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A building pathology study of a retrofittted 1970s cavity wall house in ireland.

Mary Flynn

Test Methods
Case Study
Field Observation

For copy of full dissertation, contact:

Darren Bergin
Tim O'Leary

This research consists of a building pathology study carried out on a cavity wall house constructed in the 1970s in Ireland. It focuses on the failures in the building and thermal performance within the structure. 

Building Pathology is the study of defects, decay and failures in a building's performance. The goals of these studies are to understand the problems within a building and formulate a solution or remedy. Defects and decay can be caused by wide range of issues, such as design deficiencies, material deficiencies, deterioration, and environmental matters 1. In this case study there were a variety of defects including, dampness, mould growth and cracking at junctions and openings. 

There were three types of investigation used in this study, the first of which was setting up two data loggers in two significantly different rooms in the building, one room which had defects present. These ran for 50 days and gathered relevant information to compare and contrast the similarities and differences at an enviromental level. The second test involved taking images of all areas of the  building using a thermal camera. These were examined to identify the areas where thermal bridges existed. It was evident these areas lined up with the mould growth on the walls and ceiling, thus proving thermal imaging could be used to identify defects that are not already visible to the naked eye. The third test invloved using PsiTherm, a thermal bridge assessment software. Based on the thermal imaging results it was found the eaves details were the most affected with thermal bridging. These details were analyised in PsiTherm to prove the connectiion between mould growth and thermal bridging. 

The study suggests that using a thermal camera alongside a thermal bridge assessment software, could mean that thermal defects can be identified and tackled before the defect is visible. It is also proven how the enviromental performance within a room can be significantly impacted by residents' living patterns and usage.

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