BBI and GUDC Chairman Peter Blanck Certifies First Universal Designed Building in Ecuador

January 11, 2019

On Jan. 17, 2019, the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) will deliver—through GUDC Chairman Professor Peter Blanck—its first certification in compliance with commission standards outside the United States, to the Metropolitan Convention Center of Quito, Ecuador.

GUDC is a non-profit corporation created under the laws of the state of New York in 2008. It develops and promotes the understanding and use of Universal Design in buildings, products, and environments that are used by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptations, improvements, or specialized design. GUDC's Universal Design Standards for public use buildings seeks their adoption and application in public and private buildings for institutional and commercial use.

Delivered to the city by Quito Mayor Mauricio Rodas in August 2018, the Metropolitan Convention Center holds conventions and cultural events. GUDC carried out an analysis of the building's plans through its representative in Ecuador. The analysis examined the building's entrances and exits, surfaces, stairs and elevators, bathrooms, and doors and windows.

Recommendations led to improvements in the building's accessibility for people with physical, visual, auditory, and intellectual disabilities; people with reduced mobility, such as the elderly; those at extremes of height; and pregnant women and people with young children.

Universal Design certification was made in three categories: infrastructure, public space, and equipment. The Quito convention center is the first to be certified in Latin America.

About the Global Universal Design Commission, Inc.

(GUDC) a not-for-profit corporation, was established to develop Universal Design (UD) standards for buildings, products and services. GUDC is currently developing UD voluntary consensus standards for commercial buildings, which will expand access to buildings for all people, regardless of physical stature and varying abilities. The approved UD standards will guide corporations and government entities in the creation of barrier-free facilities, providing diverse users with access to commerce, public services, entertainment and employment opportunities.

Buildings and products designed according to the UD standards will benefit everyone, including the 650 million people living with disabilities worldwide and the growing aging population. Businesses stand to reap enormous benefits from the implementation and utilization of UD, including an increase in consumer base, customer loyalty and an expanded labor pool.

About the Burton Blatt Institute

BBI reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities, with offices in Syracuse, NY, New York City, Washington, D.C., Lexington, KY, and Atlanta, GA. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. For more information about BBI, visit: