Tag: California Interior Design Regulation


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:


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


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;


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.


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


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


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


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.


PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER Ranks 26th on Hollywood Reporters List of 25 Most Influential Interior Designers!


Dang! Maybe next year.

Well Double Dang….if all the Hollywood stars become interior designers, because they can, then PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER does not stand a chance of making this list…….Wah!


Guess I am going to have to DABBLE at becoming a Hollywood Star……oooh oooh I wish upon a star……..

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 https://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?


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

Pitching a New Mantra….AGAIN.

Well it’s been about 2 years since I trotted out this proclamation and while there has been some positive movement toward this vision….we are still singing too many songs from too many hymnals.  It’s time to re-post;



ONE VOICE: We need to have one professional organization that is devoted to serving the best interests of vetted interior design professionals by continually raising the standards of professional status, advocating for our legal/political rights in a unified, cohesive manner, and promoting our unique value to society.  The old adage that there is strength in numbers does not count if we don’t have a clear direction.

ONE CREDENTIAL: We need a brand identity that clearly communicates our unique value to society and demands the respect that we all have earned.  And no this brand is not “Interior Design” nor are we merely “Interior Designers”.  Since anyone with a pulse can claim that title it does not make sense to try to make it our own unique brand- does it?

ONE MISSION: To allow us to compete as equals to, or independent of, other licensed design professionals.

What part of that is unclear?  Not a rhetorical question.