Joseph Fucci is a Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Coordinator for O&G Industries with extensive experience in many sectors, including industrial and education construction projects. “I’m someone who resolves problems,” he said. “That’s what I find satisfying about this work.” In this short conversation, he shares his experiences as an MEP Coordinator.
How does a person acquire the expertise to supervise Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing?
You have to be the type of person who loves to focus. Earlier in my career I worked for architects and noticed how widespread their knowledge base has to be, but that’s not me. I always wanted to specialize and be a person with deep knowledge who can solve problems. So, I’ve worked in HVAC, plumbing, electrical, sprinkler control, layout, installation, fabrication, project management, you name it.
Share your perspectives on the individual trades
In terms of complexity, I always felt that HVAC was the toughest. It’s multi-faceted and it involves a diversity of systems. The next most complex discipline for me was electrical. Believe me, I’ve spent time in the trenches with electrical work. Plumbing is next, and I coordinate with many plumbers on many issues. Each discipline is different, and working with different types of people is a big part of what I do. So much of the construction industry revolves around relationship building and clear communication.
When does the MEP Coordinator get involved in a construction project?
During preconstruction. That’s where the mystery and suspense start for me. I’m evaluating the design to understand what the project intent is and where the systems are being directed. Sometimes my role in assisting with preconstruction allows me to bridge the gap with the design team, so when the baton is passed from preconstruction to MEP, everything is ready.
What does a good MEP coordinator do?
You have to be able to ask the right questions and demand the right answers. The MEP coordinator needs to know enough about everything to coordinate with the engineers and keep things on track. Plus, you have to be there for the duration of the project, right through to the walkdown with the commissioning agent to flip all the switches and make sure everything is in good working order.
Are there specific MEP challenges related to types of projects?
To some extent, yes. For example, if it’s an independent or public school, the students are there to learn and we do our best to minimize disruptions. And there may be historical structures on campus that need to be kept intact even as we upgrade the systems that make the buildings state-of-the-art and comfortable.
Can you share a success story?
Beman Middle School. It’s a public school in Middletown where we built a 190,000-square-foot facility. When it was done, I looked at the list of issues that came up during commissioning. Do you know how many there were, in total? Only twelve. A dozen. That’s unbelievable. Our subs were really good at understanding and following the documents. This led to quality control attributing to minimizing the issues. When you’re an MEP coordinator it’s all about the subcontractors you hire and how you manage them.