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North Carolina Senate Bill Strengthens Interior Design Profession

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and The International Interior Design Association (IIDA), with the knowledge support of the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ), have strengthened the interior design profession in North Carolina and beyond, as part of the new Senate Bill 188, signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper on July 8.

This major step forward for the industry establishes a new voluntary state registry for qualified interior designers, with the accompanying ability to stamp and seal construction documents for permit, and was the result of thorough negotiations and agreement with the state’s own Board of Architecture. With this latest victory, the most comprehensive in the profession’s history, the interior design industry has paved the way for future recognition nationwide. 

Explains ASID CEO Gary Wheeler, FASID, “We are so grateful to the partners who joined us to make this possible, from the legislators to our fellow associations, the licensed architects, the Board of Architecture, and of course, our amazing local members. The message this bill sends is loud and clear: interior designers play a critical role in our economy and in ensuring the success and safety of buildings, and that must be reflected in our laws.” 

“We view this bill as a guide to move the profession forward not just in North Carolina, but across the country,” says IIDA EVP/CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “Interior designers must be recognized in state law and must be given the same opportunities to succeed as other design and construction professionals. We are greatly encouraged to see this acknowledged by the state of North Carolina in such a thorough way, and we hope to bring similar ideals to improve practice rights and strengthen the role of the interior designer nationwide.”

CIDQ CEO Thom Banks adds, “We believe this new law, and particularly the statutory definition of interior design contained within, more fully reflects modern interior design practice and the competencies assessed on the NCIDQ Exam. The public benefits when interior designers can practice to the full extent of their demonstrated capabilities and this law can serve as a new minimum baseline for the rest of the country.”

Prior to Bill S188, interior designers were not recognized as a distinct profession by the state of North Carolina. By codifying the rights and abilities of interior designers, North Carolina is also bolstering the safety of the built environment for its citizens. Interior designers play a key role in public safety, from fostering ADA-friendly environments to understanding fire safety codes and wayfinding. The law recognizes this critical knowledge base, enabling designers to bring their expertise on safety solutions, wellness, and more to a wide range of projects. The rights asserted in the bill further enable practitioners to utilize their skills and knowledge to design interior plans that will protect the public in the built environment — without the bureaucratic hurdles and added expenses that were formerly passed onto clients and consumers. It also makes it easier for interior designers to own and operate their own firms. With the interior design profession being predominantly female (more than 80%), the bill will enable the growth and creation of female-owned and operated businesses across the state. 

“This is an issue that I’ve been passionate about for several years,” said Representative Dennis Riddell (R – Alamance). “I’m thrilled that these qualified professionals will finally have the legal recognition they need to practice independently, and to positively impact their clients and the interior spaces we utilize each and every day.” Adds Senator Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth), “We are proud to have worked with the interior designers and the architects to craft this historic piece of legislation, and we hope that our efforts on this interior design bill will provide a roadmap for other states to fairly recognize this valued profession.”







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