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May 17, 2012

Rochester-built homes heading to Dakota oil boom

Here's an extended version of the oil boom housing story in today's paper. It is kind of an interesting project.


A new Rochester construction firm is gearing up to build six houses a week, don't expect to see many of them lining local streets.

The majority of the two- to six-bedroom modular homes will travel about 500 miles before anyone moves into them.
North Dakota is booming with oil flowing out of the fields at unprecedented levels that recently pushed the state past Alaska into the number two spot for U.S. oil production.

While 575,490 barrels of oil a day was pumping in March, a pipeline of thousands of people poured into the Williston Basin area to fill the growing need for workers.

That wave of humanity is looking for housing in the boom towns that are struggling to keep up with demand.

That's where Dale Jech and Creative Modular Concepts come in.

Jech, a local contractor for more than 20 years, is now certified as a manufacturer of modular housing. He plans to start working his crew of 60 workers two shifts a day to build houses that will be sent to North Dakota, Wyoming and other Western areas.

"I already have orders for 80 homes," says Jech, who has based his operation in a 14,000-square-foot warehouse behind the ProBuild lumber yard in northwest Rochester.

He hopes to build about 145 homes this year.
Why would anyone have a house built in Minnesota and then ship it to North Dakota? It might not look logical, but it is the logistics that make it add up economically.

"Labor there is simply too expensive. Most of the houses now are coming from Indiana. They're even buying some in Florida and shipping them to North Dakota," says Jech. "We're close to the need, just 500 miles away. We can give them the most bang for the buck."

Right now he is offering six different models for order. Some are stackable units. Some are on wheels. But all are built "tight" and up to Minnesota and North Dakota building codes, he says.

An average transport is expected to include a day of travel to deliver three modular houses. If the buyer requests the Turn-Key option, Jech's team will take a day to hook up all of the utilities on the homes.

The Hospitality Package takes that a step farther.

 "That includes everything like silverware, coasters… You walk in and there there will be a TV on the wall and couches in the living room," he explains.

The company also taking orders here in southeastern Minnesota. Eventually, he plans to have some model homes on display here.

While it is a great time to start building modular housing, this is not something that Jech just jumped into at the last minute. He has been jumping through the legal hoops to nail down the necessary certifications for the past two years. 

When the housing market went south with the economy, he decided it was time to look for new options and now he has Creative Modular Concepts ready to roll

"The best thing is seeing the guys in here building a truss or whatever in the sunshine. They are doing what they love to do," says Jech. "This is a big deal. It is really exciting."


Those houses dont look any bigger than a mobile home? maybe they dont need a big place? they dont look very energy efficient?

How can I found out more about this company? I have googled it but come up empty handed! I would like more info on their homes. Thanks!

Mike - They seemed reasonably sized to me, but I'm not a big house kind of guy. I know that is kind of subjective.I didn't get the specs for each model. The two in the pic are two bedroom models. Since they are going to transported, I don't think they want to overbuild too much.

As for energy use, they meet all Minnesota and N. Dakota standards, That's all I know. They seemed very tightly built to me. In construction, demolition is more my area expertise. Sledgehammers and chainsaws are the only tools I use with any sort of skill. Heh.

I can't seem find this company any where... Creative Modular Concepts? I work for a company based out of Fridley, MN and I would really be interested in helping them with the transport and set-up of these homes. Any one know how to get a hold of these guys?

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