5 Keys of White Box Construction to Attract a Franchise

5 Keys of White Box Construction to Attract a Franchise

Construction DesignWorks, Inc. Specializes in Franchise Construction

KANSAS CITY, MO- Are you a commercial real estate broker, building owner, or property manager? Then you probably like the idea of a franchise as a tenant. “A franchise brings a proven track record and increases traffic to your retail center,” says Scott Hamele, President of Construction DesignWorks, Inc. a firm that excels in franchise construction, “There are simple things that can be done to attract a franchise to your building.”

Electrical Supply

During the construction process of the white box construction, it would be prudent to increase the electrical service to meet the potential minimum standards of a future franchise. Most retail franchise tenants would be satisfied with 100 amp for every 1000 square feet. However, coffee shops and tanning salons are among several types of businesses that may require as much as 200 – 400 amps for 1000 square feet of floor space. This increase in amperage would also provide the electrical demand for additional air conditioning for these types of businesses.

Water Supply

Water main tap fees vary throughout the United States and can dissuade a building owner from installing a very large water main. However, this could be detrimental to attracting potential franchises. Even a doughnut shop can require up to a 1-1/4” water main. This could double the tap fee of a 1”, but might be worth it.

5 Keys of White Box Construction to Attract a Franchise

Sanitary Sewer

Most retail centers include only one sanitary sewer line that runs along with the back 25% of the building. Numerous franchise floor plans require restrooms to be located towards the front of the space. So it might be worth installing a second sewer line in your white box finish that would cover this portion of the front space and avoid costly line extensions in the future.

Grease Trap

Most foodservice businesses require a grease trap. Depending on the lot layout and rear and side access to the building, installing the grease trap and tank after the building has been constructed poses numerous challenges. Installing a community or individual grease trap or tank could double the likelihood of attracting a food service franchise.

Gas Service

Most food service franchises require additional gas service versus the typical retail store. Providing adequate gas service is important to accommodate this type of tenant. Either a larger volume or high-pressure gas service will be required. Do your research ahead of time and install for the future needs of foodservice tenants.

Franchise Construction requires a specialized type of project management. These specialized services include experience working with franchise construction standards, furniture fixtures and equipment (FFE) packages, schedules, procurement, and countless details that are specific to franchise projects. Click here to read about How fixing outdoor tiles can help and affect your children.

Commercial Tenant Improvements (T.I.) 

Commercial Tenant Improvements (T.I.) 

Commercial Tenant Improvements (T.I.) also known as tenant finish, is the heart and soul of our business.  Our team has specialized in tenant improvements and finishes for over 19 years. We have worked closely with tenants, landlords, investors, and commercial real estate brokers.

While there are different types of interior commercial improvements, we have separated them into three distinct categories: Interior Improvements (II)Landlord Improvements (LI), and Tenant Improvements (TI).

Definitions of Interior Commercial Improvements

Interior Improvements (II):

Modifications of a commercial space made by either the building owner or tenant. Interior improvements are the customized and/or standardized alterations a building owner and/or tenant makes to commercial space prior to a lease or as part of a lease agreement. These include changes to walls, floors, ceilings, and lighting, among others.

Landlord Improvements (LI):

Modifications of a commercial space made by the building owner prior to tenant improvements. Landlord improvements, also known as white-box improvements, are the standardized alterations a building owner makes to commercial space prior to a lease agreement, in order to configure the space for a quick turnover to a tenant for Tenant Improvements. These include changes to walls, floors, ceilings, and lighting, among others.

Tenant Improvements (TI):

Modifications of commercial space are made by either the building owner or tenant in order to configure the space to accommodate the specific requirements of the tenant. Leasehold improvements, also known as tenant improvements (TI), are the customized alterations a building owner makes to commercial space as part of a lease agreement, in order to configure the space for the needs of that particular tenant. These include changes to walls, floors, ceilings, and lighting, among others.

There are several synonymous terms for Tenant Improvements that are used within the real estate and construction industry. The use of these terms is not necessarily interchangeable and can be confusing if not used properly. These terms include Tenant Finish, Leasehold Improvements, the initial’s (TI), Commercial Construction, Interior Improvements, Construction Improvements as well as Commercial Remodeling. The most used term in the industry is Tenant Improvements (TI). The definition of TI can vary slightly as viewed from different Industries.

What is a White Box Construction Finish?

What is a White Box Construction Finish?

