Some members of the public who don't understand what designers really do may wonder if interior design legislation is even necessary. Interior design regulations vary by state across the nation. According to IIDA, about half the US, Puerto Rico, and the Canadian Provinces have Interior Design Legislation.
Contrary to popular belief, interior design legislation does not restrict business for unregistered designers. Instead, interior design laws expand business opportunities for registered interior designers.
But registered, licensed, or certified interior designers in some states can sign, seal, and submit drawings for permitting. While it's true that they can make sure space will look its best, they actually do much more than the public realizes.
The un-qualified versus the qualified designer
The difference between qualified and unqualified interior designers affects everyone, which is why interior design legislation is so important.
A qualified interior designer will understand and use the relevant safety codes and necessary processes to design an effective space. The qualified interior designer would know which product and finishes to use in a medical office or surgical facility, for example:
- Does this have antibacterial or antimicrobial qualities?
- Can it withstand harsh cleansers?
- Will it last with daily scrubbing?
- Which color is relaxing for the patient?
- Which color will help the surgeon focus?
The designer will address similar issues when designing any residential or commercial space:
- Product maintenance
- Air quality
- Environmental sustainability
- Aging in place
The top three qualifications of professional interior designers are education, experience, and examination.
A designer's training helps them choose products that meet the functional needs of the user. A trained designer has learned that it's important to know how those materials and systems might behave in a fire. And how they affect air quality, ergonomic issues, and other factors.
An experienced designer has learned to make sure a design is accessible and meets applicable building codes. And that it’s safe and functional. An unqualified designer may violate codes or create life-threatening hazards. And may do it without even realizing it because they have no clear understanding of regulations.
That’s why it’s important to support legislation establishing interior design qualification and oversight.
The NCIDQ Exam qualifies interior designers who have proven their knowledge and experience. Designers who can create beautiful, functional, and safe interior spaces.
Why It’s Better Together: a Stronger Interior Design Industry
Interior design legislation sets the standards of practice to protect consumers. Legislation helps consumers know they're working with qualified, responsible professionals. It protects consumers in three ways:
- If they’re looking to hire an interior designer, they know who has demonstrated competency.
- They know they're working with designers who use the latest health, safety, and welfare information.
- By creating accountability, also offers consumers legal recourse against negligent or unethical designers.
Why supporting interior design legislation matters
Interior design legislation increases the value and business opportunities for qualified interior designers. This protects the interior designer in three ways:
- Interior design title laws, where in place, protect the use and title of certified, registered, or licensed interior designers.
- The legislation sets guidelines making it easier to collaborate with other design professionals like architects and engineers.
- The legislation ensures that qualified interior designers are the ones who are making the safest choices for public spaces and businesses.
By supporting this legislation, the design force becomes better, stronger, and better equipped for those we serve.
Why become an NCIDQ Certificate Holder?
Interior design regulation, while important, is inconsistent throughout the United States and Canada. That's why having your NCIDQ Certificate is so important.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the NCIDQ Certificate assures a level of competency. As a result, it has become the standard for quality and leads designers to higher earning potential.
To become an NCIDQ Certificate holder, you must complete at least six years of qualified interior design education and experience. In addition, to prove your competency, you must pass three separate rigorous exams. The basis of these exams is an independent analysis of the profession and the daily practice of interior designers across a wide variety of design specialties.
That is why Qpractice supports every designer’s goal in passing the NCIDQ Exam. In addition, we support interior design legislation and the role of making each designer more qualified and capable of making choices to protect public health, safety, and welfare.