Monday, February 7, 2011

Interior Architecture

I have a Bachelor and Master Degree in Architecture from accredited universities in the US and have practiced with architectural firms for over 6 years.  I do not have my architecture license, however, I am interested in starting my own business in Interior Architecture, including custom millwork, kitchen and bath, and other interior construction such as floor and ceiling design.  I know that there are showrooms that specialize in bathroom and kitchen design that do not have licensed architects, so I am guessing this type of work is permissible, but do not know for sure what the extent of the work I can do without a license is. Is there also any exterior work that can be done without a license?  Also what are the limitations on what I can call myself or my business.  For example is "Architectural Designer" legally an acceptable title, or can I say I practice "Architectural Design"? 

Your help would be truly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First, I would ask how close you are to completing licensure as you may encounter clients that would require the services of an architect through your new business.

With that said, my expertise does not include the legal aspects of what type of work an architect can or cannot do so I went to the source - the state department of professional regulation.  You can obtain a list of them from NCARB --

What is listed below is from the State of Illinois Practice Act; if you note, the items A-D states that an architect is NOT needed for the following.  You will need to check with your particular state to see if there may be difference.

The involvement of a licensed architect is not required for the following: (A) The building, remodeling or repairing of any building or other structure outside of the corporate limits of any city or village, where such building or structure is to be, or is used for farm purposes, or for the purposes of outbuildings or auxiliary buildings in connection with such farm premises. (B) The construction, remodeling or repairing of a detached single family residence on a single lot. (C) The construction, remodeling or repairing of a two‑family residence of wood frame construction on a single lot, not more than two stories and basement in height. (D) Interior design services for buildings which do not involve life safety or structural changes.

However, when an ordinance of a unit of local government requires the involvement of a licensed architect for any buildings included in the preceding paragraphs (A) through (D), the requirements of this Act shall apply. All buildings not included in the preceding paragraphs (A) through (D), including multi‑family buildings and buildings previously exempt from the involvement of a licensed architect under those paragraphs but subsequently non‑exempt due to a change in occupancy or use, are subject to the requirements of this Act. Interior alterations which result in life safety or structural changes of the building are subject to the requirements of this Act. (Source: P.A. 96‑610, eff. 8‑24‑09.)

As for your title, again check with your state and I would be very careful; another reason to continue with obtaining your architectural license.  You may wish to consider contacting the following association.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association

As well, consider joining ASID - American Society of Interior Designers -

Dr. Architecture


Anonymous said...

How do you go about getting work for the IDP credit if there are no jobs around? Who can I network with I have skills and experience and a BA Architecture degree.

Dr. Architecture said...

See the blog entry!