No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

Why Design Legislation is Bad for Students

Laws regulating the practice of interior design and restricting it to those who have met the pro-legislation cartel’s narrow standards are not in the best interests of the profession as a whole, and particularly not those of current or future students.

According to renowned kitchen design expert Dr. Phyllis Markussen, CKE, CBE, who is a professor of Family Studies and Interior Design at the University of Nebraska, interior design legislation could have a significantly negative effect on interior design students, because the one path route to practice that would result would “effectively ‘dumb down’ the educational programs by creating too-rigid guidelines”.

It is advantageous in academia to provide a “system-approached” education, bringing in a range of other disciplines to help provide students a “broader, more global perspective”. To restrict the practice of interior design to those who have graduated only from CIDA-accredited schools (which do not even include some of the most prestigious schools of design in the country, such as Parsons), would eliminate that opportunity by “…[narrowing] the approach with a single educational experience”.

In addition to homogenizing the educational offerings, specialization could be restricted as well, which could result in a shortage of designers to meet the needs in any given state. This is also because there simply won’t be enough qualified designers around to shepherd the students through the state-mandated process to being able to practice independently.

According to AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design), “We need multiple pathways into creative fields due to their varied and dynamic natures… Society does not benefit by a narrowing of access to creative fields. ”

Far more schools are not CIDA-accredited than are, which would result in CIDA having a virtual monopoly on interior design education, with zero evidence that the CIDA schools have any better record of preparing students than any other programs. A situation such as this would not benefit anyone but those CIDA-approved, programs and the various organizations that support them.

The effects on other academic institutions are readily obvious – the net result would be discrimination against community colleges in particular, and their student bodies.

In addition, if there aren’t enough jobs for students when they graduate (and there already aren’t, particularly thanks to the present economy), then demand for these programs will decrease, which in turn will force a number of colleges and universities to restrict *all* of their offerings. Some programs will have to shut down altogether, leaving existing students high and dry, and effectively eliminating interior design as a career option at all for many who would have otherwise chosen this path.

Finally, and most importantly, students are being fed a line that they will not be able to practice what they are trained to do without design legislation, but a simply look at the present realities will show that to be untrue. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of interior designers are not licenced/registered/certified, even in states that do have some form of either practice or title act, and yet they are still working and still getting their projects built, the same as they always have.

As I wrote in my post “It Doesn’t Involve Me – Or Does It?”:

It is not illegal to practice interior design now in any state except the three in which the ASID-led cartel have managed to pass legislation that makes it illegal to do so without a license. They claim that the IBC makes it illegal, but it patently does not. What it does is leave the decision up to each jurisdiction, and most places and code officials have no desire to restrict the practice of interior design any more than it already is limited by architectural laws, or to regulate it. Read the code yourself – it’s on page 41. If what we do becomes illegal, it will only be because ASID and their cohorts will have made it that way.

Interior design legislation has been proven over and over again to be a solution in search of a problem. If passed, it will only create the very problem it claims it will prevent. In states that do not presently have any category of “registered design professional”, legislation will create that category – and then restrict the practice of design to those that hold those credentials, where it has never been restricted before.

Do not be misled into believing their scare tactics telling you that you won’t be able to practice what you’re learning now in school, because it’s simply not true. The only way that will happen is if they make it happen. And this is supposed to be protecting you?

Over and over again, this issue has been pointed out to the prolegislation cartel – and in front of legislators, who have been shown the actual code wording, as it’s been pointed out to the cartel people at the same time – and yet these people persist in repeating this blatant untruth, and particularly using it to frighten students into thinking they have no choice but to support legislation, when nothing is actually further from reality.

IDPC puts it most succinctly: “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 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.”

And now, with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh scandal, we see again the lengths to which these people will go in order to accomplish their ends – faculty members of a design school coercing students into supporting the pro-legislation agenda whether they wanted to or not by giving an extra credit assignment that only offered credit to those who wrote to their legislators to support legislation, and no credit at all to those who wrote to oppose it.

Students, if legislation is brought into academia at all, you deserve an education that teaches you how to research all sides of the issue and make decisions like this for yourself. You deserve as much credit for your work in doing this and opposing legislation, if that is how you feel, if such an assignment is given, as any student who chooses to support it. For an instructor to coerce students into supporting his or her own political ends or risk their grade and academic standing is a violation of academic integrity and standards that is utterly shameful.

