By Meghan Hall
When S2A Modular was first established, the firm’s co-founders John Rowland and Brian Kuzdas originally had envisioned something that they could build for themselves as part of a personal project. In the years since, S2A Modular has rapidly grown, expanding from what was originally individual custom homes to large-scale modular construction projects across a variety of commercial real estate sectors, including hospitality, multifamily and office. The growth was somewhat surprising, according to S2A Modular, but the firm is moving forward full steam ahead, with a large pipeline of MegaFactories in the works across the continental United States.
“It’s very odd,” explained Kuzdas, also S2A Modular’s CEO, of how quickly the firm grew. “We started out with the idea focused on the guy that wanted to build his dream home, or the lovely couple that wanted to get the perfect renewable energy smart home, and it has really turned into something so much more.”
The first product that S2A Modular sought to introduce was a low voltage, low amperage home that would run purely on solar. In 2015, when the company was first beginning, Rowland reached out to Tesla and created the first prototype. That initial home was soon followed by a second, that was constructed in an area with no infrastructure. The goal was that to prove the tech could be useful anywhere, and it was just the second Tesla-powered off-grid home in North America.
“The housing market today is outdated,” stated Rowland. “The housing market, especially on the construction side with how homes are built, is the same, with all of the inefficiencies are taking place. I think what S2A brings is a fresh look at how housing can be built.”
S2A Modular offers those interest more than 35 pre-designed floor plans, complete with smartphone-controlled settings, high-quality, sustainable materials and a Tesla Powerwall, among other features. For those who want a more unique build, custom designed options are also available. Due to their sustainability and finishes, S2A Modular has branded the prototypes as “Green Lux Homes.”
“These things are new to the industry, and we plan on leading the Green Lux revolution and taking this into the future,” Rowland added.
The company has grown far quicker than the pair imagined, with nearly 80 percent of its clientele now large developers and those in the commercial real estate sphere. In addition to single-family homes, S2A Modular is now pursuing large-scale projects, including apartments, commercial mixed-use and hospitality.
The commercial real estate industry has slowly been picking up on the benefits of modular construction. In the industry, time is of the essence, and expedited construction timelines are appealing to many developers currently pursuing projects.
“I would say without a doubt the quickness in [which we] build,” emphasized Kuzdas when speaking of modular’s benefits. “We can build a project that would take someone two years to build in 9 to twelve months.”
Additionally, modular can save developers up to 15 to 20 percent on construction costs. And while many in the construction industry have pressed “pause” on business due to the pandemic, Kuzdas and Rowland have been able to seize upon the use of webinars to expand their business. Prior to shelter-in-place orders, the company hosted in-person events; moving to web seminars has increased business exponentially, according to Kuzdas.
“What we found is that our product is accepted all across the country, and it just spiked interest all over,” Kuzdas said. “[Interest] has probably gone up 400 to 500 percent. It is exploding.”
As a result, S2A Modular plans to build 35 factories by 2023. Currently, two are under construction in California. An additional nine are in the works for this year in locations all around the country, of which Chicago, Phoenix, Dalls, Miami and Washington D.C. are just a few. Once S2A Modular decides on a site for a factory, it takes about 12 months to get the location up and running. Locations are chosen where S2A is seeing the most demand.
S2A Modular is also working to develop and pitch different types of modular communities to developers, cities and public organizations alike. Currently in the works is a concept for a 55+ community. The community, comprised of two-bed, two-bathroom homes would also be incredibly energy efficient, only requiring water, cable and garbage. A Tesla automobile would also be part of the package.
“There would be no car payment, no gas for their car, no gas for the house…we’re really changing the way they can live,” said Rowland.
S2A Modular is also working to develop SH1, a project that would work to tackle the homeless crisis in places such as California. The one-piece homes would be delivered to the site directly. According to Kuzdas, S2A is working with multiple organizations to scope out potential sites.
“We wanted to create a project where we could give back,” said Kuzdas. S2A is expecting California state approval for the concept in the near future.