February 16, 2012
Today Senate Bill 12-120, known as the “Interior Design Bill (for 2012)” was passed at the Colorado Senate Local Government Committee hearing.
What is this Senate bill 12-120?
A little background: In 2001 House Bill 1153 was passed, creating an “exemption” to the architects licensing statute – CRS Title 12, Article 25, Part 3 Architects: #303 Exemptions #(6). Essentially this ‘exception’ states that Interior Designers with specific education and holding an NCIDQ certificate are able to submit documents and specifications to building officials for the purpose of obtaining a building permit.
Two interesting features of the adopted exception above cites what the interior designer may/may not do: (6) (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (6), nothing in this part 3 shall be construed to prevent an interior designer from preparing interior design documents and specifications for interior finishes and nonstructural elements within and surrounding interior spaces of a building or structure of any size, height, and occupancy and filing such documents and specifications for the purpose of obtaining approval for a building permit as provided by law from the appropriate city, city and county, or regional building authority, which may approve or reject any such filing in the same manner as for other professions.
(6) (b) Interior designers shall not be engaged in the construction of the structural frame system supporting a building; mechanical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, or electrical vertical transportation systems; fire-rated vertical shafts in any multi-story structure; fire-related protection of structural elements; smoke evacuation and compartmentalization; emergency sprinkler systems; emergency alarm systems; or any other alteration affecting the life safety of the occupants of a building.
Senate Bill 12-120 reiterates the full language of the exemption for Interior Designers [CRS Title 12, Part 3, Architects #303 Exemptions #(6) (a) through (d)] but splits the language into two new segments.
This is what Senate Bill 12-120 does: Part of the language covered in CRS 12-25-303 #(6) is transported to CRS Title 30 Part 28 #212 (a new segment) where it no longer is an ‘exemption’, but reads as full authority to submit Interior Design documents.
What SB 12-120 does next: No Qualified Interior Designer shall be subject to any of the requirements set forth in Section 12-25-303 (1) (b) or (1) (d), C.R.S. Qualified Interior Designers will no longer be an ‘Exemption’ to Architects.
What SB 12-120 follows up with: Within Section 31-13-601, Building and Fire Regulations. A new category is created specifically for Qualified Interior Designers, where such are defined (the remaining part of the language transported from CRS 12-25-3 #303 (6)).
Why segment the ‘exemption’ language?
Many people erroneously categorize or misname the current exemption as a permitting statute. An exemption does not a statute make.
By splitting the existing language of the ‘exemption’ and placing part of the language into Title 30 Part 28 and adding #212, SB12-120 becomes the permitting statute should it pass into law.
By placing the qualifying language for “Qualified Interior Designers” within the Building and Fire Regulations, SB12-120 – should it pass into law – creates a profession that does not have or need regulation. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is therefore left out of the loop and “Qualified Interior Designers” have open territory with only the State Legislature to be responsible to.
By now realizing the facts, perhaps the implications of Senate Bill 12-120 will begin to be understood.
More to come….
Michael Luzier, CKD
NKBA Rocky Mountain Chapter President