Unsurpassed Hoisting, Scaffolding & Protection Systems

Our History

Universal Builders Supply. - Founded and Family Owned for Three Generations.

Harold A. O'Callaghan Sr
UBS was founded in N.Y.C. in 1931 by Harold A. O’Callaghan Sr., an electrical engineer and graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology (1925). Harold had previously been employed by Con Edison as an engineer and then by Wickwire Spencer Steel Company where he sold steel products, such as reinforcing mesh, and other specialty items to the greater metropolitan construction market. His most memorable job was one of the few projects in N.Y.C. at the time, The Empire State Building.
R.A. (Tony) O'Callaghan
Harold’s son, R.A. (Tony) O’Callaghan, joined the company in 1954 after receiving his degree from Columbia University. Early in his career, Tony opened UBS Offices in Cairo, Egypt; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Tehran, Iran, introducing modern techniques for shoring and forming of concrete buildings throughout the Middle East. His most memorable project was working on the Statue of Liberty in 1984, when UBS designed and installed scaffolding around this iconic landmark to prepare for the centennial celebration of 1986.
Kevin O'Callaghan
After graduating from Trinity College, Kevin began his career in 1983 with HRH Construction and subsequently Hunter Partners. He joined UBS in 1986 and became President and CEO in 1991. Under Kevin’s leadership, UBS opened offices in Washington, D.C., Canada, and the U.K. His most memorable projects include the AOL Time Warner Headquarters N.Y.C., The Washington Monument, St. Patricks Cathedral, and Grand Central Terminal.


In the 1980s, UBS revolutionized the way buildings are hoisted with the introduction of the patented Aluminum Backstructure System. This engineering innovation allowed multiple hoists to be clustered in one location. The result was lower cost, and greater efficiency and constructibility for the overall project. This cutting-edge technology became the standard for all future high-rise building projects in New York City. Twenty years later, UBS introduced the next generation of hoisting system, technologically superior by allowing approximately 90% of the installation to be performed at ground level, greatly reducing workers risk of “time in the tower at height”. 


UBS scaffolding systems are renowned for their engineering excellence and their unique aluminum frame access system.  They are used on challenging and demanding projects across North America, and internationally. UBS is the custom-designed interior and exterior scaffolding solutions supplier for such iconic public destinations as the The Statue of Liberty, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Grand Central Station, the Washington Monument, and The Jefferson Memorial.  Our commitment is always to ensure safe access throughout the construction process for both workers and the public.

Protection Systems

Innovative UBS engineering solutions provide protection systems of virtually every kind, from high-capacity sidewalk sheds and vertical perimeter protection systems to custom horizontal netting systems. The UBS Cocoon is an innovative, patented system designed to protect the leading edge of floors under construction. Working closely with major contractors in the New York area, where a new concrete floor is poured every two days, the UBS Cocoon was developed to support these aggressive construction schedules. It enables projects to be built faster and more economically than ever, while ensuring a safer environment, both for those working on a project and pedestrians around it.