When you think of interior designers, what comes to your mind? Probably someone who’d make your home look beautiful. While that’s true, their roles go beyond that and require more technical knowledge about building codes and regulations. So, why do interior designers need to know building codes?
The role of an interior designer goes beyond making the house look fine. They design a living or office space to be functional. While doing that, they need building codes so as to ensure the safety of their design, get proper permits through compliance, avoid liability, and integrate their design.
Although the role of an interior designer requires having creative abilities, it takes more than that. There’s a need for education and certification, and part of what a person must know to be certified is the building codes. Here, we discuss why interior designers need to know building codes.
Who is an Interior Designer?
An interior designer is a professional responsible for creating safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing spaces. They determine clients’ needs for a space and design it appropriately to meet those requirements. An interior designer can play an integral role at any stage of construction. They can work with the architect before construction to determine how to effectively maximize space and work with the builder during construction to select the right materials to use for each part of the building. You can still use an interior designer to help with remodeling, setting up the house, and arranging furniture and other features, even for completed homes. Thus, interior design isn’t just about picking the right colors or adding flowers to a space; it’s a technical field that involves interacting with other professionals such as architects, engineers, builders, and every other person involved in construction.
How To Become an Interior Designer?
Becoming an interior designer may require talents and informal skills, but formal education is essential. There are cases where people with formal education in other fields such as fine arts, architecture, etc., become interior designers. But beyond that, there’s also the Council for Interior Design Accreditation which accredits schools that can teach interior design.
However, what’s most important is passing the National Council of Interior Design Qualification exam and becoming certified. The Council is responsible for certifying a person as qualified to be an interior designer, and having a career in the field usually requires having the certification. In addition, passing the exam usually requires knowledge of the history of design, building codes, spatial concepts, the structural integrity of buildings, ergonomics, ethics, and more. Thus, a combination of natural ability and educational qualifications will make a person become an interior designer.
How Interior Designers Use Building Codes
Interior designers need the building codes for multiple reasons:
Building codes exist for safety reasons, and this is something that any interior designer also has to prioritize even when designing the space. They deal with the safety of the occupants and involve everything from the size of certain spaces and where certain features are positioned. Interior design usually involves moving a lot of things around. It could also involve dealing with other important structural parts of a house, such as the wiring, plumbing, walls, etc. Being familiar with the building code makes it easy to design with safety in mind. Beyond the structural part of the design, the building codes are also essential for selecting the materials to use for a space. For example, the codes might provide that fire-rated materials shouldn’t be in a particular setting. The interior designer needs to be familiar with the code for them to design the place to be code compliant. This familiarity is essential in the whole construction and design of the building.
2. Avoiding Liability
Another reason interior designers have to be familiar with the building codes is so they can escape liability that could result from failure to do such. If anything should happen in the house due to the failure of the interior designer to follow the building codes, the insurer might deny the claim. In such a case, the client can sue the interior designer for negligence and get damages. Thus, knowledge of the building codes makes it possible for designers to do their job efficiently.
3. Compliance to Obtain Permits
The role of an interior designer is quite extensive, and each project will determine just how much the client needs to know. Since an interior designer could be involved in construction from the concept to completion, they may have to create construction documents needed to get the right permits. In cases where the interior designer is responsible for project management, they usually need to research the codes applicable to the project. It also takes an interior designer familiar with the code to advise their clients and make the right decisions. Thus, compliance isn’t simply necessary for safety and avoiding liability. It’s crucial to get construction permits.
4. Integrating Design with Construction
The interior designer needs to be familiar with building codes to effectively integrate any design idea they might have with the construction. Whether they’re working with other people involved in construction or have been hired after construction, it takes an understanding of the building codes to design appropriately based on the existing structure. When the interior designer is familiar with building codes, they’ll understand why the builder made one construction decision and not another.
Duties of an Interior Designer
The role of an interior designer is an extensive one that includes the following duties:
- Project management and coordination
- Selecting all interior materials such as finishing, appliances, furniture, window treatment, etc.
- Determining the placement of furniture
- Collaborating with builders, engineers, and painters
- Overseeing installation of all interior materials
- Selecting interior space themes and color schemes
The work of an interior designer is integral to how a building turns out. This makes it necessary for any interior designer to know the applicable building codes to do a good job. The duties of an interior designer are quite numerous, and the job itself can be technical. So, it takes more than flair to be a good interior designer.