Florida lawmakers have whittled the list of regulated professions to be de-regulated down to 20. Interior design is still on that list along with hair braiders, auctioneers, yacht brokers and body wrappers- go figure. While there is much misunderstanding and misinformation on the issue of licensing for interior designers it appears that the Interior Design Association Foundation is trying to clarify the real impact of Florida House Bill 5005. It is a matter of independent Florida Registered Interior Designers losing their right to practice (on a limited basis) without the oversight of registered architects or engineers. I respect the desire and ability of those interior designers to be able to sign and seal limited scope interior permit documents. This does in fact provide more choices for the consumer….much to the AIA’s chagrin. This is the most straightforward distillation of ID licensing issues to date;
“The Interior Designs Association Foundation (IDAF) says deregulation would force businesses and consumers to use registered architects for some plans that can currently be submitted by registered interior designers, who are recognized by building departments.” http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2011/03/28/interior-designers-fight-deregulation.html
Unfortunately the IDAF has tossed out two red-herring arguments, or emotional appeals, that PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER wishes were kept in the de-bait-bucket.
The first is the gender card. Has it really come to this? Bad old predominately male architects are taking advantage of the mostly female interior designers. Can we not just keep this to what it is, a professional economic turf battle? Now if we were forced to settle this dispute with a tug of war….well yes…my money would have to go with the AIA. However, we can compete on an intellectual and skill level. WE ARE MORE QUALIFIED TO DESIGN INTERIOR SPACE! We just don’t realize it.
Unfortunately we have chosen Health Safety and Welfare as the tiny mud puddle over which to tug the rope. To use another non-physical competition metaphor- our hand may hold the gender card- we just gotta know when to show ’em.
So who do you think will win this tug-of-war? Do we want to arm wrestle or outwit them proving our worth to society?
Second is the whole ID student issue. I get the angst and the concern- I teach interior design for a living. The ground is moving beneath the student’s feet and there is a lot of uncertainty, misinformation and vitriol. The adults are arguing and it is unsettling.
“The group says the impact could hurt 12 schools that offer degrees in interior design, because their graduates would not have a professional registration anymore.
Book told the Gulf Coast Business Review that schools would be devastated by deregulation”
If any Florida ID students (or any ID student for that matter) actually takes the time to read this post, and others I have posted on the subject, I commend you. Please consider this. If ID is deregulated in Florida it will impact your ability to assume responsibility for submitting interior design construction documents to obtain a building permit and yes, in order to practice at the highest level of the profession, you will have to do so under the supervision of an architect and/or professional engineer- welcome to the world of integrated design and multi-professional collaboration. It will not mean that your education is worthless. In fact as someone who teaches at a highly regarded institution in a non-regulated state I am beginning to feel slighted. By default our student’s education is worthless? Me thinks not. So let’s all keep this in perspective. If ID is deregulated in Florida it will be a set-back to the registered practitioners in Florida and a warning shot over the bow of the entire profession. As the future of our profession, and it still is a very valid and vibrant one, your challenge will be to get out there into the real world and help us prove that we deserve to be peers with other regulated professions (like manicurist and barbers….obtuse?….no really think about that) and that our ability to actually improve people’s lives and livelihoods is far more important than being able to sign and seal permit documents.