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Bridge Beat

Jan 23, 2012

New Standards for Scaffolding

The phenomenal rise in the number of condominiums across the City of Toronto has not only meant a change in our skyline but also in our cityscape as pedestrians and vehicles face (or attempt to avoid) the growing number of scaffolding, hoarding and other construction staging structures that are set up throughout the lengthy construction process.    The City is now engaging developers to find ways to replace traditional scaffolding structures with ones that are more aesthetically pleasing.  At a recent Toronto Chapter meeting of BILD, Andy Koropeski, the Director of theTorontoand East York District Transportation Services, explained that the City will be engaging with various stakeholders prior to implementing amendments to Chapter 743, commonly known asToronto’s “Streets By-law”.   The “Urban Umbrella” ( first implemented in New York City was touted as an example of a structure that could serve a similar function as a scaffold but create a new standard by combining it with cutting edge lighting and material.  The “Urban Umbrella” was the winning design from the Urban Shed International Design Competition and hailed by New York Mayor Bloomberg as the new prototype for scaffolding and the “perfect combination of design elegance and construction safety.”   Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the design is that the Urban Umbrella apparently costs the same as conventional scaffolding.   With 130 condo projects currently in construction, it is evident that a similar creative effort is desperately needed for the City ofToronto.  Whether we adopt the Urban Umbrella or the City engages artists, architects, engineers and designers to create other cost-effective alternatives, there’s no reason why the traditional eyesore should not be a thing of the past.

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