Phone :
+1 207.640.6300
Address :
137 High Street, Belfast, ME 04915
Email :


The Shelter process centers on a collaboration that includes you, the Shelter team, your local civil engineer, and your local general contractor. You provide the site, the inspiration, and the basic building layout. 

The Shelter design team can assist  in the site planning process; in some locations you will need to work with a local civil engineer or local architect who will assist in gathering site data, help document the location of the building on the site plan, and conduct a local code and zoning review. Shelter will manufacture and deliver the prefabricated building shell package to the site and install it on your foundation. Your local contractor will supply hands-on coordination, local expertise and subcontractor coordination for the site work, utilities, foundation, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and the finishing touches. The result is the sophistication of high-end urban architecture with a remarkably fast and painless process—wherever you are.

As a team, in collaboration with you, we will work to realize your vision.


The Shelter process begins with your individual house site, and assumes that you own the land where you plan to build. When you contact us, we’ll ask you to provide a site or boundary survey or other site information including a google maps link and photos, which we’ll use to get to know your site, in order to understand how best to deliver one of our shell packages to your property.


Shelter by OPAL simplifies the process of building a new home by handling the basic module design and product selection in advance. Choose one or more of the modules that meet your needs and configure them on your site plan to suit the way you envision living on your site, and send them to us.


A Shelter designer will review your initial layout with you and provide further input—from fine tuning the location or orientation of a single unit to more in-depth adjustments—to align your Shelter design with your vision for it and the site. Once the basic modules and rough layout are confirmed, we’ll move onto the next step.


Or, if you prefer, just sit back and let us do the work. If you provide us your site, plan, ideas, and vision, our sister company OPAL Architecture would be pleased to provide custom architectural services for the design of your home.


Based on your preliminary Shelter design layout and your site’s characteristics, we’ll develop a preliminary cost estimate that covers planning, manufacturing and installation of the building shell, and the site work, foundations and finish work that will be executed by your local general contractor. Our preliminary estimate will reflect our experience with buildings of similar scale and complexity in your area.


We will review the estimate with you to ensure that the proposed project is a good fit for your budget and make adjustments to the assumptions as required before we proceed with generating a proposal for the project.


We will provide you with a complete proposal for delivering Shelter’s scope of the project, including a project schedule and cost estimate for the manufacture and delivery of the building shell. 


We will also prepare an estimate for the scope of work that will be performed by your local contractor—that will cover everything from groundbreaking to the completion of your house.


Once approved, we will request a down payment to proceed with the process.


Once the proposal is signed, the Shelter team will begin preparing the documentation for construction including the foundation drawings, shell package details and finish selections. 


In some locations you will be required to retain, at your own cost, a local civil engineer to coordinate a site survey (if required), draw the site plan to ensure that the new house complies with local zoning and setbacks, check requirements for site access, stormwater management, and wastewater management; and any other regulations that govern land use and site alterations. If your site does not have access to a public sewer, you will need to retain a civil engineer or septic system designer to design an on-site waste disposal system.


With the documentation and feedback from the local civil engineer, the Shelter design team will generate a complete set of construction documents  that the OPAL/BUILD team and your local contractor will use to provide final pricing for their scope of work.


Shelter will provide fixed pricing for the construction and installation of the prefabricated building shell, including the kitchen and bathroom modules.


Your local builder, acting as the general contractor, will provide you with pricing for the site-built portions of the project, including coordinating the site preparation and excavation for the foundation, coordination of subcontractor work and the installation of Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP), and interior and exterior finishes after we deliver and assemble the building shell.


Taken together, these two contracts  will constitute the total construction cost for your house.


If you plan to finance your Shelter structure, the construction documents and pricing will likely provide all the information your lender requires to develop a financing package. For further details on construction financing, contact your local lending institution.


Shelter by OPAL will provide documents to support your application for all necessary building permits. Depending on location, Shelter or your local civil engineer and general contractor will assist you in obtaining the building permit.


Once you sign off on the fixed price construction estimate, the project will proceed to construction. The remainder of the Shelter contract amount will be billed in installments through the process: a 50% down payment on the construction costs agreed to in the contract, a 40% payment when the prefabricated building package is ready for delivery, and a final 10% payment when the building shell installation is complete. 


You will also have a ‘GC contract’ with your local general contractor, who will provide their own contract payment terms and schedule. 


When all the necessary approvals have been obtained, construction begins! We will coordinate the key components of the building shell, coordinate delivery with your local contractor when site preparation is complete, and assemble the panels on site to create an insulated, dried-in building shell, ready for finishes provided by your local contractor. 


After the building shell is installed and made weather tight, Shelter will provide construction administration services for the duration of construction process, including answering contractor questions and reviewing shop drawings and submittals to ensure the project is completed as planned.




After the building shell is installed and made weather tight, Shelter will provide construction administration services for the duration of the construction process, including answering contractor questions and reviewing shop drawings and submittals to ensure the project is completed as planned.


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