What is a state-qualified interior designer?
A state-qualified interior designer is defined as an interior design professional who has met the qualifications set by the state or jurisdiction for registration, certification or licensure and holds a valid certificate of registration, certification or licensure from the state or jurisdiction. ASID advocates that the requirements to become a state-qualified interior designer include formal interior design education, experience and passage of the NCIDQ examination.

What's the difference between a title act and a practice act?
A title act governs the use of a specific title. In other words, you can practice interior design in a title act state, as long as you do not use the regulated title without proper qualification/registration. Title acts do not require individuals to become "licensed" to practice interior design. Title acts benefit the public by providing an identifiable choice when hiring a designer consumers can be confident that state registered interior designers have met a minimum level of professional qualifications. Practice acts, in addition to regulating who may call themselves an interior designer, require individuals practicing interior design to become licensed. It regulates the terms "interior design" and "interior designer" and requires a true 'licensing' of the practitioner rather than a 'registration'.

What have other states done?
Each state's requirements are different, but ALL states' current interior design legislation requires passage of the NCIDQ to be
registered [licensed or certified] as an interior designer. All states also require a combination of education and experience, usually totaling six years. Some states require an additional code exam, specific to their state. Half of the states also require CEUs for renewal. When a state implements a new law, it generally provides a "window of opportunity" or "grandfather" period to allow interior designers currently practicing in the state who do not meet the proposed level of requirements to become registered. Legislators do this because they do not want to disenfranchise their citizens. Often these "grandfathered" designers must pass the Building and Barrier-Free Code portion of the NCIDQ, in addition to having a specified amount of experience.

Currently, interior designers are legally recognized in 26 U.S. states and jurisdictions and 8 Canadian provinces. In order to become registered (in some states, "certified") or licensed, interior designers must meet professional standards of education, experience and examination. Twenty U.S. states register interior designers by title: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Seven Canadian provinces register interior designers by title:
Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontairo, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. Six U.S. states and jurisdictions license the practice of interior designer: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. One Canadian province, Nova Scotia, currently license the practice of interior design.

Additionally, although it does not register or license interior designers, Colorado interior designers who have met specified professional standards have sealing and other professional privileges.

Six U.S. states have legislation pending: Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Ohio. Minnesota, Tennessee, and Texas, three title act states, have introduced practice acts.

Each state's requirements are different. Visit http://www.dezignare.com, and http://www.asid.org to find out what each state requires.

What if I provide interior decoration services to my clients?
If you provide decorative services or assistance in selection surface materials, window treatments, wall coverings, paint, floor coverings, surface-mounted fixtures, and loose furnishings not subject to regulation under applicable codes and regulations, your work will not be affected by legislation. Depending on what type of legislation is perused you will be restricted on what terms you use to describe you services. It is important to remember that that IDEAL for Idaho values interior decorative services and recognizes their importance to the public. The law simply aims to help consumers differentiate the services of the various design professionals. IDEAL for Idaho is not trying to regulate terms such as design consultant, interior consultant, interior decorator, etc. It only seeks to regulate and define the terms "interior design" and "interior designer."

How does an Interior Designer protect the Health, Safety and Welfare of the Public?
Every decision an interior designer makes in one way or another affects the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Those decisions include specifying furniture, fabrics, materials, and finishes that meet or exceed fire codes and space planning that
provides proper means of egress. Additionally, interior designers deal with accessibility issues, ergonomics, sustainability, clean air issues, lighting, acoustics, and design solutions for those with special needs.

Fire Safety...
In a fire, interior materials play a major part in spreading flames and producing toxic gasses. Statistics prove that more people die in fires as a result of inhaling toxic fumes and smoke than from flames themselves. According to the NFPA, the National Fire Protection Association, the average annual number of fires in buildings accessed by the public (not including one- and two-family homes or apartments, industrial and manufacturing facilities, storage facilities, and garage dwellings) total 61,640and are responsible for 64 civilian deaths and nearly 1300 civilian injuries each year. The number of these fires where interior finishes and content, often within the purview of an interior designer, were ignited first total 8460 each year. That's over 700 fires per month. That's over 23 deaths and 330 injuries annually. And it makes up a whopping $399.1 million dollars each year in direct property damage. Even more significant to life safety is the fact that a large percentage of the loss of life and property occurs well outside the area or room of the initial fire. This is primarily due to the rapid spread of flame and toxic smoke to other areas and floors of the building, fed by poor performing interior finishes and content. In fact, in dormitories, sorority and fraternity houses, religious properties and eating and drinking establishments, 100% of the civilian deaths occurred outside the initial fire area they are killed elsewhere on the floor, on another floor or even outside the building of the original fire. In public assembly sites (gymnasiums, arenas, theatres, airports, museums, libraries, courtrooms, etc.), one half of the civilian deaths occurred well outside the area of the fire. And nearly 80% of the direct property damage occurs outside the fire area as well.

