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Survey Methods

Visual Techniques

Combined with many years of experience and knowledge, our Surveyors are equipped with the latest in technology and equipment that allows us to analyse and assess the most troublesome of damp issues. Below is a description of the equipment used, and how it helps us arrive at the correct conclusion when surveying our client’s properties.

Thermal Imaging:

Using the latest in Flir Thermal Imaging technology with MBX, we are able to view not only heat pools within your property, but also cold pools. Buildings can be thoroughly scanned using our Flir Thermal Imaging camera, identifying problem areas that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Thermal Imaging can facilitate repairs quickly and thoroughly, and is much more cost effective than other conventional methods that can be intrusive. We utilise the very best, and specifically designed cameras for building inspections, the Flir Ebx models. The cameras are specifically designed for building inspections such as moisture detection, leak detection, insulation problems and much more. The thermal imaging camera converts surface temperature into a colour coded image of the view. With our knowledge and experience, this allows us to ascertain what is happening beneath the surface, and the extent of the issue.

Moisture Measurement System:

Search Mode:

The equipment is used to obtain relative moisture readings in solid homogenous materials such as walls and floors. The readings are obtained to a depth of 15mm below the surface. The unit will indicate readings from 60 – 1000, and state if the material is Dry, At Risk , or Wet. This allows us to obtain a picture of the area effected.

Measure Mode:

The equipment is used to obtain the percentage of moisture in wood (%MC), and the moisture levels in other non-conductive solid materials such as walls and brickwork (%WME). The unit states if the material is Dry, At Risk or Wet, whilst providing the actual percentage of moisture present. This allows us to ascertain the point of highest water content, normally the source point on the surface.

Moisture Probes:

In order to ascertain the moisture content level deep within a solid or brick wall, we utilise the probes by drilling two 6mm holes into the wall spaced 50 – 70mm apart. With the two probes inserted, we are able to measure the (%WME) deep within the wall. This provides us with added information compared to only obtaining surface to 15mm readings.

Hygroscopic Salts Detection:

We use the unit as a basic Salts detector. In combination with the wall probes, we can assess the level of salts, which in turn will indicate if further investigations are required regarding issues such as moisture penetration from the ground.

Hygrometer Mode:

The equipment (Hygrostick) is used to ascertain if condensation is an issue within a property, as it measures the Relative Humidity levels (%rh), the Ambient Temperature (TAIR), and the Dew Point Temperature (TDEW). This will confirm the levels in the property, regarding moisture in the air resulting from everyday actions, and the levels of the structure, thus confirming if the moist air is condensing on the walls, which normally results in black mould.

Condensator Mode:

In combination with the Hygrostick, we utilise the unit to ascertain if condensation is actually occurring, or if condensation is actually present on a surface. In addition to the normal Hygrometer readings, we obtain Surface Temperature levels (Ts), and Temperature Difference levels (TDIFF) which will determine if there is No Condensation, at Risk Of Condensation, or Condensation is present.

Borescope Surveys:

Utilising various Borescope cameras, we can access the smallest and most difficult of places. Our hand held 1m long camera with a 3” screen can be used to see under and behind obstructive objects, allowing us to inspect thoroughly. Our 7m long 7mm dia camera is connected to our site laptop, and this is used to access locations such as cavities within walls, therefore allowing accurate assessments of wall ties and cavity wall insulation. Our 20m long flexi camera allows us to assess the internal condition of pipes such as rain water pipes, surface water drainage, and ducts and vertical service ducts. This allows us to obtain vital information that others cannot obtain.

Quadricopter Survey:

Using the very latest in Quadricopter equipment, we are able to assess hard to reach areas of your property such as the roof and chimney stacks, and have a very close up view. We can record the issue with the built in vertical and horizontal HD cameras, in addition to taking photographs for report purposes. Using in combination with the Apple I Pad, we can receive real time footage, and assess the property thoroughly without the use of expensive scaffolding, and confirm without doubt what defects are present. (The Quadricopter cannot be flown in high winds)

Distance Analysis:

Sometimes it is not always possible to get up close to an object, such as a high chimney stack on a roof, where access could be dangerous. In these instances we utilise powerful binoculars which allow the next best thing to a close up visual inspection. That said, we always assess directly whenever safe to do so.

On Site Analysis:

Chemical Analysis Of Salts On Site:

When Rising Damp is present, certain Nitrates and Chlorides are deposited on the wall when the moisture evaporates from the wall. So long as the wall has not been disturbed for a long period of time, we can take a sample of the wall paper or plaster, and analyse if the Nitrates or Chlorides are present, thus proving that the moisture has risen from the ground, as opposed to penetrating from the exterior of the property. This allows us to accurately determine if Rising Damp is the true issue, as opposed to just assuming it is.

Potable Water Chlorine Test:

If a water leak is causing damp within a property, we are able to undertake an on-site analysis of a water sample, so long as it has pooled allowing collection. We can test if Chlorine is present in the water, (as Chlorine is added to potable water at source), thus confirming that a water supply pipe or waste water pipe is the source.

Acoustic Techniques:

Sometimes damp is a result of a leak on a water supply pipe or heating pipe. Normally when this occurs, damp survey companies will recommend that you employ a Leak Detection specialist to pinpoint the leak. Alpine are fully equipped and have over 25 years of experience in Leak Detection, therefore allowing us to locate the leak as part of the survey.

Digital Correlation:

We use the latest technology in correlations, using digital technology. Radio stations are positioned at two points on the system, and connected to the pipe or system using Accelerometers (very sensitive microphones). Under pressure the leak will create a “leak sound”. This sound travels along the pipe, and is heard at either end by each Accelerometer. The information is transferred to the main processor via the Radio Stations, and using a time delay calculation, the leak is located.

Digital Ground Microphone:

The Ground Microphone, does exactly as it suggests, it amplifies the sound on the ground. Using this sophisticated piece of kit, the Engineer can listen to leaks way beneath the surface, and pinpoint the location of the leak, prior to excavations being required.

Listening Stick:

Despite the fact that we carry the most up to date sophisticated technology, our Engineers still very much use the conventional Listening Stick, which naturally amplifies the sounds listened to.

In addition all forms of metallic and plastic pipe location equipment is carried by our Engineers, allowing them to locate any pipe with accuracy when required.