Tag: florida interior design deregulation

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-REGULATION & THE DECORATOR vs. DESIGNER TITLE MATCH

WWE-Triple-Threat-Tag-Title-Match,-RLA-Melb-10.11.2007

I have spent a lot of bytes on this blog pointing out the drawbacks of relying on Uncle Sam to validate our professional status via title and practice legislation.  Unfortunately we tend to lump our decorator vs. designer identity crisis in with the massive effort to gain regulation that codifies our right to work in code regulated building design environments.  This broad objective for legislation causes confusion among our policy makers and raises the ire of those who feel that we are infringing on their rights to practice as interior designers.

While some see the effort to advance the profession using government regulation as the only path to distinguishing the qualified, ( earned credentials from “NCIDQ Certified” to “Licensed” to “State Registered Interior Designer/RID” to “State Certified/CID” to “ASID/IIDA/IDC/ARIDO etc”) from those who are unqualified (“Hmmm my Mom tells me I have a flair for color and I feel like being an Interior Designer today!”), I maintain that it is our responsibility to enforce the distinction.

We have to prove to Uncle Sam that we are serious about our right to work in code regulated design environments with other licensed design professionals before we can expect his full attention and respect.

In other words, it is not Uncle Sam’s (or Mother Canada’s- for our Northern neighbors) job to distinguish Interior Designers from interior decorators.  Unfortunately this common perception that interior decoration and Interior Design are interchangeable is the bane of our effort to advance the code regulated aspect of the profession. How much time have you spent trying to explain the difference between interior decoration and Interior Design?  Frankly the differences are so subtle that it is virtually impossible to educate the uninformed in an elevator pitch.  Hell I have been doing this 35+ years and I have trouble defining the nuances in way that succinctly defines our differences.  We need to stop with the academic and abstract explanations and start citing tangible and justifiable examples.

Regrettably,  for the vetted design professional, anybody can call themselves an “Interior Designer” and no amount of legislation and regulation will change that. So how do we earn respect as regulated design professionals whose primary focus is the health, safety and well-being of our clients, if others continue to blur the distinction between vetted design professionals and those who decorate and claim to be “professional” or “certified” when they are not?

Whose job is it to make sure the code regulated Interior Design professional domain is clearly defined and defended?

The answer is that it is up to us to make sure those who claim to be “qualified”, “certified”, “registered”, “professional” and most definitely “credentialed” are in fact what they claim.  While it may seem elitist or protectionist to police such claims it is essential if we want to add value to our conflicted and contested profession.

We have to ask ourselves “can the general public understand and respect the difference between someone who claims to be an “Interior Designer” and someone who claims to be a “Certified Interior Designer”…particularly when they are practicing in a state that does not have title legislation in place?

I find the efforts of the Certified Financial Planners to promote their message of qualification to the general public extremely relatable.  The CFP board seems to be focused and proactive in this regard.  The CFP enforcement of professional standards is admirable. Their national campaign to help the general public understand the nuances between a financial planner and a Certified Financial Planner are quite effective in my humble opinion;

 

Keep in mind  that it is a violation of professional ethics (ASID, IIDA, NCIDQ) to claim you have achieved professional status, or earned professional certification, within those organizations, when you have not.  That line is typically very clear and inarguable.  Of course there are many other forms of “certification” and many ways to define “professional” but to claim you are a member of the profession it is easy to confirm- or should be.

We need to do more of this self-policing and we need to start calling out the violators wherever and whenever we can.  We failed to take ownership of the title “Interior Design” in the courts but it is not illegal to begin a campaign to redefine Interior Design by shifting public perception…..or helping people understand what it is not.

Case in point.  We have all witnessed the evolution of on-line design service providers…much to our chagrin.  Laurel and Wolf Interior Design seems to be one site that has gained traction in the competitive dotcom decorator posing as designer foray.  I appreciate the convenience for those who have the money to spend on interior decorator services and I appreciate the fact that many interior designers and decorators can earn income from this site.  We should not denigrate them but we certainly can differentiate by countering their claims.

