Universal Builders Supply, Inc.—Founded and Family-Owned for Three Generations.
UBS was founded in N.Y.C. in 1931 by Harold A. O'Callaghan Sr., a mechanical 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 jobs in N.Y.C. at the time, The Empire State Building.
Harold’s son, R.A. (Tony) O’Callaghan, joined the company in 1954 after receiving his B.A. from Columbia University. Early in his career, Tony opened UBS Offices in Cairo, Egypt, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Tehran 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. The scaffolding made the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest free-standing scaffold in the world. UBS also designed, fabricated, and installed the special crane which safely lifted the old ailing torch to the ground for repair.
Kevin O’Callaghan received his B.A. from Trinity College and began his construction career in 1983 with HRH Construction and subsequently Hunter and Partners. He joined UBS in 1986 and became President and CEO in 1991. Under Kevin’s leadership, UBS has opened offices in Washington, D.C., Canada and the U.K. His most distinctive projects include the AOL Time Warner Headquarters NYC, The Washington Monument, St. Patricks Cathedral, and Grand Central Terminal.
UBS is known for its innovative engineering solutions, earning a reputation for excellence in the construction industry.
UBS has been a trusted subcontractor for a wide array of high profile public and private clients—in the public sector the N.Y. Port Authority for its tunnels and bridges in NYC including the George Washington, Verrazano, and Williamsburg Bridges as well as the U.S. Parks Department on the Jefferson and the Lincoln Memorials. In the private sector, UBS projects include The AT&T Building, the NY World Financial Center, as well as the entire Canary Wharf Project in London, UK.
On a smaller but still prestigious scale, UBS worked with the Architect of the Capitol providing the Presidential, Congressional and Media Stands for the 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inaugurations at the U.S. Capitol.
What remains constant through all of these examples is the expertise UBS has in creating a safe environment for the public who may be in close proximity or in the structures themselves while work is being performed. Notably Grand Central Terminal remained open during its restoration with scaffolding spanning the expansive main ceiling while 500,000 people commuted through its hall each day without incident or interruption.
Throughout its 8 decades, UBS has grown into one of the largest hoisting, scaffolding, access and protection system companies in the country while earning and maintaining a reputation for excellence. Proud of its role as a trusted subcontractor, UBS continues to lead the construction industry in performing safely and securely.