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OVERVIEW

March 29, 2011

QUICK LINK: WHAT YOU CAN DO TO KEEP INTERIOR DESIGN REGULATED IN FLORIDA

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.

In Summary:

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.***

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10 Comments
  1. please help us interior design majors to stop the deregulation of the practice in Florida and sign this petition. it means we won’t be required to have licenses and that would just be silly. interior design is not decorating. it is to interior spaces what architecture is to exteriors. we design what is to be built! it NEEDS to be regulated for safety reasons alone! please help and sign. thanks, erin

    http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-florida-to-continue-regulation-of-interior-designers#?opt_new=t&opt_fb=t

  2. I am a licensed Interior Designer for the State of Florida and was recently informed about Florida House Bill 5005 which dismantles regulation of Interior Designers and nearly 30 other professions in the state.

    My understanding regarding this bill is to create more jobs by making the title of “Interior Designer” accessible for anyone regardless of their education and/or work experience. I am not only speaking for myself but for my colleagues who have worked so hard to get where we are and now have our profession devalued. As professionals we have to be knowledgeable in local and national building codes concerning fire, ADA, quality of life, special needs, etc.

    Although this may sound great on paper, the reality is that we had to invest time and money in an intense curriculum and have several years of experience in the field before we even qualified to take a state exam. We are not hired to just make things pretty but use critical thinking to solve problems regarding the health, safety and welfare of the public and our clients. The way to ensure jobs is by promoting education for already qualified occupations, thus limiting costly litigation, untold harm to the public and maintaining the standards of professionalism.

    I urge our local and state government to analyze the bill in its entirety, not just for Interior Designers but for other professions that have or are affected by the safety of the public as well (i.e., Landscape Architects, mold inspectors, geologists, etc.) Eliminating these standards will in the long run cause harm to the public and those vulnerable to scams and deceitful practices.

    Sincerely,

    Emily A. Alfonso, ID4983, IIDA
    American Living Furniture
    “a mobile boutique”
    P: 305.661.1888│F: 253.461.1888
    http://www.americanlivingfurniture.net

    • Dawn Vojtush permalink

      Emily,

      I’m sure calling the NCIDQ a “state” exam was an oversight on your part. The NCIDQ is a national test and we need to be clear about that when talking to the reps and senators. They are being confused by the multiple parties talking to them. We need to be sure we have the information correct on our part because the opposition doesn’t have it right.

    • Anastasia permalink

      This title has been accessible for anyone to use since February 4, 2011 according to the Florida Supreme Court. This was a constitutional ruling and cannot be addressed by the Legislature. This bill confuses people about this and the only thing it does is take away the ability of licensed designers to do commercial work. It doesn’t create more jobs that aren’t already available in residential interior design for anyone. It forces business owners to pay double or triple to hire architects to do the same thing licensed commercial interior designers were doing, and probably doing better, since it is their specialty.

  3. We must educate our legislators in regards to this matter. We need everyone involved including families and friends to reach out in hopes that there will be a personal connection to a legislator that can assist with removing interior designers from the bill. The understanding of the repercussions of this bill must be heard!

    Regards,
    Kimberly Bewley Coombs
    kbco design

  4. The decorators continue to claim (and the politicians seem to believe) that deregulation will allow them to work in commercial buildings. This not true. They (along with “deregulated” REGISTERED interior designers will be restricted to residential work.

    Read the definition of architecture here:

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0481/Sections/0481.203.html

    Then read the definition of “Interior decorator services” on the same page PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE LAST EIGHT WORDS.

    Then read the exceptions to the requirement that you be an architect here:

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0400-0499/0481/Sections/0481.229.html.

    Then pullout your Florida Building Code – BUILDING and turn to Chapter 8 – Interior Finishes where you will read that all interior finishes are controlled by the code EXCEPT wall covering that is less than 0.036″ thick.

    Given all of the above facts, it is easy to see that the only thing a “Decorator” can specify in a NON-RESIDENTIAL building is wallcovering.

    The ultimate effect of the deregulation of Interior Designers will be the creation of a State Sponsored monopoly for the architects.

