Are you ready to work with a large general contractor like DPR? This subcontractor guide to DPR Construction will walk you through their company history, prequalification process, payment process, and more. The more you know about a general contractor before you work with them, the better prepared you are to follow their processes and reduce the risk of a payment dispute.
You can also use this guide to find DPR’s payment history, as well as subcontractor reviews that allow you to prequalify and bid on DPR projects with confidence.
Table of Contents
About DPR Construction
Like most great companies, DPR Construction is of humble beginnings. The construction firm was founded in 1990 by Doug Woods, Peter Nolser, and Ron Davidowski with only $750,000 of pooled funds.
After a hard hit from the early 1990s recession, DPR bounced back with a $4.5 million project for Argo Systems in Sunnydale, California. As Doug Woods put it:
“Before the Argo job, I would wake up at night in a cold sweat wondering how we were going to pay people, but more than that, people had trusted Peter, Ron and me, so I just kept thinking, ‘we gotta come through.’ If we can just keep this going for five years, we can make it.”
A few years later in 1994, DPR won a contract for a project in Los Angeles for Rockwell International worth $43 million. Since that high-profile project, DPR Construction has grown to be one of the largest, most reliable, and most successful general contracting companies in the country.
DPR pulled in $6.04 billion in 2019, and sits in 12th place on the ENR Top 400 Contractors list for 2020.
DPR has offices all over the United States, and they have operations in Canada, Netherlands, Singapore, and South Korea.
DPR Construction primarily operates in the following markets:
- Advanced technology
- Higher education
- Life sciences
- Corporate offices
- Mission critical
For projects in those markets, they provide services such as:
- Collaborative virtual building and BIM
- Sustainable construction
- Self-perform work
- Integration project delivery (IPD)
Lastly, here are a couple examples of DPR’s work from their portfolio:
- Miller Hull Studio Tenant Improvement, San Diego, California
- Inova Loudoun Hospital N. Patient Tower, Washington, D.C.
- University of California, Davis Teaching & Learning Complex, Sacramento, California
- Colorado Tower, Austin, Texas
- Facebook Ft. Worth Data Center, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Before working with DPR Construction
Before you work with a general contractor like DPR Construction, it’s a good idea to prequalify them.
In the same way that general contractors prequalify their suppliers and subcontractors to make sure they’re up to the project at hand, suppliers and subcontractors should prequalify new general contractors to make sure they’re a good fit. Prequalification allows you to take a look at several key areas in a general contractor’s business practices before you enter into any agreements.
You can prequalify a general contractor by:
- Examining their payment history
- Taking a look at their credit history
- Seeking out previous subcontractor feedback
- Understanding their general payment process
- Looking at a sample DPR subcontract
Prequalifying a general contractor inevitably will turn up some red flags. This is completely normal, and it shouldn’t disqualify the general contractor from your consideration by default.
If you run into something concerning, make sure you consider the context behind the issue. For example, if there’s a project that’s attracted a handful of liens, consider the possibility that the lender, owner, or insurance company could be at fault, and, most importantly, consider asking the general contractor directly. Communication and transparency is key!
Review DPR’s payment profile
The best place to start qualifying DPR Construction is on their payment profile.
DPR has a payment score of 71/100, giving them a grade of C. The payment score was calculated by taking DPR’s recent payment history and comparing it to thousands of other general contractors across the country. You can use payment score to get a picture of how quickly or how slowly a general contractor sends payments on a construction project.
Along with their payment score, DPR Construction also has a subcontractor rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. After a subcontractor works with DPR, they can leave a review to let other subcontractors know what the experience was like.
Of the 26 subcontractors who worked with DPR, 58% gave them a 5-star rating, and only 4% left a 1-star rating.
Here are a few of the most recent positive reviews from subcontractors:
- “Never had any problems with DPR despite big projects.”
- “Had a great time working on our Austin project with DPR. Job went great and payment was there when expected.”
- “Despite DPR Construction’s size, they’ve always treated us well and pay when they say they will. Sometimes it’s hard for big GCs to manage projects and payment but DPR does a good job of it. I recommend DPR to other subs in California.”
Here are a couple of the most negative reviews left by subcontractors who have worked with DPR:
- “SLOW PAYEE”
- “Final Payment took longer than what we were told by the GC, BUT they did pay everything 100%.”
Recent payment disputes
You can also look at DPR Construction’s recent pay history on their payment profile. On that page, you can look through instances of slow payment as well as mechanics lien filings as far back as 11 months.
DPR Construction has seen 84 mechanics lien filings in the past 11 months across the 1,255 projects Levelset has on file. 81 of those 84 mechanics liens are still active, and 74 of the lien claimants were hired directly by DPR.
Payment disputes in the construction industry are extremely common, and large general contractors work on thousands of construction projects with even more subcontractors, owners, markets, and more. With so many variables at play, a payment dispute isn’t always the general contractor’s fault.
Make sure you look into the context of the dispute before you jump to any conclusions with a new general contractor. If a particular incident concerns you, you can always reach out to the company for more information.
