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How Prefabricating Headwalls Reduced Installation Time at Meriter

Posted By Tiffany Scuglik On November 27, 2017

JP Cullen is currently working for UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. They are anticipating a 20% increase in births for 2018, so they had a need renovate 36,000 sqft in their existing hospital to allow for a new triage area, neonatal intensive care unit, birthing suites, ultrasound rooms, and special suites for women with high-risk pregnancies.

The construction team collaborated with the rest of the team to create solutions to accelerate schedule to ensure the Birthing Center Triage Unit was turned over in time. One approach we consider on all of our projects is prefabrication – we are always looking to find new, creative ways to incorporate it. The patient rooms on this project included custom casework headwalls, which was a perfect opportunity to utilize prefabrication.

The Process

A collaborative effort was initialized by JP Cullen to work with Meriter and our subcontractors to brainstorm ideas for the best way to approach prefabricating the headwalls. JP Cullen worked with the millwright supplier to prefabricate the units in their shop and ship them to the job site with minimal final assembly required onsite.

To ensure the prefabricated headwalls would meet the hospital requirements, weekly reviews were held on site. The reviews were conducted by Meriter’s construction manager and members of the hospital staff to review location and layout of all hook-ups and outlets to address any ergonomic concerns. In addition, JP Cullen and Plunkett Raysich Architects conducted a review of the first headwall in the supplier’s shop to make sure it would meet their requirements.


The team had to overcome a demanding, mission-critical schedule to turn the unit over in time to accommodate new patients. Prefabricating the headwalls allowed work to continue in each room while the headwalls were being constructed. One challenge of this can’t miss schedule was the multiple types of headwalls on multiple floors, but an even bigger challenge was exceeding Meriter’s expectations for prefabricated headwalls, as their past experience with other contractors had not yielded their expected results.


Meriter’s collaboration and buy-in helped make this project a success. Conducting weekly meetings with Meriter and those who would be using the equipment on a daily basis allowed JP Cullen to get important feedback on the design.

By prefabricating headwalls, JP Cullen enhanced customer satisfaction with the precision of layout and quality of work. JP Cullen carpenters build and install time was reduced by 61%, the electricians reduced their install time by 50%, and the plumbing connection time was reduced by 65%.


Interested in learning more about our prefabrication process?
Contact JP Cullen’s Prefabrication Manager, Mike LaRue at 


Key Team Members Included:
Hillcraft | Millwright Supplier
Plunkett Raysich Architects | Architect
JP Cullen Carpenters: Derek Deniger, Tim King, Barry Woodrick

Filed Under Healthcare, JP Cullen