Investigating Sheathing Durability: Professional organizations, standard practices, and operator training

There is no universal organization that governs the activities of the infrared thermography (IRT) industry. However, several professional societies have published standard practices that provide guidelines for the training of personnel, IRT surveys, and camera hardware recommendations. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ASTM International, and Residential Energy Services NETwork (RESNET) inspection protocols are helpful in guiding IR thermographers. Examples include:

  • ASTM C1060, Standard Practice for Thermographic Inspection of Insulation Installations in Envelope Cavities of Frame Buildings;
  • ASTM C1155, Standard Practice for Determining Thermal Resistance of Building Envelope Components from the In-situ Data;
  • ASTM E1186, Standard Practice for Air Leakage Site Detection in Building Envelopes and Air Barrier Systems;
  • ASTM E779, Standard Practice for Determining Air Leakage Rate by Fan Pressurization;
  • ASTM C1153, Standard Practice for Location of Wet Insulation in Roofing Systems;
  • ASTM E1862, Standard Test Methods for Measuring and Compensating for Reflected Temperature Using Infrared Imaging Radiometers;
  • ASTM E1933, Standard Test Methods for Measuring and Compensating for Emissivity Using Infrared Imaging Radiometers;
  • ISO 6781, Thermal Insulation-Qualitative Detection of Thermal Irregularities in Building Envelopes: Infrared Method;
  • RESNET Interim Guidelines for Thermographic Inspections of Buildings;
  • Canadian National Master Specification (NMS) Section 02, Thermographic Inspection Services?Building Envelope; and
  • Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) 149-GP-2MP, Manual for Thermographic Analysis of Building Enclosure.

The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) sets standards and guidelines for the training and certification of infrared thermographers through its recommended practice ASNT SNT- TC-1A, Recommended Practice for Training and Certification for Non-Destructive Testing. Though ASNT is recognized nationally and internationally, adoption of its certification system is not uniform across the industry, with several organizations offering certification programs not in compliance with their standards.* ASNT is the ISO-designated certifying body for the US.

There are three levels of thermography training, designed to address various levels of experience. Standardized training is essential to obtain reliable results. Past attempts have failed to establish a professional body to govern the standard practices, training requirements, and other business of the IRT field.** There is a need for an organization that will address the upcoming trends in IRT, and usher a new era of consensus-driven standardization of the IR industry. Recent efforts have aimed at connecting IR professionals globally through online social networking.***

*See John Snell and Robert Spring’s article, “Certification of Thermographers,” which appeared in vol. 6939 (2008) of SPIE’s Thermosense.
** See G. Raymond Peacock’s “Do Infrared Thermographers Need a Professional Organization?” in the same issue of Thermosense.
*** See Peacock’s article, “A Model for a Virtual Association of Thermographers, in vol. 7299 (2009) of Thermosense.

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