People often use the words code, standard, and regulations interchangeably, but they actually mean different things. A “code” is essentially a set of rules that often describe the low end of what is acceptable. Codes often incorporate “standards” by reference and describe the means or methods of how the code should be met. Codes and standards are voluntary unless adopted or codified by the authority having jurisdiction. When codes and standards are codified, they are no longer voluntary and are considered regulations.
Thermography is an unregulated industry in the United States. State and federal government agencies do not regulate thermographers as they do with surveyors or general contractors. However, several important standards have been developed that describe how infrared (IR) thermal inspections should be performed. The bullets below are the most common standards used by professional thermographers and are widely accepted throughout the industry.
ASTMC1060: Standard Practice for Thermographic Inspection of Insulation Installations in Envelope Cavities of Frame Buildings
ASTMC1153: Standard Practice for Location of Wet Insulation in Roofing Systems Using Infrared Imaging
ASTM 4788: Standard Test Method for Detecting Delaminations in Bridge Decks Using Infrared
ISO6781: Performance of Buildings — Detection of heat, air and moisture irregularities in buildings by infrared methods
IEC 62446: Photovoltaic (PV) systems – Requirements for testing, documentation and maintenance
Understanding these standards is incredibly important for thermographers. If their clients ask about their procedures, they need to point to a well-developed methodology used throughout the industry. The challenge for new thermographers is that these standards are expensive to buy! As an example, an electronic copy of IEC 62446 alone is $290.So, how can you get this information without spending a dime?
The answer is a library! Now, if you go to your local library and ask for any of the above standards, they will likely not have it unless they are tied to a large university. However, most libraries participate in the Interlibrary Loan system, commonly called ILL. This system is a network of libraries from across the country where they borrow books, magazines, and other media from each other. As the standards are relatively short, the host library will often scan it and forward it to your local library. Best of all, the service is complexly free and can often be requested through your library’s website.
A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing
Remember the adage that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Thoroughly reading the standards applicable to your application is a great idea. However, it is still important to have someone familiar with the material explain it to you. That is why at Clemson Drone we include a module dedicated to standards with our Applied UAS Thermography course.