Health and Well Being for Buildings – WELL?

The growing health and wellbeing agenda, has encouraged an increase in certification to the WELL standard as a way of designing offices to be more ‘healthy’ environments in the UK. This has a range of business benefits from reduced ‘sick leave’ to increased productivity and so has real business value.

WELL currently applies only to commercial office buildings, however pilot programs are being undertaken with associated scheme addendums for additional building types including retail and education.

Similar to BREEAM, WELL can be implemented flexibly on:

·         New Buildings and Existing Buildings undergoing major renovation;

·         New and Existing Interiors;

·         Core and Shell buildings.

There is a degree of overlap of those BREEAM issues that contribute to health and wellbeing and the BRE have recently released an alignment document between BREEAM and the WELL building standards. This considers the equivalency between the two rating schemes for a number of credit issues and allows a more streamlined process where buildings are undergoing multiple certifications.

It should also be noted that there is significant overlap between the Core and Shell certification and that for New and Existing Interiors. Therefore, in a scenario where a building is being developed to a shell and core specification, there will be several issues that will impact on an interior assessment and certification.

This currently applies to office schemes, however on formal release of those schemes currently being piloted the same principal will relate to retail developments that are regularly developed to Shell only or Shell and Core specification.

Regardless of whether formal WELL certification is being undertaken on the Shell and Core space, it is possible to ‘future-proof’ the scheme to ensure there are no barriers to certification of the interior fit out. In these scenarios it is important to engage with the WELL criteria at the outset to ensure no opportunities are missed. Where BREEAM is also being carried out, this can often be implemented on a more cost-effective manner early on the scheme design.

Greengage are discussing the implications of different levels that can be targeted, the post completion performance testing process and key technical challenges being experienced.

To discuss the approach to WELL certification in accordance with BREEAM certification please contact Rob Miller rob.miller@greengage-env.com.