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METAL CONSTRUCTION NEWS | Modular Homes Deliver Affordability, Sustainability and Good Design


The tiny home market is growing by leaps and bounds, and a key driver in its success is its affordability. According to Technavio's report, “Tiny Homes Market by Application, Product, and Geography—Forecast and Analysis 2022-2026,” the tiny homes market share is expected to increase to $3.57 billion from 2021 to 2026. During that time, the market’s growth momentum will accelerate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.45%. With more people interested in downsizing or even being able to purchase a home, now may be the time to consider taking advantage of this evolving market. Here’s how one company is approaching it.


Liv-Connected was founded in 2019 by Jordan Rogove, partner of the New York City architecture firm DXA Studio, and his father, Dr. Herb Rogove, DO, FACP, FATA, and founder of Ojai, Calif.-based C3O Telemedicine, one of the country’s first clinical providers of stroke and neurocritical care virtual services. The company is committed to the mission of providing an accessible, equitable housing solution in a market that is inaccessible for many by looking to redefine the housing market through its approach to modular construction, which leverages thoughtful design and quality, factory construction.


A Unique Focus

Within a few years of getting started, the company brought on Joe Wheeler, a Virginia Tech professor and leader of the FutureHAUS concept, and Wayne Norbeck, partner at DXA studio, to form a team of experienced architects and health care professionals.


By bringing unique voices to the conversation around traditional home construction, Jordan Rogove says Liv Connected created methods and processes that put homeowners’ well-being first. “This includes a unique focus on incorporating health-related tech into homes, providing owners with secure, private and convenient care for preventative and urgent medical needs.”


The concept started with the development of health-focused amenities for multifamily housing. “We spent three years researching and developing these new housing technologies with medical integrations, and we focused on modular component fabrication as a way to deliver these technologies to new and existing buildings,” explains Norbeck. “This research linked us up with an opportunity to answer a call for design submissions for disaster-relief housing. We ultimately produced a solution that could answer many of the challenges of the homebuilding market including material and labor shortages and limited housing inventory.


Health-Related Tech

Tapping into Dr. Rogove’s experience in telemedicine, Jordan Rogove says they began to think of ways to incorporate health-related tech into homes. This is done in a way that owners have secure, private and convenient care for preventive and urgent medial needs within the privacy and comfort of their home.

Working alongside partners, the company is aiming to incorporate and develop health care technologies such as:

  • Air quality controls in the home to provide the best air quality, specifically for those with respiratory diseases.

  • Sensors that deliver real-time monitoring on fall detection, time in bed, etc.

  • Consumer wearables that monitor activity and various digital biomarkers of health.

  • Connected biometric sensors that track vitals including oxygen saturation and help patients to self-monitor.

  • Optimized lighting controls to aid with sleep cycles.

  • Smart mirrors that display medication and appointment reminders, vital signs and care trackers.

  • Hospital at Home programs that support care of those recently discharged to recover at home.

  • Balance support integrated throughout the home to support those using devices to assist with walking.

“Other upgrades will include recycled materials, solar and off-the-grid package, and efficient fixtures and appliances, creating a home that is intrinsically sustainable,” says Jordan Rogove.


Connected Modules

According to Norbeck, the company developed the Component Linked Construction (CLiC) system in which modules of the home are built precisely and efficiently in a factory. This protects the home from weather and other challenges of typical stick-built construction. It also allows them to control construction waste and environmental impact.

Built from a pre-made set of components, the homes can be quickly assembled in multiple configurations. This allows for houses of varying scale and dimensions. Additionally, the components are multipurpose pieces that provide structural stability and get shipped with all the finishes, fixtures, plumbing, HVAC and electrical components already installed.

The homes are made of framer series lumber with integrated insulation and MEP systems. Zip sheathing creates a weathertight, monolithic exterior design. Vertically oriented standing seam metal siding and roofing are attached to the modules, except at the seams between the components. Once assembled on-site, the missing pans of metal are added at the joints and capped with a standing seam cap piece, resulting in a seamless appearance to the overall building. Once the roof is in place, steel cables and struts are used to support the roof’s lateral load, ensuring the pieces don’t get displaced over time and increasing wind load capacity.


Once on-site, assembly can happen in a matter of hours with the use of a crane or telehandler. The overall time from order to move in happens within weeks instead of months typically required for conventional construction.


Adaptation

Liv-Connected currently has its Conexus Home and Conexus Home+, as well as its Via Homes. The Conexus Home and Conexus Home+ are built with cartridges and flat-packed components that standardize the process of manufacturing and shipping, while allowing the pieces to be assembled in a variety of ways. The Conexus homes are shipped on a single flat-bed truck trailer to the site, where Liv-Connected’s installation team can install the home, or work with a homeowner’s chosen contractor. Each home comes with installation instructions, and typically need a crane or tele-handler to assemble the home. Homes can be put together within hours, and are ready for move in.


The company’s Via Homes apply the same design concept as Conexus but are structured for people who want to remain more mobile. The homes have wheels and a built-in tow hitch, allowing homeowners to transport the unit to any desired location and easily pack it up when it’s time to move on to new sights. Via homes are available in 24-foot to 40-foot lengths.


One of the advantages to the CLiC system is that it allows Liv-Connected homes to adapt and support a family’s changing needs. Norbeck explains, using the example of a young couple who buys a home with two bedrooms. “In traditional homebuilding, they would then have to move to a bigger house when their family expands, or when aging parents join the household. In this case, they can simply add units to the home, just like LEGO blocks to adjust to their changing needs.”


The houses’ contemporary style comes from a desire to keep the design as straight-forward as possible, while also keeping an eye on the economy with reduction of excess detail. “This led to a design solution that is honest in how it is made, while being refined and forward-thinking, and that is what we’ve been focused on to date,” explains Norbeck. “As we evolve, we are including more material and finish options and even have our website configured such that one can select their material palette as if they were buying a car.”


“A house should be more than a place to live,” adds Jordan Rogove. “It should improve lives while delivering affordability, sustainability, and good design. A home should grow with a family and continue to meet changing needs, year after year. That is what we set out to achieve."

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