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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  • Amy

    The former two messages are unfortunately statements of complete ignorance. I graduated from an accredited interior design program and after working in the field for a year at a firm in a state that has not passed any interior design acts, I realized even more the importance of this legislation. I was not only incapable of using the knowledge I acquired in school, but I worked with other “designers” that did not have design degrees and blatantly ignored codes. By the way, this was a commercial design firm. I do not think I have to explain how ignoring the same codes that architects and engineers must honor could be detrimental to the client. ASID and IIDA are professional organizations that are supporting legislation to protect the client – THIS IS NOT A MONEY MAKING SCHEME. “Deb” and “Upset Designer” exactly what are your careers? Do you merely decorate? What is your education background? Are you aware of the codes involved in designing interiors, especially in commercial interiors, and that in states that have not passed a bill, decorators without any knowledge of codes are offering design services to clients? This is equivalent to an unregistered and uneducated architect offering architectural services to the public. This is not only a dangerous practice, but it is selfish of decorators to be upset to not offer services that they are not qualified to offer when the client’s safety is at stake. Lastly, interior design legislation is not unconstitutional. If you think so, then you must also think the laws protecting the professions of architecture, engineering, and several others are unconstitutional as well. Did you know that a person cannot even call themselves an interior architect unless he or she has passed the architectural registration exam? This kind of law sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    Everything in this article is true concerning the work interior designers are qualified to do. Legislation for all states in this country cannot come soon enough. It is good for the economy (if you do some research, you will notice that most of the largest architectural firms that employ interior designers are in states with legislation), and it is good for the public.

  • Deb

    ASID & IIDA really have fooled so many states already. All those companies & designers now out of business. I’m sure all those states lost a lot more than they realized they would. I hope MA is smarter than the other states and see through ASID & IIDA. Maybe they could pass another type of bill giving interior designers those contracts that don’t involve structure issues? That would make every one happy….except ASID & IIDA because they wouldn’t be able to make any money on that.

  • There is absolutely no need for Interior Design Legislation and Licensing.

    It is an attempt by “elites” to limit competition.

    This legislation has been relentlessly pushed by ASID & IIDA and the schools that claim to teach “Interior Design”.

    ID legislation and licensing is being rejected by state after state and now the courts are finding most of these laws to be unconstitutional.

    ASID and IIDA:
    Please go away.

    If your designers had any talent the wouldn’t need to try to pass laws to try put other designers out of business.

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