ASID Icon - Summer 2012 - (Page 41)
What Does Legislation Do for You?
INTERIOR DESIGN LEGISLATION AND HOW IT BENEFITS ALL DESIGNERS/ WHAT DOES INTERIOR design legislation do
for interior designers and their profession? This question is one that has been debated by design professionals for decades. The result of the debate seems to be that most people remain confused on the need for legislation, and the beneﬁts it provides. In order to gain a better understanding of why opening opportunities for designers is important and necessary, we must look back at how laws affecting the built environment and the building envelope were ﬁrst adopted, starting with the basic architecture laws of the late 1800s. In 1867, approximately 50 architects convened in Boston to sign the articles of association for the Boston Society of Architects. The main purpose of this organization was to promote the profession of architecture and to advance laws and regulations that would deﬁne its practice. This group, which later became part of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), passed laws in every state to deﬁne the scope of work of architects as well as restrict others from practicing architecture. Jumping forward 100 years, the environment for design professionals remained much as it was in the late 1800s, although the times had changed drastically. Design work in a building could only be done by an architect. Emerging professions, such as interior design, were developing, and many of the practitioners were now degreed in their ﬁeld and highly experienced. They began to seek opportunities to expand their practice. This required a change to existing laws so that they could work in areas that were non-structural, non-load bearing and non– seismic. This is the point of our legislative efforts. It is important to remember that opening the scope of work beneﬁts all designers, even those who do not want to become licensed or work in
a code-based environment. To get a better understanding of this, imagine a state that has only adopted the standard architecture laws and the base model building codes (see ﬁgure 1). In this state, no designer—regardless of education and experience—may work in any restricted public or commercial space. Not even furniture, ﬁnishes or ﬂooring selections can be provided to a client unless the work is performed under an architect. This is because the general laws in many states specify that this work is exclusive to the registered architect even if it has no impact on the physical structure of the building. However, if a state adopts interior design certification, registration or licensure, this defines and opens the scope of work opportunities for all designers (see ﬁgure 2). With the appropriate regulations, unlicensed designers can practice in a commercial space that needs no permits, licensed designers can perform non-structural, non-load bearing and non–seismic design work that requires providing drawings and permitting services, and architects can still work in every aspect of the built environment. Thus, in order to create this open and fair marketplace, laws must be modiﬁed by legislative or regulatory action. So, what does interior design legislation do for interior designers and their profession? It is a tool to ensure that the design profession continues to evolve with the times and allows all designers to work to their fullest ability. Design legislation and regulation is not a program developed by any special interest group, and expansion of rights for designers is not limited to a select few. It is sound public policy, supported by many states as 28 states and jurisdictions have already adopted to varying degree that ensures designers are treated fairly under the law. i
Figure 1: WITHOUT State Registration or Licensure
Figure 2: WITH State Registration or Licensure
CONTACT THE ASID GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC AFFAIRS TEAM ASID has a full-time staff of three experienced professionals working to protect interior designers’ rights in the government and public affairs arena. If you have any questions or would like to become involved in interior design legislative efforts, please contact the ASID Government and Public Affairs team at (202) 546-3480 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Don Davis, director – email@example.com Tom Kaczmarek, government affairs manager – firstname.lastname@example.org Caitlin Lewis, government affairs manager – email@example.com Visit us at www.asid.org/legislation.
BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS
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ASID Icon - Summer 2012