Berta de Miguel takes pictures while inspecting the Municipal Building in Manhattan. [Photo: Adrienne Grunwald for The Wall Street Journal]
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.