No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

Designed to Exclude Minorities and Career-Changers & Increase Consumer Costs

A new study by economics professors David E. Harrington and Jaret Treber of Kenyon College entitled “Designed to Exclude: How Interior Design Insiders Use Government Power to Exclude Minorities & Burden Consumers” reveals some shocking information.

Not only is interior design legislation anticompetitive in general, but it specifically disproportionately excludes blacks, Hispanics, and midlife career-changers.

Yes, these laws are inherently discriminatory against minorities and older people.

Since minorities are 30% less likely to have college degrees than whites, they are also that much more likely to be shut out of the field.  Likewise, older designers are 12% less likely to have degrees in regulated states, so they too are more likely to be prevented from starting an interior design career later in life.

Such legislation has also been shown to result in significantly higher prices for consumers, as the lower-priced competition is simply legislated out of existence.  Design firms in regulated states have been shown to earn as much as $7,200,000 more in cities of 1,000,000 that in similarly sized cities in states that do not regulate the practice of interior design.

Which is pretty much what we’ve said all along – that the goal of such legislation is to shut out the competition, and will result in increased prices for consumers – and not-so-coincidentally, considerably higher salaries for the few who can meet the requirements – or who are allowed to.

Which is certainly nice work if you can get it, and I’ve got nothing against people earning more money if they are capable of doing so honestly, but shutting out competition by legislating it out of existence, particularly when that legislation clearly discriminates disproportionately against minorities and mid-life career changers, and that there is no valid and documentable other reason is just plain abuse of the legislative system.

Good old supply and demand economics dictates that if you decrease the supply of providers, and the demand for services remains the same, then the prices are just going to go up – which is bad news for most consumers, particularly in this recessionary economy.

Because of the effects of grandfathering, the apparent effects on wages are also likely diluted and thereby understated.  Having a degree also correlates positively with higher wages, at the expense of experience.  This means that even designers with little or no experience but who do have a degree in design could command higher fees than those who actually have the practical experience required to really excel in this field!  In unregulated states, experience counts for more than it does in regulated states, and formal schooling for less.

The costs to entrepreneurs is likewise dramatically higher in regulated states than in those that do not control the practice of interior design.

Furthermore, this study also documents the problematic effects (and attendant costs) of the loss of variety of points of view and styles, and limitations on consumer choice that regulation brings.  Given the diversity of the population as a whole, especially across racial and ethnic lines, and the accompanying range of preferences, it’s important to ensure that designers who cater to unusual and different tastes will be around to serve these groups.

Regulation, as it turns out, also encourages designers to cater more to the tastes of the masses than to different niches, which can only result in a loss of variety and richness in options and spaces.  In a field that is supposed to be all about creativity and options, it would be a tragedy to so restrict the range of options that are available to consumers who are not interested in the status quo.  Uniformity is not an asset in a creative field.

Sadly, this sort of limitation could easily expand if the schools become set up as the sole arbiters of taste and style, which a system of mandatory regulation only encourages.

I saw it myself in my own design school training – we were not only not encouraged to develop our own individual styles, but we were actually penalized if what we produced differed too much from what the instructors’ and the institutions’ tastes and styles were.  The result can be an absolute crushing of a student’s own inherent taste and style, and stifling of creativity, failure to teach how to build on what’s working or to develop any different ideas, etc.  I had to fight hard to break away from that stifling little box and to put it in its place as just another tool I can now draw on now, instead of letting it turn into the sole dictator of what is right and correct, or appealing.  I learned a lot of value in design school – but encouragement and development of my own creativity and ideas was certainly not part of their agenda, and not part of the skill set it helped me develop.  The net result is that design (and architecture) schools tend to crank out students whose work all bears a striking similarity to the work of all other students.  The schools each have their own “look”, and heaven help the student who wants to do anything else.

Please read this excellent study, which draws its conclusions from reputable and readily available data sources, specifically the National Census, obituaries, and others, and from rigorous statistical analysis of the data.


September 1, 2009 Posted by | Institute for Justice, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fire Retardant Codes Cause More Harm Than Good?

Some building codes not only do not protect the public as well as we would like to think they do, but may actually result in practices that do more harm to the public than they prevent.

The folks who are trying to legislate most designers out of business using largely health, safety, and welfare claims don’t seem to realize that some of the very building codes they tout as so necessary for designers to know are likely creating bigger problems than they are actually solving, that the testing and standards required by code aren’t cut and dried, black-and-white, complete solutions to anything with no downsides.

Who is teaching designers to actually think and learn for themselves? God knows it’s not the design schools. The design education process that is being promoted as the be-all and end-all pathway to learning how to be a designer and keep people safe in the built environment largely produces people who blindly follow what they are taught – by nonscientists, I might add – about codes and testing procedures as if it’s all the gospel truth, and as if following these guidelines is going to guarantee anyone’s safety, when in fact, it just ain’t so easy or clearcut.

