GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION LAW 2021-81
SENATE BILL 188
AN ACT to allow for registration of interior designers and to modify the north carolina board of architecture.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Chapter 83A of the General Statutes reads as rewritten:
and Registered Interior Designers.
"§ 83A‑1. Definitions.
When used in this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
means a Architect. – A person who is duly licensed to practice
(1a) Architect Emeritus. – A person who has been duly licensed as an architect by the Board and who chooses to relinquish or not to renew a license to practice architecture and who applies to and is approved by the Board after review of record, including any disciplinary action, to be granted the use of the honorific title "Architect Emeritus."
(1b) Architectural firm. – A professional corporation certified by the Board as meeting the requirements under this Chapter for registration for the practice of architecture.
the Board. – The North Carolina Board of Architecture.Architecture
and Registered Interior Designers.
(2a) CIDQ. – The Council for Interior Design Qualification.
certificate" means a Firm certificate. – A certificate of corporate
firm registration issued by the Board recognizing the corporation
firm named in the certificate as meeting the requirements for the corporate
firm practice of architecture.architecture or interior
practice of architecture" means "practice" architecture.
– "Practice of architecture," as defined in G.S. 83A‑1(7)
by a corporation firm which is organized or domesticated in this
State, and which holds a current "corporate "firm certificate"
from this Board.
(4a) Firm practice of interior design. – "Practice of interior design" as defined in subdivision (8) of this section by a registered interior design firm organized or domesticated in this State that holds a current firm certificate from this Board.
moral character" means such character character. – Character
as tends to assure the faithful discharge of the fiduciary duties of an
architect or registered interior designer to his or her client.
Evidence of lack of such character shall include the willful commission of an
offense justifying discipline under this Chapter, the practice of architecture
in violation of this Chapter, the practice of interior design in violation
of this Chapter, or of the laws of another jurisdiction, or the conviction
of a felony.
(5a) Interior design. – Includes, but is not limited to, the preparation of reflected ceiling plans, space planning, creation or alteration of paths of egress, occupancy calculations, provided no increases in occupancy or number of exits is required, selection of furnishings, and the fabrication of nonstructural elements within and surrounding interior spaces of buildings. The term "interior design" specifically excludes the following:
a. The design of or the responsibility for architectural and engineering work, except as explicitly provided for within this Chapter.
b. Altering or affecting the structural system of a building.
c. Changing the means of access system.
d. Changing the building's live or dead load on the structural system.
e. Changes of use to occupancies not already allowed by the current building.
f. Changes to life safety plans, including exiting and exit stairs.
means a License. – A certificate of registration issued by the Board
recognizing the individual or firm named in the certificate as meeting
the requirements for registration under this Chapter.
(6a) Nonstructural element. – An element of a building or structure which does not require structural bracing and is not one or more of the following:
a. Load‑bearing wall.
b. Load‑bearing column.
e. Lateral force‑resisting component.
f. Any other load‑bearing element of a building or structure which is essential to the structural integrity of the building.
of architecture" means performing architecture. – Performing
or offering to perform or holding oneself out as legally qualified to
perform professional services in connection with the design, construction,
enlargement or alteration of buildings, including consultations,
investigations, evaluations, preliminary studies, the preparation of plans,
specifications and contract documents, administration of construction contracts
and related services or combination of services in connection with the design
and construction of buildings, regardless of whether these services are
performed in person or as the directing head of an office or organization.
(8) Practice of interior design. – The preparation of working drawings and documents relative to interior construction, materials, finishes, space planning, furnishings, fixtures, and equipment as defined in subdivision (5a) of this section. Except as provided herein, interior design services do not include services that constitute the practice of architecture as defined in this Chapter or the practice of engineering as defined in G.S. 89C‑3.
(9) Reflected ceiling plan. – A ceiling design plan which is laid out as if it were projected downward and which may include lighting and other elements.
