NKBA Seeking Meeting on Practice Codes

by WOHe

NKBA Seeking Meeting on Practice Codes

Hackettstown, NJ Officials from the National Kitchen & Bath
Association are “hoping to meet” within the next two months with
representatives from the American Society of Interior Designers
(ASID) to better explain the NKBA’s position on interior design
practice legislation and the role of kitchen/bath specialists in
the larger design community, NKBA leaders told Kitchen & Bath
Design News last month.

According to Gary West, CKD, CBD, immediate past president of
the NKBA, the Hackettstown, NJ-based trade association is pushing
for a meeting “to begin to foster a relationship so that ASID
understands our position, and so that we can clarify any
misunderstandings.”

The NKBA, some of whose members have been threatened by recent
legislative actions throughout the U.S., has pledged its intent to
“protect” kitchen and bath designers from “any unwarranted
intrusion on their right to practice” their profession, stating
that the association will “vigorously oppose any broad-based
legislation that purports to limit that right.”

That pledge, issued late last year in a letter from West to NKBA
members, comes after a series of actions that has sparked growing
concerns over the ability of kitchen/bath dealers and designers to
continue in business in the face of interior design practice
legislation being supported by organizations such as the ASID and
the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).

A number of states have already put into effect laws that
regulate both the practice of interior design and the use of the
terms “interior designer” and “registered interior designer.” Other
states are also considering similar legislation, which requires
those who practice interior design of any sort including kitchen
and bath design be a graduate of an accredited interior design
program, have passed the NCIDQ exam, and have a predetermined level
of education and experience.

The NKBA has unsuccessfully attempted, through lobbying efforts,
to secure amendments to the laws establishing the association’s
Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) and Certified Bathroom Designer
(CBD) exams as equivalent to the NCIDQ exam for the purpose of
state registration.

The NKBA currently has a lobby firm on retainer. However, as
West noted, it would be far more effective for the association to
work directly with organizations like the ASID on compromise
legislation, rather than on independently battling measures that
have already been approved on the state level.

“A lot of what they (ASID) know about us, we feel, is simply a
matter of perception; a lot of it is hearsay,” West said,
explaining the need for a face-to-face meeting. “The interests of
the NKBA and the design societies are not at odds. In fact, we’re
more closely aligned than their members are being led to
believe.”

“All the NKBA has ever sought from our affiliated partners was a
recognition that our members are competent in their area of
expertise, and permission to continue practicing in their chosen
profession as they have done for so many years.”

West refuted the claim by some interior design organization
leaders that the NKBA feels its CKD and CBD exams are the
equivalent of the NCIDQ.

“The CKD and CBD exams are specifically targeted to test the
applicant’s competency in the specialized field of kitchen and bath
design,” he explained. “We believe that our CKDs and CBDs have
[shown] a higher level of proficiency in those rooms than someone
who has taken the general NCIDQ exam.”

“Any comments made comparing the NKBA’s certification exams to
the NCIDQ have been made in the context of demonstrating that any
legislative recognition of the NCIDQ exam as testing the minimum
competencies necessary to practice general interior design must
likewise recognize the NKBA’s certification exams as evidence of
competency in kitchen and bath design.”

The NKBA, West said, also does not either support or oppose
interior design legislation per se.

“Our members do not now, nor have they ever, considered
themselves “interior designers” within the general meaning of that
term. 

“We do, however, have a legitimate and absolute concern when
other associations seek to adopt practice acts that will prevent
our members from working in their chosen profession,” he said. “As
a result of some poorly worded legislative efforts that paint the
definition of ‘interior design’ with a broad brush, our members
could be prohibited from performing the services in which they
specialize.”

West said the NKBA believes that passage of the association’s
certification exams qualifies a kitchen or bath designer to perform
those specialized services, “and our association will not tolerate
any effort on the part of any other organization to say
otherwise.”

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