SINGAPORE – The Society of Interior Designers Singapore (SIDS) will launch an Interior Design Accreditation Programme by 2021, in a move to uphold the level of professionalism within the industry and help consumers make more informed choices before engaging designers.

This was announced by Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development, at the 4th Singapore Interior Design Awards (SIDA) on Thursday (Dec 3).

Speaking as the guest of honour at the event held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Ms Indranee said: “This will be a significant milestone in the transformation journey to enable the accredited design professionals to collaborate and build stronger trust with the clients.”

SIDS and the DesignSingapore Council started developing a Transformation Roadmap for the interior design profession in 2018, as they found that there was a growing appreciation and awareness for interior design in Singapore.

However, there was still a distinct lack of skills and certifications for those in or looking to enter the market.

Hence, the organisations highlighted a “greater need” for regulation to uphold the level of professionalism within the industry.

The accreditation programme will first seek to reduce the lack of expertise and education among those in the interior design industry.

The proposed framework could see interior designers categorised into three bands, nominally known as interior stylist (Category 3), interior designer (Category 2) and interior architect (Category 1).

The recommended prerequisite for Category 1 is a degree in interior design or architecture and at least two years of working experience.

Meanwhile, those who want to qualify for Category 3 should have at least a NITEC/Higher NITEC certification in interior styling or interior design, as well as at least a year’s working experience.

With these higher barriers of entry, the programme aims to help consumers in their decision-making.

Currently, the lines are blurred between what constitutes a contractor, a designer and an architect.

“Often, because of this, interior designers who specialise in home design were mistaken for renovators,” said Mr Keat Ong, president of SIDS.

With a proper qualification system, consumers will hopefully be better equipped to make more informed choices before engaging designers.

A steering committee is set to be formed to oversee the system, with an eye on achieving an international recognition for Singapore’s interior designers similar to that in Europe and the United States.

“We believe that the accreditation system will provide a strong and clear foundation on which the industry can build on,” said Mr Ong. “It provides clarity and encourages designers to up-skill and continue their learning journey.”

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