Interior designers are not required to be licensed by the state of Florida and are part of an already unregulated profession. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and International Interior Design Association (IIDA) are urging lawmakers to remove a provision in a bill that would impact a select number of interior designers who have taken additional coursework, training and a national examination to become registered interior designers.
“It seems unnecessary to single out and penalize thousands of registered interior designers who voluntarily sought more training and applied for a license,” said Don Davis, director of government and public affairs for ASID. “This legislation as it stands will threaten competition within the industry leading to higher costs and less choices for Florida’s businesses.”
“Particularly in the current economic climate, I question the need to eliminate regulation that allows registered interior designers to establish independent small businesses, hire workers, increase payrolls and contribute to the tax base,” said Allison Levy, senior director of government and regulatory affairs for IIDA. “This legislation has no effect on non-registered interior designers, but effectively prevents registered interior designers from continuing their current work.”
Deregulation does not affect residential interior designers. It is a misrepresentation to describe interior designers as a regulated profession. In Florida, anyone can currently practice as an interior designer. If the bill passes as is, residential interior designers will not be affected.
“As a registered architect I know the value of working alongside registered interior designers, who understand the building codes and have the regulatory oversight and training to sign and seal plans,” said Representative Charles Van Zant, AIA.
Also joining ASID and IIDA was Walt Dartland, executive director of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast and Susan Morgan, ASID, CAPS, LEED AP, Green AP, RID, president and principal designer of Susan Morgan Interiors.
Despite claims from opponents, those who choose not to apply for a license are not prevented from practicing interior design work. Rather, the benefit gained by licensing is that a designer who has demonstrated the knowledge, skill and ability to the state may create and submit non-structural drawings in order to apply for permits related to the proposed work.
Former Florida Deputy Attorney General turned consumer advocate Walt Darland said, “If this bill moves forward special interest groups with agendas may prevail,” said Dartland. “I urge lawmakers to remove provisions that will risk jobs for thousands of interior designers.”
To learn more about registered interior designers, visit www.asid.org and www.iida.org.