Interior design is yet another component of the design services offered at Payette. The interior designers at Payette are dedicated to developing design solutions that are safe, functional and attractive while meeting the needs of the users inhabiting the spaces we create. However, the popularity of HGTV and the increase of websites focused on decorating have corrupted the public perception of interior design.
“Interior designers make decisions every day that affect the health, safety, and welfare of the general public. They lay out floor plans that comply with all of the relevant building, life safety, and accessibility codes so that all occupants can quickly and safely exit from the building in case of an emergency. Designers select and specify interior finish materials for public spaces that are the approved fire rating according to code. They select and specify interior finish materials in health care facilities that are appropriate for protecting both the patient and staff against unnecessary infections. Interior designers bring colors and patterns together that do not confuse or irritate those affected by mental disabilities. They specify the correct lighting levels so that the elderly are able to walk down a corridor of an assisted living facility safely. They design ergonomic office environments for employees to work in. The work of an interior designer may not always be recognized for all of the research that goes into creating the design – but that is the whole point of hiring a professional interior designer. To create a space that meets all codes while designing an environment that the general public only sees as being beautiful – that is the job of a successful interior designer.” [Source: The Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog]
The path to becoming a qualified and professional interior designer includes in-depth training, education and a great deal of professional development, which are all skills necessary for creating safe, functional and beautiful interior environments for people. Given all this experience, interior designers should be allowed to practice equally. The NCIDQ exam administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, is comprised of three sections and covers the following seven aspects of the interior design field:
- Building Systems
- Contract Administration
- Construction Standards
- Design Application
- Professional Practice
- Project Coordination
The Interior Design Experience Program (IDEP) is a monitored, documented experience program administered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) for entry-level interior designers.
The goals of the exam are to:
- develop, administer and certify, through a qualifying examination, the interior design practitioner competent to practice; and
- study and present plans, programs and guidelines for the statutory licensing of interior design practitioners.”
Passing of the exam also serves as a qualifier for professional membership within interior design organizations, such as the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
“As the only major participants in the construction industry that are not licensed in all 50 states, interior designers lack the ability to independently stamp and submit work for building permits as required by the International Building Code. Licensing interior design expands opportunities for qualified designers, creates new business opportunities, and safeguards the public by creating accountability.” [Source: Interiors Sources]
Interior design regulations vary by state across the U.S., but Massachusetts has continued to face serious opposition for various communities, although 27 states already have some form of legislation for interior designers. However, a rigorous licensing process for the profession is slowly, but surely becoming a reality all over the country, thanks to the many leading-edge interior designers advocating for the professional as a whole. This map depicts the legislative variance across the U.S. Registered, licensed or certified interior designers in some states can sign, seal and submit drawings for permitting. The states that do recognize and license interior designers have enacted either a title or a practice act. “A Title Act governs the use of a title, such as registered or certified interior designer, but does not require individuals to become licensed to practice Interior Design. A Practice Act, governs the use of a title, but also requires practicing interior designers to become licensed.” [Source: IIDA]
Massachusetts Interior Design Coalition’s (MiDC) goal is to secure registration and licensure for all Massachusetts interior designers, either as a Practice Act or Title Act. As of August 2014, “An Act Recognizing the Profession of Interior Designers to bid on State Contracts” was adopted into law. “Governor Deval Patrick signed House Bill 4303 on August 21, 2014 and the bill was enacted 90 days later. Massachusetts General Law now includes interior design and should be recognized and implemented by all.” [Source: MA Legislature]
The bill “establishes the right of designers to bid as the prime contractor on state contracts and recognizes the profession of interior design within the state of Massachusetts. The new law also establishes a defined scope of work for designers, opening up opportunities for qualified design professionals to compete for design work in code-impacted spaces.” [Source: ASID]
“Before the legislation, Massachusetts was the only state which specifically forbade interior designers from participating in state-project bids.” [Source: Design Times]
MiDC is now pushing to secure Bill H.262, an Act relative to the certification of interior designers, which “would allow professional interior designers to be registered with the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure. In order to become a “certified interior designer” in Massachusetts interior designers will have to meet all of the education, experience, and examination requirements that the Commonwealth establishes.” [Source: MA Legislature]