The 3 routes to a “Well” Building

There are a number of routes to achieving robust design and operation of a building that positively impacts wellbeing:

WELL Building Standard is the first building certification to focus purely on human health. It was released in 2014 and is rapidly gaining a reputation for being the “gold standard” for wellbeing. CBRE, Deloitte, Land Securities and British Land are amongst the organisations who are rolling out WELL across their portfolios. It has similarities with BREEAM (e.g. specific design criteria, a scoring system based on preconditions and optional additional credits), but places a heavily emphasis on post-occupation performance testing for air, water & light quality. Once certification is achieved, recertification can be sought every 3 years. Typically, those undertaking new build or fit out projects seek WELL certification since its benefits are best realised when selecting new M&E equipment, FF&E and finishing materials. Approximately 60% of the standard focusses on designing and operating the physical environment to facilitate wellness, while 40% looks at the company’s policies procedures and culture. I am able to lead the process from identifying the business need, pulling together the many stakeholders to develop and implement a plan, through to implementing initiatives and measuring their success.

Fitwel is still in beta phase, but is already an exciting proposition that has gained many followers. It is a more “light touch” than WELL and is therefore quicker and cheaper to implement. As a result, it is also somewhat less rigorous and prestigious. It is administered through a web-based portal and is designed to run on tablets and smart phones. Like WELL, it assesses physical features of the building as well as operational factors. There is a simple 3-star rating system with no pre-requisites and no requirement to recertify, allowing the users to decide if and when they wish to seek an updated certification. Typically, organisations with large international portfolios are seeking Fitwel certification, and those seeking to certify an existing building without undertaking refurbishment. Like WELL, Fitwel looks at both the physical properties of a building, and the organisation’s policies and procedures. As a Fitwel Ambassador, Fourfront Director, Georgia Elliott Smith is able to assist in the rollout of Fitwel across property portfolios, identify performance gaps and develop a roadmap for continuous improvement.

Finally, it is of course possible to follow the principles and specifications set out in the above standards without seeking formal certification. The PR opportunities and credibility of a 3rd-party verification are diminished, but so too are the costs, and there is no risk of non-compliance. The 360 Workplace team can work closely with the design and construction team, HR, FM and other corporate functions to plan and implement a bespoke wellbeing strategy, including follow-up monitoring and ongoing improvements.


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