So is this really “Interior Design“?  And are Laurel and Wolf’s “top designers” actually “certified” Interior Designers?

Well in my not so humble opinion NO- it is not “Interior Design”. This site is clearly about “Interior Decoration”  and is in fact the epitome of decoration (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Let’s start calling it what it is…a website that promotes residential interior decoration. Again not that there is anything wrong with that.

To the more important question of certification or qualification…… Let’s just say that Laurel and Wolf plays fast and loose with the idea of “Certified” designers.  Many of the designer profiles do not have any certification at all and several list unaccredited degree and academic certificates of dubious origin as confirmation of being “certified” Interior Designers.  A degree is not the same as being “certified”…that is a big stretch.

Let’s start reporting those individuals who may be bending the truth about their real “certifications”.  ASID/IIDA/NCIDQ should all have easily accessible rosters of current/active dues paying members so we can confirm false claims of professional or associate membership where that applies.  With that they should also be able to enforce their membership rules.

Other cases in point. Here are a few more examples of individuals, companies and trade practices that need to be continually called out for dubious if not deceptive portrayal of professional code regulated Interior Design services and/or interior decoration presented as Interior Design.  Again I appreciate the fact that companies and people need to earn a living but to claim you are doing something you are not is unacceptable and compromises my ability to gain respect for my skills and for accredited Interior Design students to justify their significant tuition investment.

Ethan Allen’s “Free Design Services”   Our design knowledge should not be free.  Don’t even get me started on trade only pricing practices.  Ethan Allen is free to run their business however they see fit.  However, we are also free to use their questionable ethics as an example of who we are not and what we refuse to do.

“Designer” Showhouses…they are decorator showhouses…period. Let’s start calling them what they are.

Kwikie design diploma or certificate courses promising successful careers as certified “Interior Designers”.  They aren’t and they don’t!  We have to have the collective fortitude to defend the term and title of interior design particularly when an on-line decorator certificate mill makes the following claim;

‘This online interior design course is a comprehensive program that will teach you everything you need to know to become a professional interior designer.’

Again it isn’t and it will not.  If nothing else we can help unsuspecting decorator wannabe’s understand that they are being mislead.  If we do not set their record straight, these decorator mills will simply continue to produce interior decorators who are empowered to misrepresent the profession of “Interior Design”.

Finally our professional membership organizations must do a better job of holding their professional members to the highest standards.  Again I fully respect a designer/decorator’s right to make a living and their freedom to self promote..but if you are going to sell pillows please understand that your message has broader implications for our effort to combat certain stereotypes.  I am sure this will tick a few folks off….I accept that…cue the criticisms.

We have to stop being concerned who we are upsetting….if they are clearly in the wrong then let’s diplomatically help them understand the errors of their ways.  We have to stop trying to be everything to everybody.  We have to accept being offensive so we can stop being defensive.

Or maybe…..just maybe I need to heed the advice of drag star and renown interior designer Ru Paul and stop taking this stuff so seriously;

AD: Would you say that drag influences your interior design sense?

RuPaul: Absolutely! Yes! Drag is all about reminding people to not take life too seriously. Our goal, our mission, is to say: This body you’re in is temporary. Have fun with it. Dress it up. Use all the colors in the rainbow. It’s there to enhance your experience. You are God, for lack of a better term, experiencing humanity. Have fun with it. Don’t hurt anybody else. Don’t take it too seriously.

(image: By jjron (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons )

 

 

HOW DO WE REMOVE INTERIOR DESIGN FROM THE DEREGULATION HIT LIST?

Deregulation is the current trend in State Houses across the nation.  There are many arguments for and against this effort.  I am not here to argue the merits of government regulation or the deregulation thereof.  Full disclosure- I support a common sense approach to government regulations and yes some regulation is clearly unnecessary but my specific bone to pick is…….

Why does the regulation of Interior Design continue to be equated with other questionable licensed/regulated occupations and professions?

