DPR Construction builds reputation with complex jobs – Charlotte Business Journal – Charlotte Business Journal

Simplicity isn’t everything.
Commercial general contractor DPR Construction has built its local reputation on tackling complex projects. 
DPR’s relationship with the Carolinas started in 2011 with construction of Facebook’s giant data center in Forest City. A decade later, DPR is still building on that campus and elsewhere throughout the two states. 
Among DPR’s recent projects are the 381-room JW Marriott Charlotte hotel in uptown and Kidd Brewer Stadium’s North End Zone facility at Appalachian State University. DPR’s work on Clemson University’s College of Business helped it win an award for top higher-education projects.
Currently, DPR is the contractor for two large projects for Atrium Health, including its new Carolinas Rehab Hospital and a 1.2 million-square-foot tower at Carolinas Medical Center.
“Being a great builder means understanding schedules and budgets, but it’s also about understanding a customer’s business,” says Zach Pannier, DPR’s business unit leader in its Charlotte office. “We are not just a builder for our clients but a partner to help solve their challenges.” 
California-based DPR Construction is a 31-year-old construction firm that opened its Charlotte office in 2015. The company focuses on markets with complex building projects, including advanced technology, commercial, health care, higher education and life sciences. 
DPR is a self-performing general contractor that employs electricians, concrete finishers and drywall installers. The local office has more than 200 employees.
“Being a builder has been part of our DNA for our existence,” Pannier says of the company’s local workforce. “We are builders, not brokers.”
Growing a construction firm in a job market with too few skilled tradesmen led DPR to some creative solutions to the problem. 
DPR established a prefabrication warehouse in a partnership with Atrium Health to reduce the amount of labor needed on job sites — simply because that labor is not available. In that space, workers are building prefabricated bathroom pods or exterior wall systems in a manufacturing environment rather than on the job site. The effort is intended to expedite the construction process and attract workers to a manufacturing operation when they might prefer it to a construction site.
“We are able to manage more of our supply chain than ever,” Pannier adds.
Better yet, he says, the partnership is working to bring economically disadvantaged people in the community to work in the factory and learn skills in the profession. 
That benefit aligns with DPR’s company culture of making better the communities where it builds. 
During the pandemic, DPR’s technology staff developed and deployed a prescreening app to help job sites and clients navigate the virus and keep one another safe while building projects progressed. Pannier says DPR shared the application with its nonprofit partners.
“We gave away our app to anyone who wanted it so they could do prescreening, track data and continue to serve their purpose,” he says. 
With Charlotte’s strong commercial market, Pannier says he expects the local DPR office to continue with its current growth rate into 2024.
Laura Williams-Tracy is a Charlotte-based freelance writer who can be reached at laura@lwtcommunications.bz. 
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