Category Archives: California Interior Design Regulation

INTERIOR DESIGNER vs. INTERIOR DESIGNER- WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

membership-780x350image from http://idc-oregon.org/

Can Interior Designers ever distinguish themselves from Interior Designers in order to advance the profession via government regulation?

Okay read that question again….does it make sense to you?  Well from where I am sitting it makes no sense but yet that is what numerous well intended interior designers are trying to do by pursuing government regulation. These interior designers freely invest copious amounts of time and energy into the grassroots effort to achieve recognition by their state legislatures.  They have my respect simply because they want to improve the status of the profession.

However, since the term “interior designer” is not a protected title anybody with a pulse can call themselves an ” interior designer” and many people do- qualified or not, professional or not, educated or not, breathing or not.  Unfortunately it is typically the unqualified, innately talented self-proclaimed interior designer that society equates with the term “interior designer”. Why should they support regulation of a profession (if they even consider it one) that requires no particular training, education or skill?  Answer is they don’t.

You cannot expect the general public, vis-a-vis our policy and law makers, to understand the difference between an interior designer and an interior designer…..no way- no how.  (Case in point: http://www.designntrend.com/articles/10266/20140118/kourtney-kardashian-shows-amazing-interior-design-skills-alice-wonderland-themed.htm)

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If you do not see, or agree that there is, a semantic barricade then there is nothing else here for you to see….move along.  If however, you recognize that there is a conflict here please read on.  Let’s figure out a way around this impediment to our professional advancement.

So what we have is an intractable bi-polar divide within the profession.  Each side has clearly stated their platforms for ID regulation and against ID regulation.  You and I may be able to sort out the truth from the lies but how can we expect our policymakers to sort through the flack to see our side of the profession?  Unfortunately as I have posted 300+ times before they can’t.

Those in favor of ID regulation say “Licensing provides a level of accountability that is otherwise non-existent.   It is for consumer protection.”

Those who oppose ID regulation say “There is no consumer outcry demanding interior design legislation”

Those in favor say “Licensing interior designers will allow the qualified to work to the fullest potential of their training and education”

The opposition says “occupational licensing reduces employment growth, contributes to unemployment and increases costs to consumers,”

The pro legislation side claims we are educated, trained and tested  to sign and seal construction drawings to procure building permits.

While the anti-regulation contingent claims that architects already do this and there is no need.  Unfortunately the AIA agrees….I digress.

One interior designer says this and another interior designer claims this……How can we clarify this for society and our policy makers? Since the advent of the Locke v. Shore ruling in 2010  http://ij.org/locke-v-shore   the profession has attempted a mighty policy tack to distinguish our regulation attempts by using the title “Certified Interior Designer” or “Registered Interior Designer”.  I have asked this before? Why do we need legislation to do this?

We have to decide if we are pursuing regulation to distinguish ourselves from the innately qualified thereby limiting that competition or if we pursuing regulation as a right to practice issue.  Two very different end games requiring two very different game plans. Let’s figure that out first huh.

Yet the effort to distinguish the profession by use of overly subtle title nuances continues.  Seems like a lot of effort for little to no gain. How can we change this?

The Oregon interior design coalition http://idc-oregon.org/  for instance has proposed legislation in that state that distinguishes “Commercial Interior Design” from “Interior Design” http://professionalinteriordesigner.com/2012/01/27/oregon-commercial-interior-designers-push-for-practice-license/
Seems like a reasonable way to distinguish those that practice in code regulated environments vs. residential interior decorators/designers but there is no legitimate profession called “commercial interior design”.  Again the Oregon IDC has my support for their effort to advance the profession but I cannot support such semantic cleaving simply to avoid confusion.

So how can we present a professional domain that is Interior Design- but isn’t?

Well we can start by regulating ourselves. If we co-opt the term “Registered Interior Designer” BEFORE we pursue any legislation to regulate the term we do not have distinguish ourselves from “interior designers”.  If they have not earned the right to “Register” themselves in the free market…then they should not have any issues with those who have so proven their baseline competence to become “Registered”and ultimately “licensed” thereby rendering their anti regulation competition concerns moot.  In other words we need to create a professional identity that is clearly not interior design and is not performed by “interior designers”.  Whoa you may have to think about that one again.

Register first then pursue legislation to protect the term and the practice.

