Proposed Accreditation Process

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Application and Dossier Management

An interactive website will be used to screen applications for certification. The website will not only document how the proposed facility meets the standards but it will also guide applicants through each accreditation stage and provide recommendations for best practice solutions using material provided from the database of previously accredited projects.


A dossier would be created for each building that can be revised and updated during the accreditation process. A two-part certification fee will be assessed. Part One would be paid when the accreditation of a building is initiated and a dossier is created and Part Two would be assessed at the beginning of the final documentation phase after construction when the application process is completed.

Membership in the GUDC will include an option for a flat fee to use the documentation site for a fixed number of projects. A completed building can also be documented and receive certification using the website although the total fee would be the same. This creates an incentive to use the website as a design integration tool.

Application and Review Process

The application process will be streamlined to reduce the time and cost of accreditation to a minimum and to make certification predictable during the process. Applicants will sign a statement agreeing to terms of use. The application will include:

  • A profile on the building
  • A checkoff form for each category in the Standard
  • Upload of documentation for meeting each item checked off, e.g. photos, copy of building code approval, etc.

The profile will be used to generate a specific set of standards that are appropriate for the building type and specific context. Thus, a fast food restaurant that uses a standard building design on a rural site will have different standards than one that is located in a shopping mall. A resort hotel would have different standards than a business oriented hotel.

Prior to construction, GUBC staff will audit the application, identify gaps and produce a report requesting additional action if necessary to complete the file. Recommendations for additional features will also be included, if appropriate. Once complete, applicants will receive a provisional certification and level.

After construction and occupancy, the final documentation will be completed and a second audit of the file will assess the final constructed project and provide final certification, if warranted. Terms of certification will include posting information on how end users can offer feedback on building performance and maintenance of conditions over time as per the design documentation. Receipt of additional information could be used to revoke accreditation if this feedback and a subsequent audit indicates that a building does not meet the requirements for certification at the level designated. Random audits of actual buildings will be conducted as a quality control function. There could also be a penalty for misrepresentation, e.g. a deposit for the last stage of the process that would be forfeited if a random audit uncovered inconsistencies.

Alternative Strategies

The listing of acceptable strategies in the Guidelines provides a “safe harbor” so that applicants will know what they have to do to get approval. However, during the design process, applicants may submit proposals for alternative strategies to meet the standards or innovative approaches that could increase the building’s rating. These parts of applications will be reviewed by a team of experts who will decide on the merit of the proposals and the additional points that should be awarded. This provides a way to experiment and innovate and to address context issues.

Long Term Improvement

The certification process is designed to provide data for future improvement of the Standards. Audits will assess the efficacy of the guidelines and the strategies for meeting them. New strategies will be added to the list as information on their effectiveness is obtained from field audits. This is a way to build a long term knowledge base for evidence-based guidelines and to diffuse innovative ideas rapidly. The submission process would provide the information needed to find instances of each strategy. Industry and government sponsorship will be obtained to implement a post-occupancy evaluation process for on site evaluation of each strategy.

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Global Universal Design Commission

Global Universal Design Commission, Inc., (GUDC) a not-for-profit corporation, was established to develop Universal Design (UD) standards for buildings, products and services.



Physical Address

Global Universal Design Commission, Inc. (GUDC)
Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University
950 Irving Avenue
Dineen Hall, Suite 446
Syracuse, New York 13244-2130