    Now read the “Florida Antitrust Act of 1980″ here and see that the State of Florida is included in the definition of “person” who can be sued for creating a monopoly.

  5. Now read the “Florida Antitrust Act of 1980″ here and see that the State of Florida is included in the definition of “person” who can be sued for creating a monopoly:

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599/0542/0542ContentsIndex.html

    Here’s what we need to do:
    1) Stop raising the “health, safety and welfare” issue;

    2) Stop talking about student loans;

    3) Start referencing the statutes and codes listed above to PROVE to the politicians that this law will NOT allow decorators to do anything more than they can now and it, therefore, will NOT increase competition;

    4) Start telling every politician that you contact that this bill, if signed into law, will be a violation of the “Florida Antitrust Act of 1980″ and ASSURE them that it will be challenged in court;

    5) Start telling every politician that if we are deregulated we will seek, through legal action if necessary, a prorated refund of our license fees (perhaps $500,000 statewide???);

    6) If you are licensed interior design business and you anticipate having to relinquish your IB license, hire an architect as your qualifying agent and apply for a architectural business license that you will remove an ID as your qualifying agent, tell every politician that if we are deregulated we will seek, through legal action if necessary, the cost of the necessary filings with the Secretary of State, Division of Corporations (your QA must be a principal officer of your corporation).

    Please copy and past my posts here to every website and blog dedicated to stopping the deregulation of interior designers. You are also welcome to use the info here to write letters to your local newspapers as well as Governor $cott and other politicians throughout this (formerly) great State

    ou are welcome to contact me at rjones@isfla.com if I can help you formulate your course of action.

  6. Anastasia permalink

    Ever since February 4, 2011, anyone has legally been able to use the term “interior designer,” per the Florida Supreme Court. It was held to be a violation of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech otherwise. This is not what we are fighting over (it cannot be changed right now) so let’s be clear: the concern over this bill is that we will no longer be able to practice commercial interior design without a license in architecture. This is a huge portion of the business we already have and it will put thousands of designers out of jobs. It will not create new jobs for anyone, except maybe architects. Anyone who wants to use the title “interior designer” already can.

  7. Janine King permalink

    MYTHS
    Myth 1:
    Only three states regulate interior design profession
    Truth:
    Over half the states in the US recognize the need to regulate Interior Design profession. They regulate the profession through title legislation and through practice legislation according to what is regulated. Title legislation restricts the use of the title identified in that legislation and only the title of “Registered Interior Designer” may be regulated by title legislation. The practice and standards for the practice of interior design may only be regulated in most jurisdictions through Practice Legislation, which outlines the standards and qualification for the practice of interior design. Most of the Title and Practice legislations require, education, and testing (Most often NCIDQ) to earn title or practice registration.

    Jurisdictions Regulating Interior Design
    http://www.asid.org/legislation/state/
    http://www.iida.org/content.cfm/advocacy

    3 states require Practice act
    22 states require Title act
    1 requires Self certified
    1 requires Permitting statute
    Total regulations 27

    Myth 2: Licensing decreases competition:

    Licensing does not decrease competition:
    If licensing reduces competition, then the number of interior design firms in Florida
    • Should be shrinking.
    • The industry would be growing more slowly in Florida than nationally.
    • The number of establishments would be lower than competing industries….ie architecture.

    National Labor statistics indicate an 33% increase in number of establishments in Florida between 2002-2007. This indicates healthy competition and the ability to start businesses. This 33% increase in establishments is higher than the national 20.23% increase during the same time period.
    Myth 3 Regulation contributes to unemployment
    Interior design employment has increased between 2002-2007. Interior design professions increased paid employees by 20.73%. Although Florida has licensing, we house 14% of total US Interior Design businesses (these in include states that have various different levels of regulation). This is a significantly higher percentage than Architecture or Landscape Architecture. Interior Design has close to the same amount of establishments as Architecture and three times more establishments than Landscape architecture.

    Bureau of Labor Statistics Research
    Wage information:
    http://www.bls.gov/oes/home.htm
    Business Establishment information: naics
    http://www.census.gov/econ/index.html

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  1. The NKBA, IJ, IDPC Full Court Press Defending Florida HB5005 Continues | Professional Interior Designer's Blog

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