Thermal Image

Overall thermal image of the targeted building for inspection.

Most people probably have no idea what goes on behind the scenes to power and keep social media companies moving forward and operational. Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms today and with as much data as they push every day, you better believe they have the infrastructure in place to support it. Facebook has built large data centers around the country. 

Fort Worth, TX is home to one of those data centers. They currently have 5 buildings that are each roughly about 300k sq ft in size. With so many people depending on Facebook to flawlessly remain up and running, the need for preventative maintenance to ensure these buildings keep the equipment safe and operations moving is crucial. If a major leak in the roof was to open up causing water to get into the building at just the wrong location, this could substantially jeopardize the health of the data center. 

Because of this overwhelming need to NEVER be down, Facebook has implemented a preventative maintenance program on the roof and many other components of the infrastructure to ensure that never happens.  Their strategy is highly effective.

As a part of this preventative roof maintenance program they implemented, we were asked to help perform a thermal roof scan of 4 of the 5 buildings on the Ft. Worth campus to help identify any possible problems on the roofs. 

So why is thermal imaging part of their maintenance program? Why is it so important that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars every year just to have this service done? 

Thermography is an incredibly useful tool for helping to identify where suspected moisture is present. Our process is unique though. By deploying a drone capable of capturing high-resolution radiometric imaging, we are capable of inspecting 5-600 square ft of the roof structure in one night, depending on the type of roof being scanned. Once all the data is collected, we study the images in great detail observing any thermal anomalies that reflect the presence of suspected moisture. Once all these locations are identified, it’s time to get on the roof for further hands-on testing.

Thermal Image

Thermal image of the targeted building showing an area where water has intruded into the roof.

Because these roofs were so new, we did not expect to find many, if any, issues with the roof. We did end up finding one pretty small anomaly we wanted to investigate though. Because the construction of the roof was Modified Bitumen, we were able to use moisture meters to further test and validate the anomaly was actually wet without penetrating the roof or further compromising its integrity. 

The benefit to Facebook deploying this process and paying all this money to find one wet spot pays for itself over time. They were able to catch a problem in the roof early enabling them to repair the damage before it spread making the repair much more affordable compared to waiting. Catching the leak early also meant they were able to stop moisture from getting all the way into the building causing more problems that could easily exceed the cost of the service in damage and lost revenues. Not to mention that the warranty on the roof requires regular maintenance for the manufacturer to continue to warrant the work. In the event they ever experience storm damage and need to file an insurance claim, they do not have historical condition assessments and data showing the pre-loss condition of the building. This data will substantially expedite the claims and repair process ensuring downtime is minimal.

If some of these subjects are of importance to you and your business, you might consider implementing a maintenance program into your annual budget. We are always open to conversations to help assess situations and give you a realistic expectation and understanding of how our preventative maintenance programs can help you.