The emerging modular builder has designed a product that is attractive, affordable, and easily deployable.
Looking to solve some of the industry’s top pain points, including a nationwide shortage of affordable housing, lack of skilled labor, supply chain hiccups, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters, Liv-Connected was founded in 2019 by a team of entrepreneurs to change the way homes are built, purchased, and experienced.
Some of the company’s founding members, including Jordan Rogove, chief operating officer, and Wayne Norbeck, director of business and design strategy, are architects by trade, who also started New York City–based design firm DXA Studio. In addition to the architecture backgrounds, Dr. Herb Rogove, president and CEO, has years of experience in telemedicine and health care, and Joe Wheeler, chief innovation officer, brings expertise in modular building, smart home technology, and green innovation.
Ultimately, the team came together to design a housing product that could check all of the following boxes: attractive, affordable, sustainable, customizable, quickly manufactured, and easily deployable. Plus, with Dr. Rogove’s extensive medical background, the group also elected to integrate health care technology, allowing owners to have greater autonomy over their well-being from the comfort of home.
“We were developing health components for multifamily projects in the city. So it’d be a prefabricated module that would go in to these buildings or apartments as an amenity,” says Norbeck. “As we were developing that, we were asked by a group to participate in an RFP with the state of Texas for disaster relief housing, and that’s what really flipped the switch to going from these pieces that can be added to buildings within the city to developing a single-family home product.”
The two prototypes consist of the Conexus and Via, with the Conexus being the permanent or semipermanent solution shown here and the Via as a tiny home on wheels.
With these two offerings, the company is targeting a variety of buyers, including developers for branded home communities, government entities and nonprofits for disaster relief and affordable homes, and general consumers and vacationers for single-family homes with various layout configurations and customization options.
The initial idea was figuring out how to mimic the FEMA trailer, having the product remain within those dimensions for shipping purposes, but then be able to expand once on-site, according to Norbeck. “With this model, we can put one house on one trailer exactly like a FEMA trailer would be done, but you’re achieving a house with a lot more of a dignified design and, frankly, a home that people can live in as long as you would live in a normal house,” he says.
The Conexus product is offered in various floor plans ranging from one bedroom, one bath, and 500 square feet to three bedroom, two bath, and 1,450-plus square feet.
The one-bedroom home is 13 feet and 6 inches wide, which allows it to fit easily onto a single flatbed truck, and is priced starting at $150,000. It is manufactured in a 100,000-square-foot factory in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, but can be transported anywhere across the country and assembled in a matter of hours, according to the company.
“The Conexus really started as that disaster relief idea,” states Norbeck. “It was how can you build something as affordable as possible and that can be deployed as quickly as possible.”
Unlike other modular companies that build individual pieces of a home’s shell, the team developed the CLiC system, or component linked construction. The components are the core parts of the home and are multipurpose pieces that help with the structural stability. They get shipped with all the finishes, fixtures, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical components installed. The links are then used to create rooms of any size. They fold down and can fit on the truck within the component pieces, making shipping more efficient.
Elements of the CLiC system can be stacked and configured in various ways to create two-bedroom and three-bedroom layouts. The homes can be arranged into one-story or two-story buildings, and pieces can be added or subtracted as needed to get the ideal function and size of the home.
“In a market-rate situation, you can think of buying a home when you’re a young couple. It’s just the size you need. It’s what you can afford,” says Norbeck. “But then you can actually add on to the house kind of effortlessly by attaching more components because you put them together on site, and then you can also take them apart as well.”
According to the firm, the structure is made of framer-series lumber with integrated insulation and MEP systems, using ZIP System sheathing and metal siding to create a weather-tight, monolithic exterior design. The interior is clad in finished birch plywood, which acts as structural bracing and brings a warmth to the inside spaces.
The vaulted ceiling and large windows create uplifting spaces with ample natural light, and the porch allows for an indoor-outdoor experience and encourages a sense of community by providing an inviting space to engage with neighbors.
In regard to sustainability, the homes meet the requirements in most climates for insulation and are heavily tested for air leakage. The windows meet or surpass the most stringent codes, and the lighting is LED, reducing electrical loads.
Plus, Conexus’ health-related technology will provide owners with secure, private, and convenient care for preventative and urgent medical needs. While some of the wellness features are common throughout the industry, such as optimal lighting and good indoor air quality, others are more revolutionary, such as the sensors installed within the homes that deliver real-time monitoring on fall detection, smart mirrors with medication reminders, integrated sleeping devices, or being wired for in-home virtual physician visits.
“You can design a hospital at home. That’s a brand-new thrust that we’re seeing in healthcare, and it’s only going to get bigger,” says Dr. Rogove. “If you have heart disease or you have chronic lung disease, we can help guide you to pick these different things—whether it’s off the shelf or custom designed—and basically the home now begins to take care of you as opposed to you taking care of the home.”