Protecting Health Safety & Welfare (HSW) is the current standard by which all efforts to regulate the profession of Interior Design are based. Period. It is the primary aspect of all of our skills, knowledge and service that we present as our greatest, and legally defensible, contribution to society. Unfortunately protecting not only the health and safety but the welfare of the public is such a broad objective it is virtually impossible to define what that really entails. Certainly John Q. Public can’t comprehend it and many of our policy makers are in the same HGTV boat. Nevermind that I know of no designer that would willingly, or knowingly, create an interior space that was anything but safe (meets all codes), healthy (addresses indoor air quality, utilizes daylight, does not exude toxic chemicals, etc.) and improves the welfare of the user (not sure how that is actually measured). Furthermore I keep going back to the old adages- “you cannot legislate stupidity” and conversely “the government cannot make you act professional” but I digress…..
It does not take a rocket scientist to know that designing a space that is unsafe, unhealthy and/or purposely detrimental to the users welfare would be unethical, immoral and just plain bad for business. Lets face it if you created unsafe, unhealthy and physiologically and psychologically debilitating spaces you would not last long. There are lots of safety systems in place to make sure this does not happen already.
I am willing to accept that there are unscrupulous, unqualified and inept designers out there. I also believe that the government has a certain responsibility to protect us from those who intentionally set out to harm us….in other words I do believe that it is Uncle Sam’s job to protect us from us…something the tea partiers and ID’s arch-nemesis the Institute for Justice would disagree with. But I digress….Yes those of us who are supposedly certified and have proven our competency via practice and examination can (and should) protect the health, safety and welfare of the public/our clients. But so do Architects, Professional Engineers, Licensed Contractors and Fire Marshalls. What impetus do lawmakers have to add another redundant layer of regulation other than to collect administrative fees and perpetuate governmental beaurarcracy? Well it’s a hard sell.
So maybe we should step back and really consider if there might be another model for validating our worth to society. PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER prefers to think that his work improves quality of life (QOL) much more than it protects HSW. In fact that is why our clients hire me and I would bet that is how we really sell ourselves.
Shouldn’t this be the flame by which we light our professional torch?