Interior Design Legislation
Your right to practice!
Title vs Practice Act
Title Acts are laws that legislate the title of interior
designer. In order to call yourself an interior
designer, you may need certain requirements
(varies by state) such as a CIDA education,
NCIDQ exam and a specified number of years
Practice Act is more stringent. This law stipulates
who can practice interior design.
Question: Which state was the first to pass
Alabama was the first!
• Title Act was introduced in1982
• Practice Act was in 2001
• Now a Title Act in 2010
• Registered Interior Designer
• Must be from a CIDA accredited school
• 2 years experience
Ruling on Alabama Practice Act
• Justice Parker stated,
• "If the public interest is not threatened by allowing homeowners and
businesspersons to design their own houses and offices, it is difficult to
understand how that interest is threatened by allowing them to retain interior
designers who are not certified."
• He concluded by saying:
• “Not only are [the appellee designer's] rights to contract and to engage in
her chosen occupation at stake in this case, but also the rights of the people of
Alabama to contract with her. If a homeowner or businessperson wants to
express himself by decorating his home or his office in a certain way, and if that
person believes [appellee designer] can best provide the design that he desires,
the State should not tell that person that he may not contract with [appellee
designer] merely because [appellee designer] lacks state certification or an
academic degree. Nor should this Court embrace the paternalistic notion that the
average citizen is incapable of choosing a competent interior designer without the
State's help. The economic liberty of contract remains a protected right in
Alabama, especially in a field like interior design that involves expressive activity."
Opposition to Legislation
• Institute of Justice
• Interior Design Freedom Coalition (IDPC)
• State licensing board
• Fines for each incident (not project)
• Continuing Education Units
• Ranges from 5 – 10 hours per year of
• Must be related to health, safety and
• Obtained thru ASID and IIDA and be
Special Considerations in Design
Two Important Design
Design for special needs
ADA American with Disabilities Act of 1990
Environmental Considerations (later discussion)
Light and energy
What is ADA?
• The ADA is a federal civil law
signed into legislation on July
26th, 1990 by President George
• It prohibits discrimination
against people with disabilities.
• It is designed to make
American society more
accessible to persons with
• The ADA laws became enforceable in
1992 and 1993.
• The ADA is divided into 5 parts, regulating:
– Public Services
– Public Accommodations
Part III: Public Accommodations
• Refers mainly to accessibility requirement
of public buildings including:
– Hotels, restaurants, auditoriums, shopping
centers, banks, hospitals, museums, libraries,
educational facilities, child care centers, and
– This is the section that designers will focus on.
Myths and Facts about ADA
• MYTH: The ADA requires extensive renovation of all state and local
government buildings to make them accessible.
• FACT: The ADA requires all government programs, not buildings to be
accessible. Not every building, nor each part of every building need to
be accessible. Structural modifications are required only when there is
no alternative available for providing program access. Example: A
library has an inaccessible second floor. No elevator is needed if a
staff member retrieves the books needed.
Myths and Facts about ADA
• MYTH: Businesses must pay large fines when they violate the ADA
• FACT: Courts may levy civil penalties only in cases brought by the
Justice Department, not private litigants. The Department only
seeks such penalties when the violation is substantial and the
business has shown bad faith in failing to comply. The Department
also considers a business’ size and resources in determining
whether civil penalties are appropriate.
What is an accessible route?
An accessible route is a continuous, unobstructed path
connecting all accessible elements and spaces in a building
or facility. This includes pathways, corridors, doorways,
floors, ramps, elevators and clear floor space at fixtures.
• Clear width shall be 44”
• Landings shall be at least 60”
• Slope rise to run ratio of 1:12
• For every 30” rise, there
should be an intervening flat
• Handrails should extend 12”
beyond the top and bottom
• Handrails should have 1 ½”
space between the handrail
Entrances, Exits, and Interior Routes
• 36” Clear space beyond the latch side of the entrance door.
• 12-18” clear space at latch side of interior doors.
• 32” clear width on door openings.
• Door hardware not higher than 48”.
• Lever style door hardware.
• Maximum opening force of 8.5 lbs on exterior hinged doors.
• Maximum opening force of 5 lbs on interior doors.
• Threshold not higher than ½” with beveled edge.
• For two doors in a series, there must be 48” between the open doors.
• Sweep period of door closing should be at least 3 seconds.
• Signs must be provided to denote the accessible route.
• Floor area inside and outside each door should be level for a distance of 5’
from the direction the door swings.
• Doors should be identified with either raised or indented letters/ numerals
which identify the area.
• Doors signs should be placed between 4’-6” – 5’-6” AFF.
• 80” clear headroom to avoid overhead hazards. (Includes alarms, and
• Routes should be clear of water fountains, pay phones and other protruding
objects. Objects with their leading edges between 27 and 80” high shall not
protrude more than 4” into the route.
• Objects with their leading edge at 27” or below may protrude any amount as
long as the route does not reduce pathway clearance below 36” wide.
• One 60” x 60” passing space every 200 feet
• Uniform step heights
from 4” - 7” high
• Tread depths at 11”
• No overhang greater
than 1 ½”
• Handrails extend 12”
past last step
• At least one restroom is provide on an accessible route.
• Unobstructed 60” x 60” space for wheelchair turn around.
• Toilet should be 18” from centerline to wall or adjacent partition.
• Toilet seat should be 17”-20” high
• Stall door shall be 32” clear
• Standard accessible stall is 56” x 60”
• Grab bars at 33” – 36” AFF and 36” or 42” wide
• Lever style faucets
• Hot/cold pipe (if exposed) shall be covered
• Counter tops not higher than 34” AFF with at least 29” clearance
from floor to top of apron.
• Clear floor space in front of sink shall be 30” x 48”
• Mirrors shall be mounted with the bottom edge mounted no higher
than 40” AFF
Page 183 of The Codes Guidebook for Interiors
• One drinking fountain for every 75
• Each floor must have it’s own fountain.
• If available, 50% should be accessible
on each floor.
• If only one available, is it on an
• Spout shall be no higher than 36” AFF
• Recessed fountains shall have 24”
maximum side walls and 30” minimum
• Clear floor space of 30’ x 48”
• Design that meets the needs of all users
without drawing attention to to persons with
• It is not the ADA.
• Homes should be planned universally
• Lever type handles
• Hard surface flooring
• Little to no thresholds (1/2” minimum)
• Wider doors (32” clearance)
• Level plan (no steps)
• Varying counter top heights with
kneespace in kitchen
• Taller toe kick (12” vs 4”)
• Reinforcing walls for future grab bars
• Wheelchair Accessible shower
• “D” shaped pulls on cabinets
• Window sills at a min. of 36” AFF
• Reduce noise reverberation and
improve acoustics. (carpet or fabric
wall coverings, ceiling tiles)
• Good lighting for lip reading and
• Round tables are better than square
• Visual warning signs are needed.
Telephone, doorbell, alarm clock, fire
alarm, crying baby.
• Special phone systems TDD
(Telecommunication device for the
• Design around hearing and touch
• Textured door handles to indicate
• Landing and curbs that are textured
• Handrails 1 foot beyond last step
• Always consider protruding objects
• Signage with Braille and audible
• Rounded edges on furniture and
Design for the Elderly
• Limited mobility, loss of hearing, and loss
• Also, memory loss
• Use visual contrast (depth perception)
• Yellowing of cornea