Scaffolding is more often than not seen as a nuisance and a blight, but the reality is that what’s going on behind all that metal, wood and mesh is a major necessity to keeping us all safe. While most of us wouldn’t give a second thought to taking a seat in front of a fully-constructed building, as it turns out, bricks (and other materials) falling from poorly constructed and aging buildings still claim the lives of New Yorkers annually. What’s more surprising is that up until 1998, there were no strict guidelines as to what a building facade inspection needed to entail. “In some cases inspection simply involved a licensed architect or professional engineer carrying out a visual inspection with the aid of a pair of binoculars,” writes CityRealty. Ahead is the story of why façade restoration, as unsightly as it may be, can be a matter of life and death.