Many public and commercial spaces are finished by an interior designer long after the original building is completed. Interior
designers are specially trained in interior materials and their properties, including flammability and toxicity, and are uniquely
qualified to select interior finishes that meet or exceed local, state and national fire codes.

Interior designers are also charged with establishing proper means of egress that meet or exceed code. Other considerations include audible and visible fire alarm systems and emergency exit lighting.Accessibility. With 79 million people over the age of 35, and the number growing daily, there is an increasing need for universal design, i.e. designing interiors and products to be useable by people of all ages and all physical abilities. With knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act design requirements, interior designers make the interiors of public spaces and residences barrier free. Interior designers are also capable of adapting existing environments to be barrier free for persons who are physically challenged. Trained and qualified interior designers study and implement accessibility codes and guidelines daily. In space planning, interior detailing, and interior specifications, the implementation of accessibility codes and guidelines is essential. Space must be allowed for the proper turning radius of a wheelchair. Telephones, electrical outlets, call buttons, etc. must be specified at an appropriate height for an individual in a wheelchair to access them. Additionally, hardware specifications must provide for individuals without the full use of their limbs. Interior designers ensure public way finding in large facilities. As problem solvers, interior designers combine their knowledge of colors and textures, and the physical, emotional, and psychological response to those colors and textures to create maneuverable interiors for people with physical, mental, and visual disabilities.

Special Needs of the Elderly...
According to the National Safety Council, the leading cause of death in the home is falling. Falls took the lives of 10,700 people in 1998. More than 86% of these people were 65 years old or older. Understanding environmental needs for the aging (both physical and mental) has become a special design imperative for this country. In 2000, people 65 years of age or older represented almost 13% of the population. This number is expected to grow to be 20% of the population by 2030. Interior designers are creating environments that focus on the special mental and physical needs of seniors, providing safer and more easily maneuverable spaces.

Indoor Air Quality...
Typically we spend 90% of our time indoors. Indoor air quality on average is nine times worse than outdoor air quality. Interior designers pay attention to details within their control that impact air quality standards of their clients by specifying materials, furniture, fabrics and products manufactured without formaldehyde or other unhealthy volatile organic compounds such as those found in carpet, wall covering installations and cabinet construction. Interior designers are knowledgeable of products that are compliant with air quality standards.

Ergonomics is a growing concern not only in the workplace but in residences. It is the obligation of a qualified interior designer to design environments that are ergonomic and functional. Interior designers create ergonomic spaces that relieve body stresses, provide healthy lighting options, and decrease physical discomfort by specifying products that work well with the human body. These products not only include furniture such as chairs, desks and tables, but lighting and millwork items as well.

What is the economic impact of interior design?
It's hard to arrive at an accurate dollar value of interior design in today's economy. The highly specialized and technical knowledge of professional interior designers can have a significant positive impact by reducing injury, sick leave and medical insurance costs; increasing wellbeing and productivity, and conserving energy and other scarce resources, thereby reducing costs to consumers and business. Interior designers play an important role in this country today. In 2000, Interior Design Magazine surveyed the 100 largest commercial interior design firms to determine the economic role of interior designers in the United States.

The survey provided the following information:
The total professional design fees, from the largest 100 firms $1,441 billion.
The cost of furniture, fixtures, and construction specified $ 28 billion.
The square feet planned in offices, hospitality, medical, retail,
residential, educational, government, and institutional facilities 464 million sq. ft.
The firms employed 1400 interior designers.

Keep in mind that the results were 21.1% higher in 2000 than the 1999 results. While we don't have more recent figures, imagine what the increase has been since the recent popularity of HGTV and similar design-related programs.




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