In case you are unsure what my problem (among many) is let’s look at Florida House Bill #7047 which began working its way through the approval process in Tallahassee this spring.  This broad brush anti-regulation bill lumps the practice of state registered Interior Design with hair & body wrappers, auctioneers, and boxing timekeepers among other “why the heck do you need a license to do that?” laws.

To wit;

HB 7047: Deregulation of Professions and Occupations

GENERAL BILL by Careers and Competition Subcommittee ; Beshears

Deregulation of Professions and Occupations; Removes regulations on specified DBPR professions, including labor organizations, auctioneers & auction businesses, talent agencies, hair braiders, hair wrappers & body wrappers, interior designers, & boxing timekeepers & announcers;

 

Licensed boxing announcers?  Really? Hair braiders…………Whaaaat?

If you have been following how the profession of Interior Design has been attempting to advance itself by pursuing title and practice legislation for the past 45+/- years you know that the current deregulation effort in Florida is not the first such effort to “free up the market” by singling out those occupations, the regulation of which, might just be prime examples of government over-reach.

But licensed body wrappers?  Really? I don’t even know what that is…..

Licensed yacht brokers…..seriously?  If you are rich enough to afford a yacht you are rich enough to hire an attorney….that is if you are not already one.  I digress.

Again this is not the first time ID has been used as a prime example of government regulation run amok.  In fact I would say that the Institute for Justice has made regulated Interior Design the poster child for government regulation as an impediment to their free market/free trade ideals.

CASE IN POINT (posted 4/26/17- how timely) https://spectator.org/patent-trolls-dont-care-about-the-law/ 

This is not to say that the profession has not attempted to counter the anti-regulationist campaign to slander our profession.  There have been numerous attempts by the Interior Design academy to correct the record, most notably Caren Martin’s tit for tat debates with the Institute for Justice and our professional membership organizations have also stepped up their advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession.  IIDA recently addressed the issue of deregulation here and I know that ASID is investing numerous resources to extinguish deregulation fires across the nation, not to mention assisting newly introduced bills aiming to codify the practice of Interior Design.

But on goes the campaign to malign and deregulate Interior Design -apparently unabated.

Before I continue with my rant it is important to note that on the positive news front, as of April 20th, and due to a great amount of lobbying and education on the part of a lot of dedicated advocates for the profession of Interior Design in Florida, Interior Design has been removed from the list of targeted occupations to be summarily deregulated….for now ( http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/7047/ByVersion)

So what is my gripe?………Did you read the heading to the original bill above?

WHY THE HELL CAN’T WE MUSTER ENOUGH SOCIETAL RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING TO AVOID THE CONTINUAL STEREOTYPICAL CATEGORIZATION OF THE PROFESSION OF CODE REGULATED INTERIOR DESIGN AS AN “OCCUPATION” NOT WORTHY OF GOVERNMENT REGULATION?

Now if you are still here….you may be saying “give it time-interior design is a young profession” or “we need to help educate our friends, relatives, and clients as to the true value we can bring to the table”.  Come on!  We have been a legitimate profession for about 40 years. We improve the lives and livelihoods of people everyday.  Our work has significant impact on the health, safety and welfare of the public 24/7/365…..ask any Architect who has signed and sealed our drawings for permit.

So I think the above question is legitimate.  I do hope you ask it with a bit more discretion but you need to ask it….ask the leaders of your professional organizations, ask your teachers, ask your mothers….after all she should know right?

P.S. EDIT 4/27:  I am going to answer my own question here;

http://www.delaware1059.com/lifestyles/entertainment/caitlyn-jenner-praises-kris-jenner-s-eye-for-interior-design/article_f82e7220-9a1b-51a3-8e34-d2b059cf0771.html

…….her eye for interior design….her eye…for interior design………..Good grief.

Well heck if all it takes is an eye…then no wonder we cannot convince policy makers we are serious about being granted a license to practice interior design……do you see where I am going with this?

P.P.S. EDIT 4/28: Warmed my heart to see this ray of hope…an Interior Designer takes lead on a major historic adaptive reuse project…

http://www.fox4news.com/news/248120334-story

If only we, the profession of regulated Interior Design, could get this kind of exposure everyday on every channel….maybe….just maybe…we could overcome our identity crisis….some call me a dreamer.