(10) Registered interior designer. – A person who is duly registered and who is qualified by education, experience, and examination to engage in the practice of interior design as authorized by the Board. A registered interior designer shall possess the authority to sign and seal interior technical submissions covering the scope of the practice of interior design and shall have the authority to submit construction documents where the registered interior designer is the contract holder and Designer of Record to a State or local government entity for the purpose of obtaining requisite permits for an interior construction project. A registered interior designer may only sign and seal interior technical submissions within the scope of the practice of interior design defined by this Chapter.
(11) Registered interior design firm. – A business corporation certified by the Board as meeting the requirements for registration under this Chapter for the practice of interior design.
(12) Registration. – A certificate of registration issued by the Board recognizing the individual or firm named in the certificate as meeting the requirements for registration under this Chapter.
(13) Space planning. – The analysis, programming, or design of spatial requirements, including preliminary space layouts and final planning.
"§ 83A‑2. North Carolina Board of
and Registered Interior Designers; creation; appointment, terms and oath of
members; vacancies; officers; bond of treasurer; notice of meetings; quorum.
(a) Powers; Duties. – The North Carolina Board of Architecture and Registered Interior Designers shall have the power and responsibility to administer the provisions of this Chapter in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
(b) Composition. – The
Board shall consist of
seven 10 members appointed by the Governor.Governor,
(1) Five of the members of the Board shall be licensed
architects appointed for
five year terms; the five‑year terms.
The terms shall be staggered so that the term of one architect member
expires each year. No architect member shall be eligible to serve more than two
consecutive terms; if a vacancy occurs during a term, the Governor shall
appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.terms.
(2) Three of the members of the Board shall be registered interior designers appointed for five‑year terms. The terms shall be staggered so that the term of one registered interior designer member expires each year. No registered interior designer member shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms.
(3) Two of the members of the Board shall be persons who are not licensed architects or registered interior designers, and who represent the interest of the public at large. The public members shall have full voting powers and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
(b1) Oath. – Each Board member shall file with the Secretary of State an oath faithfully to perform duties as a member of the Board, and to uphold the Constitution of North Carolina and the Constitution of the United States.
(b2) Vacancies. – If a vacancy occurs during a term, the Governor shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy on the Board for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(c) Officers; Meetings;
Quorum. – Officers of the Board shall include a president, vice‑president,
secretary and treasurer elected at the annual meeting for terms of one year.
The treasurer shall give bond in such sum as the Board shall determine, with
such security as shall be approved by the Board, said bond to be conditioned
for the faithful performance of the duties of his office and for the faithful
accounting of all moneys and other property as shall come into his hands.
Notice of the annual meeting, and the time and place of the annual meeting
shall be given each member by letter at least 10 days prior to such meeting and
public notice of annual meetings shall be published at least for two weeks
preceding such meetings on the
Web site website of the Board. A
majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.
"§ 83A‑4. Fees.
(a) All fees and charges by the Board shall be established by Board rule subject to the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act.
(b) Fees set by the Board shall not exceed the following amounts:
Initial Application for Licensure to Practice Architecture by Exam
Residents $50.00 Nonresidents $50.00 CorporateFirm $75.00$150.00 Reexamination $25.00
Annual License to Practice Architecture Renewal
$75.00$150.00 CorporateFirm $100.00$200.00
Late Renewal Penalty for Individual Architects and Firms
days to 1 year
Reinstatement of Expired License
Initial Application for Registration to Practice Interior Design
Annual Registration to Practice Interior Design Renewal
Late Renewal Penalty for Interior Designers and Interior Design Firms
Up‑to‑30 days $100.00
30 days to 1 year $100.00
Reciprocal Registration $300.00
Reinstatement of Expired Registration
Interior Designer $500.00
Interior Design Firm $500.00
The above fees are provided in addition to any other fees prescribed by law. Reasonable fees for examination materials, certificates, rosters and other published materials shall be established by the Board, but the Board shall not collect any fees not authorized by this Chapter.
"§ 83A‑5. Board records; rosters; seal.
