A thermal image of a building. Credit Dr Matthew Fox.
This project will investigate whether the energy performance of new and renovated buildings can be improved through the use of thermal imaging cameras as a core component of the construction process.It will involve researchers at the University of Plymouth and the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, working with construction supervisors to identify quality defects at an early stage using the thermal technology. It will also seek to develop a methodology that will enable construction supervisors to include the use of thermal imaging cameras as a standard element of their quality management.
The team will work with construction partners and site supervisors at two locations around the UK to evaluate the effectiveness of the thermal imaging approach, at mid-build stage in the building process. The aim will be to establish whether construction companies can embrace the technology and embed it within their processes to create a ‘zero-defect’ culture.

Quality defects in buildings are a significant risk to reducing the energy used for heating them. Defects detected at an early stage in the construction process are more time and cost-effective to rectify. But identifying them with the naked eye can be very difficult – whether it is issues with insulation, moisture or ventilation, or even defects of design, workmanship and materials. Through DeViz, we want to find out if using the cameras to spot defects has a behavioural effect, promoting a ‘learning loop’ among site staff so that defects can be spotted early, improving the quality of work, reducing build costs and ultimately saving demand for energy.

Julie GoodhewJulie Goodhew
Research Fellow

If the UK is to hit its ambitious efficiency targets, then we need to ensure that our buildings are performing to their maximum capabilities. We know thermal imaging can produce behavioural change in home-owners, and this will hopefully go some way to establishing its future viability in the construction industry.

Steve GoodhewSteve Goodhew
Professor of Environmental Building and Discipline Leader