Performance through Leadership and Technology
F+F Mechanical Enterprises
F+F Mechanical Enterprises is a full service mechanical contractor delivering solutions to a wide range of commercial, industrial, and institutional clients throughout Connecticut. From small manufacturing plants to international pharmaceutical facilities and leading universities, F+F has the experience to handle virtually any job involving sheet metal fabrication, HVAC, plumbing and piping work.
“We are unique compared to most of our competition in that we have both piping and sheet metal all under one roof,” says Vice President Joe Ferrucci. In addition, the company boasts a department dedicated to 3D design and coordination, as well as prefabrication services. “We really emphasize the prefabrication and modularization on our projects. That often gives us a competitive edge on more complex, schedule-driven projects where there is a compressed schedule and time is of the essence.”
The team is able to prefabricate everything from steel supports to piping and sheet metal. In addition to saving time, prefabrication ensures quality because the work is being done in a controlled environment. “[Having] good natural light, good conditions—that is an enormous advantage in the work that we do. We are able to increase the quality of the work because the construction [sites] don’t have the ideal work conditions. The work conditions in our facility are much better.”
A family company
Founded by Mario Ferrucci in 1982, F+F remains family owned and operated. “It was the quintessential American dream,” Joe says of his father’s successful startup. “He started with one truck and an employee and through the years that grew and evolved.” In addition to Joe, Mario’s sons Frank and John are now at the helm, continuing the business into the second generation.
Each of the three brothers is responsible for their own department, a strategy that helps ensure the company runs smoothly. “Since we have three large circles that overlap, we are able to individually focus our attention on our specific aspects of the organization. But, they do overlap so there is good synergy amongst the ownership that permeates down to the structure of the company as a whole.”
The Ferrucci family culture also permeates throughout the company. “My father instilled a few things in us,” Joe recalls. “That you work hard, you work with integrity and honesty, and you treat everyone fairly and with dignity. We have continued that tradition.” This attitude attracts clients and has created a warm work environment for employees, making it easier to retain workers. “As a matter of fact, [Mario’s] first employee is still part of our team. He is one of our general foremen.”
The family’s emphasis on hard work and integrity translates into quality. “Our focus is quality – quality in terms of the work that we do, quality in terms of the staff that we hire and retain, and quality in terms of the service we provide to our customers.” Maintaining this high level of quality ensures ongoing success. “The rest just naturally falls into place.”
In addition to fostering a positive company culture, family ownership allows for quick and nimble decision-making. “Being a family owned business, we don’t have a corporation that we need to answer to in some far off state,” says Vice President Frank Ferrucci. “So should you have any questions or issues, you can reach a Ferrucci and get a decision or have that issue addressed right then and there.” Joe adds, “So much of what we do is [dependent on having] relationships with our customer. Knowing that we have roots here, we work here, we live here locally makes a big difference.”
Up for the challenge
The company’s technical expertise and commitment to quality really come into play when working on bioscience facilities. For instance, a recent project for Covidien required special care due to the sensitive environment. The team worked on two large sterilizers that the healthcare product company uses in its manufacturing process. “There was the challenge of [working on] extraordinarily sophisticated equipment with a tremendous amount of piping, valves, and specialty systems,” Joe remembers. Frank adds that, when dealing with the bioscience sector, “There are safety requirements. There are engineering constraints. You have either FDA or state regulatory issues that you need to comply with. Those are definitely challenges that not just any mechanical contractor can jump in and [handle].”
In another recent project, the team completed a laboratory facility in Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ new 14-story New Haven headquarters. The work involved an extra complication in addition to the already demanding requirements of a biotech job. “Working in downtown New Haven, you have an urban site so you have very little space to maneuver,” Joe recalls. “Scheduling and deliveries are certainly well choreographed.”
Working with Pratt & Whitney, a commercial engine manufacturer, also required extra care. “They had some very stringent requirements on site about testing, use of water, and safety requirements that we had to adhere to. That is where prefabrication was a huge advantage.” Prefabricating in a controlled environment allowed for extra testing—including x-rays by a third party—ensuring that all parts passed stringent quality requirements.
Embracing the future
Whatever the project, F+F stays at the forefront of new building technology, ensuring that the company remains relevant and efficient. “It starts with our estimating,” Joe explains. “We use digital estimating. We don’t print drawings the way we did many years ago. We can manage our documents and our drawings much better now.” Advanced software is used throughout the design and planning stage. Once the job begins, every foreman is armed with an iPad, providing quick and easy access to real time information.
Staying on top of the latest advances is not always easy. “There are a few challenges,” Joe remarks. “The biggest one is the fact that some of these technologies are complicated to use, so you need a lot of training and a lot of hands on expertise. Coupled with that, the technology does evolve pretty quickly and just trying to stay ahead of the game is challenging.”
Joe points out that technology will only become more important in the future. “The technology aspect is going to have an enormous impact, primarily because we are given less time to complete more sophisticated buildings. Years ago, you would look in a mechanical room and the systems were very basic and rudimentary. Today they are a lot more complicated, with a lot of other trades and systems involved. And, you are getting less time to do more work. So the technology, the coordination, and prefabrication are going to continue to be needed and to become integral in delivering these projects.”
This increased complexity calls for greater integration. “The contractual nature of the industry is beginning to evolve,” Frank remarks. “[Increasingly] you have IPD, Integrated Project Delivery method of construction, where trade contractors are brought on early in the construction process. So you are starting to see the new method of bringing a team together to complete a project.”
The brothers plan to keep up with the latest trends, adopting advanced techniques while maintaining the company’s longstanding culture of quality and integrity. “We are going to increase our use of technology and prefabrication, and adhere to the highest quality standard of work,” Joe summarizes. “It is a very important part of our culture to deliver a very high quality product to our customers and clients.”