No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

AIP Officials Sweep Student Coercion Under the Rug

The battle over AIPs coercive assignment to lobby legislators in support of Pennsylvania HB 1521 heats up, fueled by public outrage and president George Pry and interior design department chair Kelly Spewock’s assertions that no coercion was used.

Both administrators continue to claim that students were given equal opportunity to oppose legislation and to earn equal credit for that, despite confirmations from several students who personally objected to the assignment, and the opposition movement’s receipt of a copy of the actual assignment, confirming the original allegations of instructor Laura Musulin’s clearly stated attempt to force students to support her own political agenda.

AIP claims the Institute has no official policy on the legislation, but they are clearly not ensuring that this policy is adhered to by the faculty, if it is indeed the case, and have not said they’ve done anything to correct the situation. Instead, they now state that they consider the matter closed.

This type of behavior is a serious compromise of academic integrity, regardless of the political position being promoted, and seriously calls into question whether or not such coercion may be being used with students in other disciplines, and in other institutions.

Clearly, AICAD (the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design), which is one of the most important national accrediting bodies for institutions of higher learning specializing in the arts agrees, as president Bill Barrett weighs in with his response to IDPC postings.

Could AIP lose its accreditation if they continue to show signs of supporting this kind of outrageous behavior? I would suggest that perhaps they should.

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From IDPC:

Interior Design Protection Council

AIP officials sweep interior design coercion under the [designer] rug.

In a letter responding to multiple requests from IDPC requesting action on an inappropriate assignment, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh has indicated that they consider the matter resolved and are not open to further discussion.

We disagree. Click here to read press release and IDPC letters to AIP.

sweep

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June 23, 2009 Posted by | Pennsylvania, Students | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ASID: Consumers Very Satisfied Working with Interior Designers

In 2005, ASID did a study indicating that consumers are “very satisfied working with an interior designer”.  According to Anita Baltimore, FASID, the then-president of ASID, “The new ASID study shows that most homeowners who work with interior designers recognize the value of their services once they see the results” (emphasis added).

More and more households are using designers, too.  In 1997, consumer use of designers was estimated at about 4% of households with an annual income of $70,000 or more, which comprised 6% of the US population.

By 2005, that percentage had increased to 14% of that population hiring an interior designer, with 34% having household incomes between $125,000 and $200,000, although the study also says that they are just as likely to have incomes between $75,000 and $125,000 as between $200,000 and $400,000.  Age-wise, clients are mostly between the ages of 35 and 65, and gender distribution is 64% females vs 36% males.

According to the article, “The most common projects for which a designer was hired were to remodel or redecorate a kitchen or bath, a living or family room, or bedroom. Almost one-fourth (23 percent) of those who hired an interior designer completely remodeled or redecorated an entire home, compared to about one-fifth (19 percent) of those who did not. The most frequently mentioned responsibilities for the designers on these projects were space planning or arranging (67 percent), consultation for aesthetic advice (56 percent), selecting furniture or other products (49 percent), improving functionality (39 percent), remodeling (33 percent), and managing the project (30 percent)”.

So what does this have to do with legislation?

Everything.

The sponsors of this study are the same group of people who are screaming bloody murder that the public needs to be protected from the consequences of having the widest range of options possible because they can’t tell the difference between a competent designer and Betty Decorator who has no clue what she’s doing (regardless of what label they use to describe themselves, by the way).

But this demographic is not a stupid group of people – obviously.

Anyone earning a minimum of $70,000 in this country in this day and age is pretty much by definition highly intelligent and competent, or they wouldn’t have reached that level in their occupations that would bring them to that income level.  That is even more true of those in the higher income ranges cited.  I think it’s safe to assume that many of these people are in highly responsible jobs where all kinds of critical decisions are made, requiring high levels of analytical skills.  These are upper level managers, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, etc. – the captains of industry who run this country, the people who take care of the rest of us.  It’s the highly educated, not the high school dropouts.

By the age of 35, it’s also pretty safe to say that these folks have lived a slice of life enough to be able to figure out for themselves how to find competent help in all areas of their homes as well as their business, inluding in the selection of their interior designers.

What’s more, you know darn well that people at this level professionally are also often involved in the selection of designers for their offices, many of whom are then brought home to do the houses, or vice versa.

So, are we to assume that this group of people leave their intelligence and analytical skills at the doors to their homes?  That they suddenly become incapable of assessing quality of services or products for their own residences, as opposed to in their jobs?  That the skills that have helped them to the tops of their professions don’t extend to the ability to even select a good, competent designer for their businesses, without governmental assistance?

I think not.

