NOTEWORTHYLegislative Coalition Formed in CaliforniaInterior designers in California have formed the Coalition for Interior Design Accountability (CIDA) to represent their concerns, as well as those of consumers, before the state legislature. CIDA advocates sound professional standards for interior designers, including standard requirements for education, examination and experience."CIDA believes that California consumers must be assured that Certified Interior Designers possess an appropriate level of education and experience, and that they have been tested to meet a uniform skill level," said Bruce Goff, legislative director.CIDA's goal is to protect consumers. It aims to educate California legislators about the interior design profession's accepted levels of competency: minimum of two years of formal interior design education; combination of formal education and professional experience totaling not less than six years; and passage of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification professional examination.Currently, the California Council for Interior Design Certification, a private organization authorized by state statute to set professional standards and certify interior designers, certifies interior designers in California. The coalition is concerned with CCIDC's administration of the voluntary certification process because it allows designers to take one of several tests for certification. "Other professions designing the built environment require one established examination for certification," Goff said. "There is no reason why the certification of interior design professionals should be treated any differently."CIDA believes that certification of designers who have met different standards is confusing to consumers and, as such, CCIDC has failed to be accountable to the public it serves. The law reauthorizing CCIDC is currently pending before the state legislature.For more information, contact Sue Norris, Coalition for Interior Design Accountability, at (916) 930-0271. Billings Stabilize After Seven-month DeclineThe American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the results of its March 2003 Work-on-the-Boards (WOTB), a monthly survey that provides an up-to-date snapshot of what is happening in the architecture and construction industry. A valuable research tool, WOTB lends additional perspective to traditional analysis and provides alternative data for use as economic indicators both nationally and regionally.Highlights of the survey, authored by Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA, chief economist, include:
- After declining for seven straight months, billings at U.S. architecture firms finally stabilized in February, with as many firms reporting increases in billings (compared to the previous month) as reported declines. Inquiries for new projects continued to strengthen, indicating that billings should pick up in the months ahead. Currently, billings and inquiries are strongest at residential firms (firms for which a majority of billings come from the residential sector), as well as at commercial/industrial firms.
- Firms in the South and West also reported a strong increase in inquiries for new work. Inquiries for new work at smaller firms (annual billings under $1 million) also are increasing.
- The AIA Consensus Forecast Panel predicted a small decline in non-residential construction activity in 2003. However, since architecture firms sometimes see different signals, the AIA asked firms responding to this survey to comment on the strength of key building sectors. Their sense of conditions is a bit more pessimistic than the national forecasters, reported the AIA.
- Only two major construction sectors are strengthening at present: health/hospital and single-family construction. Another important sector—education—is stable at present. All the other major sectors are weakening to some degree, with office construction in fairly significant decline, according to AIA's panel of architectural firms.