(a) The Board shall maintain
records of board meetings, of applications for individual or
registration and the action taken thereon, of the results of examinations,
of all disciplinary proceedings, and of such other information as deemed
necessary by the Board or required by the Administrative Procedure Act or other
provisions of the General Statutes.
(b) A complete roster showing the name and last known address of all resident and nonresident architects and architectural firms holding current licenses and interior designers holding current registrations from the Board shall be maintained and published by the Board, and shall include each registrant's authorization or registration number. Copies of the roster shall be filed with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, and may be made available on the Web site of the Board.
(c) The Board shall adopt a seal containing the name of the Board for use on its official records and reports.
(a) The Board shall have the power to adopt bylaws, rules, and standards of professional conduct to carry out the purposes of this Chapter, including, but not limited to:
(1) The adoption of bylaws
governing its meetings and
(2) The establishment of
qualification requirements for admission to examinations, and for individual or
corporate firm licensure and individual or firm registration as
provided in G.S. 83A‑7 and 83A‑8;G.S. 83A‑8.
(3) The establishment of the
types and contents of examinations, their conduct, and the minimum scores or
other criteria for passing such
(4) The adoption of mandatory
standards of professional conduct concerning misrepresentations, conflicts of
interest, incompetence, disability, violations of law, dishonest conduct, or
other unprofessional conduct for those persons or corporations regulated by
this Chapter, which standards shall be enforceable under the disciplinary
procedures of the
(5) The establishment or
approval of requirements for renewal of licenses and registrations designed
to promote the continued professional development and competence of
licensees and registered interior designers. Such requirements shall
be designed solely to improve the professional knowledge and skills of a
licensee or a registered interior designer directly related to the
current and emerging bodies of knowledge and skills of the licensee's or registered
interior designer's profession.
When necessary to protect the
public health, safety, or welfare, the Board shall require such evidence as it
deems necessary to establish the continuing competency of architects and
interior designers as a condition of renewal of
(d) In reviewing disciplinary actions and continuing education decisions, the Board shall be organized into committees, and by rules, shall list the responsibilities of an architect committee, an interior design committee, and a continuing professional education (CE) committee. The president of the Board shall appoint the chairs and members of each committee.
"§ 83A‑7. Qualifications and examination requirements.
(c) Registration. – Any individual who is at least 18 years of age and of good moral character may apply for registration as a registered interior designer, and shall provide substantial evidence to the Board that the applicant meets one of the following requirements:
(1) The applicant shall provide a verification from the Council for Interior Design Qualification or its successor in interest as proof that he or she passed the NCIDQ examination and the applicant is an NCIDQ Certificate holder in good standing.
(2) The applicant is a licensed architect certified by the Board.
(d) Registration by Reciprocity. – The Board may accept satisfactory evidence of registration, licensure, or certification as an interior designer in another jurisdiction, if the jurisdiction's requirements for registration, licensure, or certification are substantially equivalent to or greater than those required for registration in this State at the date of application.
"§ 83A‑8. Qualification for
corporate firm practice.
firm desiring to practice architecture in this State shall file corporate
a firm application on forms provided by the Board, accompanied by
the required application fee. To be eligible for a corporate certificate, firm
certificate to practice architecture, the corporation firm must
meet all requirements of the Professional Corporation Act.
of firms from other states may be granted corporate firm certificates
for to practice architecture in this State upon filing
application with the Board and satisfying the Board that they meet the
requirements of subsection (a) above. Such corporations Those firms shall
designate the individual or individuals licensed to practice architecture in
this State who shall be in responsible charge control of all
architectural work offered or performed by such corporation that firm
in this State. Such corporations Those firms shall notify the
Board of changes in such designation.
(b1) Any interior design firm desiring to practice interior design in this State shall file a firm application on forms provided by the Board, accompanied by the required application fee. To be eligible for a firm registration, the firm must meet all requirements of the Business Corporation Act.
