An Interior Designer Talks About Legislation Recognizing The Profession And Enabling Designers To Bid On State Contracts

by Rich Vetstein on October 17, 2009 · 4 comments

in Construction Law, Home Improvement, Massachusetts Real Estate Law

lobby furniture and interior decoratingI’m pleased to welcome Noel Sior-Woodard, IIDA, the President of Woodard Interiors, Inc. – a commercial interior design firm located in Grafton, MA. Noel is writing about pending legislation in Massachusetts which will officially recognize the profession and enable interior designers to bid on lucrative state contracts. Noel recently testified before the State Legislature in favor of this important bill.

Interior Designers Do More Than You May Think

Interior designers make decisions everyday 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.

Pending Massachusetts Legislation Enabling Interior Designer To Bid On State Contracts

Currently, House Bill 2999 – an Act recognizing the profession of interior designers to bid on State contracts — is in front of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. Passage of HB 2999 would allow professional interior designers in Massachusetts to bid on State contracts that are relevant to interior design services as the prime consultant. Currently all State interior design projects are awarded to architects and engineers. Unfortunately, Massachusetts does not recognize the profession of interior design. Interior designers within our state are currently not able to bid as the prime consultant on State work. Enactment of the bill would put Massachusetts in line with many other states and the Federal government where professional interior designers are allowed to bid as the prime consultant and which recognize the profession of interior design.

There is also currently another bill that has been filed during this legislative session in support of interior design legislation. House Bill 262 – an Act relative to the certification of interior designers – 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.

Twenty four states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have either interior design practice acts or title acts. House Bill 262 would establish standards of minimum competency for the use of the title “certified interior designer” within the Commonwealth.

Please join me in supporting Noel and our local interior designers to support this legislation. Allowing interiorNoel Sior-Woodard designers to be certified and bid on state contracts ensures that they are not blocked from the marketplace, and will ultimately protect consumers by requiring uniform standards and competency levels for all such professionals.

To learn more about House Bill 2999 and House Bill 262 and to support this legislative effort go to The Massachusetts Interior Design Coalition.

Noel can be reached for comment at noel@woodardinteriors.com.

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