Building Out A Shell Space With Panel Built


A shell space in real estate refers to a space that is bare on the inside. This can be a property of many different types: Industrial buildings, commercial offices, and even a residential apartment. For industrial spaces, a shell space will typically be a building with little to no interior improvements or finishes on the inside. For a commercial office location, a shell space can be a single floor or suite in a larger office building. While these spaces have no interior walls, they may have some hookups for plumbing, electric, and heating/air. So, essentially a shell space is just that, the shell, or envelope, of a building or floor.

Why Would You Want a Shell Space?

Example of Office Shell Space
Example of a Shell Office Space with an Unfinished Ceiling

For a company moving into a new space, a shell space gives them flexibility in a few ways.

First, shell spaces can allow new companies moving into their first space flexibility financially. An example you might be familiar with is the stereotypical 'trendy startup' company. They move into this big open office space with lots of hip, young professionals with big tables instead of desks. There's probably a couple of dogs there too...

However, this basis applies to industrial or manufacturing companies moving into a new space too. Their shell space will have plenty of room for their manufacturing or fabrication efforts, but when it comes to the business side of the company, they might find themselves limited in actual office space.

Second, companies moving into shell spaces have the flexibility to build out their space however they see fit. This can be an attractive benefit for almost all companies that find themselves moving into a new space. For example, a growing company may need to find a new business space fast but is struggling to find a good fit for them. It could have the wrong mix of manufacturing to office space or the office space is not in the layout that they prefer. In this case, a shell space would allow them full control over the entire layout of their new space.

What Are the Drawbacks?

Let's take a look at the startup company from the first example... Let's say the company likes the financial flexibility of the shell space but has started to sour on the 'open office' concept (It just takes that one co-worker...). In that case, they are going to have to find a way to build out their office space, after the fact.

Adding extra office space to an already in-use office area can be a bit tricky. You very well can't have a construction crew come in while everyone is working, and if you restrict work to the weekend, the office space could be under construction for months. In this case, Panel Built's modular wall system can be a huge help for companies deciding they need office space after the fact. With our prefabricated wall system, Panel Built can install individual office spaces into a building faster than any stick built method. And if you are needing A LOT of office spaces in a series, Panel Built can install them one at a time, so they do not have that unfinished, under construction look of stick-built.

Moving In Soon, But Need Offices Now?

Office Buildout
Office Build-Out Using Modular Walls

Another example is the company that is moving into a new shell space and understands that they need individual offices when they move in, but they need to move in as soon as possible. This is one of the main problems that drive new or growing companies away from Shell Spaces. They want to get into their new space and start generating a Return On Investment as quickly as possible, and that's totally understandable.

However, these companies do not always look at all of their options to build-out these office spaces. Working with Panel Built, we can work with customers moving into a new space to get a layout and design that fits their specific needs. But most importantly, we can install your facility's new office walls quicker than stick built methods. Or you can just start with the office space that you need at first and then add additional offices in the future. That is perhaps the biggest benefit of Panel Built's wall system: the ability to do more with it in the future. But it doesn't stop there...

Take a look for yourself!

What Works for You Now Might Change in the Future

As a growing or new company, parts of your business will be constantly changing. Your number of employees will grow, your inventory and your manufacturing spaces can change entirely in size and location. Plus, the equipment that you use could change from one year to the next. All of these things create an ever-changing layout in your facility. Or possibly the offices that you had put in at the beginning, aren't being used anymore. There are just so many changes your new facility can go through when a company begins to grow.

Modular Office Walls
Conference Room Made Using Wall Panels

That's why you should pick an office build-out that can adapt with you!

Besides being very quick and easy to install into a facility, Panel Built's wall system is able to be rearranged and reused when your office needs change! Maybe you ended up not needing three different conference rooms and wanted to split them into extra office space, or even vice-versa! Since Panel Built's wall system is semi-permanent, the panels that you were using in one part of your building can be uninstalled and put up in another area.

Are You Putting a Lot of Effort into a Build-Out Just to Move Out?

The one thing about moving into a shell workspace is that companies will typically enter into these areas under a lease. That means there's a good chance you'll be moving out of the building after all of the time and effort that you put into making the perfect office space for your company. And you're just going to have to leave it all behind...

Unless you could just take those new walls with you...

Modular Wall Install
'This will be coming with me...'

This part will depend largely on the agreement that you have made with your landlord upon leasing the shell space. If the landlord has allowed your company TI (tenant improvement) funds, then he's probably not going to let you just walk out the door with the improvements that you've made upon the building. However, if that's not the case, Panel Built's modular wall systems can be taken with you into your next facility. If you're moving into a bigger space to help meet your growing needs, having the panels from your previous location will provide you with a great head start building out the office in the new space.

In some cases, the landlord may have to (or want to) clear out or demolish previous improvements from tenant to tenant. In this scenario, a landlord may prefer having a semi-permanent wall solution being installed into his property. It would be a good talking point to bring up during leasing negotiations to see if it would be a win/win for both sides.

So, if you need help building out your shell space, or if you are thinking about moving into a shell space and want to see if Panel Built would fit for you, give us a call at 800.636.3873, send us an email to, or you can talk to us in our LiveChat feature in the bottom-right of your screen. Our main goal is to Solve your Space Needs With Excellence and Great Customer Service.