Shell & Core

"Shell and Core” is a method where a building is constructed in its most basic form, also known as "Base Build"

Shell & Core

“Shell and Core” is a method where a building is constructed in its most basic form, also known as "Base Build". This approach takes the space to its most primitive condition – a blank canvas for tenants to create a space tailored to meet their particular needs.

Shell and Core includes the core and exterior elements of a building (shell), while interior fit-out works are left to the occupier and their fit-out partner.


Shell and core method is commonly used for buildings that are usually occupied by multiple tenants. This approach best suits commercial buildings with businesses that have bespoke layout or design requirements, which makes it almost impossible for landlords to predict their needs. It is more cost & time-effective to leave the space empty until a tenant moves in.

Both owners and occupiers benefit from this approach:

  • Owners Offer Flexible Spaces, Which Enables Occupiers To Craft The Space To Fit Their Own Needs.
  • Tenants Can Have Fully Customized Spaces Without Having To Develop A Full Building.
  • Construction Process Becomes Faster, While Reducing Costs And Waste As Alterations Of Landlord Installations And Fittings Is Now Avoided.
  • Energy Efficient Elements And Common Utilities Can Be Built Into The Project, Offering Their Benefits To All Tenants.

Shell and Core originated in USA. Before this technique was developed, landlords offered buildings with complete fit-out services that was often unsuitable for tenants needs. Consequently, landlords used to waste large amounts of time and money fitting tenant spaces, which often required modifications.


Shell and Core consists of the main structural elements of a building, including walls, openings and windowsills. Main electrical and mechanical utilities are often in place, ready for a tenant to connect to. Basically, developers create the main structure (shell) and tenants are responsible to customize the space to meet their own demands.

Shell and Core provisions usually are:

  • Building Skeleton, Foundation And Structural Elements
  • Communal Areas, Such As Lobbies, Receptions, Staircases, Toilets, Elevators, Basements, Parking Lots, And Loading Bays.
  • Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Detection, And Security Systems
  • Building Envelope, Including Insulation, External Walls, Cladding, Glazing, And Roofs
  • Landscape (Softscape And Hardscape) Including Plantations, Pavement, Pathways, Fencing, And Boundary Walls
  • Signage And Statutory Requirements
  • Fire Barriers

There is no standard that defines which elements must be provided by the developer in a core and shell project. Therefore, scope of Shell and Core is best determined in the lease agreement and having meetings to clear any doubts before signing.