Hiring unregistered interior designers could cost you

“If you think a good design is expensive, imagine how much more a bad design could cost you.”

Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID) president Lai Siew Hong said many don’t factor in the cost of “fixing” poor workmanship.

As such, Lai wants to impress on people the need to hire registered interior designers. He also said this would safeguard consumers from being short-changed during the renovation process.

Under the Architect Act 1967 (amendments Feb 2015), Act 117, Clause 33(e), individuals who provide the service of interior design without having themselves or their company licensed by the Board of Architects Malaysia (LAM), will be charged as impersonating or misrepresentation, and if found guilty of an offence, shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM50,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both.

“Although only qualified interior designers are allowed to operate, 80 per cent of those who call themselves interior designers are unregistered,” said Lai, who became MIID president in January.

The LAM website lists 567 interior designers, 26 interior design body corporates, two interior design partnerships and 39 interior design sole proprietorships that are registered with them.

“That is why I want to create awareness about MIID and get as many interior designers registered as possible.”

Lai said multinational companies now are more aware of this law and have been careful in selecting their interior designers.

Additionally, even if they have foreign interior designers, they would still need to work with locals.

Only registered local interior designers can sit for the Construction Industry Development Board G7 license, which would allow them to work on projects.

As such, those who are not registered, lose out.

Lai said another perk to being under MIID is that interior designers would have an organisation to look after their interests.

Similarly, the client would have an avenue to complain if the work was not to scratch.

“In order to register, the person must first have the required education in interior design or interior architecture from an accredited programme,” said Lai, who runs the award-winning Blu Water Studio.

“Secondly, they have to register themselves as Graduate Interior Designers with LAM and go through two years of industrial training with LAM-registered interior designers or an interior design practice.

“Finally, they need to register themselves with LAM and sit for the ID licensure examination conducted by LAM.”