Get prequalified to work with DPR Construction
If DPR Construction is a good fit for your company, the next step is to go through their prequalification process.
Before you begin, make sure your company is required to go through prequalification with DPR.
The following types of companies do NOT need to prequalify to work with DPR:
- Material suppliers
- Engineering firms
- Landscape architecture
- Environmental science
If your company needs to prequalify to work with DPR, you need to begin on the Subcontractor Prequalification page on their website.
DPR requires their subcontractors to prequalify annually in order to bid on and participate in projects. If you’ve worked with DPR in the past, you need to contact DPR Prequal directly at either 602-333-1834, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If this is your first time working with DPR Construction, you need to go through the registration process in order to begin prequalification. This can be done by completing the required forms and attaching the following forms to your application:
- A signed W-9
- A sample insurance certificate with all applicable endorsements (See DPR’s insurance requirements here)
- OSHA forms 300A and 300 for the past three years
- EMR verification for the past three years
- A reference letter from your bonding company
- Third-party prepared financial statements for your most recent fiscal year end (financial statements are required to work on projects worth more than $50,000)
After you gather all the required information, you can follow the link at the bottom of the page to start the prequalification process. The link brings you to the page where you’ll enter the requested information.
If you have any questions about subcontractor prequalification, contact DPR at:
222 N. 44th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034
DPR Construction’s payment process
It’s a good idea to get familiar with DPR’s payment process before you bid on a project. That’s because the more you know, the easier it is to follow DPR’s processes. Adhering closely to a general contractor’s payment processes streamlines payment over the course of the project, thus reducing the risk of payment disputes.
This section takes a look at the payment practices of big general contractors like DPR Construction in four sections: Before the work, first payment, progress payments, and final payments.
Before work can start
Before you can set foot on the job site, you’ll need to provide some additional information. This could include any bonds on the project, proof of insurance, a copy of the subcontract, or a completed W-9 form.
Your project administrator will let you know if anything else is required. After that, work on the project can begin.
Apply for first payment
Applying for first payment with a large general contractor will most likely involve the standard AIA billing forms: the G702 payment application and the G703 continuation sheet.
When you apply for first payment with DPR Construction, make sure you fill out your pay app completely, and that all the information you include is 100% accurate.
Pay apps are commonly due before the 20th day of the month.
Along with your pay app, you may also need to include a schedule of values.
Apply for progress payments
Progress payments help subcontractors regulate cash flow on a project. They also help the parties on top of the payment chain keep track of a project’s progress.
To apply for progress payments with DPR Construction, you should provide them with a detailed pay app and an up-to-date schedule of values.
Apply for final payment
Applying for final payment is a lot like applying for first payment — the only difference is that you need to go through DPR’s close-out process.
Although each general contractor has their own close-out process, many of the documents you will need to sign are the industry standard. Expect to either sign or provide a lien waiver, certificate of substantial completion, punch list, various inspection certificates, design team approvals, and more.
The most important thing you can do during the close-out process is to make sure you know what you’re singing. For example, an errant lien waiver could leave you without recovery options should you go unpaid.
Tips for getting paid with DPR Construction
If you do your research, you’ll set yourself up for success when working with DPR Construction. However, things can go wrong no matter how much you prepare. To give yourself the best chance of getting paid on time, you can incorporate the following four steps into your payment checklist for every project you participate in.
1. Always send preliminary notice.
Sending a preliminary notice on each project lets everyone up and down the payment chain know who you are and what you’re doing. Being fresh in everyone’s mind helps move your invoices to the top of the pile, which means you get paid quicker.
On top of that, sending a preliminary notice is a prerequisite for filing a mechanics lien in most states, and failure to do so could eliminate your lien rights. Nevertheless, it’s in your best interest to send a preliminary notice for every project whether it’s legally required or not.
2. Always review lien waivers.
Lien waivers are commonly exchanged at the end of projects in exchange for payment. In effect, singing one means you can’t file a mechanics lien down the line.
If you need to sign a lien waiver, make sure you review it with a construction attorney first.
3. Send invoice reminders or notices of intent.
If payment is late, you can send invoice reminders to get things moving again. If necessary, sending a notice of intent to lien is also a good option.
Notices of intent (NOIs) are not legally binding like a mechanics lien, but they show the paying party that you will send one if you’re not paid soon. Nobody wants a mechanics lien on the project — they encumber the project and can bring everything to a halt. That’s why NOIs can be enough to trigger a payment.
4. Always maintain your mechanics lien rights.
Lastly, it’s important that you maintain your lien rights. The ability to file a mechanics lien is one of the best pieces of leverage that contractors have at their disposal. Mechanics liens bind to the property and prevent its sale or refinancing until the lien claimant is paid.
Since mechanics lien law varies between states, you need to find out what steps you need to take in order to preserve your right to lien. Usually, this includes sending the proper notices, meeting the required deadlines, and submitting other documents before the time comes to file.