This is only one case that we know about. It’s anyone’s guess how many other instructors or schools might be doing the same thing, or something similar.

And you should be asking yourselves, is this what you want your tuition and tax dollars to be funding?

If you don’t already know how to research and evaluate both sides of an issue that is going to dramatically affect you and your future, then you deserve to be taught how to do so, not be railroaded into one point of view or the other like this. You do not deserve to be used as pawns.

It is just flat out unfair and unethical to put students in a position like this where they may have to choose between their own values and their academic standing, and if you are not outraged by this, you should be.

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June 23, 2009 Posted by | ASID, Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), ncidq certification licensing, Nebraska, NKBA, Pennsylvania, Students | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

CIDA College Coerces Student Support of Legislation

We recently became aware of a situation at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (PA) in which instructor Lauren Musulin offered an extra credit assignment to students in her Revit class if they lobbied legislators in PA in support of passage of proposed legislation HB 1521 – with extra points for getting two other people to also write letters supporting the bill as well – an assignment entitled “IDLCPA Support –  http://www.idpcinfo.org/AIP_Extra_Credit.pdf

This same opportunity was not offered to students who oppose such legislation.  In fact, when a student who opposes legislation objected, she was not given an alternative opportunity to earn the same extra credit by another means.  When the student in question approached the instructor and requested an opportunity to “research and evaluate opposing views”, the instructor flat out denied her request.

This was nothing but a blatant, all-out effort on the part of one instructor to intimidate students into supporting her own political agenda, and to coerce her students into supporting her own legislative views, not to teach involvement in the legislative process.

When the Interior Design Protection Council published this information, department chair Kelly Spewock responded, alleging that “Ms. Musulin’s students had the opportunity to research and evaluate opposing views to this topic, among other projects that were not made available to you or your readers”, and claiming that the Institute does not take a particular position with respect to legislation.  Spewock claims that other extra credit opportunities were offered to students who did not want to support legislation, but has yet to specify what they were.  The specific assignment, to which the link above points, makes it very clear that no alternative option was, in fact, offered, as does the fact that the student who objected was denied other options.

It is an absolute disgrace that an academic institution should in any way attempt to coerce students into supporting any particular legislative position and make it part of their grade, and it should not take publishing the information on a nationally-distributed mailing list or blog to bring the situation to people’s attention to compel that faculty member to offer students other options.

To teach involvement in the legislative process by encouraging students to research the issues, formulate their own opinions, and to write to legislators in support of whatever their own conclusions lead them to support would be an entirely legitimate assignment – but not demanding that they support only the instructor’s own point of view or face loss of extra credit points.

What’s more, the assignment makes several completely false statements, including alleging that “only a registered design professional” may implement the IBC code provisions.  This is out and out untrue, as anyone who can read can verify for themselves on page 41 of the code.  This lie has been repeatedly promulgated all over the country, and is just as repeatedly refuted every time it rears its head, yet the cartel lumbers on, repeating it endlessly, as if so doing will actually make it true.

The assignment also implies to students that a “fair” legislative procedure involves ramming a bill through the process, and by claiming that it must “move quickly”, implies that there may be some deceptive practices involved that may deny the other side a fair hearing.

One could argue that such instruction isn’t even the point of a class in using a software program, too, which makes this all the more bizarre, because the assignment doesn’t even relate to the topic of the class!

Sadly, this is just one more example of the kind of underhanded tactics to which the pro-legislation cartel will stoop in order to promote their point of view.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), Pennsylvania | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tennessee Practice Act Withdrawn by Sponsor Due to Opposition!

From the Interior Design Protection Council:

SB 2078 is dead for this year!

<Members of the Tennessee design community:

Celebration is in order — the practice act will NOT threaten your livelihood this year! Your phone calls, emails, and visits to the Senators’ offices succeeded.

Rather than face the certain vote-down of his bill, the sponsor withdrew SB 2078 and put it into “General Sub[committee].” Here are the sponsor and TIDC lobbyist’s testimonial comments, along with our response. Continue reading

May 11, 2009 Posted by | ncidq certification licensing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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