Which will take less time…trying to distinguish ourselves politically and legally via Uncle Sam or distinguishing ourselves in the public domain first then pursuing legislation based on that self-regulated title and practice?

My money is on the latter.  Hope I am around long enough to confirm it.

P.S. Okay if you are scratching your head I can’t blame you.  Again if you do not agree that this is an extremely nuanced and convoluted (by our own doing) issue then you probably are laughing this diatribe off…..at least you are laughing.  Others of you are probably thinking “isn’t legislating the title ‘Registered’ Interior Designer the easiest and most direct way to distinguish ourselves from our interior design brethren and consequently redefine the profession of “interior design” to be what we want it to be- isn’t that what we are doing? It seems to be working.”  Well no..it’s not working.  Hence this blog.

Architects are all licensed….why can’t we follow their lead?

Okay here’s another way to look at it.  Prior to the regulation of the occupation we know as “Architecture” as practiced by “Architects” they (architects) had…ohhh…about 500 years of proving their value to society. They became a learned profession in which the title “Architect” garnered immediate respect and those who practiced “architecture” without the prerequisite education, apprenticeship and examination became rarer as the profession developed, one and two, they were quickly outed and reprimanded by the professional domain of “architects” either legally, professionally or in dark alleys.  Ultimately over time architects came to legally own the title of architect, at least within the built environment.  The general public came to understand this and generally accepted it. 

We do not have that luxury. The general public has no idea what we do or why we deserve legal recognition.  Because we do not legally own the term “interior design” and in my humble opinion we never will….we cannot make it what we want it to be simply by creating title regulation.  However, who’s to say that in 500 years we may not have worn down the innately qualified self proclaimed interior designers into resignation…..”all right all right you can have it….we’ll just call ourselves interior decorators and let you have the title to be you own...” Sorry….that aint gonna happen- not even in 500 years.   

So we have to concede that interior designers will never be able to own the term interior design and make it their own, legally politically or professionally. 

Time to consider a new paradigm.   The one I suggest above may not be the best solution but if you agree that there is a problem then I have accomplished something.  If you don’t see this I hope you can comment and let me know. THANKS FOR READING

4 MORE YEARS….4 MORE YEARS!

http://www.asid.org/content/asid-announces-passing-california-senate-bill-308

Looks like the CID’ers in California get four more years to practice…..and four more years to convince state building officials that they are in fact qualified to sign and seal CD’s for limited scope code regulated interior work. 

And that the CID credential is more than just a title.

Nobody cares about signing and sealing work that does not absolve an independent interior designer from hiring another licensed design professional simply to obtain permission to see their work to fruition. 

The requirement for transparency and open meetings was brought on by ASID. So it will be interesting to see how CCIDC and ASID play in the sandbox. 

PROUD TO DISPLAY THE NEW NCIDQ CREDENTIAL

Introducing New Benefit For Active Certificate Holders

On July 15, 2013 the appellation “NCIDQ” and a unique mark will be available for use as an additional benefit for active certificate holders. After completing the terms and conditions on their MyNCIDQ online account, active NCIDQ Certificate holders will have the option to sign their names “First Name Last Name, NCIDQ” and/or use a unique NCIDQ logo in their professional materials, which may be downloaded from the same online account.  Active NCIDQ Certificate holders are those individuals who are current with their annual renewal payment, and in addition to the benefits already funded by the annual renewal fees, helps support NCIDQ Examination development and operations to maintain the validity and integrity of the series of tests.

Kim Ciesynski, NCIDQ Examination Board President, praises the move, saying “This new option for all certificate holders is a great opportunity for interior designers/interior architects to promote the NCIDQ credential they have worked so hard to earn, and to market themselves as successfully passing the rigorous standards tested by the NCIDQ Examination. The NCIDQ Examination is developed according to credible industry standards and we take great care to maintain its validity.  Therefore, we are very proud of our certificate holders and so pleased that they will now be able to demonstrate that they incorporate the highest standards of health, safety and human welfare in their daily practice. Certificate holders have spent years educating themselves, earning work experience and studying for the NCIDQ Examination.  They deserve the ability to showcase their hard-won and unique achievement.”

