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If You're A Design Professional, You Must Read This

Attention: architects, interior designers, landscape architects and even design students! The Continuing Professional Development Law is undergoing a Senate review, and this is how it will impact you.

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Photography: Miguel Nacianceno (Main Photo, left)

Having a lawful design practice can sometimes be tricky, especially when taking into consideration the rules and requirements for practicing professionals. While it’s considered a milestone to get through the board exam and earn a license under the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), it’s a whole other subject to keep that license legitimate and legal for the rest of your practice.

This year, there’s been a recent review of the existing resolution initiated by the Senate to keep local professionals in practice without bearing the additional “burden” of extra credits and Continuing Professional Development (CPD). “The implementation or operational guidelines should not be burdensome to our professionals,” says Senator Sonny Trillanes IV. [To read Republic Act No. 10912, known as the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016, click here.]

While keeping your license legitimate protects the general public from professionals who aren’t up to date on the latest developments in their field, the training, seminars and workshops required to keep architects, interior designers and landscape architects in good standing can be taxing—financially and logistically for many—especially for professionals living in far-flung provinces. While PRC-regulated “points-earning” events are hosted in major provinces like Cebu or Naga by their respective provincial chapters, a majority of the CPD seminars and conferences are held in Metro Manila.

If you are a design professional (or a homeowner who is curious about how his or her designer stays accredited), find out why CPD is important, and know about the issues surrounding it.


Why is CPD important and required?

The training design professionals get through continuing education is meant to enrich one’s design practice. It encourages life-long learning so professionals stay competent and competitive locally and globally. The public is assured of hiring an expert in their field, if that person continues to develop oneself.

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How can you “earn” credits that are recognized by the PRC?

Depending on one’s profession, there are different requirements that must be met. For example, a regular attendance of general membership of their meetings is a must. It’s in these meetings where updates are made regarding new technology in construction, materials and finishes; specifications, etc. are discussed and tackled.

For interior designers, the Continuing Program Development is particularly important because it encourages information exchange and networking among designers and those in related fields. “These proposed activities have dedicated ‘credit points’ depending on their form and substance,” explains PIID (Philippine Institute of Interior Designers) president Idr. Lilia de Jesus. “In one cycle of three years, interior designers are provided with general membership meetings and continuing program development seminars that add up to 45 points.” Scoring those points enables you to renew your license after the cycle is over.


What happens to those who don’t follow the prescribed credits?

Officially, they do not abide to the rules of professional practice and are then, subject to investigation. Conducting your business as a design professional without a valid license constitutes illegal practice and counts as abuse of the law.

What other conflicts and current issues exist regarding this law?

“At this point, there is nothing to review regarding the law—it’s been approved and signed by former President Benigno Aquino in 2010,” continues de Jesus. “The only issue at present is the delineation of function and scope covered by ‘allied professions’ of architecture (interior design, landscape architecture).”

Because of the fine lines that exist among the design professions, certain lobbyists are pushing for limitations of the scope of work for other professionals. With interior design, for example, there is a movement to restrict its professional practice to just decoration and styling. “For public information, interior design is classified as multi-disciplinary in scope—it covers both arts and science,” de Jesus adds.

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Does a license guarantee better output in these design professions?

Design can be incredibly subjective, and what one designer may deliver without a license may be completely different from what someone practicing legitimately can give. What people who practice within the confines of the law can offer clients is liability, however. “We receive positive feedback about how technically, PIID’s professional members are more conscious and competent,” de Jesus shares. “This is because of the awareness of construction and having access to the latest technical knowledge. The liabilities on these are the price you pay when one ignores the law together with scientific knowledge demanded by your practice.”

Whatever your stand may be on professional practice and the requirements of the CPDL, there have been no definitive answers yet (as of this posting) to the posed Senate review. Design professionals continue to remain under license by following the PRC and their professions’ governing body’s policies.

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