Interior Design Practice Act Introduced

After a two year hiatus interior designers are back with a new practice act proposal. HB 2895 and SB 6707 would carve out broad new responsibilities for interior designers. It would prevent others from offering these services and establish new penalties for violations of the act.

The AIA/WA is not opposed to properly crafted legal recognition for interior designers. Professional interior designers bring many valuable skills to projects. Even so, interior designers are not comparably educated, trained or tested to protect public safety as are architects. Thus, the AIA/WA is opposed to any practice act proposal for interior designers.

The bill as introduced raises many public safety and legal questions.

First, in 2005 the Washington Department of Licensing conducted a comprehensive evaluation of interior design regulation. The department recommended “That no state licensing of interior designers be required at this time since there was no clear evidence that the unregulated practice can clearly harm or endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the citizens of the state.”

Second, a similarly worded law in Alabama was recently voided by its state’s supreme court. The court found that the law to be “…overly broad, unreasonably and unduly vague.” The court also held that, “The evidence before the Court shows unreasonableness of the Act and that the enforcement of the Act has not rational relationship to the health, safety, or welfare of the citizens…”

These are just two of many concerns that will need to be addressed prior to a bill moving forward.

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