The Council for Interior Design Qualification, Inc., the corporate structure that provides resources to develop the NCIDQ Examination, is confident in the skills of those professionals who hold the NCIDQ Certificate, and is thrilled to promote those interior designers/interior architects who are the best examples of what the NCIDQ Examination stands for: health, safety and welfare within the spaces we use daily.

P.S. July 16: When I checked my Google Search results this morning I was expecting to see at least one press worthy item on the new credential. Instead Clare Danes mutters in Vogue that she thought about becoming an interior designer and the blogosphere ignites with joy;

Claire Danes, Interior Designer? http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/179483-claire-danes-interior-designer/

Why Claire Danes considered an interior design career http://wonderwall.msn.com/tv/why-claire-danes-considered-an-interior-design-career-25701.gallery

Would Claire Danes Be an Interior Designer Right Now if ‘Homeland’ Hadn’t Come Along? http://tv.yahoo.com/blogs/emmys/would-claire-danes-be-an-interior-designer-right-now-if–homeland–hadn-t-come-along–002810920.html

The NCIDQ credential is a much needed change for the profession but evidently we have a long, long way to go.

The Saga of California Senate Bill 308

Evidently the A.I.A. was just testing its cannons.

Looks like it’s status quo for California CID’ers

http://www.ccidc.org/eNews/sb308-3rd-bulletin.html

The stakeholder meetings, if they happen, should be televised for the public record.

CALIFORNIA CERTIFIED INTERIOR DESIGNERS UNDER ATTACK….OR ARE THEY?

I’m back.

Okay follow this missive from the CCIDC regarding California Senate Bill 308 and its language that the CCIDC says is detrimental to the profession:

http://ccidc.org/eNews/sb308-2nd-bulletin.html

Okay now read this web post by the Interior Design Coalition of California claiming that there is no need for concern:

http://www.idc-ca.org/idcc-news/templates/featured.aspx?articleid=210&zoneid=22

I find the IDCC claim regarding the supposed AIA backed amendment to SB-308 that-

As part of this process, an amendment was considered and is being interpreted as an attempt to deregulate the interior design profession. Upon closer review with legal counsel, we have found this NOT to be the case”

troubling not only in that it contradicts the CCIDC claim that the current CID model will be

DISASTROUS for Certified Interior Designers and any non certified designers including those doing kitchens and baths!”

it also does not tell us why their legal counsel reached this decision.  Are we to go on faith here?

Well I came back to call BULLS**T! Somebody is not telling the whole story here and for either organization to claim otherwise is extremely troubling.  The pissing match in California is growing old it’s time to;

GET OVER IT- TELL US THE WHOLE STORY-GET ON THE SAME PAGE AND MAKE THIS WORK!

No I do not have a dog in this hunt per se but we all suffer the consequences of the fallout from your pissy fits.

GOOD GRIEF.

P.S. California SB-308 will be brought before committee this morning at 9:00 AM  (PST)….Listen to the great debate here;

http://www.calchannel.com/live-webcast/

P.S. The hearing was rescheduled for July 2nd, listen to it here;

http://abp.assembly.ca.gov/hearings

I Pledge Allegiance to One Profession Under Uncle Sam With Liberty and Justice for all.

Okay so my previous post regarding California’s voluntary private interior design certification as it relates to the regulatory process common in the other 49 states (and related districts) got bogged down in minutiae.  I will take the blame for tossing out some poorly worded opinions that others felt compelled to argue.  Feel free to read the previous post for some interesting historical perspective on this topic.

Ultimately I hope you become informed as that is the goal of this blog. If I offend in that effort….oh well.

My question still stands unanswered;

Where do you see the CCIDC regulatory model as it fits in an effort to create a unified nationwide professional interior design domain with one credential, one professional organization with one objective, one accepted education/experience/examination professional validation process and one regulatory goal- that is to be considered peers with other REGISTERED/REGULATED BUILDING DESIGN PROFESSIONS?

Here is a hint for anybody willing to chime in……

The easiest answer is “there is no effort to create a unified nationwide professional interior design domain with one credential, one professional organization with one objective, one accepted education/experience/examination professional validation process and one regulatory goal- that is to be considered peers with other registered/regulated building design professionals”. If that is your answer then the entire freakin’ query is moot and we have just wasted an inordinate amount of time and effort. You are welcome to go forth and prosper in your ill defined, disrespected, misunderstood and undervalued professional(?) efforts.

