Women are leading the way on rope-access inspections of New York building facades

These inspections can be an easier and cheaper way to check building safety

Mar.March 08, 2019 12:00 PM

More and more women are being certified for rope-access inspections on buildings (Credit: iStock)

If you look up, you might see a building inspector rappelling down your favorite skyscraper.

Increasingly, inspection by rope, which involves an inspector dangling off the side of a building on the kinds of ropes used by rock climbers, can be an easier and cheaper alternative to using scaffolding or cranes, the New York Times reported.

And more and more women are being certified to perform these kinds of inspections according to Jody Bird, the executive director of the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians.

The city requires that building higher than six stories have their facades inspected every five years, and requests for rope inspections are growing. Last year, there were 247 requests for rope-access work submitted to the Department of Buildings, up from 193 in 2015. Still, most inspections are still carried out by scaffolding or crane, and there are only about 100 people certified to perform this kind of inspection in the city.

The boom in new buildings being constructed in the city will mean there will be plenty of work for rope inspectors going forward. In the next six years an 1,500 additional buildings will be required to have inspections, Jill Hrubecky, an executive engineer with the Department of Buildings, told the Times. [NYT] – Decca Muldowney

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