Certainly this appears to be the thinking behind a lot of the push to legislate our profession as extensively as ASID and company are working hard to do.

Many building materials and products used in interiors, including the foams used in furniture construction, are required by the building code to be treated with fire retardant chemicals – even those products used in the residential environment. In addition, many fabrics are required to be treated with these chemicals, including clothing and bed linens, and all textiles used in the commercial environment.

There is a tremendous and growing body of evidence that these chemicals accumulate in the body and cause a number of major medical problems including cancers and neurological, reproductive, thyroid, and developmental problems, as well as genetic mutations. Studies have shown that many marine mammals and household pets are dying as a result of the accumulation of these chemicals, Continue reading

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog dedicated to opposing interior design legislation!

The purpose for this blog is to allow me to get my legislative posts off of my main business blog so that I can keep it better focussed , and to provide a dedicated venue for discussing the issue of how best to oppose the rash of anticompetitive interior design legislation that is out there, and sharing information to that end.

We’re under construction, and will have more content, links, etc. up soon, so please bookmark us, link to us, and visit often.

And please be sure to leave your comments and questions! I hope to build a strong community of like-minded people to work on this issue together, and we can only grow if you participate.

Respectful debate about other points of view will be entertained, but comments containing personal attacks and lacking independently-verifiable documentation of points made will not be accepted.

If you are aware of any breaking news anywhere about interior design legislation, please let me know and I’ll be happy to post about it.

Wendy Hoechstetter

Hoechstetter Interiors

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t Let Codes Scare You

Why the IBC is not a threat to your right to practice.

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Now that’s SCARY!

Interior Design Protection Council October 31, 2008

IBC. . .
It’s the new “HSW” flag to wrap around legislation

pirate flagBecause the resistance movement has been so successful in debunking, disproving and defeating interior design regulation based on ASID’s two past platforms (1) protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public, and (2) enhancing the stature of the profession, we are beginning to see a new tactic emerge.  It goes:

The IBC (International Building Code) allows only “registered design professionals” to prepare construction documents for building permits, and therefore interior designers are prohibited from performing their full scope of practice unless they are licensed.
We believe this will be the basis for many of the 2009 proposals to enact or expand legislation.   Don’t be alarmed!  Like the previous unsubstantiated reasons for legislation, this tactic is equally spurious and devoid of factual basis.

Please take the time to read the analysis below, so that you can continue to discredit their rhetoric by providing the truth and facts.

The IBC (Sec. 106.1) does NOT require that all construction documents be prepared by registered design professionals.  What it actually says is the following: “[C]onstruction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed.” (emphasis added)  The IBC defers completely to state law as to whether or not construction documents must be prepared by an architect or an engineer or may be prepared by anyone else including interior designers.

There is an important reason why all interior designers should be very scared about the IBC argument and ASID-sponsored legislation.  If ASID is to be successful in its argument, then ASID will have to shape its legislation to “require” that construction documents be prepared by a “registered” interior designer. Remember, the IBC says that construction documents shall be prepared only by a registered design professional if “required” by state law.  By placing this “requirement” in their legislation, ASID will exclude all non-licensed interior designers who don’t qualify, can’t afford to, or simply don’t want to become licensed and they will not be able to prepare construction documents.  Now that will result in only a small minority of designers having access to full scope of practice.

Of course, the extent of the “construction” is what is and should be at issue from everyone’s point of view.  Code officials are given discretion over what is and what is not in their jurisdictions.  If the documents contain plans which the construction code enforcement official deems to affect the public safety, they have every right to and should require the documents be prepared by an architect.

The essence of all of this is that as long as an interior designer’s plans meet local officials’ approvals, and the designer is not practicing architecture, we designers have nothing to worry about. . .  now.  But we will have a lot to worry about with the ASID legislation!

Citing the IBC is a red herring and a scare tactic.  Interior designers have practiced effectively without the need to be regulated for decades.  The truth is that regulation will seriously impede the ability of the overwhelming majority of non-licensed interior designers to continue earning their livelihoods.  No state now or ever has treated the kinds of interior design, space planning, materials selection and the like that most interior designers do as “architecture” because it isn’t even close to “architecture.”  It is only a very small group of interior designers who want to practice “interior architecture” independently without meeting the rigorous education, training and examination requirements that architects must meet in order to become licensed.  The existing livelihood of interior designers is not threatened by the absence of licensing, but for most interior designers their livelihoods will most certainly be threatened by licensing.

There is no empirical evidence whatsoever of interior designers having trouble preparing drawings where those are needed by the client – even in California, where the IBC issue was the main rationale behind the failed practice act earlier this year.  Simply put, this is nothing more than an attempt to scream “fire” where there is none. It is just a frantic scramble for a new argument because legislators are repeatedly rejecting their old rhetorical mainstays of “protecting the public” and “enhancing the profession.”