If however, you support the notion that it is in our collective best interest to at least attempt to create a unified nationwide professional interior design domain with one credential, one professional organization with one objective, one accepted education/experience/examination professional validation process and one regulatory goal then you must consider how we are currently going about it. That includes an honest assessment of voluntary/private self-regulation models amongst other trivial issues such as what we call ourselves, how we define ourselves and who should advocate for us. So with that I will shut up and step aside. If anybody is willing to take a stab at answering my question above I promise not to pick your answer apart…….no really.

P.S. Is there room for both models? Should the other 49 states pursue/convert to a private regulatory model?

Don’t make me answer my own questions

P. P. S. Good to see that the CCIDC Director (Doug Stead) likes the anti-regulation efforts of the Interior Design Protection Council. That should tell you where he stands on the issue of nationwide ID regulation; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Interior-Design-Protection-Council/324844676913?ref=ts Begs the question- why does the regulation of ID in other states concern Mr. Stead and the CCIDC?

California Interior Design Certification vs. National Interior Design Regulations

apples-and-oranges

The California Council for Interior Design Certification is due to be reviewed by the California Joint Legislative Sunset Review Committee in March.

Why should we care?

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has posted several times before that, since California is the largest state in the Union and they have the largest number of interior designers…both qualified and self-proclaimed, what goes on in regard to the profession of Interior Design in that state affects all of us.

Unfortunately, IN MY NOT SO HUMBLE OPINION, the current quasi-private voluntary self-certification system that California has implemented is flawed on several levels.  The most prominent flaw being that it stands in direct conflict with the regulatory effort of the other 49 states in the Union as they endeavor to implement legal recognition for those designers who have earned the right to be recognized for their skills and knowledge required to legally protect the Health Safety and Welfare of the public.  You see California is unique in that it has its own qualifying exam, the IDEX. An exam that the CCIDC admits virtually anybody can qualify to take.  It seems that education and experience do not count for much if anything. Let’s just say that the bar to claim California CID credentials has been intentionally lowered so as not to be an “unreasonable barrier” to become a certified interior designer.

Now I will admit that the overarching concept of a profession that self-regulates is a positive attribute of California’s Interior Design Certification model.  But that’s it. The rest has devolved into a weak (at best) validation process for anybody with the time and money who would like to buy the CID credential.

Some brief history.  Upon its inception in 1991 the CCIDC allowed the NCIDQ to be one of the qualifying exams for certification. However the low pass rates and high costs for the NCIDQ proved problematic for the CCIDC and its subsequent infiltration of anti-ID regulation proponents- AKA the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and the Interior Design Society (who administers the equally flacid CQRID exam).  In the anti-regulatory free market political environment of the time (and let’s not forget the sunny location) the tide was turning against the NCDQ and its professional supporters ASID and IIDA.  In their 2003 Sunset Review the CCIDC was provided an out to rethink its testing model

“After the last Sunset Review for CCIDC in 2003, the legislature amended Section 5811 of the BPC to read as follows:

“5811. An interior design organization issuing stamps under Section 5801 shall provide the Joint Committee on Boards, Commissions, and Consumer Protection by September 1. 2008, a report that reviews and assesses the costs and benefits associated with the California Code and Regulations Examination (CCRE) and explores feasible alternatives to that examination.”

So under the guise of the CCRE exam being usurped by newer codes the CCIDC saw an opportunity to completely sidestep the NCIDQ and create its own exam-the IDEX.  Which they claim tests its candidates on California specific seismic, Title 24, and other supposed unique building codes. Even though California C.I.D.’s are not allowed to sign and seal any permit documents entailing structural or seismic work.

In 2008 the CCIDC decided to create their own exam the IDEX with the tacit reasoning that other interior design professional exams did not adequately address California specific codes   “thus removing significant costs and barriers to entry to the profession”. With pass rates between 8 and 9 of every 10 test candidates…let me repeat 84%-94% of all test takers (88% Ave. over the past 3 years) pass the IDEX exam…So in this regard the CCIDC has been very successful at “removing barriers to entry into the profession”. Some “profession” that is- why even bother?