P.P.P.S. EDIT 4/28: Just when I thought things were looking up for the perception of “Interior Design” we get relegated to “on call shopper status”…… 

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/sponsor-content/bdc-designer-on-call-service-offers-personal-shopping-interior-design-help/

the brief moment of hope was nice….back to my regularly scheduled program of disrespect and typecasting.

PENNSYLVANIA PURSUES CODE REGULATED INTERIOR DESIGN AND REGISTRATION ACT

While much of the profession is watching the current effort in Florida to deregulate that state’s Interior Design practice legislation, Pennsylvania Interior Designers, as represented by the Interior Design Legislative Coalition of Pennsylvania, have submitted an Interior Design Registration Bill.  As of April 7th,  Pennsylvania House Bill #1102 has been referred to the Professional License Committee and as of April 19th is not scheduled for further action.  At this point no news is good news given the debacle in Florida.

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER appreciates IDLCP’s efforts to distinguish “Code Regulated” Interior Design(ers) from those Interior Designers who do not practice in code regulated building design environments.  The inclusion of the term”Code Regulated” provides policy makers with a defacto distinction between those Interior Designers whose work is primarily decoration, thereby avoiding the building permit process, and those whose work truly impacts the Health Safety and Wellbeing of the public.  Previous attempts at framing this distinction have devolved into designer vs. decorator hissy fits prompting some coalition lobbyists to include terms such as “Commercial” Interior Design in their bill language.  But even then it is possible to perform interior design services in a commercial setting without triggering the necessity to obtain a building permit.  Semantics!

It’s all about that damn building permit and who is truly qualified to submit the required documents to obtain local jurisdictional approval to assume ownership and liability for one’s own design work.  More on that point later.

Good luck Pennsylvania…..we need a win.  If you are interested in helping or getting involved with the effort in Pennsylvania contact;

Angela Leigh Novalski, NCIDQ, LEED AP
Interior Design Legislative Coalition of Pennsylvania
Executive Board Secretary
609-820-5977
angela.leigh@cbre.com

MORE INFORMATION HERE: http://mailchi.mp/132c72276d1f/pa-hb1102-know-the-facts?e=[UNIQID]

FLORIDA INTRODUCES BILL TO DEREGULATE INTERIOR DESIGN

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UPDATE 4/1- This is not an April fools prank:

UPDATE 4/13- Florida HB 7047 Amended to remove the deregulation of Florida Registered Interior Designers.

Currently Florida House Bill 7047  and Senate Bill 802 which seek to eliminate all legislation and practice rights regarding Florida Registered Interior Design, and the practice thereof, are working their way through committees in Tallahassee.  All indications are that the anti-regulationists, with the governor’s backing, have the upper hand in seeing this bill through and on to the governor’s desk for signature.

If you found this site on a general search I hope you are here to see how you can help the Interior Design profession defend its  hard-earned right to practice to the fullest extent of our knowledge and abilities.  Here are some sites that are focused on rallying designers;

Interior Design Association of Florida

IIDA & ASID Petition

If you are a member of ASID or IIDA I encourage you to get involved via the advocacy arms of those organizations.

There is a swell of interest and support for deregulation of occupational and professional legislation.  Unfortunately the practice of code regulated Interior Design often gets lumped in with those occupations which arguably present a good case for government over-reach.  I am not here to argue the politics of this issue or the merit of whether sports agents or auctioneers should be licensed.  But it is helpful to understand the various forces at play here.  On one hand you have the Libertarians who see any and all regulation as a hindrance to free and open markets.  While theirs is a very broad stance against regulation in general Interior Design licensure and legislation seems to be a favorite target, or prime example, of the problems and limitations caused by onerous regulations. Here are 2 recent examples that illuminate their position;

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/columnists/os-ed-roll-back-occupational-licensing-laws-20170313-story.html

and this Huffington Post Op-Ed from 2015 that is a classic example of how the anti-regulationists present the profession of Interior Design;

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-gowins/dolly-decorator-or-how-to_b_6951422.html 

HOWEVER ON THE OTHER HAND is there is a less pronounced, but far more focused force behind the deregulation of Interior Design…the American Institute of Architects.

