Out of danger or not? Four months to the day after the fire of Our Lady, which occurred on 15 April, the question of the security of the building continues today. All the more that the work on the cathedral had to be suspended on July 25, because of the too high concentration of lead in the environment. The ministry of Culture has not stopped repeating this since: “the health of workers takes precedence over any other consideration”. But rue de Valois, the health of the cathedral also concerned.

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Because of the interruption of the construction makes each day more difficult to race against the clock started from the day after the disaster, not to rebuild the cathedral (that will come later), but to keep up what that is yet. The building is still the subject of an “order of danger” of the prefect of police, and has been since the 17 April, a sign that the stabilisation of the whole is still a problem.

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The operations stop work on the building for almost four weeks has given a meaning to the word priority. The first concern, “extreme urgency”, according to the formula of the ministry of Culture, is: stabilize the building and not lose more than is already lost. The debates on the reconstruction “within five years”, as is the wish of the president of the Republic, or in a modern style, as suggested by the prime minister, are not, in fact, still not. The architects and workmen to the work know only too well. The relative clemency of weather since April 15, will not last forever. For now, the building has experienced neither rain too long, or too important, or storm and the strong winds, nor, of course, the snow or the frost. For how much longer?

The impact of episodes scorching

The main pitfall of climate met in the past four months has been the extreme temperatures that have hit France in June and July. Philippe Villeneuve, the chief architect for the historical Monuments, who is overseeing the construction, had explained how much these sudden increases of the mercury could be a problem as it dries too quickly and joints of masonry and altering their “structural quality”. The warning had not been launched at the light. “New falls of stone vaults of the nave have very recently produced a result of the heatwave”, has stated on Wednesday, the ministry of Culture.

The site has been interrupted while the flying buttresses of the choir had been consolidated, but not those of the nave. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP

on The 25th of July, when was decided to stop the construction site, fourteen hangers had been installed around the choir. These pieces of wood, weighing about eight tons each, are used for securing the flying buttresses that balance the flare, and keep the walls standing. But to this day, only the choir has been consolidated. At the resumption of the work, scheduled Monday, the engineers of the Drac Île-de-France will attack to the twelve flying buttresses of the nave.

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The work security of the vaults, too, have been interrupted. In recent weeks, they have focused on the top of these ceilings in warhead, where the framing was laid out, and where are accumulated, with the fire, the remains of wooden beams burnt, ash, molten metal and other rubble. The operations are carried out by workers suspended in the void, roped to a shelf that was mounted above the vaults. In two and a half months, reports Release, these acrobats are able to clear the debris on the part that is not destroyed the north transept. “With the hand and shovel.” In area, this represents only 10% of all of the vaults that remain to be cleared, before considering any transaction of consolidation and reconstruction. It will also address the construction of the vaults of the interior, thanks to a floor that will be placed below and that will allow the artisans to examine the stones more closely. But this will not happen until this fall.

The dismantling of the scaffolding

Emergency also with the immense scaffolding of 500 tons that surrounded the arrow of the lost cathedral. Since the early days, the stability of this mechanic gives you the cold sweats to the architects. It offers a wide support of the wind, it is also more sensitive to variations in temperatures. For weeks, engineers have been working to understand how, as the arrow, the frame and the roof have disappeared, this scaffold is a threat to the cathedral but also helps to keep the building standing. This is the key that will attack its removal. But again, the suspension of the construction has delayed.

The accumulated delay makes it a risk to the whole structure. Nobody today speaks flatly, as if he had to ward off the spell. Rue de Valois, it wants to be cautiously optimistic. “The cathedral may not crumble, but it is not stabilized completely,” says the ministry of Culture. A response in which everyone will read what he can or what he wants.

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