I came across this article from the Wall Street Journal.
I have had the opportunity to hang over the edge of a building here in Omaha. There is nothing like getting an up close look at the building. I was helping out with a fundraiser where people were able to rappel down the second tallest building in Nebraska. The building manager asked the crew that ran the event if they could inspect the building while they were there because he couldn’t get a good look at the building any other way.
Now my only question is how can I combine climbing and estimating?! Any suggestions?
by Kathleen Lucadamo
Dangling from ropes, Berta de Miguel looks perfectly at ease climbing high on the exterior of Manhattan’s Municipal Building, a 40-story structure across the street from City Hall.
But even while hanging more than 500 feet above ground, she isn’t a daredevil—she is an architect and skilled rock climber surveying the landmark building’s aging facade.
“As a human being up this high, it is natural to be nervous but when I’m on the rope, I’m not nervous,” said Ms. de Miguel, her waist in an apparatus that connects to sturdy ropes.
Ms. de Miguel, 31 years old, is part of a team of professional ropers with Vertical Access LLC, a company commissioned by engineers and architects to survey the exteriors of usually-tall buildings throughout New York City.
Checking buildings while hanging from ropes is considered an efficient way to examine trouble spots and is often a more cost-effective first step than scaffolding, although that is frequently needed later for construction work and repairs.
“I wish I was Spider-Man and could just climb up a building and look at something. Of course, I can’t but this is the closest thing to it,” said Robert Silman of Robert Silman Associates, an engineering company with offices in New York that has hired Vertical Access for work on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan.
“You can crane your head out a window, you can use binoculars, but it’s not the same thing as being inches away from something that may be a hairline crack or confirm there is not a crack,” said Mr. Silman.
Kent Diebolt, 61, started Vertical Access in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1992, after using ropes to inspect buildings in England. Even though he was “scared to death” with the work initially, the Cornell University-educated contractor loves being up close to the skin of a building, particularly in New York City with all its historic structures. Article Continued