Julie Sawchuk, CEO of Sawchuk Accessible Solutions, has been appointed to the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) Board of Directors. Global Universal Design Commission, Inc., (GUDC) a non-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.
Based in Ontario, Canada, Julie is an accessibility strategist and educator who uses her own lived experience to help others see where accessibility in the built environment can be improved. Julie combines her passion for teaching with her own stories to show how the principles of access and universal design help people save energy, improve safety, preserve dignity and gain independence.
Julie has consulted to improve access to all types of facilities, from century-old buildings to brand new infrastructure. She helps building designers, owners, officials and planners see how possible it is to improve access to parking & transportation, exterior and interior paths of travel, washrooms, recreational facilities, signage, landscaping, emergency systems, common areas, restaurants, and workspaces. Through the principles of universal design, Julie has helped everything from international airports to small town restaurants improve the accessibility of their spaces and services for everyone.
Julie’s passion is in education. Much of her work is centered around showing why universal design and accessibility are so important. She works with everyone from high school students to architects and the general public to raise awareness of the positive impact of universal design and accessibility. She is also a best-selling author. Build YOUR Space focuses on residential accessibility and Building Better Bathrooms is the focus of Julie’s special area of expertise ― washrooms.
As the Chair of the Standards Development Committee for the review of the Design of Public Spaces under the AODA, Julie is working to bring about change to regulations in Ontario. She is also a key author of the Canadian Standards Association B652 Accessible Residential Homes Building Code, which is currently undergoing public review. Closer to home, Julie is a member of the Huron County Accessibility Advisory Committee, a municipal team who is committed to improving accessibility in their very own community.
On her recent appointment, Julie Sawchuk said, “Educating about universal access is my driving force and I’m pleased to be a part of the GUDC to join the work they are doing internationally, and I’m proud to be the first Canadian invited to the GUDC!”