And notice the percentages.  Far and away most of these people surveyed hired designers for what can most accurately be described as “decorating” kinds of services.  “Arranging”, “aesthetic advice”, “selecting furniture or other products”.

Duh.  We know this is what the public thinks designers do – and those creative elements are definitely a part of it.  A big part.  So why are ASID and other pro-legislation people trying to downplay the importance of this aesthetic side of what we do?  And create a credentialing process that doesn’t even take it into account?

The reality is that creativity and aesthetics are just as important as technical knowledge.  It’s no good to have either one without the other, and in the best projects, they are seamlessly integrated.

But the numbers are also significant for those who hired designers to do much more extensive remodeling, which is where a professional designer, however he or she comes by her knowledge, can really be of benefit to clients.  Just by nature of the overall increase in utilization of interior design services, and the not insubstantial percentages of people utilizing a designer to execute a complete remodel, space planning, project management, etc., I think we can safely say that these people recognize the existence  and value of the skills of a professional designer.  With a more than threefold increase in the utilization of design services, it’s probably safe to say that the utilization 0f these more extensive services has increased similarly, along with the increase in use of more decorative services.

Now, if these designers had not been competent, just how many building permits do you think would have been issued for the remodeling work that they specified?  And how many of their clients would have been “very satisfied” with their work?

Not too many.

So, we have an increasing number of highly intelligent and succcesful people hiring interior designers to provide a very broad scope of services, including extensive remodelling, and even ASID says that on the whole, they are indeed “very satisfied” with the work of these designers.

So why does ASID still claim we need legislation?  To protect people from… what?  Being already satisfied with the work of the designers they obviously already know how to successfully select and hire?

We need licensing and credentialing, then, for… what, exactly?

And let’s not forget that Michael S. Smith, one of the most talented, successful, and celebrated interior designers of our times, has been hired by no less a client than President and Mrs. Obama to redo the White House.  He’s not licensed, not a member of ASID, did not graduate from any kind of design school, etc.  And yet, somehow, he’s still good enough for the President of the United States, and apparently no one in the current administration believes that in any way the lives, health, or safety of the President or his family will be at risk, as Michael Alin, the current president of ASID, not-so -subtly suggested in his presumptuous January 2009 letter to the First Couple in Interiors & Sources.

Methinks that his ability to keep the First Family safe will have been scrutinized down to the nth degree by the people responsible for keeping them safe and sound, and clearly he has been found competent, by what is most like the most excruciatingly detailed examination any designer anywhere is likely to have to face.

If an unlicensed, uncredentialled designer who did not complete any form of professional formal schooling is good enough for the White House, then why aren’t they good enough for everyone else?

So what is it, ASID?  Are consumers satisfied with the current offerings and way of doing things or not?

Because if you are going to still crow about how unsophisticated consumers are, how much they need to be protected from the consequences of allegedly uninformed opinions and the clutches of designers who have no clue what they are doing, then why are you also reporting unprecedented levels of satisfaction with this very group of people you want to regulate?
Which of these opinions/groups of facts are actually true?  Because you are speaking with forked tongue to promulgate both opinions, which completely contradict one another.

If, indeed, consumers really are already satisfied, then what’s wrong that actually needs to be changed?

The fact of the matter is that the system ain’t broke, folks.  It doesn’t need fixing.  It’s just fine the way it is.

People who want to be able to highlight their educations and experiences should be allowed to voluntarily, like we do it here in CA.  There’s no need to require this kind of validation – and multiple studies by both the Institute for Justice, the Reason Foundation, and others have repeatedly shown this.

It’s time to end this nonsense of endless attempts to regulate this profession – an effort that has met with spectacularly little success, despite more than 30 years of attempts to pass legislation to control what we do and who is allowed to do it.  Legislators as a group aren’t stupid, either.  Over and over again, ASID and its legislative coalitions in many states have met with spectacular failure to convince the majority of them that there is any compelling need whatsoever to regulate this profession in any way, despite millions and millions of dollars (of members’ dues money!) being poured into exactly this effort.

In just the past year alone, something like nearly 60 attempts have met with crashing failure to convince legislators that there is any value whatsoever in regulating interior designers, and in just a little more than that time frame, successful Constitutional challenges to existing laws in at least three states have been mounted, striking down several such laws as completely unconstitutional.

Thirty years of failure – and yet these people persist.  Think about it.

The definition of insanity is widely held to be doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Why won’t these people learn from their own endless failures?

And why won’t they look at the results of their own studies showing that consumers are already highly satisfied with the way things are?

It boggles the mind, and only reinforces the obvious conclusion that this is nothing but a cartelization effort of a small group of people who are hoping to keep a bigger piece of a growing pie for their own selves, and to shut out the competition.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | ASID, California, Institute for Justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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
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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