Panel Built is a manufacturer of custom modular and pre-assembled buildings as well as raised steel mezzanines and ballistic steel security booths. From its headquarters in Blairsville, Georgia the company serves commercial, industrial, and military customers throughout the world.
Panel Built was established in 1995 by brothers Mike and Pat Kiernan. Their father had spent his career manufacturing modular buildings, and they learned about the industry through him. The company began with a small team of three people and a focus on pre-assembled modular structures. These are buildings made up of components that can be easily assembled at low cost, eliminating many of the challenges associated with the traditional construction process. They can be installed very quickly and with minimal interruption to the customer’s workflow.
As the company grew, it began to expand its product range. First, it added a steel division for building mezzanines, a product that is popular with customers that depend on expansive floor space. These raised platforms become an inexpensive second floor that can free room for storage or office space below and can reduce clutter making for a safer work environment. The introduction of these products enabled to Panel Built to access new markets and to meet more of the needs of its customers.
Four years ago, the company began investing in its capacity to serve more military and security applications. Previously, it had provided its standard pre-assembled exterior buildings to American military bases around the world, but in 2014, it added a number of products suited for environments that are either under some level of potential threat or otherwise require extra safety and durability. This new line includes welded steel and ballistic-rated structures.
Since adding these new products, the company has seen major growth. In 2015, it employed roughly sixty people. Today, it has had to more than double its workforce to 130 employees across four manufacturing facilities to manage its growth.
Panel Built’s ballistic-rated guard houses and security booths are made of carbon steel or stainless steel and are designed to meet globally-recognized bullet proofing standards set by the National Institute of Justice and the Underwriters Laboratory. These structures are pre-built, come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be lifted and installed by crane. They are bulletproof, water-proof, lightning-proof, and come equipped with public address speakers and a built-in security system. By offering these products, Panel Built has been able to work with U.S. military bases within the United States and abroad.
The products are designed with unmatched strength and durability. In 2017, catastrophic, category five Hurricane Irma caused devastation in Cuba, resulting in more than $500 million in damage to more than 158,000 homes throughout the country, one Panel Built customer was surprised to find his security booth unscathed. “The person that owned it said that the guardhouse survived like you’d never even know there was a storm,” says Satterfield. “There were trees down everywhere, but the next day they opened the guard house, and it was working as it was the day before.”
Panel Built’s catalogue contains products for a wide range of applications. For customers who are looking to add office space within a facility quickly, the company offers a quick ship modular office solution. This product is an enclosed office starting from eight by eight feet but available in larger footprints. It ships in two days and can be assembled on site in half the time of the conventional construction process. If a customer is in need of a rapid office space expansion, this product provides an ideal solution.
These interior modular office buildings are available at much larger sizes, including multi-storey options. With traditional construction processes, when a large expansion is required, substantial downtime is expected. With Panel Built’s modular structures, this downtime can often be cut by as much as seventy percent. The customer saves money because the materials are less expensive and because the labor takes less time and the interruption is less.
For industries that require filtered air, such as those involved in biological and chemical research or manufacturing precision components, Panel Built provides modular cleanrooms. These buildings come equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) and ultra-low particulate air (ULPA) filters that can significantly reduce the amount of dust and particulate debris inside the space. The company can provide positive-pressure cleanrooms designed to keep particles out, and negative-pressure cleanrooms designed to keep contaminants inside. These products offer customers a reliable means of meeting all cleanroom related rules and regulations.
Panel Built also offers fire resistant wall paneling for applications that require it. This product has been certified by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) and is rated to contain and resist the spread of fire for at least one hour. For customers that require fire resistant paneling, but the one hour rating is not necessary Panel Built provides a suitable hybrid product.
The company also offers accessory products including steel ladders, stairs, and safety rails. These are designed to the customer’s unique specifications and then fabricated and powder-coated in Panel Built’s facilities to meet the high-quality standards the company sets for all of its products.
For more than two decades, the company has worked to provide customers with the highest class of service and products. As a result, growth has been continual. “One of our biggest challenges is that we’re outgrowing the space we have,” says Marketing Manager Elizabeth Satterfield. “We’ve been expanding our capacity to fit all of our people and our products.”
As a family-owned company, family values are central its culture. “Panel really is a family business because of how close everyone is,” says Satterfield. “I’ve had salespeople come in here and say that it’s probably the happiest company they’ve ever been to because of how friendly everyone is. We like to keep up with all the employees, always checking in with everybody. We have a lot of events like cookouts and bowling parties. It’s just a really tight group.”
A component of Panel Built’s success is that this culture lends itself to teamwork and an engaged workforce in which everyone is invested in each other’s success and the success of the company as a whole. “There are a lot of good people in our leadership. They want the company to succeed, and they want their employees to succeed. We have leadership and strength training not only for office employees, but for the warehouse people as well. The leadership puts a lot of effort into growing people,” says Satterfield.
This culture extends beyond the Panel Built team and into the business relationships it has developed throughout the course of its lifetime. The company is committed to providing the best possible value to customers through superior workmanship, reliable service, and innovative solutions. Turnaround times are among the shortest in the industry, and the company stands behind its products with a dependable warranty service. These are some of the ways that Panel Built has been able to differentiate itself in the market, but its greatest value is the outstanding quality and dependability of its products.