Monday, 14 June 2010

Regulating the Regulators!

In the May/June issue of Interior Design Today Jim Rankin writes about the necessity for clients to know that a designer is accredited through one of the (ever growing) number of industry bodies for the design profession in the UK. He writes that although as yet there is not one single body which can truly regulate the industry he believes it will soon come. However events these past weeks indicate that the confusion is set to continue.

In the same issue of the same magazine the Society of British Interior Designers announce that they have been selected by the Interior Educators Organisation to help advise the UK’s leading universities and design courses on providing students with experience and connections to the interior design industry. This work goes hand in hand with their declared aim to ‘establish a UK-wide individual accreditation system for individual interior designers’. And on the 24th May the Chartered Society of Designers sent out a press release announcing as the first stage of their new education initiative they have accredited their first design course. At present neither the British Institute of Interior Design nor the Interior Design Association accredit any design courses.

Apparently the UK interior design industry has an annual turnover of £11.6 billion and employs over 185,500 designers. Currently there are some 60,000 students studying to become designers, although most of them are training for jobs which presently do not exist. There is no doubt in my mind that regulation is much needed. It is my opinion that the best way forward would be for all 4 Interior Design organisations to undertake discussions with each other to work out a united plan to provide the industry with regulation for the different aspects of the profession, such as residential, hospitality, retail and office design. Duplication by the various industry bodies does nothing to elevate the profession and if progress continues along the lines it is developing there is a good chance the public will be even less inclined to take the profession seriously.