May 16th, 2009 § 4 Comments
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With respect to the two most technical challenging rooms in the home, kitchens and bathrooms, the National Kitchen and Bath Association, NKBA, has function and safety guidelines that NKBA trained kitchen and bath designers follow. No legislation needed!
ASID and IIDA’s argument for limiting who can call themselves an Interior Designer stems from their principal argument in concern for the public health and safety. Not a shred of evidence has ever been presented which would warrant a conclusion that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy. As it is, in residential design, some homeowners will put themselves in jeopardy to save a buck by taking on home improvement projects without consulting with an NKBA trained designer, without pulling permits and without licensed contractors. This is precisely where professional design skills, made accessable for the working class, are needed the most. Professional design services should be more accessible to the public, and yet the very groups, ASID and IIDA, who strive to impose regulation on an entire profession in the name of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public stand to do more harm to the public than good. Restrictive licensing laws will limit the right of the public to retain the services of a designer of their choosing and restricting NKBA members from practicing their profession. The pro legislation group will continue to bombard our legislators with arguments about their importance in protecting the public’s health and safety, (proven immaterial) and the importance of education, (they do not recognize other educational tracks), and disparage unlicensed designers as not taking their career seriously, (who has the right to make that assumption that because one does not hold a license means he or she is not as equally impassioned, experienced, or educated?)
Nonetheless, every year we see this small segment of the Interior Design community continue it’s efforts, state by state, spreading disparaging claims about their non-licensed design associates, bombarding our legislators with arguments in favor of changing legislation to prevent designers to use this title without a license. Their arguments continue to have flaws. The problem is that there can be no single point of entry into the profession. One size does not fit all by passing the NCIDQ exam. The educational requirements for licensed commercial interior designers is immaterial to the educational requirements for a residential kitchen and bath designer or to that of a restaurant/commercial kitchen designer. Least of all, the NCIDQ is not a measure of proving professionalism, nor talent. The most famous designers did not need an arbitrary test to prove their competency in the profession. If the First Family can choose an unlicensed designer, it should be good enough for the rest of America. A growing number of professional and business organizations oppose design legislation. The whole idea to add another layer of government bureaucracy to protect the public is duplicitous to codes already in place. ASID and IIDA are the only groups imposing their legislative force to limit other educated and experienced designers from practicing. The NKBA is not seeking legislative action to restrict licensed interior designers from designing kitchen and bath interiors before proving their competency by passing the CKD/CBD examinations. Although maybe they should as I have come across plenty of dumb designs from ASID licensed designers. The NCIDQ examination is flawed! It does not adequately test competency to become a kitchen and bath designer. To pass the NCIDQ exam costs thousands of dollars and several more years in education and intership under a lisenced interior designer. My efforts and clients would be better served by taking educational courses that would directly benefit my career, such as Certified Aging in Place certification made available by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or becoming a LEED Certified Designer.
The push for Interior design licensing has become a very devisive topic within the design community. It is anti-competitive and anti-consumer and an absolute waste of taxpayers money to impose licensing laws. Let the public choose who they want to hire.
Here is the NKBA Position statement:
Approved February 29, 2008
National Kitchen & Bath Association
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (“NKBA”), as the leading trade and
professional organization in the kitchen and bathroom industry, takes seriously its
role in educating our members and the public at large of the importance of
retaining the services of a professional designer when contemplating new or
remodeled kitchen and bath projects. It is only through education of the public
that they become familiar with the services that a trained kitchen and bath
professional can offer, and determine for themselves the level of skill and
expertise that is required to meet their needs and budget. Because of this, the
NKBA is justly concerned about the efforts of a small segment of the interior
design community, primarily those belonging to the American Society of Interior
Designers (“ASID”), to limit the right of the public to retain the services of a
designer of their choosing and restrict our members from practicing their
profession, a profession in which we have been engaged in for many years
without complaint or concern by the public. As a result of the limited success that
those interior designers have had across the nation, and our belief that their
anti competitive efforts will continue in the future, the National Kitchen & Bath
Association has developed this Position Statement to make clear where we stand
on interior design licensing and how this organization will react to any further
attempts to restrict the profession.
ASID has for over 30 years, conducted a campaign through local coalitions to
convince a small but vocal part of its membership along with various state
legislators that there is a desperate need for interior design licensing to “protect
the public” from those designers who they have decided are unqualified and who
do not meet the self-imposed standards which they have arbitrarily set. They
have had some qualified success in obtaining licensing laws, primarily due to the
fact that such efforts went largely unnoticed by the design community at large.
Members of the National Kitchen & Bath Association generally historically were
not concerned about “titling” laws – regulations that merely restricted the ability to
use a term such as “Certified Interior Designer” or “Registered Interior Designer”
– since our members did not consider themselves “interior designers” and had no
desire to use the regulated term. In fact, under the broad definition of interior
design which these bills regulate, our members do provide interior design
services and would come well within the proscriptions of the law.
687 Willow Grove Street Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Phone: 908-852-0033 Fax: 908-852-1695