While the marginal professional standards by which the CCIDC claims its certified designer comply is concerning there does not appear to be much benefit to the credential once it is paid for. The CCIDC admits that its certificate holders are often denied building permits and that their credential is often not recognized as legitimate by local code officials. Gee I wonder why?  Could it be that the code officials are actually dubious of the patently lowered standards to obtain their quasi-professional credential?  Which also is the trademarked credential Certified Interior Decorator (http://www.cidinternational.org/ ) BUT WHO’S COUNTING?

So with that California has created what appears to this ID regulation wonk as an ineffective standard for interior design professional status that stands directly in the way of any type of nationwide reciprocal Interior Design regulation.

NOTE TO CALIFORNIA JOINT LEGISLATIVE SUNSET REVIEW COMMITTEE: If you are going to have professional standards why not make the candidates prove that they have actually earned the right to sit for an exam that properly vets that knowledge?  Reinstate the NCIDQ as a qualifier for California CID’s and at least raise the bar a notch or two…or will that exceed the acceptable height for seismic codes?

Here is a link to the CCIDC’s response to the usual Sunset Review Commission queries.

http://www.ccidc.org/pdf/BPED-CCIDC-Oversight-Report-Form-Linked-2012.pdf

Filipinos Get Serious About Interior Design

UPDATE FEBRUARY 20th;

http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/90691/the-philippine-interior-design-act-gets-tougher

If only it could be this simple;

Interior design law signed

By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Posted on Jan. 14, 2013 at 12:02am http://manilastandardtoday.com/2013/01/14/interior-design-law-signed/

“Senator Antonio Trillanes lauded Malacanang for approving the Interior Design Act of 2012, which he said will ensure the sector’s global competitiveness.

“I thank President Benigno Aquino III for signing the amended interior design law,” he said.

Trillanes, chairman of Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization, said the measure “is necessary for us to introduce changes which would modernize the practice of interior design in the country to make it at par with the international standards and to enhance the competitive edge of the Filipino interior designers.”

He said the law that was signed last Dec. 15 amended a 1998 measure.

Under the new law, regulations on the registration, licensing and the practice of interior design will be updated by institutionalizing mandatory continuing professional education of interior design professionals.

As provided, special permits of foreign interior designers will be issued without prejudice to Filipino practitioners.

Trillanes said Filipino interior designers have attained international recognition and have been admitted in different international organizations.

According to him, Malaysia patterned its licensing and regulatory laws on  interior design from our laws.”

So next time you are in Manila don’t try any illegal interior design- you could end up on Locked Up Abroad.

large_partyanimal

Getting RID of ID Regulation Pushback

Or at least minimizing the cries of  disenfranchised interior designers.

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has been bantering about the blogosphere lately with anybody willing to discuss the issue of interior design regulation. I gotta say it’s a thin crowd. None the less I have been enlightened by the ways in which we as a profession see regulation and, as my previous 250 posts point out, how the general public, vis-a-vis our lawmakers, sees interior design regulation.

I am now able to boil the justification for the entire effort into two (Okay 3) words; Respect and Practice Rights.

Let’s nix respect as it is not the government’s job to regulate, or grant, respect for any one professional domain. Unfortunately many in our profession do not realize this and due to a dearth of other means to gain respect they pursue licensure as a means of validation. “But….but….won’t weilding a license automatically distinguish me from the mere designer wanna-bes, self-proclaimed interior design posers and innately qualified decorators cum designers?”  Ummm let me think about for a second- NO!

It won’t, it hasn’t, it can’t, and it aint never gonna ya’ll- Get over it.

Now on to pursuing regulation as our right to practice as peers with, or independent of, other regulated design professionals within code based construction environments.¹ My discussions with California ID’ers on both sides of their regulation efforts have helped me focus on two key aspects of our effort to regulate; Intellectual Property Rights and Permitting Privileges.

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER was under the misunderstanding that once a licensed design professional signed and sealed permit documents they became the owners of the intellectual property. Basically if an unlicensed/unregulated interior designer designed and documented a design project that, for whatever reason, needed the signature and seal of a licensed design professional (typically a Registered Architect) that the interior designer surrendered ownership of his/her design to the endorsing professional. Well I was wrong.  Evidently ownership depends on the use of copyright protection and confirmation of ownership in the project contract. Of course if a designer does not copyright their work and there is no contract (ie. AIA Document B-141 or similar) then all bets are off. Ultimately the argument that the endorsing licensed professional assumes ownership of the design is full of holes. This is one aspect of ID’s march to professionalization that needs much more exploration and dissemination and until then should not be used as a justification for licensure.

