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Facts vs Fiction Information Sheet

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Fiction Fact
An interior design practice act will put me out of business.

As a retail salesperson, cabinetmaker, drapery specialist, kitchen designer… I will not be able to keep my job with this regulation.
No regulatory action can be passed in PA that would “restrict trade” putting fields that already offer similar services out of business. Interior design services under the act are not restricted. However, the restrictions inflicted by the abiding adopted IBC and IRC codes currently restrict the profession.

The legislation does not define or regulate the practice of interior design or who can call themselves an interior designer.
The proposed Interior Design Practice Act will only help a small group of interior designers by creating an “elite” group who are essentially taking the market share away from the majority of the professional population that provides these services. The bill would make provisions for interior designers to practice full services of interior design as listed under the IBC, International Building Code and the International Residential Code (IRC) should they chose to become Registered Interior Designers. Currently interior designers are restricted from practice as the code states you must be an “architect” in order to practice regulated interior design services as listed in the code. There is no route for interior designers to practice in this market without hiring an architect. The bill creates opportunity and lifts trade restrictions on the profession.

There are over 850 members of the Interior Design Legislative Coalition of Pennsylvania that support this regulation.
The Interior Design practice does not affect the public health, safety or welfare. Interior Design does affect the health, safety and welfare of the captive public. Designers must specify correct materials per project conditions; specify ergonomic products, and adhere to fire, egress, and accessibility codes.

If interior design did not require regulation then the International Code Council and the PA adopted UCC code would not regulate services of interior design limiting the work to registered architects.
I have to take the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualifications) exam to continue to practice.

There are only 1838 interior designers in PA of which only 325 are active NCIDQ certificate holders.

The NCIDQ test costs $1000 to take and most people don’t pass the first time. The NCIDQ has a historically low passage rate of around 40%

The NCIDQ is not the only examination that tests minimum competency in interior design. There are several exams that are equally legitimate.

The NCIDQ is not considered the best examination.
There is no test requirement to practice interior design or to call yourself an interior designer. The bill provides a route for those practicing code regulated services of interior design the option of becoming registered by taking an examination as a qualifier for registration. Once registered, the Registered Interior Designer would be able to practice (currently restricted) code-regulated services of interior design.

It is estimated that there are approximately 2,000 practicing designers and approximately 1,250 students enrolled in interior design programs in PA.

Many designers haven’t taken the NCIDQ because it is not required. Even though it is not required over 600 interior designers in PA have taken and passed the NCIDQ. That is already 30% of the estimated professional population and the number grows every Spring and Fall as the exam is administered.

Results for the 2010 NCIDQ Examination:

Section I: 80% of candidates passed
Section II: 71% of candidates passed
Section III: 59% of candidates passed

Approximately 75 percent of all candidates who enter the examination process pass the examination.
The NCIDQ is the only interior design examination that encompasses the entire body of knowledge including public safety code questions that interior designers must know.

Unlike the CRIDQ and the AKBD the NCIDQ was independently developed by information retained from an ETS study of the profession. The examination continues to be re-evaluated and adjusted as codes and regulations change.

The federal government only issues contracts to interior designers who are NCIDQ Certificate Holders.
This legislation does not add anything new to protecting the public. It is a redundancy of codes and practices already in place.

This regulation does not benefit consumers.

 There is no evidence whatsoever that the  unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy.

There are already systems in place (codes,  inspections, etc.) which adequately provide protection for consumers and whether a designer is licensed or not, the codes have to be followed.
The International Code Council (ICC) deems that interior design services must be regulated in order to protect the public. The International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) as developed by the ICC are adopted as the abiding code of Pennsylvania. Terminology contained within the code states only “Registered Design Professionals” may practice services as listed within the IBC. Furthermore the UCC states only “architects and engineers” may perform services listed in the code! Many of the services interior designers provide are included in these codes. Because interior designers in PA lack regulation, professionals are unable to perform code-regulated interior design services. An interior design regulatory act gives interior designers the option to practice as registered design professionals opening up jobs for the profession.

If you apply the same logic to architects; that regulation is redundant because code officials and fire marshals are already safeguarding the public
from potential negligence, then why would we need architects to be licensed and regulated? Regulation benefits the public, as they can clearly delineate professionals with credentials to perform their job.

Because interior designers are not regulated in PA, there are few cases of harm filed specifically against interior designers as most lawsuits hold licensed architects and contractors responsible for interior environments. NCIDQ does record cases of harm as filed against interior designers in states that regulate the practice.
The terms interior design, decorator and retail sales are not defined. Therefore, they can mean whatever is needed to keep us from working. None of the terms need to be defined as they are not impacted or being regulated by the proposed legislation.
It is difficult to imagine how a self-employed small businessperson would document their experience going back 10 or 20 years to meet the grandfathering requirements. Tax returns document years of practicing interior design. This should not be a problem for legitimate
businesses.
Coalition leaders are refusing to show up at previously scheduled debates and round table discussions which would allow for both sides of the issue to be  presented. Coalition leaders haven’t been invited to any debates. The majority of discussions occur at bill hearings. Our lobbyist has requested round-table discussions and has been unable to get the opposition to participate.
ASID is lobbying to create a design cartel. They are only promoting what is best for their professional members while penalizing the allied members and independent designers. ASID and IDLCPA are two different and separate organizations. ASID is promoting the interior design profession by supporting legislative efforts that enhance market jobs and growth of the profession. While legislation supported by IDLCPA complies with ASID legislative policy and is supported by ASID, the organization does not drive the passage of legislation. Pennsylvania legislation is driven by local supporters and constituents.
There is no evidence that graduates of CIDA programs are any better prepared or become more successful than graduates from other interior design programs. CIDA ensures a minimum standard of educating future designers. CIDA is not the only educational option for licensure in the proposed act; it is a listed route for education.
26 states do not have government-imposed regulation. The bill does not require licensure of the profession, licensure is optional! There are 26 states and US jurisdictions that have regulation in place for interior design. Twenty regulate a title and the remaining 6 regulate the title and practice of interior design. In addition approximately 11 jurisdictions with title acts have some form of permitting abilities for interior designers.
The Institute for Justice has filed a lawsuit in Texas to repeal their law; hopefully, more lawsuits like Alabama and Texas will be filed and won in the future. Alabama’s Interior Design board was never dissolved by the Institute of Justice’s lawsuit. The board remains active as it reverted to a previous bill. Texas chose to amend their law as did New Mexico. Nothing in the lawsuit changed the practice done by interior designers in those states.
Florida’s Practice Act is unreasonable as it requires that furniture dealerships hire licensed professionals in order to perform interior design services. Florida’s law has been written by the ICC and requires that you must be a “registered design professional” in order to perform services listed in the code. When furniture dealerships are space planning furniture that is regulated by egress codes they are in violation of the abiding code if they are performing services without a licensed architect or design professional.
Regulation takes away our freedoms as interior designers and restricts future persons from entering into the field. Currently all interior designers practicing in PA that are not “registered design professionals” could be in violation of the abiding code if as a designer you are performing services that are regulated by the code. This applies to both residential and commercial designers. At any point the state legislature can pass a bill to fine violations of the code. Already there have been recent bills proposed by other established regulatory boards that would inflict fines for violating code. Luckily for designers, these bills have been reviewed by IDLCPA and with the help of Milliron and
Associates, we have been successful in not seeing  one of these proposals passed before our legislation is in place.

In order to protect the future practice of interior design, legislation must be passed. Without legislation, the interior design profession will be restricted to services that are not regulated by the code eliminating many markets that interior  designers share with architects. Legislation is not about restricting the practice. It is about protecting the practice and future of the profession.

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