
• reducing heating costs
• preserving the building substance
• supporting contractors in warranty claims

About Infrared Thermography
Thermal imaging, also called thermography, is the production of non-contact infrared or “heat” pictures from which temperature measurements can be made. Portable infrared cameras scan equipment and structures, then instantly convert the thermal images into pictures in a JPEG format for monitoring and analysis. Thermal imaging increases efficiency and maximizes safety in many industries and environments and is rapidly expanding into new markets.

About FLIR Systems
FLIR Systems is the world leader in the design and manufacturing of infrared cameras. The company has over 40 years of experience and more than 50,000 infrared cameras currently in use worldwide for applications including predictive maintenance, research & development, process monitoring, automation and many others. FLIR Systems has four manufacturing plants located in the USA and Sweden and operates direct sales offices in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Australia. The company numbers over 1,300 dedicated infrared specialists, and serves international markets through a network of 60 regional offices providing sales and support functions.