ASID & IIDA Issue Joint Statement on ID Licensure


In reaction to the legal challenges and effort to deregulate licensing of Interior Designers in Florida ASID and IIDA issued the following joint statement;


Joint Statement of the  American Society of Interior Designers And the International Interior Design Association

“The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the International Interior Design Association (IlDA) recognize and support each other’s role in the development of the interior design profession.


 The two organizations each work to further the growth and success of the interior design profession in the United States, nurture the global design community and offer education and inspiration to members throughout their careers.


 To that end, both ASID and IIDA strongly support voluntarily licensing that provides expanded practice opportunities for interior designers, allowing qualified designers to work independently in code-based built environments. This type of licensure for interior design is right for the economy, right for consumers, and right for the interior design profession.


 Further, ASID and IIDA join together to oppose current attempts to deregulate the interior design industry. Licensing allows designers to establish independent small businesses that offer a full scope of services, hire workers, increase payrolls and contribute to the tax base. Regulation has helped create jobs in interior design as well as affiliated wholesale and retail sales.


 This has, also meant reduced costs for consumers by increasing competition in the commercial design market. Licensing for interior design differentiates the responsibilities and services of each of the design professions, eliminating a monopoly for architects in the design of code-based built environments. Overall, licensing in Florida has created a robust design industry that employs thousands of Floridians and contributes significantly to the economy.


 Deregulation of voluntary licensure in Florida will only serve to disrupt small business and remove key safeguards vital to keeping the economy on track, creating instability for business and uncertainty in the marketplace.


For these reasons ASID and IIDA are working to together to prevent the deregulation of interior design and to promote a vibrant and dynamic environment in which the design community can thrive.”

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER is not sure when the statement was issued, or to whom, and that it was not formatted as a press release is interesting.  None the less there are two take away points for those who see the effort to license the practice of Interior Design as our primary mode of professional validation (in PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER’S  sometimes not so humble opinion);

  1. ASID & IIDA are collaborating on this issue.
  2. A clear objective for this effort has been identified-

…..both ASID and IIDA strongly support voluntarily licensing that provides expanded practice opportunities for interior designers, allowing qualified designers to work independently in code-based built environments.

Okay now we’re talkin’!  That’s it in a nutshell elevator ride statement. Kudos to Don Davis of ASID and Allison Levy of IIDA for distilling down an incredibly complex and misunderstood issue.  I hope that ASID and IIDA will adopt the above statement as their official policy regarding the regulation of Interior Design.  As I have stated before “as interior design legislation goes so goes the profession” at least until we can synthesize a cogent public relations effort that reinforces our regulatory efforts.

Now that we have a clear objective all we have to do is come up with a strategy to achieve it.  Guess who might have some thoughts on that?

11 responses to “ASID & IIDA Issue Joint Statement on ID Licensure”

  1. Wondering about the use of “voluntarily licensing” and later “voluntary licensure”… Does it mean they believe licensing should be “optional”? Does it mean they support both licensed interior designers and unlicensed interior designers (aka interior decorators)? That said, I am glad to see them come together.


  2. Great question Micene (accent first “e”- not sure how to do that)!
    The point of ‘VOLUNTARY” is to eliminate any legislation that is intentionally exclusionary and to make it clear that if you are not licensed, or do not want to become licensed, that your status as an interior designer will not be impacted by legislation.

    Those that choose to pursue licensure are free to do so and those that do not pursue licensure are free to do so as well. Basically this avoids 1st amendment issues inherent in previous ID regulatory efforts. So yes the goal is to make it “optional”.

    Whether “they” will support both licensed interior designers and unlicensed interior designers/decorators remains to be seen. I believe it is possible to do both but we all know how challenging that can be. Thanks for the comment.


    1. It sounds good but I do not see how an interior decorator who opted NOT TO become licensed will be able to work on commercial projects for instance (the “voluntary” licensing MAY work for residential projects). It will have to be mandatory for interior designers who wish to work on commercial projects to be licensed, hence rendering licensing mandatory and not optional.


  3. Okay drilling down further- You are right to a point. That point being the procurement of a building permit- the holy grail of the entire building design paradigm. In most jurisdictions (my opinion from experience) if a construction project requires a “building permit” in order to be realized, the drawings must be signed and sealed by a “licensed design professional”. Typically this means that a registered/licensed architect (or P.E. or G.C.) must be involved whether the project actually demands their expertise or not. This is a critical control point for the safety of society. Again, while there are exceptions most jurisdictions will allow single family homes (of reasonable scale) and commercial interior remodeling less than 5,000 SF not involving structure, systems or life safety issues to be performed without a permit. If the scope of work does not require a building permit your concern is moot. In words, and to address a fallacy promulgated by the anti-regulation side, anybody can design/decorate in any space as long as they are doing so within the limits of the local building jurisdiction. BUT… soon as the issue of permitting arises the ability of interior decorators, office furniture dealers, kitchen/bath designers AND qualified interior designers to perform and own their work becomes severely limited. Is this fair? I think we can agree that this is a reasonable check & balance for the safety of society so I say yes. But is it right that only licensed architects, P.E.’s and in some cases licensed contractors be the only ones who are allowed into the chapel of the holy grail? I say no. If you can prove that you are capable to protect the health, safety and welfare of the users then you should be able to sign, seal and assume liability for your designs.

