The thermographer, neurosurgeon and the insulation installer, what would these people all have in common?
Answer, they are all specialist.
Specialist are knowledgeable and skilled in their particular discipline. If someone who was not for example, an insulation installation specialist were to install insulation, the job is most assuredly going to take more time with a less than ideal result.
Recently I was contacted by a general contractor to perform an infrared thermographic scan. The IR scan was needed for an energy efficiency project the contractor was involved in on a multifamily house. The purpose of the thermographic scan was to check the consistency of recently installed blown in cellulose wall insulation. The house being quite old, built around 1900, never had insulation installed inside the walls when built or any else where for that matter.
During my conversation with the contractor I discussed the usual requirements in order for my scan to yield good results. I mentioned that it is not unusual for someone to request an infrared scan to check the integrity of an insulation companies work. Predominantly wall insulation, since it can not be seen. The contractor replied that his company had installed the insulation, not a company that specializes in insulation. "Oh!?" was about all I could say.
The appointment was set. I would meet the job foreman on site, in this way I could discuss directly with him any issues that were discovered.
Arriving at the house on the designated morning, I could see the project was in full swing. Getting the camera out I began scanning at the side of the house. Immediately it was apparent there were inconsistencies in the insulation.
When a wall is properly insulated it should appear to the infrared camera as a blank canvass, broken by regular, thin vertical lines. Instead the wall appeared almost mottled, with both thin and wide vertical lines.
This pattern is a clear indication of poorly installed insulation. The wide orange areas on the exterior are the stud cavities that are warmer due to heat loss. A scan from the inside shows the same, but the colors are in reverse. The blue is a colder portion of the wall, again from inconsistent insulation. Once I completed the walk around, I found the foreman to give him a tour of the areas that required his attention.
He was less than pleased.
According to him, the job had taken over a week to complete. It was very labor intense because installing blown in insulation was not something this company does regularly. It was his opinion the job should have been given to an insulation company. He felt that it could have been done better and faster by a specialist. Now he would have to go back and fix all the bad spots in the walls. More time, more resources and more money.
Reminds me of one of Murphy's laws,
There is never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it over.