The use of thermal imaging cameras to inspect electrical equipment is the most established application of infrared thermography within the commercial and industrial sectors. This is mainly due to its unparalleled ability to quickly and safely identify defects, such as poor connections, overloaded cables and faulty electrical equipment thereby reducing the risk of fire and business interruption.
Electrical Thermography should be seen as supplementary to Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs). A thermographic inspection does not devolve the requirement for an EICR to be undertaken since it will not detect all of the issues that EICR tests are designed to identify. The use of thermography will however detect faults that EICRs will not, thereby bridging the gaps within the overall effectiveness of EICRs.
To realise the benefits of electrical thermography and reduce the risk of fire and business interruption, it is recommended that thermographic inspections are completed on a periodic basis, typically annually but dependant on perceived risk. These should be carried out by trained and competent practitioners using equipment of an appropriate specification.
UKTA – Competent Persons Scheme (Electrical) – CPS(e)
Currently within the UK there are no appropriate standards or guidance detailing the implementation, reporting and competency requirements in relation to completing thermographic surveys on electrical equipment.
In response, the UKTA with the support of BINDT (British Institute of Non Destructive Testing) is developing a Competent Persons Scheme (CPS) to cover the main objectives:
1. To establish and maintain a register of UKTA Approved Thermographers (Electrical). In support of this, the committee will aim to develop processes and procedures to:
- Ensure that Approved Thermographers are suitably qualified and experienced in order to undertake competent thermographic surveys of electrical systems
- Ensure Approved Thermographers meet UKTA approved inspection and reporting requirements and therefore capable of safely delivering consistent, accurate and reliable thermographic inspections and reports
- Ensure that Approved Thermographers have in force suitable professional and public liability indemnity cover
- Ensure that Approved Thermographers are “fit and proper” persons trusted to undertake Thermographic Inspections on Electrical Equipment and that they operate within an approved code of conduct
2. Allow BINDT to monitor and audit the Scheme periodically to ensure that it continues to comply with the terms of their approval and delivers compliance with the requirements outlined therein
3. Maintain suitable administrative and operational systems that are applied in a consistent, fair and open way to comply with all relevant legislation
4. Facilitate the resolution of complaints against members of the Scheme
5. Implement disciplinary procedures in a proportionate and reasonable manner
6. Ensure financial probity, financial stability and operational resilience of the Scheme
7. Develop and maintain active quality assurance procedures to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that the objectives listed here are delivered
Plan and Timescales
To this end, the SOR (Scheme Operating Requirements) and the SRR (Survey and Reporting Requirement) are in draft stages with the following estimated timescale:
1. Produce the next draft of the SRR and SOR – end of July 2017
2. Issue to UKTA committee members for review/endorsement at UKTA Committee meeting end of August 2017.
3. Final draft submission to BINDT for comment/approval – September 2017
4. Publish on UKTA website for MEMBERS only to see and comment – October 2017
5. Establish administration and governance in parallel with the above – July through to the end of 2017
6. Launch the Scheme – towards the end of 2017.