(b2) Interior design firms from other states may be granted firm registration for practice of interior design in this State upon filing an application with the Board and satisfying the Board that they meet the requirements of subsection (b1) of this section. Those firms shall designate the individual or individuals registered to practice interior design in this State who shall be in responsible control of all interior design work offered or performed by that firm in this State. Those firms shall notify the Board of changes in such designation.
holding corporate firm certificates of licensure to practice
architecture or certificates of registration to practice interior design from
the Board shall be subject to the applicable rules and regulations adopted by
the Board, and to all the disciplinary powers applicable to individual
licensees or registered interior designers who are officers or employees
of the corporation. Corporations firm. Firms may perform no acts
or things forbidden to officers or employees as licensees.licensees
or registered interior designers.
"§ 83A‑9. Partnership practice.
This Chapter neither prevents
practice of architecture or interior design as defined in this Chapter by
a partnership nor requires partnership seals or certificates of practice
provided that the members of the partnership are duly licensed to practice
architecture or are registered interior designers for any partnership
that wishes to hold itself out as a registered interior design entity, and,
provided that the partnership files with the Board and keeps current a list of
the partners, their license identifications, and the types of services offered
by the partnership.
"§ 83A‑10. Professional seals.
(a) Architects. – Every licensed architect shall
have a seal of a design authorized by the Board, and shall imprint all drawings
and sets of specifications prepared for use in this State with an impression of
such seal. Licensed architectural
corporations firms shall employ
corporate firm professional seals, of a design approved by the
Board, for use in identifying plans, specifications and other professional
documents issued by the corporation, firm, but use of such corporate
firm seals shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the
requirement that the individual seal of the author of such plans and
professional documents be affixed.
(b) Interior Designers. – Each registered interior designer shall obtain a seal as prescribed by the Board. A document issued by the registered interior designer and being filed for public record shall bear the signature and seal of the interior designer who prepared or approved the document and the date on which it was sealed. The signature, date, and seal shall be evidence of the authenticity of the document. No registered interior designer shall affix, or permit to be affixed, his or her seal or signature to any plan, specification, drawing, or other document that depicts work that he or she is not competent or certified to perform.
"§ 83A‑11. Expirations and renewals.
Certificates or registrations must
be renewed on or before the first day of July in each year. No less than 30
days prior to the renewal date, a renewal application shall be transmitted to
each individual and corporate licensee. The completed application together with
the required renewal fee shall be returned to the Board on or before the
renewal date. When the Board is satisfied as to the continuing competency of an
architect, architect or a registered interior designer, it shall
issue a renewal of the certificate. certificate or registration. Upon
failure to renew within 30 days after the date set for expiration, the license or
registration shall be automatically revoked but such license or
registration may be renewed at any time within one year following the
expiration date upon proof of continuing competency and payment of the renewal
fee plus a late renewal fee. After one year from the date of revocation,
reinstatement may be made by the Board, or in its discretion, the application
may be treated as new subject to reexamination and qualification requirements
as in the case of new applications.
"§ 83A‑12. Prohibited practice.
The purpose of the Chapter is to safeguard life, health and property. It shall be unlawful for any individual, firm or corporation to practice or offer to practice architecture in this State as defined in this Chapter, or to use the title "Architect" or "Registered Interior Designer" or any form thereof, except as provided in Chapter 89A for Landscape Architects, or to display or use any words, letters, figures, titles, sign, card, advertisement, or other device to indicate that such individual or firm practices or offers to practice architecture as herein defined or is an architect or architectural firm qualified to perform architectural work, or is a registered interior designer or a registered interior design firm qualified to perform interior design work, unless such person holds a current individual or corporate certificate of admission to practice architecture or registration to practice interior design under the provisions of this Chapter.
"§ 83A‑13. Exemptions.