In summary, the true motive behind the fight for licensure and the statutory right to prepare and seal construction documents is nothing less than an attempt to circumvent the rigorous standards of architecture licensure by blurring the lines between “interior design” and “architecture” and carving “interior architecture” out of “architecture.”  Unless the improper practices of a trade or profession impact substantially on the health, safety and welfare of the public, there is no reason to create the bureaucracy and incur public costs to license its practitioners — as well as private licensure fees for the practitioners.  No one has even attempted to make the case that we interior designers pose a threat to the public, and of course they could not do so.  The unlicensed practice of architecture, including unlicensed individuals practicing “interior architecture,” will put public safety at risk.  Creating that bureaucracy and incurring those costs to license interior designers will also put the great majority of interior designers at risk of their livelihoods.

If the pro-regulation designers want to practice interior architecture, then the onus is on them to complete the education, experience and examination required to be licensed as an architect, and STOP trying to morph interior design into a profession it was never intended to be, is not wanted, and provides no benefits to designers or consumers.

Join your colleagues at IDPC as we continue to expose the rhetoric, misinformation, and blatantly false information perpetrated by the Cartel.

2009 Legislation
Are you ready to take on the boogyman… again?
According to the ASID Connex blog:
“There are currently 31 states with active legislation in progress or coming up in ’09”
As we previously predicted, this will make 2009 an unprecedented year in facing down legislation.
CockroachSince 22 states already have some type of state-imposed regulation, this means that some of these states will be victims of ASID’s incremental licensing scheme.  Like cockroaches, these bills which return year after year are difficult to kill.
Many other states that currently have NO regulation will also be facing new anti-competitive regulatory schemes.
Odds are in favor for legislation to be introduced in YOUR state.
ARE YOU PREPARED TO PROTECT YOUR

RIGHT TO PRACTICE?

Or are you going to just sit back and watch ASID and their funded-coalitions destroy your livelihood?
Do you want to fight the Cartel year-after-year, as they seek to monopolize your profession?
If not, join IDPC as we endeavor to save YOUR business!
It’s the best $100 investment you’ll ever make!

ASID Renewals
Application atrocities!
Allied members,
Have you read the renewal application? If you have, you should be VERY CONCERNED about these statements:
“By renewing my dues I agree to abide by the Society’s Bylaws and Code of Ethics, support its objectives, pay the established dues and fees, and work toward maintaining and enhancing the prestige of the interior design profession.”
Do you support their objective — legislation that does not include Allied members, who are not viewed as “professional?”  What they fail to disclose is that legislation could put you at a competitive disadvantage or even restrict your ability to practice altogether.  But don’t take our word for it, read any of the bills and see for yourself.
“Mandatory Legislative Assessment…..$15”
Even if you do not support their militant push for legislation because it would negatively impact your ability to practice and livelihood, Allied members have NO CHOICE and NO VOICE! You pay, or you’re out!
“ASID estimates that six percent of your dues are not tax deductible as a business expense because of the Society’s lobbying activities on behalf of its members.”
Exactly what lobbying activities are they engaged in that will benefit Allied members?  Certainly not lobbying to have all 50 states encumbered with regulation, the criteria for which excludes all Allied members?
“The [ASID] Foundation helps support research, scholarship, and education by supporting CIDA and others.”
And yet, ASID claims that it has no connection to CIDA…  Ludicrous!  CIDA was “established in 1970 through a joint effort of interior design organizations.” (ASID A History of the Profession) CIDA-accredited interior design programs account for only 155 of the approximately 528 total interior design programs in the U.S. (ASID Facts and Figures)  Since there is no evidence that graduates from CIDA schools are any better prepared or become more successful than those from other schools, why the bias?  Is there any doubt that ASID, CIDA and NCIDQ (incorporated in 1974 by ASID (then AID) and NSID) are working together to establish their minimum standards to practice, thereby creating a cartel?
We urge you to take a close look at the goals and practices of ASID… and then join IDPC if you want to protect your right to practice.

About Us
Interior design is a dynamic profession that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity.  ASID’s attempt to impose its one-size-fits-all occupational licensing scheme on the profession could not be more contrary to those values.
IDPC is the only national, nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to protecting the rights of honest, hard-working designers in all 50 states.
Isn’t it time for you to become active and help us resist and repeal anti-competitive, unnecessary interior design regulation?
We can’t do it alone.  We need your help to stop ASID from creating a cartel in which you will not be included.  Join us.
Happy Halloween!
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Interior Design Protection Council
91 Reserve Place
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Interior Design Protection Council

603.228.8550

In This Issue
IBC? It’s the new HSW
More 2009 legislation!
ASID Allied renewals

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October 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment