SERVICE/MAINTENANCE BY ANDREW P. MCCOY & FRED SARGENT
At the moment of his initial insight, he
was not able to jump into drafting a business plan. At that time, he was up to his
knees (or even higher) in what he now
amusingly refers to as “stinky Bay mud,”
in the middle of a watery, mucky ditch
on a construction site at a power plant
in Redwood City, Calif. He was installing
4-inch conduit, and he knew there was a
far better way to get the job done.
Today, he owns Delucchi Electric
Inc., a rapidly growing business offering
preconstruction services—prefab, kitting
and related support activities—to electrical contractors in and around Santa
Learn more about his company at
As a new apprentice 20 years ago, you
had the vision to see the opportunity in
doing prefabrication work for ECs.
As opposed to following a traditional
pathway into electrical contracting,
I saw another way to go—in preconstruction, versus construction—staying
behind the scenes, but helping other
contractors to be more successful at
what they do. I enjoy referring to it as
Your strategy appears to have
Thanks to the ECs who have come to
rely upon us—and whom we regularly
see with a 100-percent repeat-customer
rate—our revenues have continued to
multiply year after year.
Prefabrication advocates are always
quick to cite the cost savings it produces.
It provides so much more. I refer to
these other factors as the “hidden values” in prefabrication.
Please comment about the hidden
values of prefab, especially in the context
of service work.
There are benefits to prefabrication
that seldom receive adequate attention, starting with the way it frees up
time for supervisors and foremen.
When we send prefabbed assemblies
to our contractor-customers’ job sites,
because their installation is so simple,
foremen can put them into the hands of
crew members (including apprentices)
with a minimum amount of instruction.
That frees up time for the foremen to
concentrate on other things that have
much higher payback.
Is this another way of saying that
prefabrication leads to standardization?
Absolutely! And with that standardized
way of doing things comes many other
advantages. For example, we produce
prefabbed assemblies that can fit multiple environments. So, in addition to
leading to better outcomes in achieving
job completion schedules, we are giving
facility owners end-products that are
interchangeable and consistent.
Who comes up with the standardized
designs of the things you prefabricate?
Glad you asked that question! It’s important. We attempt to collect the best ideas
of everyone involved. We listen. That
requires some effort up front, but it pays
off handsomely in the end.
You have produced a number of
impressive videos to support your case
for prefab. The points that your videos
make about workplace safety certainly
put it at the top of the list of hidden
values in prefabrication.
That’s exactly where safety belongs.
Prefabrication leads to better job site
housekeeping, a significant aspect in
safety. Aside from reducing tripping hazards, it can help prevent multiple trades
from, so to speak, “tripping over each
other.” Time and again, we have seen it
reduce “ladder time,” which is always a
serious safety concern.
Accounting for the journey you
embarked on years ago that has gotten
your company to where it is today,
where do you see Delucchi Electric
We see more and greater possibilities
ahead, especially in the area of small
jobs and service work. Using prefab and
kitting means quicker turnarounds. It
means less trash and recyclables at the
job site. It creates a winning situation for
our customers, electrical contractors. It
positions us just where we would like to
BILL DELUCCHI WAS A BRAND-NEW APPRENTICE when he first dreamed
of starting his own company. In the traditional wisdom of that classic expression,
“find a need and fill it,” he saw a need and knew how to fill it.
MCCO Y is assistant professor in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia
Hidden Values in Prefabrication
Tech. Contact him at
firstname.lastname@example.org. SARGEN T, a 40-year veteran of the electrical
contracting business based in Pittsburgh, can be reached at
Delucchi carried this coffee mug during his
tour as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers in Iraq.
Coffee break with Bill Delucchi, president, Delucchi Electric Inc.