Whenever a company is establishing or moving an office into a building, it must start somewhere. But different businesses can be very different from each other – so it’s hard to predict what a commercial tenant is going to desire for its office space. Obvious elements that will change between tenants can include different fixtures, furniture and trade-specific equipment. But even the types and placements of flooring, interior walls, wall paper or paint, restroom fixtures and custom ceiling elements can be dependent on a tenant company’s brand or industry specifics. Therefore these tenants expect to start with the fundamentals – or office white box building construction.
So what exactly is office white box building construction? A “white box” usually applies to a building’s interior space before an office tenant’s remodeling. It is the commercial building’s interior, unfinished, before construction of the office interior walls (except code required walls), paint, fixtures, finished floors, etc. A white box has a finished exterior with roof, working electricity, concrete floors and more. “White box” means the building or space is ready for tenant improvements (TIs) to be completed with the landlord and tenant are ready.
Don’t let appearances deceive – a lot of work is put into a ready white box – and it is often demanded with fast turnaround. Commercial landlords often want white boxes done asap in order to make their units available for new tenants right away. The tenant then can take the white box and quickly turn it into any of a range of personal office building construction requirements.
Despite a perception that a white box space is “unfinished,” there are still a lot of important requirements to complete the white box. These include meeting building permits and required licenses; roof and basic ceiling; HVAC; exterior walls; doors and windows; access or escape for elevator/stairs; restrooms and drinking fountain; hot water; basic lighting; and any other code requirements.
To make deals and obtain new office building tenants, often landlords may attempt to draw tenants in with a construction allowance for interior improvements and TIs. Typically these budgets are for construction (as opposed to furniture or specialized tenant industry equipment).
Basically, office white box building construction includes everything that goes into prepping an office building for the essentials prior to a tenant move-in, before the tenant completes the office space to their own specifications. A white box is not ready for the end company to conduct every day business, but it allows the tenant to finish the office space to their own specific criteria before opening for business.
Want more? Read about BuildRite’s preconstruction services.