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New legislation may aid designers nationwide, says ASID
Mar 21, 2016

Utah’s commercial interior designers will now be allowed to sign their drawings in order to pull building permits for scope of work on certain construction and renovation projects, reports the American Society of Interior Designers. The new legislation also means that commercial interior designers in the state will not be forced to work under other members of the design team, such as architects, and instead practice independently within their scope of work. But what does this mean for interior designers outside the state? Jim Brewer, who oversees ASID’s government affairs department, chatted with EAL about why the bill may be a boon for designers nationwide.


Jim Brewer

How does this legislation impact designers in and outside of Utah?
The bottom line is that passage of this legislation, while primarily impacting commercial interior designers practicing in Utah, is a win for all interior designers across America. An achievement for one part of the profession advances all those in the profession. It secures one of the core practice rights of an interior designer working in a commercial space: the ability to sign and seal plans for their scope of work and submit them for permitting, all without needing an architect’s approval. Furthermore, it continues the decades-long pattern of states legally recognizing that commercial interior designers are highly skilled, qualified, and able to work in the profession they were specifically trained to practice, without supervision from other members of the design team, such as architects.

Are there similar bills in other states?
Yes. Beginning 30 years ago, states began enacting laws establishing “permitting authority” for interior designers who met certain qualifications. The interior design laws in Florida, Nevada, the District of Columbia and Colorado are all good examples. Each one guarantees that, subject to passing the NCIDQ examination, obtaining requisite experience working in the field and an educational degree, an interior designer may sign and seal plans for their scope of work on an interiors project for the purpose of obtaining a building permit.

What is ASID’s next legislative priority?
As the voice of all stakeholders in the profession, both in state capitals and Washington, D.C., we have a responsibility to ensure that a wide range of issues impacting each person are addressed effectively. The win in Utah has already begun to generate positive momentum for similar efforts to achieve “permitting authority” in New York. However, such a movement to advance the people of our profession will only be successful if it is united. Therefore, our primary goal is to ensure each person’s voice is heard together with their colleague’s. Together, as one voice, interior designers can impact the conversations being had by elected officials about them.

To that end, any interior designer, student, educator or industry partner should text “One Voice” to the number 52886. It is the fastest way to connect with colleagues to stay informed, and take action on the issues affecting the profession.

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