It’s still a new concept for buildings and workplaces but the International WELL Building Standard™, which focuses on people's health and well-being, is steadily gaining traction in Australia.
At an event hosted by Colliers International’s Perth office and supported by CoreNet Global on September 6, an industry gathering heard first-hand accounts of how WELL™ can be incorporated into workplaces, how the process works and the way the flexibility built into WELL allows it to be a one size fits all framework to benchmark and improve outcomes for building occupants.
Jason Parry, Regional Sales Manager Retail & Hospitality, Australia & New Zealand at Wilkhahn presented a case study on the way WELL™ principles were used to steer the conversion of a motorbike workshop in Surry Hills, an inner-city suburb in Sydney, into the company’s new Australian headquarters and retail showroom.
Mr Parry said the German office furniture manufacturer’s first foray into the WELL Building Standard™ was a natural part of the company’s progression.
“We see WELL™ as a continuation of the innovation that has long been a part of the company’s design philosophy,” he said.
The adoption of the WELL Building Standard™ at Wilkhahn’s Sydney headquarters was overseen by WELL Space Chief Executive Eminè Mehmet who said the 650 sqm office and retail showroom, which is also the workplace for a staff of 12, was now on track to be the first WELL-certified retail project in Australia.
Ms Mehmet said meeting the 26 preconditions and the choice of 55 optimisations for the Wilkhahn project was made easier by WELL’s flexibility, which allows for creative solutions.
“The first round of approvals have been done and we are now close to scheduling a performance verification on site with an assessor for the final accreditation,” Ms Mehmet said.
“With WELL™, the project team expands to include cleaners, nutritionists, fitness experts, administration and HR, so it captures stakeholders beyond the usual scope of the project team.”
Launched in the US in October 2014, the WELL Building Standard™ measures seven concepts of the built environment—air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind—that impact human health.
It provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks to help occupants understand and analyse the aspects of a building that impact on staff health and respond with a plan that will optimise the productivity of their organisation.
Colliers International’s Sustainability Manager Patrick Jeannerat, who was also WA’s first WELL™ accredited professional, told the gathering that WELL™ was still in the early take-up phase in Perth with one WELL-certified building and another application underway.
“Healthier buildings increase occupier productivity, reduce absenteeism, decrease staff attrition and allow businesses to attract the best talent,” Mr Jeannerat said.
“WELL’s framework means it can be adopted by any type of company that wants to understand the opportunities to improve employee wellbeing.”
The WELL Building Standard™ presentation follows a CitySwitch Healthy Buildings conference which was held in Perth in June.
Photo: Eminè Mehmet, Jason Parry and Patrick Jeannerat