The ABCs of Boston’s Design and Build Organizations

The 7 Tide Connection: One Dalton
August 25, 2016
Innovators at 7 Tide: Sub-Zero & Wolf
September 12, 2016
Show all

The ABCs of Boston’s Design and Build Organizations

Boston is a hotbed of innovative design and building talent. With so many professional organizations dedicated to furthering their own corner of the industry, it can be challenging to understand which organization(s) to join if you’re a professional and even more challenging to understand their missions and benefits if you are a homeowner.

While some are primarily focused on professional development, others are keen on giving the consumer a means of evaluating professionals so that they can make an educated decision about how to find the right architect, designer or craftsman for their project. Many have interesting origins and without them we would not enjoy a host of the most exciting exhibitions and awards ceremonies in New England.

7 Tide offers up this introduction to the top industry organizations with an explanation of what all the acronyms mean…



Since 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has represented the professional interests of America’s architects. As AIA members, over 74,000 licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners express their commitment to excellence in design and livability in our nation’s buildings and communities. Just ten years after the AIA was established, The Boston Society of Architects (BSA) was founded as a chapter of the AIA and now has 3,500 members. The BSA produces a diverse array of programs and publications including ABX, which is the leading building industry event in the Northeast. ABX 2016 will take place in Boston from Nov. 15-17 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Location: 290 Congress St #200, Boston, MA 02210

Visit for membership and event information.


Founded in 1975, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the oldest, largest and leading professional organization for interior designers in the U.S. with 28,000 members across the country. The New England Chapter of this national non-profit organization is known as ASID New England and has more than 2,100 member firms with some 6,000 individual representatives uniting the professional designer with manufacturers of design-related products and services. The chapter also encourages student participation to cultivate the next generation of designers.

Location: Porcelanosa, 1 Design Center Place # 544, Boston, MA 02210

Visit for membership and event information.


The International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) began with six women meeting for lunch in New York City in 1947. Recruited by Claire (Kohn) Coleman, a trade publication reporter, to discuss the limited impact – and prospects – they had in their respective careers, the women concurred on the value of a forum for the exchange of ideas and information within the home furnishings field. The six colleagues around that lunch table soon became 13, then 40, and then 60. Committees were formed to draft a constitution and bylaws, to select officers, to define goals, and to plan a membership drive. As word of this fledgling group spread, the interest expanded well beyond the decorative fabrics industry. Today’s IFDA strives to be the voice of the total furnishings and design industry. Members come from every facet of furnishings, design and related industries. There are currently 14 Chapters in the U.S. and Japan. The New England Chapter is a robust organization producing publications and events such as IFDA Take a Seat.

For more information on membership and events, click here.



New England’s Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) was recognized in 2015 as the Large Chapter of the Year and noted as “a stellar example of the organization.” This organization is part of a 12,000-member group with 30 Chapters around the world. Organized around eight specialty Forums, the New England chapter allows each member to participate in two of the eight Forums, which allow the member to access the specific information to further their professional development.

For more information on membership and events, click here.



The Boston Society of Landscape Architects was founded as the first chapter of The American Society of Landscape Architects in 1913. Names including Warren H. Manning of Boston, along with John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. of Brookline were among the 11 charter members and remain icons in landscape design more than 100 years later. Through career development offerings, a nationally recognized awards program and the largest scholarship program of any chapter in the U.S., this Boston organization is focused on professional landscape design of all kinds in Massachusetts and Maine.

For more information on membership and events, click here.



The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is the premiere association for kitchen and bath professionals. Fifty years after its inception, the NKBA has a membership of more than 60,000 members and is the proud owner of the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The NKBA represents the evolution of the American Institute of Kitchen Dealers (AIKD), which was founded in 1963 by a small group of kitchen dealers. Within 5 years of launch, in 1968, the AIKD had developed a set of requirements to become a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) and the designation still stands today. Professional credentials testifying to a superior knowledge of kitchen and bath design continue to be key to the industry and now include certifications from associate- to master-level. Some of the most sought after designations are: Certified Bath Designer (CBD); Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD); and Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD), the last of which recognizes extraordinary experience and achievements in the kitchen and bath industry. Kitchen and bath design professionals throughout the Northeast belong to the NKBA Northern New England Chapter, NKBA Southern New England Chapter or NKBA Maine Chapter.

For more information on membership and events in the three Northeast U.S. chapters, click here.



The Builder’s and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston (BRAGB) is known as the region’s pre-eminent home building association. As an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), BRAGB was founded in 1944 and continues to develop public policy, ethical standards and professional opportunities for builders and remodelers throughout the area. The organization’s annual PRISM Awards recognize the finest projects and outstanding achievements of builders, developers, project owners, architects, land planners, interior designers, remodelers and other professionals.

Location: 240 Bear Hill Road, Suite 203, Waltham, MA 02451

For more information on membership and events, click here.



The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) connects homeowners with its professional members and provides information to help the consumer have a positive remodeling experience.

NARI’s roots go back to 1935 when President Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act established the beginnings of NERSICA (The North East Roofing, Siding and Insulation Contractors Association). In 1956 President Eisenhower established Operation Home Improvement, a nationwide effort emphasizing the rehabilitation of existing housing rather than new construction. The National Home Improvement Council (N.H.I.C) emerged from this effort. By the mid-1960s, NERSICA no longer reflected the membership of the growing industry and its name was changed to the National Remodelers Association (NRA). In 1983, the National Remodelers Association and the National Home Improvement Council joined to establish the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). The local chapter, Eastern Massachusetts (EM) NARI, is dedicated to community service projects, connecting homeowners with remodeling experts and produces the Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards to recognize excellence in the industry locally.

Location: 831 Beacon Street, # 186, Newton Centre, Massachusetts 02459

For more information on membership and events, click here.