Watch CBS News

After Debris Death, City's Scaffolding Business And Building Inspections Soar

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Following the death of a woman hit by falling debris from a Times Square building's dangerous facade this week, workers are scrambling to put up new scaffolding around the city.

The Department of Buildings is fresh off an inspection blitz in the wake of Erica Tishman's death by debris at the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 49th Street.

The scramble for safety is boosting business for scaffolding companies including Urban Umbrella.

"There are approximately 300 scaffolding companies in New York City," said CEO Benjamin Krall. "Everyone I've spoken to in the industry has had their busiest 48 hours."

The DOB is checking of 1,300 buildings in the last two days, with inspectors on overtime scouring the city for crumbling masonry and other problems.

The site of the Tishman tragedy is a 17-story office tower where the DOB knew about defects to its facade dating back to April 29. The owner paid a city fine, but by late July inspectors found it unfixed with no sidewalk shed.

Erica Tishman
Erica Tishman (credit:

Scaffolding is there now, erected only after Tishman's death.

MORE: Deadly Debris Fall Has Pedestrians On Edge As Lawmakers Scrutinize Inspection Protocols

Krall says an industry-wide wake-up call is needed to stop letting things slide.

"I think building owners are now starting to realize the seriousness of ignoring potential facade work that has to happen," said Krall.

New York may be seeing a shift in public perception of scaffolding, with some people once critical of it now glad it's there.

Some state senators and city council members promise tougher laws holding building owners more accountable, with follow up inspections more aggressive and timely to preventing deadly delays.

A department of buildings spokeswoman got back to CBS2 late Thursday and said all inspection reports from the past two days are being processed. The results of the blitz will be released late next week.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.