Shell Levels for
Leading Edge Builders
Level 1 Shell
Not for the Novices
A Level 1 Shell is what many subcontractors in the industry perform for some of the largest Production and National builders in the residential construction industry. This project can best be described as the structural part only. Because of the ability of purchasing power on both the material and labor side many contractors opt for one subcontractor, or in a homeowners case, Leading Edge Builders, to form and place the slab, lay block or frame the exterior and interior walls, provide and install the cell fill in masonry walls, provide and install the trusses and decking, and do a asphalt paper dry-in. In this scenario the homeowner would provide the other subcontractors that need to go into the structure at that point. Some of which include but are not limited to the termite and subsurface treatment company, underground plumbing and electric, which Leading Edge Builders would coordinate to bring the home into what is considered a dry-in. Please note, an asphalt dry-in is rarely a complete dry-in as the valleys and flashing are installed by a licensed roofer, and subsequently would need to be scheduled closely by the homeowner. Leading Edge Builders can do this more profitably than many homeowners because of the purchasing power and scheduling, proper takeoffs, and coordination of inspections and payments including lien releases at which time the shell would be handed over.
Level 2 Shell
Some Construction Experience and Code Knowledge is Necessary
A Level 2 Shell is probably what most homeowners think is a position that they can put the home into and it can wait for them to coordinate trades and suppliers at a future date. This is a shell that Leading Edge Builders would hire and coordinate all the subcontractors from a level one shell plus getting a true dry-in. That means installing exterior doors and windows, completing the roof, coordinating the roof so the roof will not need to be penetrated again, completing the façade (stucco, siding, etc.), painting, and installing the soffits. This shell is now complete on the outside and can generally sit in this position for quite some time while the homeowner begins construction on the interior finishes. Please Note: With the humidity levels in Florida a home that is not yet insulated or have an air conditioning system installed and operating is always a potential hazard with no air circulation.
Level 3 Shell
A complete structure and partial systems –
Ready for a seasoned do-it-yourselfer
A Level 3 Shell is a complete structure ready for someone who can handle installation of the drywall, tile, paint, cabinets and trim. They will also need to be able to complete the landscaping, sod, irrigation, and other exterior finish applications. The homeowner will need to be able to hire subcontractors to “trim” the systems after drywall. That includes trimming the electric, readying the electric for inspection. Installing and or hooking up plumbing faucets, and trimming the air conditioning vents and returns. Your knowledge of code is not quite as necessary, if you are hiring seasoned subcontractors many of them will want to be present during inspections.
Level 4 Shell
Almost complete, ready for someone who wants to handle the finish items
A Level 4 Shell, or truly in this case a home, is at a point in which the home is almost complete. It would likely be missing only the most common projects homeowners have handled previously, like in a remodel that the owner has coordinated on their own. It is livable, perhaps missing flooring, interior paint, possibly some moldings, and small other finish items. At this point many homeowners might just opt to have Leading Edge Builders complete the home and coordinate them or their subcontractors or friends that want to help on some particular items. You need very little knowledge of code, as it will be for the most part complete (please note certain Building and Growth Departments require certain things to obtain a certificate of occupancy, like appliances for instance, so some inspections may have to be called at a later date.) You do however need a keen eye and have a good level of finishing techniques. If you are just a seasoned HGTV viewer, or took a tile installation class at your local home depot, this is the level in which you would want the home to be brought up to.
Leading Edge Builders recognizes that many homeowners like to put sweat equity in their home and do not discourage homeowners from trying to gain the equity in their home. The level of time and expertise needed by the homeowners decreases with each level of shell building. We would highly suggest having been in the construction industry if you are going to attempt either of the first two levels of shell building. The number one mistake made is not miss-judging your level of expertise, most homeowners recognize this as a disaster in waiting, but misjudging the time it takes to complete homes.
Although you may see homes built in 4 months by a General Contractor, there are literally thousands of hours put into the home by various subcontractors and perhaps a hundred or more tradesman. When you divide those hours by one or two people, and factor in when you can actually perform the work, after all most homeowners have full-time jobs, the house can drag on for years. So please consider your time, and if you are financing the home, the money you might lose paying interest for many more months when considering adding a time-consuming scope of work from one shell level to the other. As a custom builder, you can choose a shell level and have some things added or deleted to meet your needs. We are willing to work with you to get you into your new home no matter what level or expertise you may have in building a home. Let’s get Building!