NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Urban Umbrella, a New York City-based urban design firm renowned for its premium sidewalk scaffolding, recently completed its second project in Texas. The assignment involved the installation of premium white scaffolding protection on a ninth-floor private patio of a high-rise apartment building situated at 2651 Kipling Street in Houston as part of an ongoing façade renovation. This successful project was a collaborative effort between Urban Umbrella and BrandSafway, facilitated through their Texas subsidiary, Big City Access. Urban Umbrella's previous partnerships with Big City Access in Fort Worth and collaborations with BrandSafway on three projects in Nashville have all contributed to the company's growing reputation for delivering exceptional quality.
Urban Umbrella is no stranger to celebrating milestones, and it recently marked the completion of its 300th project in the bustling streets of New York City. Since its inception in 2016, Urban Umbrella has firmly held the position of the sole premium sidewalk scaffolding provider in the city. However, the company's reach has expanded significantly, driven by the increasing focus on pedestrian safety by municipal governments across the United States and heightened awareness among contractors regarding the safety advantages of sidewalk scaffolding. By the end of 2021, Urban Umbrella was operating in just five markets beyond the five boroughs of New York City. Fast forward to the fourth quarter of 2023, and their footprint extends to thirteen markets, with Austin, Miami, and Maryland scheduled to join the list of live locations later this year.
CEO and Founder Benjamin Krall attributes the company's remarkable success outside New York City to advancements in tactical urbanism and an increased policy focus on enhancing pedestrian safety. Krall emphasizes the ongoing challenge of navigating construction activities in urban areas, observing, "we are all constantly living under construction." He elaborated on two key trends contributing to the growing demand for sidewalk scaffolding:
"Cities are increasingly going vertical with new developments, placing added pressure on pedestrians below. Additionally, natural aging and evolving weather patterns lead to building decay. Not a week goes by in NYC without calls from building owners reporting instances of falling debris, be it bricks or glass, endangering pedestrians below. In the past two weeks, we've responded to three emergencies, swiftly installing sidewalk scaffolding to protect the public from hazardous conditions. We are currently in a cycle where buildings constructed 20-30 years ago require repairs, whether to their windows, roofs, or facades. Unfortunately, pedestrians in major cities are at risk when they step outside, and sidewalk scaffolding stands as one of the primary solutions.”
To address the growing demand in emerging markets with less stringent scaffolding load capacity requirements than New York, Urban Umbrella recently introduced a new, lighter-capacity product. This product, already in use in Houston, closely resembles the company's standard premium sidewalk scaffolding but is manufactured at a significantly lower cost. It offers faster installation and a more competitive price point, making it a key driver of Urban Umbrella's success in these new markets.
Urban Umbrella's expansion aligns with the broader growth of the scaffolding market, fueled by the increasing emphasis on pedestrian safety by municipal governments across the United States. Stricter regulations are being put in place, mandating the installation of public protection during construction activities. Cities like Nashville, currently experiencing a construction boom, have been at the forefront of this shift. In August, Nashville's Mayor John Cooper announced that construction projects could no longer impact right-of-ways for more than a week without erecting sidewalk scaffolding. Also in August, the Texas Legislature revised a state transportation law that previously made it illegal to walk on a roadway if a sidewalk is present. Now, if a sidewalk is obstructed by construction (amongst other things), walking the road would no longer be penalized. In light of this, several Texas cities such as Dallas, Plano, Austin, and Lubbock are planning to revisit their development-related public protection laws vis-à-vis the use of sidewalk scaffolding. Miami is also in the process of reviewing pedestrian safety regulations and the expanded use of scaffolding.
As construction activity continues to surge in cities and pedestrian safety becomes a top priority for municipalities, Urban Umbrella is positioning itself as the trusted provider of premium sidewalk scaffolding. The company plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of pedestrians while contributing to the growth and development of urban landscapes.
Urban Umbrella is the designer, patent holder, and fabricator of the only alternative to traditional sidewalk scaffolding approved by the New York City Department of Buildings. In 2009, the company beat out over 250+ contestants to win an international city-organized design competition aimed at creating a safer, more attractive, pedestrian-conscious alternative to traditional sidewalk scaffolding. In addition to sidewalk scaffolding and overhead protection, the company also provides canopies and event staging systems, custom façade netting, construction fencing, and level-five walls. Urban Umbrella is live in twelve cities at present, including a recent launch in Houston, and is coming soon to Atlanta, Austin, Miami, and Maryland. Additional information about Urban Umbrella is available at https://www.urbanumbrella.com/.