(b) Nothing in this Chapter
shall be construed to prevent a duly licensed general contractor, professional
or architect, engineer, architect, or registered interior designer acting
individually or in combination thereof, from participating in a
"Design/Build" undertaking including the preparation of plans and/or
specifications and entering individual or collective agreements with the owner
in order to meet the owner's requirements for pre‑determined costs and
unified control in the design and construction of a project, and for the method
of compensation for the design and construction services rendered; provided,
however, that nothing herein shall be construed so as to allow the performance
of any such services or any division thereof by one who is not duly licensed to
perform such service or services in accordance with applicable licensure
provisions of the General Statutes; provided further, that full disclosure is
made in writing to the owner as to the duties and responsibilities of each of
the participating parties in such agreements; and, provided further, nothing in
this Chapter shall prevent the administration by any of the said licensees of
construction contracts and related services or combination of services in
connection with the construction of buildings.
(f) This Chapter does not apply to persons holding themselves out as "interior decorators" or offering "interior decorating services," and who provide services that are not subject to regulation under applicable building codes, such as selection or assistance in selecting surface materials, window treatments, wall coverings, paint, floor coverings, surface‑mounted lighting, or loose furnishings.
(g) This Chapter does not apply to persons engaging in professional services limited to any of the following:
(1) The planning, design, and implementation of residential kitchen and bath spaces.
(2) The planning, design, and implementation of commercial kitchen and bath spaces within the construction area and cost limits as set forth in subdivisions (c)(3) and (4) of this section.
(3) The specification of products for kitchen and bath areas.
(h) This Chapter does not prevent any person from rendering interior design services, provided the person does not use the title of "registered interior designer" unless registered under this Chapter.
"§ 83A‑14. Disciplinary action and procedure.
Any person may file with the Board a charge of unprofessional conduct, negligence, incompetence, dishonest practice, or other misconduct or of any violation of this Chapter or of a Board rule adopted and published by the Board. Upon receipt of such charge, or upon its own initiative, the Board may give notice of an administrative hearing under the Administrative Procedure Act, or may dismiss the charge as unfounded or trivial, upon a statement of the reasons therefor which shall be mailed to the architect or registered interior designer and the person who filed the charge by registered or certified mail.
"§ 83A‑15. Denial, suspension or revocation of license.
(a) The Board shall have the
power to suspend or revoke a license or certificate of
of an architect or a registration of an interior designer, to deny a
license or certificate of registration, registration of an architect
or a registration of an interior designer, or to reprimand or levy a civil
penalty not in excess of five hundred dollars ($500.00) per violation against
any registrant who is found guilty of:
(1) Dishonest conduct, including but not limited to:
a. The commission of any
fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in any professional relationship with
clients or other persons; or with reference to obtaining or maintaining
license, or with reference to qualifications, experience and past or present
b. Using or permitting an individual professional seal to be used by or for others, or otherwise representing registrant as the author of drawings or specifications other than those prepared personally by or under direct supervision of registrant.
c. Using a professional license or registration from the Board that had been suspended or revoked.
d. Conduct of the registrant resulting in the imposition of other disciplinary action by a regulatory body of another state for any cause other than failure to pay applicable fees.
e. Surrendered or did not renew a professional license or registration after the initiation of any investigation or proceeding by such body.
(2) Incompetence, including but not limited to:
a. Gross negligence, recklessness, or excessive errors or omissions or building failures in registrant's record of professional practice; or
b. Mental or physical disability or addiction to alcohol or drugs so as to endanger health, safety and interest of the public by impairing skill and care in professional services.
c. The registrant has been adjudged mentally incapable by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(3) Unprofessional conduct, including but not limited to:
a. Practicing or offering to
practice architecture or interior design without a current license or
registration from this
b. Knowingly aiding or abetting others to evade or violate the provisions of this Chapter, or the health and safety laws of this or other states;
c. Knowingly undertaking any
activity or having any significant financial or other interest, or accepting
any compensation or reward except from registrant's clients, any of which would
reasonably appear to compromise registrant's professional judgment in serving
the best interest of clients or
d. Willfully violating this Chapter or any rule or standard of conduct published by the Board, or pleading guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.
e. Falsely impersonating a practitioner or former practitioner of a like or different name or practicing under an assumed or fictitious name.
f. Grossly unprofessional conduct.
