Protecting health, safety and welfare is the professional responsibility of every interior designer. Every decision an interior designer makes in one way or another affects the health, safety and welfare of the public. Those decisions include specifying furniture, fabrics and carpeting that meet or exceed fire codes and space planning that provides proper means of egress. Additionally, designers deal with accessibility issues, ergonomics, lighting, acoustics and design solutions for those with special needs.
Interior materials play a major part in supporting flames or toxicity. Statistics prove that more people die in fires from inhaling fumes and smoke than the flames themselves. Interior designers are specially trained in interior materials and properties, including flammability and toxicity, and are uniquely qualified to select interior finishes that meet or exceed local, state and national fire codes. They also are charged with establishing and maintaining proper means of egress that meet or exceed code.
Trained and qualified interior designers study and implement accessibility codes and guidelines. In space planning, interior detailing and interior specifications, the implementation of accessibility codes and guidelines is essential.
The issue of public welfare, within the realm of professional interior design, includes the responsibility of considering the greater whole, which involves, among other things, employing “environmentally friendly” materials and practices to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations.
In addition to designing environments that reduce stress, promote healing and are safe, interior designers need to apply their skills to create spaces that foster self-realization and unleash human potential. Designers also must ensure the ecological soundness of the interior environment and the “ripple” effect on the external environment.
Qualified interior designers design workplaces that are ergonomic and functional. An environment that provides the occupant with the ability to adjust his/her space to meet his/her own needs can prevent problems such as repetitive motion strain.
©2009 American Society of Interior Designers