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In-House Engineering Creates Better Shelters

October 4, 2023

By engineering Pallet shelters in-house, with feedback from people with lived experiences, we can react to market needs faster and design shelters that better meet the crisis at hand.

When our shelters provide the first steps out of homelessness for someone, we know they’re truly designed to meet that resident’s needs. That’s because at Pallet, we engineer our shelters in-house, and we base their designs on direct feedback from people with lived experiences. 

In-house engineering allows us to iterate and improve on our designs quickly. It also means we can react faster to shifting market needs, producing the best solution to the crisis at hand.  

In-house engineering keeps Pallet nimble 

Designing any product is a complex process. With an in-house team of engineers, Pallet’s design process stays nimble. We don’t lose time coordinating with teams overseas. 

At our headquarters in Everett, WA, our engineers bring expertise in aerospace, automotive and manufacturing engineering. They conduct everything from the engineering drawings to building the samples to testing them onsite. Owning each stage not only ensures we meet our high-quality standards, it also speeds up the design time and reduces costs. 

Because Pallet builds our shelters in-house, our engineers work closely with our manufacturing team. Together, they identify improvements through hands-on prototyping. The engineers can make immediate changes, seeing how subtle refinements impact their designs in real time.  

This efficiency means that when jurisdictions change their requirements for interim shelters or needs shift, Pallet can react by incorporating updated features in our products. We’re poised to respond to evolving needs. 

And yet, designing the right solutions doesn't start in the engineering room. It begins by listening closely to the many perspectives and lived experiences of real users. 

Designing around lived experiences creates better shelters 

As a fair chance employer, Pallet employs people from all walks of life, including those who have experienced homelessness. These teammates provide our engineers valuable insights that only someone who’s faced the realities of being unsheltered can understand. Even the smallest detail can help us improve the way our shelters support residents’ mental, physical, and personal safety needs. 

In addition to this close collaboration, our team gathers feedback on our shelters in the field. With thousands of Pallet shelters across the U.S., we see first-hand how well their livability and safety support different types of residents, from families to elderly people to those with jobs or pets.  

We also pay close attention to how well they hold up to environmental conditions. Pallet villages in various regions help us understand how to prolong their life in different climates.  

All this feedback back goes into the product. 

New S2 shelters maximize livability 

In November, Pallet will launch our newest line of safe, dignified, rapid-response shelters. Our S2 shelters represent many hours of feedback, iterations, testing, and dedication to delivering a better product.  

The line builds from our proven foundation of safe, dignified livability and provides an enhanced space to heal. Constructed of materials with increased fire ratings and better wind and snow ratings for storm-prone zones, they feature smooth interior walls for protection against rough edges, and standard safety components (an egress window, fire extinguisher, smoke and CO detectors). Their superior slab door frame hosts a composite door with a peephole and kick plate for safety.  

Throughout the shelter, patent-pending elements make it easier and faster to deploy. New materials boost insulation for better temperature efficiency. And freestanding furniture and easy-to-move shelving let residents customize their space to make it feel like home. 

We’re proud of the new S2 shelters and the teams and individuals who contributed to their design advancements. With engineering and manufacturing capabilities in-house, we can focus on developing quality solutions that provide the stepping stones to a better future.  

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