A growing number of building facade inspectors, increasingly women, are rappelling into New York City’s glass and terra-cotta canyons.
It’s all in a day’s work for a growing number of New York City’s building facade inspectors.
The city requires that of the approximately 1 million buildings in New York City, those taller than six stories — more than 14,500 structures — have their facades inspected every five years, to ensure the safety of passers-by below. Rather than using bulky swing-stage scaffolds, like the ones for window washing, or hydraulic cranes that block traffic, an increasing number of design and engineering firms are training their staff to rappel down the side of skyscrapers in search of dangerous defects.
Rope-access inspections can be less expensive, less time-consuming and less likely to provoke the ire of co-op and condo boards because they are less obtrusive than other means. In a city crowded with new towers, the inspections are expected to grow more popular — good news for thrill seekers hoping to scale the city’s terra-cotta canyons. Among them: A growing number of women, who have been historically underrepresented in these jobs.