A bill to deregulate twenty professions including Interior Designers, is moving to Florida’s Senate for consideration. Backers of the measure, which repeals licensing and examination requirements, say it will boost the economy by making it easier to open small businesses. This is not true.
The outcome of deregulation for Interior Designers is simple: According to Florida code, if Interior Designers are deregulated, the only professionals allowed to do non-residential work will be Architects and Engineers. Interior Designers will not be able to obtain liability insurance to practice, and few Architects will accept responsibility for a designer’s work unless they are a full-time employee. These restrictions effectively eliminate competition in the commercial design market, creating a monopoly for architects in the code-based built environment and increasing the cost burden on consumers.
Contrary to belief, this bill does not allow unlicensed designers to work on commercial projects. If this bill passes, it essentially ends the independent commercial Interior Design industry in the State of Florida.
There are currently many situations which do not require the involvement of an architect, primarily the tenant improvement market. If this bill is passed as written, this work and all commercial space planning will require the involvement of an architect.
What does a Registered Interior Designer do? Why should they be regulated?
Registered Interior Designers are proficient in the application of the Florida Building Code and the Accessibility Code (ADA); in behavioral and ergonomic analysis; in space planning with partitions, walls and doorway; in flammability and durability of furnishings and finishes; in indoor air quality; in the planning of ceilings and lighting; and in the details for and the effects of interior environments for education, healing, workspace, hospitality, and recreation. All this is important for projects used by Floridians, including more than 2.7 million Seniors, 3 million disabled over age 5, and by the 86 million visitors to Florida each year. Supporters of this bill say these safety issues will be addressed by local municipalities and code enforcement; agencies which have continually had their budgets cut by the State, increasing the likelihood of errors.
Opponents of Interior Design legislation say “Architects oversee everything in the building,” or “Florida Building Code protects consumers,” but this is not true in common practice. Architectural education does not train extensively in interior finishes, and no building officials besides AHCA, the Agency for Health Care Administration, review interior finish submittals. Most AHCA submittals are prepared by Registered Interior Designers.
While anyone may call themselves an ”interior designer” and provide interior design for residences, only Registered Interior Designers may work on public-use projects. They are held accountable through education, experience, testing, and continuing education — to their clients, to adherence to all codes and to the State of Florida.
Please also keep in mind, there are 2,875 Registered Interior Designers and 883 authorized businesses, paying fees of over $480,000 to the State. Deregulating Interior Design will not cut the State budget in any way.
A few more facts:
–Registered Florida Interior Designers and their businesses are responsible annually for the specification or purchase of more than $348 Million worth of goods and services for hotels, restaurants, offices, healthcare facilities, senior care facilities, education and other facilities.
–Registered Florida Interior Designers, often business owners and employers, account for more than 11,000 jobs, and more than 45,000 other jobs supporting the industry in related trades and workrooms — all important for Florida’s economy and jobs.
–2568 students in Florida’s twenty Interior Design education programs, and 2500 additional recent graduates who are working towards their license will not be allowed to take the national exam required for membership in professional organizations. Each of these students spends between $80,000 – $100,000 on tuition, and will have no reason to continue their education in Florida.
Interior Design legislation helps establish and maintain professional standards that protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public. Legal recognition achieved through licensing, registration, and certification brings uniformity to the profession, and defines responsibility in the Interior Design industry.
26 other states believe the health, safety and welfare of their residents requires that Interior Designers be regulated. Please help us send a message to Tallahassee that Florida deserves the same consideration.
***This site is not directly affiliated with ASID, IIDA, or IDAF. We are just a group of concerned Registered Interior Designers who are helping keep the public informed about what is happening. We will keep updating as we receive information.***
When asked directly if interior designers would be able to sign and seal drawings if HB5005 were to go through, an agent from DBPR reluctantly answered – “NO.” It was further explained that because the seal comes through the Board of Architecture and Interior Design and interior designers would no longer be recognized, an interior designer’s seal would no longer be recognized. Though a seal does not under State law keep a designer from submitting work, DBPR acknowledges it is “up to the local building departments.” However, DBPR also admits that nearly every building department in Florida requires a seal.
For those interior designers working in Health Care and Senior Living, AHCA requires a seal as well.
This information has been confirmed by a Republican Representative that voted against continued regulation, who had previously been informed otherwise.
Stating these simple facts and how it will limit the ability of interior designers to work is crucial. Our legislators are being informed that nothing will change for interior designers under State law, when in fact it would definitely change everything for those currently signing and sealing drawings.