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Defining and Regulating Interior Design

The Society of British & International Interior Design (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 separation from a trained professional Interior Designer.

SBID began to define the role and lawful criteria of an Interior Designer among a sea of organisations and associations each portraying an alternative definition which 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. With a unique criteria, the aim was to set standards and launch an accreditation process for the UK. Beginning by setting an entry level, the SBID was the first in the UK to set a mix of training, experience and annual lifetime learning. As there wasn’t a qualified standard for CPD material, SBID also pioneered an education-based Accreditation CPD Program.

Dr Vanessa Brady
Dr Vanessa Brady, OBE

Designers who met the SBID Accredited Member criteria were invited to join the membership, agreeing to partake in the annual learning CPD Accreditation Program, keeping skills relevant and up to date.

Since its incorporation, SBID has consistently lobbied at the House of Commons for change of regulation in the profession of interior design to be recognised as a profession. As the representative member for interior design within the All-party lobby group for business, SBID also provides evidence of the annual financial growth and threats to the UK economy for the design industry twice annually to the Bank of England.

International Reach & Industry Growth

SBID set standards for best practice in the UK throughout the interior design industry 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 80 countries around the world through leading international trade partnerships, Gold-standard Design Awards and Product Awards programmes, as well as growing International Membership. These initiatives have not just been intended for SBID, as the endeavour for improvement is industry wide.

SBID membership includes interior designers, architects, specifiers, product providers and construction professionals. Each category operates in both commercial and residential sectors presenting the international range, diversity and spread of the interior design industry. By encouraging this broad membership, SBID are able to review, research and develop the future by measuring the risks and the opportunities of the multi billion pound industry.

Interior design

Pioneering British Interior Design Standards

The SBID was the first in UK to set an education-based route to accrediting an Interior Designer by adopting the European Charter of Education as the British representative. In 2009, based on the European framework, SBID pioneered Accreditation for British Interior Designers. The SBID Accreditation framework is now internationally recognised across the interior design industry which has influenced and encouraged two other UK design organisations to follow an education-based accreditation framework for accrediting British Designers, ensuring the professional industry is based upon independent education accreditation.

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

SBID is the only British interior design accrediting body to be inducted into The European Council of Interior Architects (ECIA) – A representative body for European professional organisations in Interior Design and Architecture.

Founded in 1992, ECIA currently represents 19 European countries national organisation, amounting to over 6000 Interior Architects/Designers whom each meet the individual country criteria. ECIA represents the highest level of measured knowledge in interior design practice of qualifying countries throughout Europe. As the member representative 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 for the first time a British Standard through education, competence and practice.

Measuring Interior Design Education Standards & Accrediting Course Content

A Memorandum of Understanding between SBID and Interior Educators from a variety of universities formed an agreement in 2009 to improve the outcome of course content for a career in the interior design industry. SBID were chosen from three organisations, albeit it had been trading just four months when it won the bid.  In review SBID dissolved the initiative with university course leaders. In 2011 the concept merit was formerly revived with individual universities empowered to provide an interior design degree directly. Success! The process was governed by a transparent structure ultimately driven by government powers.

In 2015, SBID was awarded independent status by the UK government to measure interior design education and accredit university course content for an Interior Design Degree. The accreditation for Key Information Statistics (KIS) relates to measured educational and business processes forming part of each university’s central government funding status.

SBID acts as an independently accredited inspector of course content, ensuring each Recognised and Accredited course meets the all-inclusive standards. SBID assesses how fit-for-purpose tuition transfers to the commercial world and interprets the data into a success ‘standard’ that creates jobs and income which in turn, generates funds directly back into the treasury creating wealth for the nation.

SBID student design competition Designed for Business Student Award winners

Student Competitions

In 2018, SBID partnered with BE OPEN Think Tank to launch Designed for Business, a national design competition for final year creative students and graduates studying interior design, decoration, fashion and art & design with a overall prize fund of £35,000. The competition aimed to showcase emerging creative talent and nurture relationships between individuals in learning and companies aimed at earning. The ceremony held at the House of Commons presented the £1,000 cheque to the five category winners from 97 British universities that entered the competition, with the overall winner scooping £30,000.

SBID also founded Get me 2 the Top, a second competition that facilitates 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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