Ambiguous Construction Terms Finally Defined

In the world of construction, the term “white box” is often used by real estate brokers and landlords to define the level of finish a space has prior to a tenant’s office remodel or tenant finish. However, it is an imprecise term. The white box is often synonymous with vanilla shell, lit shell, plain vanilla shell, plain vanilla box, warm vanilla shell, warm vanilla box, warm white box, and warm white shell.

White box is a term used for a type of finish in commercial real estate with an unfinished interior and does NOT include: interior walls (other than code required restrooms), wall coverings, paint, flooring, plumbing fixtures (other than code required restrooms and drinking fountains), upgraded electrical fixtures, and upgraded code required restroom fixtures. A white box–build out is ready for tenant improvements (TI’s), which are to be completed once the lease agreement has been negotiated and executed.

It includes a space that is protected from the outside elements which typically includes a roof, exterior windows, and doors. Also included is a basic finished ceiling, concrete floor sufficient for most flooring, basic heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), basic lighting, hot water, adequate access by way of an elevator or stairs, and if required by code fire protection, restrooms, and drinking fountain.

What is a White Box Construction Finish?

This particular form of construction is for commercial owners who need to quickly incorporate a new tenant into their property. It is typically an interior space that is minimally finished. The idea is that the next tenant will be presented with a shell space that they can quickly convert into virtually anything.

Though the finished project may seem like the bare minimum, the process required to achieve this state is far from it. All components of the space must be up to code and ready for a new interior tenant build-out. Typically a building permit and other licenses are required, depending upon the jurisdiction of the space.

In many cases, the landlord will offer financial incentives in the form of a tenant improvement allowance (TIA), which pays for or at least partially defrays the cost of any improvements necessary for the tenant to occupy the building itself. Tenant improvement allowances do not usually include furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE) or trade fixtures necessary for the tenant to conduct business.

Usually, white box finishes, or those improvements necessary to upgrade the building from a cold shell, are not completed until the lease agreement between the tenant and landlord has been negotiated and executed. This ensures that the landlord does not pay for improvements that are unnecessary or that the tenant does not want.

Construction services company in Kansas City

Construction services company in Kansas City

Construction DesignWorks is a self-performing general contractor

Is your general contractor a paper contractor or do they self-perform any of their services? A construction services company would typically be the latter. A ground-up services company typically would be providing 100% project management services which are closely defined as a paper contractor. General contractors that specialize in commercial tenant finish as well as building reconstruction services typically self-perform a portion of their work. Self-performing offers benefits such as lower costs, higher quality, and improved schedules. The general contractor has a much better labor force than a subcontractor.

Construction services companies that self-perform provide specialty services


Commercial metal stud framing is much different than wood studs you find in the residential construction industry. Not only are the materials different, but the installation techniques are very different. You normally do not see a crossover of commercial to residential framing because they are so different and are in their own different specialties.


Subcontracting drywall (gyp board) work has its advantages. It also has its pitfalls. Not much can go wrong during the hanging phase. Gyp board finishing is where the craftsmanship is most noticeable. Self-performing the gyp board finish can make or break the final product and help make the construction services company successful when delivered with a high degree of quality and attention to detail.

Finish Carpentry

Levels of finish carpentry vary greatly between carpenters, crews, and companies. While one finish carpenter might specialize in building cabinets, another might be an expert in hanging and trimming doors. Self-performing finish carpentry gives the construction services company a much larger range of products and options for clients and architects to choose from. A new brewery may require a highly customized bar top and front that a casework and cabinets company may not be able to produce.

Acoustical Ceiling

The ability to install your own acoustical ceiling tile (ACT) systems can be invaluable since this is completed toward the end of the project and needs to be coordinated with lighting, fire sprinklers, audio speakers, and HVAC supply registers. This coordination of different disciplines toward the end of the project can kill a schedule and prohibit the project from being turned over on time.

There are countless specialty areas a general contractor may self-perform in addition to these four areas. Fields of construction such as tile and flooring installation, insulation, data, low voltage, and painting all offer value and scheduling advantages to the project. The ability to self-perform may just be the deal maker or breaker; serious consideration should be made by the owner and architect when interviewing and evaluating a construction services company for a new project.

Commercial Construction Companies, Who is Right For You?

Commercial Construction Companies, Who is Right For You?

