AIA Florida News
Deregulation Bill Passes the House
This week, the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 5005 that will deregulate 14 professions including interior designers, removing them from the list of licensed design professionals. Over the course of the public testimony, members from the Interior Design Associations Foundation and students presented opposing and contradictory arguments to legislators. They first argued that anyone will be allowed to practice interior design completely unfettered thus creating a threat to public health, safety and welfare. The second argument, conversely, claimed that only architects will perform commercial interior design. Neither is true according to AIA Florida General Counsel J. Michael Huey, Hon. AIA.
Huey, explains, “If interior designers are deregulated, business will return to the way it was prior to their regulation. The Florida Statutes specifically state that interior designers cannot perform work that impacts lifesafety, therefore proving both arguments wrong. Work will not be limited to architects. Non-structural design that does not extend into the architects”””” scope of practice will be allowed by de-regulated interior designers.”
Currently, Florida Statutes prohibit interior designers from work pertaining to “construction of structural, mechanical, plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, ventilating, electrical, or vertical transportation systems, or construction which materially affects lifesafety systems…such as fire-rated separations between interior spaces, fire-rated vertical shafts in multistory structures, fire-rated protection of structural elements, smoke evacuation and compartmentalization, emergency ingress or egress systems, and emergency alarm systems.” (F.S. 481.203, (8))
AIA Florida President Michael Lingerfelt, AIA, LEED AP, states, “The Florida Statutes govern this state and have governed the practice of architecture since 1915. Currently, the public””””s health, safety and welfare are not and cannot be affected by the work of interior designers in Florida. In fact, only three states have an interior design practice act and only 19 have title acts. In my 30+ years of work across the country, I have experienced the positive impact of a well designed space. If this bill is passed, architects will continue to utilize the skills of interior designers.”
Another complaint from made by interior design students was that, with deregulation, their degrees would be wasted. During the floor debate, Rep. Dorothy Hukill (R – Port Orange) stated that this deregulation will provide more opportunities, not less, for students and professionals, noting that both the Florida State University and University of Florida interior design programs were established years prior to the regulation of the profession and the success of those professionals.
AIA National policy supports only architects and engineers as licensed design professionals. To-date, AIA Florida has remained neutral on the issue.