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The SBID Complaints procedure provides a speedy and cost-efficient resolve to disputes for clients of SBID members 

From time to time disputes can arise when expectations are not met. Appointing an SBID Accredited Interior Designer safeguards consumers against unnecessary disputes as each practice receives a Professional Services Contract to define an agreed scope, and also holds valid professional indemnity insurance.

What do I do if I have an issue with my Interior Designer?

  • SBID recommend you keep an audit trail of communications, and ensure a neutral third party is copied when you sense things might be going wrong.
  • Discuss the issue directly with the designer – lay out the issue by email or letter. It’s important to clearly state your expectations, why you feel they have not been met and what you expect to happen to resolve your complaint.
  • As much as possible, list any dates and communications made to support your complaint.
  • Where appropriate, state a date to give the designer a deadline for their response.

Generally, disputes arise from misunderstandings and are resolved without the intervention of a third party. If, however, you cannot reach agreement and feel or have evidence that the designer has acted unprofessionally or unethically, you should follow these simple steps to seek a speedy resolve.

Verify SBID membership status & file a complaint

  • All SBID members agree to abide by the Society’s Code of Ethics and professional Code of Conduct.
  • If the designer is SBID Accredited, you can file a complaint by contacting us.
  • Provide your name, the designer you are raising the complaint against and details of the issue to support your complaint.
  • What happens next?

Reviewing the complaint

  • After you have filed a complaint a review will commence.
  • You must adhere to the strict time guides and procedures to help us process your complaint. Failure to comply may invalidate the application or incur fees (where formal mediation or arbitration applies).
  • SBID will commence an enquiry with the design practice to establish a suitable resolution. If you disagree with the result, you can still exercise your right to a complaint.

Please note: SBID will process your complaint but are not responsible for determining the merits or outcome of any complaint. The review is undertaken following a strict process laid down by the ethics committee.


  • SBID operate a mediation process which provides fast and binding confidential resolve.
  • For disputes on intellectual property, SBID is partnered with the government Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to provide an experienced and unbiased professional dispute resolution with the SBID-exclusive IPO Mediation Service.
  • SBID also provide a qualified independent mediator service to review design error disputes and have an arrangement with the independent mediation body for complex construction disputes.
  • If resolve can not be achieved at mediation, you may then consider proceeding to the appropriate Court of law.

It is highly recommended that mediation is agreed between both parties within the terms of the contract. This can usually be arranged in a matter of weeks, which provides a speedy outcome for both parties involved.

Complaints against non-SBID members

Court is regarded as a last resort for final resolve

  • The Courts will penalize a party that has not attempted to settle a dispute through mediation, so every attempt to mitigate the problem before this step is taken is recommended.
  • If you can’t resolve the dispute at Mediation, you can progress to court to be reviewed and decided by a judge.
  • Anything discussed or has occurred in mediation remains confidential.
  • Going to court would however mean that the case must start over from the beginning.
  • It’s advisable to work with an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your rights and work with you throughout the process and legal system.

If you need any further assistance, please contact us



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