Thermographic Surveying – BS7671.
The IEE have now recognised this as an effective method of identifying defects that would not be located by a more conventional type of visual inspection. Thermographic surveys are seen to be a highly effective way of targeting preventative maintenance where it is most required.
The thermographic camera will show any excessive heat dissipation from electrical circuits and associated cabling and components which would not normally be picked up during a thorough visual inspection. This can greatly assist in preventing unnecessary shutdowns by factoring the rectification works into a planned maintenance programme.
We must be aware that thermal surveying is NOT to be seen as a substitute for periodic inspection and testing, but rather an additional tool that can be used as part of the inspection.
However, as the size and complexity of installations increases, isolation of the Main Supply to a building becomes increasingly difficult and often impossible. This is particularly true where the continuity of supply has health implications, as may be the case in hospitals, or severe financial implications as could be the case in banks, share dealing commodities or data centers where business critical systems cannot be shut down without prior notice.
Nevertheless, it is still necessary to confirm the suitability of such installations for use, therefore planned and preventative maintenance or regular periodic assessment of their condition must be undertaken.
In such circumstances, it may be possible to carry out a thorough visual inspection of the installation, including part dismantling of electrical components, without subjecting the tester or other users of the building to any danger.
This inspection, coupled with a thermographic survey can pick up many defects, that if left uncorrected over time could cause severe disruptions to business and be a severe fire risk.
The main exception to this is Industrial Applications, and buildings frequented by the public such as Theatres, Cinemas and Leisure Complexes. Testing is often required on a 12 / 36 month basis to these types of premises to comply with BS7671 and / or local authority licensing laws.