The population of Rochester and the surrounding community is expected to grow over the next twenty years with the Destination Medical Center initiative and the expected 30,000 jobs that it will create. So now the question becomes, where do we house all these people?
Wausau Homes Rochester is looking to gain some traction alongside Rochester’s expanding population. I got to sit down a few weeks ago with Noah Bussmann, Project Manager at Wausau Homes Rochester and trained culinary chef, to learn about the company and how it could make an impact in the city.
Wausau Homes began fifty years ago, about two hundred miles northeast of Rochester in Marathon County, Wisconsin. Local Schuette brothers used funds from their dairy route to purchase a sawmill, and started processing raw timber into framing lumber. The brothers created a single place where local builders could come for quality grade lumber.
These construction entrepreneurs eventually created a new way for residential home construction with their component based build.
“All of the walls and the floor systems, the rafters, the trusses, everything is built by us in our seven acre, quality controlled environment building, where we’re really controlling the quality of the products being used and sold,” explained Noah.
The main Wausau Homes location is in Wausau, Wisconsin. Local builders, like Wausau Homes Rochester, use the main facility like a personal lumberyard. The walls and major structural components of every Wausau Homes house is built in this single location in Wisconsin. Then, everything is loaded onto a semi-truck and shipped to the building site, where the local Wausau Homes builder takes over.
The local builder lays the foundation and works with resident, trusted subcontractors to put the finishing touches on each home, including the electrical, plumping, interior, siding, roofing, and dry walling.
This unique Wausau Homes building process allows for a streamlined construction process. Wausau Homes Rochester recently built a 4,200 square foot home in Byron in just 110 days, a process that normally takes six to eight months by the conventional stick building process. Constructing the walls, trusses, and floor components in an indoor, quality controlled environment speeds up the building process, as there are no weather delays, and protects the lumber from water damage. Once the framework is onsite, Wausau Homes can make the house weather proof in five days.
Wausau Homes doesn’t make cookie-cutter houses. Customers can customize one of the Wausau Homes floor designs or can create their own, original home layout.
“That’s something we pride ourselves on is building a custom home for each individual because every individual has their own lifestyle, their own wants, needs, dreams,” Noah said.
Local building partners like Wausau Homes Rochester really strive to make the building process unique and special. It’s really not every day that someone builds their first house. The builders mark several milestones with celebrations for the customer along the way.
Wausau Homes Rochester has been around for two years. Like any new business, they’re trying to find their place in the community, which includes raising brand awareness. The company is often lumped in as a modular home builder. Modular homes are constructed in a similar quality controlled environment, but they’re built in very large, finished sections. These sections are created to withstand high winds, because these large pieces are loaded onto a truck and deposited at the building site, where they’re meshed together. Modular homes are typically not very customizable. Wausau Homes Rochester’s biggest competitors are actually stick builders. Stick building is the type of construction most people are familiar with, where the home or building is built piece by piece on the job site.
Wausau Homes Rochester has also been challenged by customer acquisition, like other local, residential builders. The Wausau Homes Rochester location is actually a design studio and they can work as general contractors for home remodeling. But as opposed to a remodeling project, the building of a brand new home is a large expenditure that people do once, or never, in a single lifetime.
But residential housing must be built in Rochester and the surrounding areas. Noah and Wausau Homes Rochester have seen several residential building trends develop over the past few years in Rochester and the surrounding community. They’ve actually seen desirable residential land dry up in Rochester itself. Instead, there seems to be more growth in areas like Byron and Oronoco, especially in housing divisions.