Construction DesignWorks, Inc. Specializes in Commercial Office Renovations

KANSAS CITY, MO- National construction projects databases such as CMD have developed categories to organize the numerous types of projects that are being constructed across the United States. It is important to note that each type of construction project typically requires a general contractor and design professional that specializes in each specific category.

“A business owner needing a commercial office renovation would be prudent to choose a contractor that specializes in that rather than a company that specializes in school auditoriums, “says Scott Hamele, President of Construction DesignWorks, Inc. “A contractor specializing in commercial office renovations would be abundantly more familiar with these types of tenant finish projects and those subcontractors specializing in that type of work and pricing for that size and type of project.”

When evaluating commercial construction companies, using the following categories or sectors in a search and interview process will assist in the selection. Selecting commercial construction companies and project management teams that specialize in a particular industry will result in competitive pricing as well as greater quality and a shorter design–construction schedule.

Commercial Construction Companies, Who is Right For You?

Commercial Construction

Automotive – Auto Dealerships, Auto Repair, Car Washes, Service and Gas Stations

Community Buildings – Auditoriums, Clubs, Community Centers, Convention Centers, Libraries, Museums

Educational – Boarding Schools, Cafeterias, Classrooms, College & Universities, Community Colleges, Day Care Centers, Dormitories, Elementary Schools, Fraternities & Sororities, Gymnasiums, High Schools, Junior High Schools, Preschools, School Auditoriums, School Laboratories, Special Schools, Vocational Training Centers

Electrical & Mechanical – Data Centers, Electrical Work, Machinery & Supplies, Power Lines, Power Stations, Substations

Entertainment – Aquarium, Broadcast Studios, Casinos, Concert Halls, Entertainment Complex, Movie Theaters, Playhouses, Television Production Studios, Zoos

Government – Courthouses, Fire Stations, Governmental Offices, Miscellaneous Government Buildings, Park Buildings, Police Stations, Post Offices, Prisons

Hotels & Motels – Hotels, Motels

Industrial – Hatcheries, Industrial Laboratories, Laboratories, Manufacturing Facilities, Oil Refineries

Medical – Assisted Living Facilities, Clinics, Hospitals, Mausoleums, Medical Offices, Nursing Homes, Outpatient Surgery Centers, Rehabilitation Centers

Military – Dormitories, Military Housing, Military Offices, Miscellaneous Military, Schools

Offices & Warehouses – Offices, Offices & Warehouses, Rental Warehouses, Warehouses

Religious – Chapels, Churches, Religious Auditoriums, Religious Classrooms

Residential – Apartments, Condominiums, Single Family Homes, Single Family Tract Homes, Townhomes

Restaurants – Bars & Taverns, Fast Food Restaurants, Sit Down Restaurants

Retail – Auto Parts Stores, Bank Branches, Coffeehouses, Convenience Stores, Crematoriums, Dry Cleaners, Fitness Centers, Florists and Nurseries, Funeral Homes, Individual Stores, Laundromats, Mixed Use, Opticians, Pet Stores, Pharmacies, Shopping Centers, Supermarkets

Sports – Arenas, Athletic Courts, Bowling Alleys, Recreation Centers, Skating Rinks, Swimming Pools

Transportation – Air Traffic Control Towers, Aircraft Hangars, Airport Terminals, Bus Stations, Parking Garages, Rail Stations, Transportation Terminals

Veterinary – Kennels, Veterinary Clinics, Veterinary Hospitals

Civil, Infrastructure and Landscaping

Civil – Airport Runways, Bridges & Culverts, Canals, Cemeteries, Dams, Demolition, Flood Control, Marine, Military Non-Building, Miscellaneous Civil, Pavement Markers, Railroads, Reservoirs, Retention Dams, Roads, Subways, Tanks, Tunnels

Sitework & Landscaping – Athletic Fields, Excavating & Grading, Fencing, Golf Courses, Parks & Landscaping, Sitework

Water and Sewer – Municipal Water and Wastewater Facilities, Sidewalks, Curbs & Gutters, Water and Sewage Piping

The informational list above is provided by Construction Market Data and can be found at cmdgroup.com.

Even though a client’s business may fall into more than one category in this list, using it to narrow down the search for an experienced contractor should be part of the process. The Design-Build delivery system offers the best value for the owner. Commercial construction companies make up 54% of Design-Build projects as the primary or single-point responsible party, according to Zweig White. Choosing a professional team that communicates well, meets your qualifications and provides client references in your sector, is the next step to ensuring a good fit.