There is much to discuss with this particular opponent to our legislative goals.  Suffice it to say that if we did not have to deal with the AIA’s direct or indirect support of deregulating Interior Design legislation our path to licensure would be far less contentious.  If you work with an AIA member you may want to ask them why they support the deregulation and ultimately the deprofessionalization of Interior Design.

I would be curious to know their answer.  I suspect the majority of AIA’ers are unaware that their professional organization supports such efforts.

The nuances between qualified/certified Interior Designers who practice in code regulated building design projects, shoulder to shoulder with other licensed design professionals, and the thousands of others, from the classically trained to the self-proclaimed, who perform work that does not require a building permit, are virtually impossible to understand. It is that very fine and ill defined line that the anti-regulationists, and the AIA, use to confuse lawmakers and lead them to believe that we have no business performing code regulated design work that directly impacts the Health, Safety and Welfare of the public. We (the code regulated ID’ers) have to do a much better job of defining the difference between residential designer/decorators (not that there is anything wrong with that) and certified ID’ers who are educated, trained and vetted by examination to design within code regulated building environments.

MAKE NO BONES ABOUT IT…FLORIDA HOUSE BILL 7074, IF PASSED, WILL SEVERELY LIMIT ALL CERTIFIED INTERIOR DESIGNERS RIGHT TO WORK TO THE FULLEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITY. SINCE FLORIDA IS SUCH A KEY STATE IN THIS REGARD THOSE OF YOU IN OTHER STATES WITH ID LEGISLATION, BE THAT TITLE OR PRACTICE ACT, NEED TO PAY ATTENTION- YOU MAY BE NEXT.

(image in part=http://vertu-marketing.com/)

DING DONG THE IDPC IS DEAD!

https://www.facebook.com/Interior-Design-Protection-Council-324844676913/info/?tab=page_info

http://www.idpcinfo.org/

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER will miss Miss Morrow and her Institute for Justice funded campaign to deregulate the profession of Interior Design….NOT.

INTERIOR DESIGN REGULATION- NOT TOO POLITICAL, COMPLICATED OR ABSTRACT

“…..Yet when it comes to taking action to advance the practice, many designers feel overwhelmed. The entire topic can seem too complicated, too political, too abstract.  It doesn’t have to be.”

Hmmmm….now you tell me.  Guess it depends on how you define “too”.

http://www.iida.org/resources/content/8/0/7/8/documents/AdvocateIIDA_Brochure_Final_SmallSize.pdf

Props to IIDA and the IIDA Northern Pacific Chapter for trying to SUCCINCTLY explain the issue of legally and politically advancing the profession and how we might be our own best advocates.  I know for a fact that it isn’t easy to distill this issue down to manageable sound bytes or bullet points.

Again for fear of being labeled an arm-chair (albeit ergonomically designed w/ adjustable lumbar support) critic I truly respect the time and effort involved here.  I learn from each of these organizational missives…and I also see lot’s of missed opportunities and mixed messages.  My first reaction is that it is complicated, it is very abstract to those who care not to understand it, and it is hyper political.  I get the soft pitch approach but if you have to sugar coat it to get the message across to your constituents, the ones directly affected, then how do we expect the general public to understand the nuances…..much less care?

Heck we can’t even agree on a definition…..speaking of which I see IIDA is trying to spin a new one;

“WHAT IS INTERIOR DESIGN?
Interior Design is the development and implementation of an interior environment that provides the highest level of safety, function and overall enhancement to the inhabitants’ quality of life.”

Finally a definition that is less than a chapter and does not require a glossary.  Well done!-No seriously this is the best iteration I have seen.  I am overjoyed to see the issue of quality of life included.  Hallelujah!

