Massachusetts leads the country in many areas of progressive legislation. But when it comes to supporting the industry of interior design, Massachusetts has kept interior designers at a disadvantage compared to their peers in the industry.
The current legislation in Massachusetts does not acknowledge interior designers as registered professionals in the Commonwealth. In turn, interior designers are unable to sign drawings and contracts, unable to seek commercial work without a registered architect signing on their behalf, and unable to bid on public work aside from furniture selection. Additionally, interior design business owners are often forced to sell their majority ownership in a firm over to architects in order to competitively seek out state and federal work.
Recognizing interior designers as professionals in their own right
Massachusetts currently has a bill in the State House that would officially recognize commercial interior design as a regulated and licensed profession. While architects and interior designs both earn specialized education degrees, pass professional examination requirements, and possess valuable experience from the field, only architects are able to stamp and sign their own non-structural plans.
Sasaki enthusiastically supports this legislation and the recognition of commercial interior designers as autonomous, licensed professionals. Licensing interior designers will elevate the design community by raising the standard of practice and ensuring that healthy, safe and code compliant interior environments are built.
“Recognition of the education, knowledge, and skills of the many commercial interior designers in Massachusetts will boost the career trajectories not only those currently in the profession but also those seeking to enter this field,” says Elizabeth von Goeler, NCIDQ, IIDA, Sasaki principal and chair of external relations.
Though not legally recognized as professionals, interior designers are currently responsible for:
- Design strategy and concept development
- Construction documentation
- Regulatory compliance
- Project management
- Space use and needs analysis
- Programming for future development and growth
- Site Verification and inspection
- Preparation of drawings at all phases of design
- Material selection and specification
- Application of building codes and regulations
- Engineering coordination, including electrical mechanical, and plumbing
- Accessibility compliance
- Post-occupancy evaluation
- Sustainable design
- Furniture design and specification
- Budgeting and cost analysis
- Construction Administration
Sasaki believes the time has come to recognize interior designers as design professionals in their own right.
“The legal recognition of commercial interior design as a licensed profession in Massachusetts would open up the doors for so many in the state who have been struggling to grow in their careers,” says Sasaki interior designer Krista Easterly, IIDA, WELL AP, LEED AP ID+C, NCIDQ. “Interior designers have struggled for years to get the recognition they deserve. Passing this legislation will give us all a seat at the table and an equal voice in the design profession.”
“Passing this legislation will give us all a seat at the table and an equal voice in the design profession.”
-Sasaki interior designer Krista Easterly
We are optimistic that the bill will advance through the Massachusetts State House and Senate. We will continue to support our interior design peers in their efforts for recognition.