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  • Writer's pictureHannah Skidmore, MBA

Manufactured Animal Enclosures Vs. Contractor Built Enclosures

Which is best?

The decision between selecting manufactured animal enclosures or contractor-built animal enclosures is a big decision for animal shelters and boarding kennels.  There are strong opinions on each side of the argument. With DLI’s 30+ years of experience in animal facility design, we have gained extensive knowledge for both types of enclosures.


Below are the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Manufactured Animal Enclosures

Manufactured Animal Enclosures include prefabricated cages & dog runs that are either shipped to site ready to go or are assembled and installed on site. Companies like Midmark, Tristar, and Snyder provide this type of enclosure.


  • Time tested designs and materials that have a know durability particularly with accelerated hydrogen peroxide

  • Allows for simpler construction of the room in which the enclosures will be installed because the contractor is creating one large open room with a slope and drains rather than individual slopes for each enclosure.

  • Warranty on broken parts and pieces 

  • Many different design and size options and features

  • Allows for greater flexibility within the room for potential changes in the future


  • Less customization than a contractor built enclosure

  • Often long lead times for procurement and installation

  • May not be as aesthetically appealing as a contractor built enclosure

Contractor-Built Animal Enclosures

Contractor-Built Animal Enclosures include any type of animal enclosure in which a contractor creates the enclosure with selected materials such as cement blocks, wall partitions, and any other materials to create divisions between the animals.


  • Increased customization opportunities with materials, colors, etc.

  • Different shape options for enclosures


  • Many materials that may be used are not actually appropriate for animal enclosures and may allow water through them into the substrate which can lead to mold and rot. Many materials cannot withstand accelerated hydrogen peroxide which is a very common cleaning chemical in animal care facilities.

  • Less flexibility in the future. Built kennels do not allow for easy changes to the space for potential changes to the space in the future.

  • No warranties on the enclosures themselves

Discuss Animal Enclosures for Your Facility

Overall, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of enclosure. At DLI, we typically recommend manufactured enclosures, but we have multiple projects in which the client elected to use contractor-built enclosures. Whichever you choose, we want to be able to provide you with as much information as we can for either. Call us at 860-889-7078 or schedule a consultation online to discuss your project and see how we can bring value to your decision-making process throughout design.

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