For the first time, Thermographic Surveying appears in the most up-to-date 17th Edition Version of the IEE Wiring Regulation (Guidance Note 3).
The regulation highlights the importance of thermographic inspection, showing how it can effectively identify defects that would not normally be located by a visual inspection alone.
It also recognises that isolation of supply becomes difficult in places such as financial institutions and hospitals: "Some defects cannot be discovered by a visual inspection. For example, incorrectly tightened connections can cause a high resistance joint which can then cause a high temperature to occur locally to the connection. If left uncovered, over time further deterioration of the connection may well occur, resulting in a continuing increase in temperature which may subsequently present a risk of fire."
Infra-red imaging equipment (thermal imaging cameras) can identify these hot spots, loose connections and even load balancing, thus lessening the risk.
The regulation finishes with a reminder that: "Thermal surveying should not be seen as a substitute for periodic inspection and testing". Thermal imaging is a useful tool - great at targeting preventative maintenance and identifying defects between inspection and testing.