All-Safe LLC

All SafeAll-Safe LLC’s hoisting and scaffolding capabilities put it in a strong position in the New York City market.

By Chris Petersen

In the New York City construction market, there’s often literally nowhere to go but up. And when construction goes vertical, the need for complex construction services to protect workers and the surrounding area during that work becomes crucial.

That’s why for nearly 20 years, general contractors working in and around New York City have turned to Brooklyn-based All-Safe LLC to provide them with solutions for their unique requirements. Thanks to the company’s extensive expertise, All-Safe has become a leader in providing complex services including hoisting, scaffolding, shoring and bracing.All Safe LLC info box

Co-founders and owners Dan O’Brien and Martin Donovan worked together throughout the 1990s as foremen for another contractor before getting the inspiration to set out on their own by founding All-Safe in 1997. In time, the company’s reputation for high-quality work attracted the attention of many of the New York market’s biggest names, Senior Project Manager Jerry McCarthy says. “Our main customer base would be general contractors, and we’ve worked for almost every large to mid-sized general contractor in the city,” he says, adding that the company also works directly with owners and developers from time to time.

As the company gears up to mark its 20th anniversary next year, All-Safe is proud to be counted among the best at what it does, and O’Brien says the company has earned a reputation for tackling the type of work many of its competitors are reluctant to take on. He says the company will continue to bring its unique problem-solving capabilities to its customers’ projects and help them climb to new heights, both figuratively and literally.

Building Loyalty

All-Safe has provided hoisting and scaffolding solutions for some of New York City’s most recognizable and iconic landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and United Nations Headquarters. On these and all other projects, All-Safe offers full turnkey services that include in-house engineering, installation and permit expediting.

O’Brien says the company’s in-house capabilities give it the confidence to take on some extremely challenging projects, projects other scaffolding and hoisting contractors might think twice about accepting. “We have a small niche when it comes to projects with complicated and challenging scope,” he says.

“Our niche would be anything that’s of a complex nature where typical or traditional scaffolding solutions are no longer viable,” McCarthy adds. “A client might require something custom, something creative, and that’s where we try to excel.”

The ability of All-Safe to take on highly complicated work is thanks in large part to the knowledge base the company has under its roof. “Our biggest attribute is experience,” McCarthy says. “We have a very experienced workforce. The board of owners has a combined 70 years in the business, and our head general foreman has another 34 years.”

As a result of the company’s expertise and abilities, All-Safe boasts some of the most loyal customers in the marketplace. O’Brien says many of the customers the company started with nearly 20 years ago still work with All-Safe today, and that’s a testament to the company’s integrity and its ability to adapt to the ever-changing market. “Our customers have been very loyal to us over the years,” O’Brien says. “We’ve never taken on a job and not finished it or not performed.

“I feel if we get a customer, we’ve never really lost them,” McCarthy adds. “You’ve got to stick with them through the good and the bad.”

Overcoming Challenges

Even though All-Safe enjoys a strong position as a premier contractor in New York City, the company is not immune from some of the biggest challenges facing the entire industry. Two of the largest issues, according to O’Brien, are the proliferation of nonunion jobs and rising insurance premiums.

“We’re seeing that the nonunion open shop market is growing rapidly in the city, and it’s almost like a rolling stone in that there’s a snowball effect,” O’Brien says. More general contractors are bidding for open-shop projects, which has the effect of bringing more nonunion contractors into the bidding phase and driving prices down. O’Brien says this is something All-Safe is working to adapt to.

Adding to that difficulty is the impact of New York’s Labor Law section 240 (1), which created new liabilities for workers injured due to elevation risks. Over the last few years, McCarthy says, a number of lawsuits related to that law have caused insurance premiums for contractors like All-Safe to nearly quintuple. “If we weren’t in our niche market of doing the more challenging jobs, it would be very difficult to survive with the growing cost of labor along with insurance premiums,” he says.

Nevertheless, All-Safe expects to hold on and continue to thrive and evolve despite the challenges. As O’Brien explains, the quality and security that the company provides are worth much more to its customers than the money they would save by choosing a slightly less-expensive option. “When I look at all these new scaffold  companies, they’re all lacking the experience when it comes to shoring, protecting or accessing these larger buildings or something challenging,” he says. “We are hoping that people will eventually pay that small premium just for the security of the tried-and-trusted.”

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