Waterman Log Crafters Project of Distinction 



The Waterman name has a long history of family business ventures in the Wisconsin Dells area with a passion for family fun waterparks, hotels, bowling alleys, and restaurants. This includes the founding of Noah’s Ark Water Park, what is now Great Wolf Lodge, Moosejaw Pizza, Dell’s Brewing Company, and Knuckleheads. The family works together to fill roles within their growing business ventures with a mission statement of “Make memories worth repeating.” In 2001, Andy Waterman opened Waterman Log Crafters, a custom log/wood furniture and theming company. It consists of over 30,000 square feet of shop space to produce remarkable custom countertops, furniture, mantles, pool tables, and railings. These talented artisans have completed work for several resorts and restaurants, including the Wilderness Resorts located all over the United States. 

Last year, after a 6”+ rain overnight, they discovered one of their buildings had collapsed. Since the building is located so close to the woodlands, plant matter accumulated onto the roof. The heavy rain caused the decaying matter to collect in the center of the roof and plugged the drains, which caused the water to gather bearing too much weight for the roof. The owner asked Holtz Builders to help reconstruct the 56’ x 72’ post frame building as a shop area to store equipment and add space for log crafting projects while keeping the canopy of the old building to butt up with the new building. The new plans also included an attached 24’ x 40’ addition to share a common wall.  A mezzanine and a lean-to was added to the plans later.

Scattered debris in a tight, confined area during a wet, cold, and snowy climate was a challenge for this restoration project. Before Holtz Builders could start the rebuild, the area needed to be cleaned up. We had six loads of scrap metal hauled away to be salvaged. The existing buildings were within close proximity and along a wooded backdrop, which caused congestion for both the equipment and manpower. Scheduling of other trades needed to be strategically planned because there was not enough space to safely have many scopes working simultaneously. 

In addition to tight working quarters, the project had a tight schedule overall, so utilizing six-week look ahead schedules and holding pre-installation meetings via phone instead of in person to ensure subcontractors were staying on track was imperative. The project utilized both a foreman and superintendent on site to expedite work and ensure crew members, subcontractors, and materials were where they needed to be when they were needed there.

Another challenge was that the electrical and gas lines needed updating in the old building. The electrical wiring did not have any over current protection, which increased the risk of short circuits or fire. The electrician replaced a splice to safely add the circuit to the new building, as well as additional lights. The natural gas risers were also not to current code.   This picture shows the demolition of the concrete to inspect the underground gas lines. Once it was discovered that the gas lines were insufficient, Holtz builders resolved the situation by contracting out the jackhammering of the concrete to install new risers. Due to the length of the gas to the back shop, the main gas service stayed at 2 PSI, which caused the HVAC subcontractor to add regulators to six pieces of equipment in the existing shop. The energy company completed a meter change.

The owner wanted to keep part of the canopy of the old building. This was a little tricky because not only did we need to work around it, but we also needed to flash in the old roofs into the new building. We needed to add a significant amount of blocking into the new building to receive the flashing from the old building and could not proceed with siding the new building until the old building was flashed in. With 72% of the work being self-performed, the Holtz Builder’s team was able to stay on schedule and within budget.

When the new overhead door arrived with shipping damage, Holtz Builders quickly ordered a new replacement door.  The vendor stated it would be an eight-week lead time, but we were able to replace the door within a month. Inspections were conducted on a daily basis by the site superintendent to ensure a quality product, in addition to weekly walk-throughs that included the project manager and VP of Construction Operations.     

Near the end of the project, the owner requested changes to the plans by adding a mezzanine and a lean-to. Even though this resulted in extending the schedule for Holtz Builders and a redesign by the architect/engineer, Hartje Lumber, to meet state approval, we were happy to assist because we pride ourselves on our high levels of service and ensuring a positive customer experience. The architect/engineer also supplied the materials for the project, which assisted in expediting the materials and ensuring the project was designed as efficiently as possible.

The Waterman family is known for pioneering the transformation of Wisconsin Dells into a year-round vacation destination. Andy is a visionary, who seeks business opportunities and inspires his team to reach organizational goals. Much like the Waterman family, Holtz Builders strives to create long-lasting relationships with our customers and build our communities through exceptional honesty, transparency, and integrity. We were able to overcome scattered debris, insufficient electrical and gas lines, a confined work space, and changed plans by the owner through effective communication, adaptability, and attentiveness while keeping the project on budget.