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Report shows design’s impact on public health, safety, welfare
Nov 18, 2011

A seminal industry research report issued by six leading interior design organizations (ASID, CIDA, IDC, IDEC, IIDA, NCIDQ) highlights a growing body of evidence that supports the positive impact of interior design on public health, safety and welfare.
The Interior Design Profession’s Body of Knowledge and Its Relationship to People’s Health, Safety and Welfare is based on research led by Denise A. Guerin, PhD, and Caren S. Martin, PhD, professors at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design. The report, which updates a 2005 study, represents the most current and comprehensive resource for helping design practitioners, educators, researchers, accreditors, students, and the public understand the broad and diverse knowledge interior designers employ in their work.
The study asked a sample of 1,578 experienced interior designers to rate their potential contribution to health, safety and welfare across 65 knowledge areas, including daylighting, indoor air quality, ergonomics, and material, equipment and product specifying. Those knowledge areas were grouped, for purposes of comparison, into six categories:  Human Environment Needs; Interior Construction, Codes and Regulations; Products and Materials; Design Theory and Process; Communication; and Professional Practice.
Research highlights include:
• The highest contributions to health, safety and welfare were found in the Human Environment Needs, Interior Construction and Products and Materials categories.
• Human Environment Needs contributes the highest to health and welfare, whereas Interior Construction contributes highest to safety.
• All categories contribute at the substantial level to health, safety and welfare.
• Overall, contributions to welfare are higher than to health and safety.
“Continued research and applied knowledge and documentation are essential to advancing the profession and increasing the health and safety of the built environment,” said Jeffrey Beachum, executive director of the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC). “The unified body of knowledge outlined in this report is both a practical and encouraging step forward for the design industry and the public at large.”
The report also includes a series of recommendations and a roadmap for advancing the interior design profession through the continued identification, documentation and measure of health, safety and welfare performance standards to provide meaningful benchmarks.
A full copy of the report and a feedback survey is available online at www.idbok.org and at www.careersininteriordesign.org.

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