    So yes at some point licensing becomes mandatory. I guess if you want to eliminate the issue of building codes we can make the whole process voluntary. Vote for Ron Paul and you might get your wish.


  4. Was not really wishing for anything nor suggesting that we should eliminate building codes. Simply trying to understand how a “voluntary” license would work in reality and how those deciding on the issue of regulation might view this “voluntary” licensing idea. If I am getting this right, you are suggesting that so long as a project does NOT require a building permit (does not deal with structure, systems or life safety issues) then licensing would be “voluntary” meaning anyone would be able to take on that project (the decision resting with the owner) whether or not they are licensed/registered. However, those who wish to ahve the ability to sign and seal drawings and apply for building permit would have the “option” of getting licensed so that can work on said projects that require a building permit. I am still not sure what I think the right licensing requirement should be for residential projects but I am pretty sure that I – personally – do not want any commercial space (no mater how small) to be worked on by someone who was not properly trained to ensure that my use of that space won’t compromise my health, safety or well-being at large.


  5. Micène I appreciate your desire to understand the impact/intent of “voluntary” and in that you are drilling down on some important distinctions. You are forcing me to really consider this paradigm. To be clear this is all my interpretation but in the end isn’t our interpretation, and agreement, that is either going to support this new policy or scuttle it? Anyway as I see it the intent of the ASID/IIDA statement is to ensure that, from here forward, ID regulation not be exclusionary or infringe upon the rights of others. That is the big picture goal on the legislative side of the spectrum.

    But you are correct- at the other end of the building design spectrum, when it comes to the ability of a designer to submit for, and obtain, a building permit for their work one needs to be a “licensed professional” there is no “voluntary” about it. Unfortunately there is so much disparity and ambiguity at the local code official level that it is impossible to say if one must be a licensed professional to perform residential work. There is a huge difference as to how commercial projects and residential projects are permitted, if they are permitted at all. One code official may interpret the scope of work, or qualifications of the designer, different than another code official- the nuances can vary from town to city. In my case the city officials are pretty strict about requiring permits for any residential work (other than decoration) but the county has no such oversight- it really is a matter of geography. But even if a permit is not required to perform residential work (other than pure decoration) wouldn’t you rather hire a licensed professional over one that is not? This will chafe those who voluntarily choose not to pursue licensure but as long as they made that choice then their acrimony can be written off as mere sour grapes as opposed to legitimate 1st amendment legal concerns. Life isn’t fair and it’s a dog eat dog world out there and all that. Thanks again!


    1. P.S. Excuse my satire….I know you get it but I am intrigued by the devout libertarians (Institute for Justice) and their interpretation of the government’s role in our lives. Live free or die- when the building you reside in collapses on you.


  6. Michael!!!

    Stop with the Bogeyman of buildings collapsing.

    The only buildings that are collapsing are a Wal-Mart store in a twister.


  7. Hey anonymous if you give me your address I’ll send you a quarter so you can buy a sense of humor.
    And another thing numbnuts the reason more buildings are not collapsing is because of government regulations executed by professionals who have earned their right to create a built environment that is generally safe. Some of us find that particular social/moral obligation important. Like I’ve said before if you have issues with government regulations or the aspiration of professions to practice in a regulated environment then you need to move to Mogadishu or Bengazi. Have a safe trip.


  8. Bonnie Casamassima Avatar
    Bonnie Casamassima

    Michael and Micene, I agree with your comments. I am ecstatic to see that ASID and IIDA have given this press release. I believe it is imperative to the progression of the Interior Design profession to mandate title requirements. Without these, a person without the proper foundation in education of codes and evidence based design decisions could continue to comprise the validity of our profession. I believe the main need for this regulation does come into play with commercial structures. There are countless concerns with the creation of commercial buildings, their safety and universal design. These concerns need to be understood and met by professionals with extensive background knowledge of the needs and requirements of such projects. The strict regulation of these built environments is why commercial buildings are as safe as they are today. With consistent titling of educated and experienced professionals verses those with natural talent, we are fulfilling our duty insuring the public that they are getting the right type of service. Furthermore, it will eliminate the confusion of The Interior Design profession and its role. With this, we will continue to eliminate unsafe conditions in our built environments created by a casual approach to professional title licensing.


  9. Thanks for your comment.


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