Dear Virginia-area Interior Designers:
Your action is required to protect the voluntary interior design certification program in Virginia! Currently, the Commonwealth is exploring eliminating the voluntary interior design certification program. If you are not familiar with the program, the Virginia Certification gives interior designers several business and practice rights (more information in the draft comment, below). Without it, the practice and industry in the Commonwealth and in the region will be damaged. Even if you’re not certified, elimination of the certification will likely harm your colleagues, firm, business, store, suppliers, or partners and opportunities for the entire industry in Virginia and the region. If you’re interested in becoming certified, now is the time! Do so here: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/APELS/#designer.
It is VITAL that you act now to save the Virginia certification.
Here’s how you can help.
Submit an online comment to the Commonwealth by September 30, 2020. It only takes a few minutes and we’ve already written a draft for you (see below)! Just follow these instructions:
1) Click this link: https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/entercomment.cfm?generalnoticeid=1150.
2) Enter your information.
3) Enter Comment Subject/Line: “SUPPORT Continued Regulation of Interior Design in Virginia”.
4) Copy the draft comment text at the bottom of this email.
5) Click the “Begin typing…” Box at the link and press CONTROL+V to paste the copied draft (please note the paste-click function will not work).
6) EDIT THE HIGHLIGHTED TEXT to include specifics about you and your story.
7) Click submit.
9) SHARE these instructions with any friends, family, students, universities, colleagues, neighbors, ANYONE! The more comments, the better!
An easy way to share in less than 10 seconds:
Here is the draft comment for optional use:
My name is [NAME] and I [LIVE AND/OR WORK IN VIRGINIA]. I write this comment in STRONG support of the continued regulation of the interior design profession in Virginia.
[ENTER BRIEF INFORMATION ABOUT YOU: WHERE YOU LIVE, YOUR BUSINESS, WHAT TYPE OF DESIGN YOU PRACTICE, WHAT YOU DO, YOUR CONNECTION WITH INTERIOR DESIGN, HOW THE VIRGINIA CERTIFICATION PERSONALLY IMPACTS YOU, ETC.]
It is clear, eliminating regulation of Interior Design would gravely harm Virginia Certified Interior Designers, Interior Design small businesses, and others in the Commonwealth. For example:
– In order to hold a position on a corporate board for a “Professional Corporation,” the employee must be licensed or certified in their profession by the Commonwealth. Eliminating the interior design regulation would prevent interior designers from serving on the board of architectural-interior design and interior design-only firms.
– RFPs (Request for Proposals) and RFQs (Request for Qualifications) in the Commonwealth of Virginia and for Federal Government Projects that include Interior Design Services require that the Interior Designer providing these services be a Certified Interior Designer. Eliminating the regulation would bar Virginia interior designers from submitting for these proposals.
– Job postings for Interior Designers in the Commonwealth and for Federal departments typically require an Interior Designer to be a Certified Interior Designer. Eliminating the regulation would exclude Virginia interior designers from these opportunities.
In Virginia, of the 1,272 interior design establishments in the Commonwealth, 96% are small businesses of four or fewer employees. 83% of these small businesses are women or minority-owned. Eliminating interior design regulation would crush these entrepreneurs and small businesses because of the reasons listed in this comment.
Eliminating the Interior Design statute would also harm the Commonwealth. Being a Certified Interior Designer in the Commonwealth provides the public with knowledge that a minimum set of requirements, including education, experience, and testing, has been met. Certified Interior Designers do complex design drafting work in large public and code-regulated spaces like hotels, hospitals, corporate offices, and multifamily housing where public life-safety is implicated. CIDs have knowledge of building codes, standards, and other laws and regulations that are essential to the safe construction of public and other code-regulated buildings.
In light of the pandemic and as Virginians get back to their stores, businesses, and corporate offices, it is Certified Interior Designers who are redesigning and space planning these environments to mitigate COVID risk.
Our health is influenced by everything we touch in interior spaces. Disease-causing pathogens, like those that spread COVID-19, can be transferred from person to person, but also through everyday objects like office door handles, restroom grab bars, and schoolroom desks. It is critical to have interior environments that can protect our health by reducing pathogen transmission. Interior designers specify materials and finishes in 90% of residential and commercial construction and renovations and these professionals will be key in protecting the US against the virus.
Regulating interior design is a sensible practice. Washington D.C., Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, all have statutes in place for the regulation of the title and/or practice of Interior Design. In total, 27 states and two federal jurisdictions regulate interior design. No jurisdiction has ever deregulated the practice of interior design.
The interior design statute is not restrictive or protectionist. The title protection law—enacted during the 1990 Session of the General Assembly—does not restrict the scope of practice and serves as the framework for the voluntary certification program. While only certified interior designers may use the title “Certified,” any individual may contract with a client to render services as an interior designer, interior decorator, or similar practitioner if the client so chooses.
Eliminating the voluntary regulation of interior design in Virginia is a bad public policy. Continued regulation is vital to the practice, profession, industry, consumers, and the public’s health, safety, and welfare. I ask you to not eliminate the regulation of this profession.