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Defining Interior Design for Government Regulation

The SBID was founded in 2009 by Dr Vanessa Brady, OBE. Vanessa had spent over 30 years in the Interior Design industry and found that as a non-regulated profession, consumers were regularly misled by claims from interior design hobbyists because there wasn’t a clear definition for a professional Interior Designer. A sea of design organisations each portraying an alternative definition simply added to the confusion. It was not hard to understand why at that time the total number of members among the numerous organisations totalled less than 500 in number.

In 2014, SBID took its first formal steps to address the specific criteria and skills of an interior designer. In 2016, we submitted a formal application to the Privy Council in our aim to bring interior design as a profession under government control.

Dr Vanessa Brady
Dr Vanessa Brady, OBE

Encouraging a mix of training, experience and annual lifetime learning, the SBID was the first organisation in the UK to establish a minimum of 24 hours p.a. CPD requirement as a condition of membership which no other design organisation demanded. Previously, no formal criteria existed to identify CPD content for interior design, SBID therefore created a pioneering Accredited CPD Program for its members. Designers meeting the SBID Accredited criteria are invited to join the membership, agreeing to partake in the annual learning to keep their skills relevant and up to date.

Since its incorporation, SBID has consistently lobbied for change to regulation of professional interior design to be recognised as a profession. As the representative member for interior design within the Business Senate for the UK SME Sector (Genesis Initiative), SBID also provides evidence of the annual financial growth and threats to the UK economy for the interior design industry twice annually to the Bank of England.

The Genesis Initiative includes both senior industry figures and influential politicians of all political parties, and it works with both Government and opposition ‘teams’ to encourage the adoption of policies allowing the SME sector to flourish, to the benefit of the UK economy.

International Reach & Industry Growth

We set standards for best practice throughout the interior design industry in the UK in a variety of ways. By creating routes to market for design professionals, SBID have formed links not only vertically through the supply chain, but laterally for emerging industry talent, employment and work experience within complementing creative industries. In just ten years SBID is active in 71 countries around the world through leading international trade partnerships, Gold-standard Design Awards and Gold-standard Product Awards programmes.

Each SBID membership category operates in both commercial and residential sectors, representing the international range, diversity and spread of the interior design industry. Through an inclusive membership structure, SBID are able to review, research and develop the future by measuring the risks and the opportunities of the multi-billion pound industry.

Meet the buyer SBID

Setting British Interior Design Standards

As the inaugural British representative of the ECIA, our education-based route to accrediting an Interior Designer was adapted from the European Charter of Education*. The SBID Accreditation framework is now internationally recognised across the interior design industry. It has influenced and encouraged other UK design organisations to follow an education-based accreditation framework. SBID is proud to have created a British standard through education, competence and practice; ensuring the professional industry is based upon independent education accreditation.

*The European Charter of Education is an initiative by the ECIA.

To ensure continued learning and improvement of an SBID Accredited Interior Designer, the following criteria is required:

  • 3 years of measured education with a degree in interior design or overlying sectors*
  • 3.5 years of work experience in the field of design
  • 24 SBID-recognised CPD points per annum
  • Proof of professional indemnity insurance

The ECIA is an organisation founded in Brussels to promote and set agreed measures of trained education for the interior design profession across Europe. SBID submitted the first British application to the ECIA in 2009. Britain had previously been excluded because none of the British organisations at the time upheld the principle that education was relevant for professional practice.

Interior design

Of the European Union countries, the ECIA represents high professional standards of interior design across the 16 member countries’ interior design organisations. As the national representative member of interior design for the UK, SBID developed new European relationships through the ECIA for UK interior design where previously, due to a lack of existing standards, Britain had been excluded.

Finally, for the profession of interior design SBID placed Britain on a level playing field within Europe and globally amongst counterpart organisations; creating a British standard of practice through education, competence and practice.

*This criteria was adopted from ECIA 2009.

Measuring Interior Design Education Standards & Accrediting Course Content

Educators from a variety of universities formed a Memorandum of Understanding with SBID in 2009 to improve the outcome of course content for a career in the interior design industry. SBID were chosen out of three organisations, although it had been trading just four months. SBID later dissolved the initiative and in 2011, established collaborations with individual universities directly empowered to provide an interior design degree.

In 2015, SBID was recognised as an accrediting body so as to accredit university course content for an interior design degree.* The accreditation for HESA’s Unistats Dataset (formerly known as KIS) relates to educational and professional processes, forming part of each university’s central government funding status.

SBID acts as an independently accredited inspector of course content, ensuring each course meets the all-inclusive SBID standards. SBID validates a degree as fit-for-purpose, creating a benchmark to ensure accurate knowledge transfers to the commercial world. These standards create jobs and generate income which in turn, feeds directly back into the treasury, creating wealth for the nation.

*SBID created five modules for a BA degree course which were incorporated into a degree by Solent University. The process was formerly recognised and an honorary doctorate was awarded to the Founder of SBID.

SBID student design competition Designed for Business Student Award winners
Overall Winner, Katarina Spenerova at the House of Commons with Russell Gagg, Chairman of Judging for Designed for Business student competition and Course Leader for BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design at Arts University Bournemouth

Student Competitions

In 2018, SBID collaborated with BE OPEN Think Tank to launch Designed for Business, a national design competition with an overall prize fund of £35,000. Designed for final year creative students and graduates studying interior design, decoration, fashion and art & design, the competition aimed to showcase emerging creative talent and nurture relationships between graduates and employers.

SBID also founded Get me 2 the Top, a first and second year student competition facilitating much needed work experience to provide the tools and advice needed to kick-start a career while studying. It runs both in the UK and Ukraine offices. Winners are awarded a 3-month paid internship with a leading design agency, architectural practice or manufacturer.

Explore SBID

SBID history

Our Organisation

The SBID champion best practice and knowledge sharing in the profession of interior design by creating routes to market in the industry for all design professionals. 

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british interior design, SBID History

SBID Board & Directors

Collectively we have the experience, ability and tenacity to create a valued industry voice locally, nationally and around the world.

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british interior design, SBID History

SBID Partnerships

On behalf of its members, the SBID has protected, promoted and celebrated the interior design profession.

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