Tuesday, July 28, 2020

S2A Modular Begins Building Factory in Northern California

Members of the Patterson Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a site plan to permit S2A  Modular to bring modular manufacturing to Patterson, CA.

S2A  Modular is “the first electrically self-sustaining, custom luxury homes are changing the way the world understands residential buildings-creating a new standard in a stylish design, construction speed, tailor-made features with high-end materials, ‘surplus energy income’ (net zero) and smart-connected living” according to their website. 

The company focused on building a facility that will consume no more electricity over the course of a year than is generated on-site.

“In S2A Modular’s mission to lead the nation in sustainable building, we had to recreate how things were done from the ground up. To start building homes in a net-zero sustainable factory was a must,” documentation submitted to the commission stated. “We are extremely proud to have designed a factory facility capable of running without the need for fossil fuels and are leading the push for net-zero factories across the United States.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire PattersonIrrigator article

1 comment:

IL said...

We are looking forward to having Lance Lowrey and his team at S2A Modular in Northern California building homes soon. He has been working on this project for a long time with the rest of the team at S2A. This is an ambitious project, and success is not guaranteed given the many challenges, but you have to tip your cap to Lance, John Rowland and their team's mission of investing and building a modern modular construction facility to build sustainable homes. Moving the industry forward will not happen quickly without risks taken by investors in companies and the investment of hard work by their team. It would be a big positive for building the market if S2A turns out even a fraction of the homes that they and Patterson are proposing. From a current total of about 100,000 units built per year, the California governor has stated that he wants the industry to grow 5X and build 500,000 units per year. That may not be realistic.

Modular construction (known in CA as Factory Built Housing) is a tiny percentage of the overall California market. The industry is dwarfed by manufactured housing. I believe that modular is less than .5% of the market, but we do not have clear data published by the State. In a recent article posted on ModCoach at https://www.modcoachnews.com/2020/07/at-sunrise-foundation-by-noon-new-home.html Connecticut builder James Johnson stated that "in California, it has come more of the norm." This simply is not true. Market penetration in the northeast is certainly higher than .5%.

If Californians are going to get to modular market penetration of 3% or greater there will need to be many more factories. Even 100 factories the size that S2A modular is proposing would not meet the goal of adding 400,000 units per year. Most of what S2A is proposing is outside of California, and their hands will be full dealing with the politics and economics of a diverse set of places (next up, "Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, Nashville, Charlotte, and Washington DC metropolitan areas" according to https://www.s2amodular.com/2020/04/21/s2a-modular-adds-top-chief-officers-to-leadership-team-to-support-companys-rapid-growth-strategies/ . Our market, like so many in the country, need multiple risk-takers big and small to invest their financial and human capital and their ideas into more efficient ways of constructing housing, and carry the project from concept to completion of warranty and service responsibilities. The public desperately needs better housing choices, and our environment needs lower impact homes.

My personal skepticism about the scaling problem of a company going from no units manufactured this year to 1,000 or more per year remains, even at a single factory within a period of years. This problem cannot be solved without striving ambitiously. I will be interested to see how quickly S2A can go from the currently vacant lot in Patterson to a factory building 1,000 homes per year. I know that their investors will be too.