A Specialized Niche
Shell systems by National Shell Contractors support crucial developments in South Florida communities
Finishing touches such as granite and shiplap get a lot of attention, especially on home improvement TV shows dealing with renovations.
But in new construction, it’s what you can’t always see—the foundation beneath that stone flooring or the masonry behind that interior siding—that can be overlooked, yet is imperative to a structure’s integrity. You can’t have detailed finish work without these solid, quality beginnings in place, after all.
National Shell Contractors’ mission is to get its clients’ projects—and the projects of the general contractors it partners with—off to a timely, organized start. The company provides quality construction shells, giving both commercial and residential clients not only the components that make up the basic skeleton of a building, but the streamlined labor, service and project management to get them installed correctly and on schedule.
“It’s a specialized niche,” says Richard Weissman, a Partner at the company based in Deerfield Beach, Florida. “Our goal is to understand the client’s goals, provide them with a full range of services and be a one-stop shop for them, then exit quickly, keeping work on track and making way for the next phases of buildout or interior construction, depending on that client’s needs.”
The company was formed in January 2019, with its leadership bringing over 30 years of combined construction industry experience to the venture.
Since its founding, business has been booming, and according to Weissman is evidence that this more systematic approach to the beginnings of buildings is resonating in the marketplace. Quality customer service is possible, he says, even with projects handled in segments, such as it is with a construction shell system.
Brian Sabine, National Shell Contractors’ Vice President, says clients appreciate having one point of reference for the many details involved in getting their construction projects off the ground. “Especially when it comes to scheduling, they prefer to deal with one company,” he adds.
Shell construction not only has benefits for the client, but also for the general contractor overseeing the project in terms of efficiency. Having responsibility for a building’s shell as a complete package means National Shell Contractors can offer more flexibility, as well, says Partner and President Charles Marchitello Jr.
“We’re able to take on additional components, or if the general contractor’s schedule gets moved up, we can make allowances for that, too,” Marchitello says. Some of National Shell Contractors’ other service offerings include additions, renovations, sidewalks, driveways, concrete stairs, steel stairs, pool decks and roof carpentry, all of which help transform a client’s design vision into reality.
National Shell Contractors plays a valuable role in erecting structures crucial to the South Florida community.
The over-55 gated residential community of Century Village in Pembroke Pines, for example, is a National Shell Contractors’ client, with the company providing shells for new guardhouses on the property. Individual residences, such as a custom home at 444 Coconut Isle Drive in Fort Lauderdale, are also key in the company’s portfolio. Construction shells can also be used to build places like grocery stores and dental offices—locations that round out the places in which we live and work.
The company is especially proud, though, to help organizations like nonprofits and educational facilities, such as Jack & Jill Children’s Center and Cardinal Gibbons High School, both of Fort Lauderdale, meet their goals. Recent new-building projects at both campuses started out with shells from National Shell Contractors, says Marchitello.
“It is empowering and inspiring to work with the local community and be part of something bigger,” he says.
Jack & Jill Children’s Center is adding a two-story, $11 million building, the Madelaine Halmos Academy, which will allow the nonprofit to provide early education for another 200-plus families in need.
Cardinal Gibbons High School is also adding a two-story building to its campus, with a $4 million price tag. Dubbed the Phil Smith Family Building, it will provide space for students to focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) subjects, with a new engineering lab, a TV editing and production studio and a choral room.
“These projects will make an impact on our community. The finished product will provide places for thousands of students to be educated, hundreds of educators to be employed and allow parents to have a trusted place where their children can grow,” Marchitello says.
“We enjoy being a part of that,” Sabine adds.
Community is an ethos that is also close to home at National Shell Contractors.
Marchitello adds that the internal community at National Shell Contractors—its team members—are a priority in terms of safety. Ensuring safe working conditions with practices such as regular equipment and device maintenance is of utmost importance, he says, to prevent injuries and be sure workers get home safely to their families each day.
Legacy of Service
Just as there are structurally sound, unseen elements in buildings, there are supports within communities, working behind the scenes to get common goals accomplished. The team at National Shell Contractors not only provides physical foundations—its leaders are active changemakers within the community as well.
Weissman is a Co-Founder of The Learning Experience, an early education franchise serving more than 25,000 children in over 300 locations. He became Chairman and CEO in 2014.
Weissman is also part of the leadership for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, which grants wishes to children being treated for critical illnesses. A longtime board member, he became Chairman this past January. The average cost of fulfilling a child’s wish in southern Florida varies by region, ranging from $5,000 to $8,000.
Marchitello, meanwhile, is President of Boca Raton-based nonprofit PROPEL, which stands for People Reaching Out to Provide Education and Leadership.
The group partners with Title 1 schools to identify middle and high schoolers who would benefit from after-school programming that includes: transportation from school to home; tutoring and homework help; leadership-building curriculum; and helping to prepare and serve an evening meal.
Weissman is also involved in PROPEL, as a member of its board of directors.
National Shell Contractors’ leadership encourages all employees to get involved with the community as the company does its part to help nurture the next generation of local leaders.
Although a newer company, National Shell Contractors’ commitment to its community is firmly rooted, as is the collective industry experience its leadership brings to the business.
The company has a goal to continue building not only structures, but also relationships with local general contractors in a way that positively impacts the community as a whole. This, in turn, allows National Shell Contractors to perform a wide range of work, everything from small additions or buildouts to multistory buildings and lifestyle centers, says Weissman. The company will continue to invest in maintaining existing relationships as well.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Weissman says jobs have been coming in at a steady pace. “For the construction industry as a whole, the leading indicators have shown that recovery will be relatively quick,” he adds. “We have not seen any letup in the signing of contracts. We should be the first to see some sensitivity, as a new company. But we must be in the right place, at the right time.”
The company has booked more projects than anticipated for this year, he adds, with a backlog of jobs established for 2021. It continues to hire office and field personnel to keep pace with demand from both new and returning clients.
“We expect 2021 will be huge,” Weissman says.