As to the issue of practice rights, the most important aspect of which is permitting privileges, that is being able to design, document, sign, seal, apply, and be awarded a building permit for our work within defined scope limits².  Add to that when the project scope exceeds those set limits and involves structural, M/E/P or base building life safety issues, registered ID’ers should be legally allowed to lead or be the prime design entity for such professional collaboration. That’s really the crux of all of this regulatory licensure legal political brouhaha in my not so mumble opinion.

Okay how do we get there? (see http://professionalinteriordesigner.com/2011/08/18/the-goal-is-clear-the-path-not-so-much/ ) Well the light at the end of that tunnel…er path, lies in 3 key words included in the International Building Code- “Registered Design Professional” or R.I.D. for those of you into brevity. Specifically the IBC states in Section 107.1 Submittal Documents that;

“The construction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed.”

Repeat “registered” not “licensed”. Now certainly local jurisdictions can muck with the terminology so that “registered” becomes “licensed” but we can all guess who is motivating those subtle semantic changes.  This is where a strong advocacy effort with the ICC and other code official organizations would be a wiser investment of professional dues monies than lobbyists pursuing “licensure”…I digress.

So with that PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER posits that the entire ID regulation effort be focused in on the nuanced pursuance of legislation that regulates the title of “Registered” Interior Designer.  Not the practice of anything…..don’t even mention it. Our public mantra should disavow any effort to regulate the practice, or licensure, of the act of interior design. In fact legislation from here forward should not even mention the definition of interior design…to the lawmakers- ID is what it is and it can remain that way forever. We simply seek title protection for those interior designers who make the free choice to qualify as Registered ID’ers. Gross oversimplification? Maybe- but the current approach isn’t really working  is it?

Now the pursuit of title acts is nothing new but for the past 35+/- years we have typically tried for full licensure of the practice of ID only to be allowed regulation of the title at best. Still many of us still want that license and claim that title acts are simply a step toward full licensure. Not so fast.

Those of you in the know are aware that the most recent legislation attempts (California, South Carolina, Massachusetts etc.) are careful to frame their bills around the term “registered”. This may be a concerted effort by the ASID led ID coalitions to alleviate sticky legal conflicts with exclusionary language and legal infringement on “interior design” and “interior designer” as well as copyright protection on the acronym CID – I doubt it. But as usual I am willing, and in fact hope, to be proven wrong.

What we need to do is start thinking, acting and promoting ourselves as RID’s. We need to educate ourselves as RID’s, we need to apprentice as RID’s and we need to vet our professional status as RID’s. This is where self-regulation comes into play- which is another discussion. Once we present ourselves as a profession that has earned the right to title protection without infringing on the rights of non-registered interior designers or registered architects then we might have a chance at realizing our true professional aspirations.  It’s the permit stupid.

If you’ve read this far I would love to hear your thoughts. Is this a legit model or am I missing something?

NOTES:

1. Paraphrasing a joint statement by Don Davis of ASID and Alyson Levy of IIDA issued in response to the 2010 ID deregulation effort in Florida.

2. The definition of the actual scope of work that a Registered Interior Designer can legally/contractually accept all liabilities for is another moving target across the country. Additionally local jurisdictions apply their own interpretations so there is no consistency and little chance for reciprocity. Like our title effort this is another aspect of our professional validation process that needs to be applied consistently despite the vagaries of state and local regulations.  In other words if we do not define and vet it first others will do it for us- much to our disservice.

California ID Practice Act Update

The recent attempt by the IDCC/ASID to implement state mandated regulation via California AB2482 was killed. The opposition had more influence than the supporters plain and simple. It appears that the California Architects Board clearly opposed it.  There is some very enlightening discussion here.

Mr. McCauley reported on AB 2482 which would establish a DCA licensing board for interior designers, a practice act, and licensure requirements and exemptions. Mr. McCauley recommended the Board oppose the bill as it has similar bills in the past.

Sheran Voigt moved that the Board oppose AB 2482.

Hraztan Zeitlian seconded the motion.