(b) Actions to recover civil penalties against any registrant may be commenced by the Board pursuant to Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. In determining the amount of any civil penalty, the Board shall consider the degree and extent of harm caused by the violation. The clear proceeds of any civil penalty collected hereunder shall be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C‑457.2.
"§ 83A‑16. Violations of Chapter; penalties.
(a) Any individual or
firm not registered under this Chapter, who shall wrongfully use the
title "Architect" or represent himself or herself to the public as an
architect, or practice architecture as herein defined, present as his
or her own the license of another, give false or forged evidence to the Board
or any member thereof in obtaining a license, falsely impersonate any other
practitioner of like or different name, use or attempt to use a license that
has been revoked, or seek to avoid the provisions of this Chapter by the
use of any other designation than "Architect": (i) shall be guilty of
a Class 2 misdemeanor; and (ii) be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed
five hundred dollars ($500.00) per day of such violation. Each day of such
unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate violation. The clear
proceeds of any civil penalty collected hereunder shall be remitted to the
Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C‑457.2.
(a1) Any individual or firm not registered under this Chapter, who shall wrongfully use the title "registered interior designer," represent himself or herself to the public as a "registered interior designer," seek to avoid the provisions of this Chapter by the use of any other designation than "registered interior designer," present as his or her own the registration of another, give false or forged evidence to the Board or any member thereof in obtaining a registration, falsely impersonate any other practitioner of like or different name, use or attempt to use a registration that has been revoked, or otherwise violate any of the provisions in this Chapter shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per day of such violation. Each day of such unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate violation. The clear proceeds of any civil penalty collected hereunder shall be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C‑457.2.
(a2) Before imposing and assessing a civil penalty, the Board shall consider the following factors:
(1) The nature, gravity, and persistence of the particular violation.
(2) The appropriateness of the imposition of a civil penalty when considered alone or in combination with other punishment.
(3) Whether the violation was willful and malicious.
(4) Any other factors that would tend to mitigate or aggravate the violations found to exist.
(b) Actions and prosecutions under this section shall be commenced in the county in which the defendant resides, or has his principal place of business, or in the case of an out‑of‑state corporation, is conducting business.
(c) Actions to recover civil
penalties shall be initiated by the Attorney
General.General, or any
private counsel retained under G.S. 114‑2.3.
(d) The Board shall establish a schedule of civil penalties for violations of this Chapter and rules adopted by the Board.
(e) The Board may in a disciplinary proceeding charge costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, to the licensee or registered interior designer against whom the proceedings were brought."
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding G.S. 83A‑2, as amended by Section 1 of this act, the initial appointments of the members of the Board who are registered interior designers are as follows:
(1) One registered interior designer, appointed by the Governor, for a three‑year term.
(2) One registered interior designer, appointed by the Governor, for a four‑year term.
(3) One registered interior designer, appointed by the Governor, for a five‑year term.
The initial appointments of registered interior designers to the Board, as required by Section 1 of this act, shall be made on or before October 1, 2021, and the initial terms of those members shall begin on January 1, 2022. Each initial appointee shall obtain registration under this act on or before December 31, 2021. Once these initial terms expire, all vacancies will be filled according to the provisions of G.S. 83A‑2, as amended by this act.
SECTION 3. The Department of Insurance shall review and update all relevant documents, materials, and applications and promulgate any necessary rules concerning the practice of Registered Interior Designers per this act.
SECTION 4. This act is effective when it becomes law. Section 1 of this act applies to applications received on or after the effective date of this act from persons appointed to the Board pursuant to Section 2 of this act. Section 1 of this act applies to applications received on or after January 1, 2022, from persons other than those appointed to the Board pursuant to Section 2 of this act.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 30th day of June, 2021.
s/ Phil Berger
President Pro Tempore of the Senate
s/ Destin Hall
Presiding Officer of the House of Representatives
s/ Roy Cooper
Approved 12:32 p.m. this 8th day of July, 2021