DPOR Complaint Process: An Overview for Contractors

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by | April 24, 2024

For contractors in Virginia, responding to a DPOR complaint can be a confusing and challenging task.  The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, known as “DPOR,” is a body that regulates licensing for many types of businesses, including contractors.  Any licensed contractor has dealt with DPOR at some point.  Unfortunately, during construction or renovation projects, a customer sometimes will file a complaint with DPOR against the contractor.  Understanding how to respond to a DPOR complaint, even if is without merit, is critical for any Virginia contractor.

Responding to a DPOR Complaint

If a DPOR complaint has been filed, DPOR will review the complaint and, if it determines it has jurisdiction over the complaint, it will then send a letter to the contractor notifying the contractor of the complaint and requesting a written response.  DPOR will provide the contractor with a response deadline, and it is of the utmost importance that the contractor comply with these deadlines. In many instances, DPOR will provide reasonable deadline extensions if requested by the contractor or the contractor’s attorney.  

It is important that a written response be both organized and detailed.  While the response can be drafted and submitted by the contractor, having an attorney review the allegations in the complaint and draft and submit a response can also add value to the process.  Once the response is submitted, DPOR will then review the response and decide on how to proceed with the next steps.  Below, we’ll cover an outline of the DPOR disciplinary process.

Overview of DPOR Disciplinary Process

Complaints are filed with the Complaints Analysis & Resolution (“CAR”) section of DPOR.  From there, CAR may close the file, obtain compliance, negotiate a resolution through entry of a consent order, or refer the file to alternative dispute resolution or the DPOR Investigations section.

The Investigations section is responsible for investigating the underlying facts of a DPOR complaint.  If the matter is referred from CAR to the Investigations section, the investigator assigned to the DPOR Complaint will prepare a Report of Findings (ROF) that details the basis for a finding that a contractor has violated DPOR regulations.

Next, the Investigations section will refer the matter to the Adjudication section, which conducts an informal factfinding (“IFF”) conference.  At the IFF conference there will be a presiding officer, who is often a board member or former board member of the DPOR Board for Contractors.  The contractor will have an opportunity to present information and the presiding officer will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding the facts underlying the DPOR complaint.  From there, the presiding officer will make a recommendation to the Board about whether to find any violations and/or impose any sanctions.

The Board will then vote at its next meeting on whether to accept, amend, or reject the presiding officer’s IFF conference recommendations.  The contractor who is the subject of disciplinary action is given the opportunity to attend the Board meeting to make final remarks about the presiding officer’s recommendations prior to the Board’s vote.

Next Steps After Receiving a DPOR Complaint

DPOR investigations are often document intensive and often take several months. DPOR rules, regulations, and procedures can also present pitfalls for contractors trying to navigate the DPOR regulatory process. If you’re facing a DPOR Complaint, contact our office to speak with one of our Fairfax Construction Litigation Attorneys.