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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: May 17, 2013 02:07 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward and Sen. Timothy J. Solobay
To: All Senate members
Subject: Memo #25 - Interior Designer Registration Act

In the near future, Senator Solobay and I will be introducing legislation to create the Interior Designer Registration Act in Pennsylvania. Specifically, the bill would allow interior designers that meet certain education and experience requirements to apply to the Office of the Attorney General to become registered interior designers in Pennsylvania.

Interior design is a predominantly women-owned industry in Pennsylvania. Currently, there are no laws in Pennsylvania that specifically regulate interior designers. Anyone can hold themselves out to be an interior designer regardless of their education or background. This can be problematic as interior design is much more than just paint colors, furniture placement and material swatches. Interior design has become a critical portion of commercial and residential property development in that it directly impacts the overall health and safety of the individuals using that space.

There are several schools in Pennsylvania and across the country that provide for an accredited four-year undergraduate degree in interior design. These accredited programs include course work in structural design, environmental design theory, interior detailing and contract documentation. The students that graduate from these programs are well versed in all stages of interior design planning.

In Pennsylvania, however, an interior designer that develops detailed interior construction plans that only affects non-load bearing walls must work in conjunction with a licensed architect. They need to do this in order to practice legally in our state and receive payment for their services, regardless of their education and expertise.

Recognizing that not every interior designer currently operating in Pennsylvania wants to be licensed or registered, we have developed legislation that would allow those interior designers with the proper credentials to apply for registration with the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the Attorney General’s office. This will be similar to the process used for contractors under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. The legislation is written to ensure no current business or future business would be negatively impacted.

The registered interior designer – and ONLY registered interior designers – would then be able to independently design and submit interior construction plans that only affect non-load bearing walls. They would also be able to be compensated directly for their services.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Kirsten Kenyon of my office at 717-787-6063 or kkenyon@pasen.gov. Thank you for your kind consideration of our legislation.

Introduced as SB1060