Mr. Gutierrez raised further discussion on the proposed legislation. He stated that in the design process today, the interior designer does have an impact on the health, safety, and welfare (HSW) of the public with regards to interior spaces. He further stated his concerns that the language of the legislation does not differentiate the use of the terms “interior design,” “interior designer,” or anything similar embedded within a service, an advertisement, or branding. He stated this could cause confusion for the consumer and require additional research to understand the difference between “interior designer” and “registered interior designer.” Mr. Heller stated that the Board should reinforce the message of opposition to the legislation. He opined that the legislation promotes an unnecessary expansion of government. He stated that when the matter of interior designers was previously reviewed there arose some confusion about overlapping practice issues which could occur between interior designers and architects. He further stated there could develop problems in the HSW mission because interior designers may expand intoareas in which they lack the necessary expertise. Mr. McCauley stated that there are numerous issues with the AB 2482 as written. He stated that chief among the issues is the consumer confusion created by having different classes of interior designer. He further stated that with the terms “Certified Interior Designer”, “Registered Interior Designer”, and “Exempt Interior Designer” a consumer would have significant difficulty in determining who they should hire for a design project.

Mr. Zeitlian stated that there is no HSW reason which warrants a specialty license in one area of architecture. He also stated that interior design is one of the services which architects provide and for which they have responsibility. He opined that requiring a license for interior design is more for prestige and/or entitlement than protection of the public. He further stated that there is no need to create an additional government bureaucracy. Mr. Gutierrez countered that there are practices (firms) who perform sophisticated interior design work which does involve a significant public HSW concern.

 He reiterated his concern that the legislation does not isolate the license for the soon to or would be interior designers from others who are practicing design. He also reiterated that this would create confusion for consumers. Mr. Heller asked Mr. McCauley to prepare a memorandum summarizing the Board’s concerns that were raised during the meeting and include AIACC’s concerns and position. Mr. Baker stated that when the matter of licensing interior designers was raised a few years ago at the national level an issue regarding the scope of work for an interior designer license versus an architect license arose and was unable to be resolved. Mr. Gutierrez added that interior designers presently could design the entire interior space of a building without any accountability. He further stated that the license would bring that accountability and help protect the consumer to some extent, however, not from the confusion he had mentioned earlier.

 Mr. Baker added that an argument given by interior designers for licensure has been that building departments will not accept the materials submitted and often require an architect to sign and stamp the work for interior space planning. He raised the question about whether the interior designers should be preparing that kind of work and whether the building departments are simply “catching it at the gate”? Mr. Zeitlian asked that if interior designers could define a scope of work for which they would be legitimately licensed, then what about other areas of design that would technically be architecture. He opined that there is not a legitimate licensure-level area of practice involved with interior design.

 Mr. McCauley stated that the proposed legislation does not appear to respect the Sunset Review process because presently the private non-profit California Council for Interior Design Certification (which administers the Certified Interior Designers Law under the Business and Professions Code) is currently in the Sunset Review process. He also stated that there exists a counterpart process called the Sunrise process for new professions or vocations wishing to be regulated, which is also not being followed. He further stated the current arguments being made in-favor of the legislation were made during previous failed attempts without any substantive change. He stated that a key argument (building officials not accepting plans prepared by interior designers) was shown by Board surveys to be baseless. He further stated that even should the legislation pass, building departments have significant latitude and autonomy to determine what professions can submit plans for specific project types. He stated that another argument being made is how the building code defines registered design professional. He explained that the definition was previously part of an appendix to the International Building Code and therefore not mandatory. He further stated the last argument being made is that building officials will not accept interior designer plans because of liability. He added that the Government Code has specific provisions granting building officials immunity for liability. He then summarized that all the arguments being made in favor of registered interior designers were without merit.

 Mr. Gutierrez suggested that in the Board’s letter of opposition the statement of there being no documented public HSW issue should be removed. He opined that an argument could be made that such an issue does exist. Mr. McCauley responded by stating that none of the three states who license interior designers could point to documented harm that has occurred due to negligent practice by interior designers. Mr. Baker added that “at the end of the day” there needs to be clarity with regard to the level of service provided by the licensee (interior designer). Mr. Gutierrez replied that he believes it can be proved and a healthy argument could be made that interior design does have an impact on the HSW of an occupant.

The motion passed 8-0.

Taken from; http://www.cab.ca.gov/pdf/packets/2012_06_14_bd_packet.pdf Scroll to page #4