My only concern here is the fast and loose use of “Interior Design”.  While we all would like “Interior Design” to hold this meaning amongst the general public (AKA our policy makers) I know (IMO) the common use definition of interior design is far from this (see my previous post https://professionalinteriordesigner.com/2014/04/21/pitching-a-new-interior-design-paradigm/) and as long as the public perception blends decoration with design, which it will despite our continued efforts otherwise, the use of Interior Design to describe what we do is a lost cause.  Several years ago when I contracted this obsession I assumed we could in fact change the “interior design” paradigm simply by educating the general public…..silly me.

The legal and political forces, which I have discovered to be onerous and labyrinthine, have convinced me otherwise- WE CANNOT CHANGE THE DEFINITION OF “INTERIOR DESIGN” SIMPLY BECAUSE WE SAY IT IS SO. Now if IIDA’s message had begun something like this……

Code regulated Interior Design is the development and implementation of an interior environment that provides the highest level of safety, function and overall enhancement to the inhabitants’ quality of life.”

or maybe;

“Interior Design, as practiced by Registered Interior Designers ®, is the development and implementation of an interior environment that provides the highest level of safety, function and overall enhancement to the inhabitants’ quality of life.”

Now that is a unique definition that by default eliminates any societal cross-over with ‘Interior Design” as performed by those born with a flair or are innately talented self-proclaimed Interior Designers….which is perfectly legal -and we all know they are the majority here….. I digress.  Heck IIDA North Pacific should understand this as their neighbors in Oregon are trying mightily to change the semantic paradigm to be “Commercial Interior Designer” via https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2014R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB1521/A-Engrossed

How is that not politically abstract?

I know we would all like it to be as simple as changing the meaning of “Interior Design” to match IIDA’s definition but even if we all wore that definition on our shirtsleeves (or had custom tee shirts made….note to self-$$$) we cannot possibly overcome the critical mass of popular perception that considers us nothing more than finish pickers and furniture arrangers.

Now the next part of the definition gets even murkier….

“WHAT IS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?
An Interior Designer is an individual who has been trained to identify, research and creatively solve problems pertaining to the development of an interior environment, and who possesses the knowledge and skills to implement these solutions. Interior Designers apply their expertise of Design and the built environment to solving problems at the interior scale and at the level of direct human experience.”

Again on the surface this is the best summation of our profession that I have seen.  However, according to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida anybody with a pulse can legally claim the title ‘interior designer” and practice “interior design” despite what IIDA says here.  We lost that battle in a very complicated and convoluted legal battle 3 years ago.  If the recent ASID ICON article on the future of Interior Design https://professionalinteriordesigner.com/2014/03/19/the-future-of-interior-design/ and this IIDA effort to re-spin the professional validation effort are any indication of lessons learned by the Locke v. Shore debacle we have a very long, very complicated, and very abstract game of softball ahead of us.

Once again folks- WE CANNOT CHANGE THE COMMON DEFINITION (AKA PERCEPTION) OF “INTERIOR DESIGN”, NOR CAN WE INFER, IMPLY OR TACITLY DIRECT, WHO IS QUALIFIED TO REPRESENT THEMSELVES AS AN “INTERIOR DESIGNER”.

I am well aware that there are many in the profession that firmly believe that it is possible to instill a societal paradigm shift of their understanding of Interior Design by education (one relative at a time) and lots of behind the scenes lobbying- I wish them well but I have a much different take on this issue……as you may now realize.

Call me a pessimist, call me an idiot, call me a pessimidiot….if you think the current model for our professional advancement is just fine then you probably are not reading this.  If you are still here then I hope you find my wry ruminations amusing at worst and thought provoking at best.

Sure makes me feel better.

 

RIVERGATE TOWER AT 25 YEARS: A RETROSPECTIVE CELEBRATION OF AN ARCHITECTURAL ICON

RIVERGATE TOWER AT 25 ANNOUNCEMENTIf anybody is in Tampa, Florida on November 21st please join us as we gather to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rivergate Tower (formerly NCNB Plaza).

I dedicated about 4 years of my life helping to bring this building to fruition.  This is the source of PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER’S well earned cred.

More to follow.