I will never forget my first practice Space Planning exercise – it took me almost 10 hours to complete. My main problem was overthinking and that pesky plumbing trench. I almost threw in the towel but I felt an obligation to follow through…
Qpractice Founder Lisa League talks with member Kibwe Daisy, IIDA, NCIDQ. He shares his story about how he passed the NCIDQ Exam and how what he learned benefits his daily business as the head of a restaurant and retail design firm.
Why or what make you decide to take the exam?
I was encouraged to take the NCIDQ since grad school. So, it was like with the decision to go college – it was a given. Working in the field reinforced this as I find architecture and interior design firms expect designers with a certain level of experience to be certified. And it's important if you plan to teach at an accredited college or university. That said, there wasn’t a sense of immediacy, and I kept putting it off. Finally, the timing was right.
How has having your NCIDQ certificate paid off for you in your business?
While my clients are not typically aware of NCIDQ, I think it provides me with a key talking point and distinguishes me as an interior designer with a certain level of experience and professionalism. Therefore, I try to promote NCIDQ in my client meetings. What did you learn while studying that you will use in your work?
While I had a basic understanding of accessibility, taking the exam deepened my knowledge.
Sketchy elements and concepts finally clicked. And what better place to explore accessibility than in restroom design. An example is this restroom for Lee’s Sandwiches in Dublin, CA. Most notably, studying for the NCIDQ enabled me to marry the conceptual design with the practicality of the requirements.
What problems did you face while studying?
The biggest challenge for me was the Practicum. And specifically, Space Planning. While I consider myself a good space planner, I have never been a fast space planner. The level of detail for Space Planning was initially overwhelming to me. And in my career, my expertise is in hospitality and residential design. So, I haven’t done many commercial interiors like tenant improvement or fit-outs, so I also had trouble with egress.
What did you do to overcome those challenges?
PRACTICE! I always tell people that. I will never forget my first practice Space Planning exercise – it took me almost 10 hours to complete. My main problem was overthinking and that pesky plumbing trench. I almost threw in the towel, but I felt an obligation to follow through as I had already passed the IDFX portion. So, I just kept scrounging for practice problems and redoing the unsuccessful ones…slowly but surely, I became faster and more confident.
Eventually, I solved the problem within the 3-hour time frame. There was a celebration with cocktails that night, of course 🙂
What helped you the most?
I first learned about and used Qpractice for the NCIDQ Practicum exam. After my 10-hour space planning debacle, I realized I needed help. So I finally signed up for Qpractice.
Never the best with timing – it was a couple of weeks into the class. But I knew after the first online session that I had made the right decision. I was really impressed by how well everything was organized online. Despite missing sessions, I was able to catch up quickly. I passed all three exams the first time (which still blows my mind), and honestly, I could not have passed the Practicum without Qpractice. And I recommend it highly.
Tell us about your IIDA tuition reimbursement:
A former co-worker mentioned the IIDA tuition reimbursement to me. And like lightning, I joined IIDA. The tuition reimbursement works like a lottery, and the application process is fairly simple. Once you have passed all parts of the exam, you turn in an application with proof of passing and expenses. And then, fingers crossed!