The scaffolding has to be removed to make the building safe for restoration, Chauvet says—but accomplishing this task is no mean feat. Three levels of steel beams will first have to be placed around the exterior of the building, forming a “stabilizing belt,” writes Francesco Bandarin, an architect and former senior official at UNESCO, for the Art Newspaper. Next, “telescopic crawler cranes … will allow roped technicians to descend into the forest of pipes and gradually cut them away after having coated them with a protective layer to avoid spreading the pollution caused by the melting of the lead roof.”

This work is expected to be completed by next April, according to Bandarin. But Chauvet says it is unclear whether the scaffolding can be removed without causing further damage to Notre-Dame. “Today we can say that there is maybe a 50 percent chance that it will be saved,” he tells Schaeffer and Charlton. “There is also a 50 percent chance of scaffolding falling onto the [building’s] three vaults.”