New focus on health and wellbeing of office building occupants
The next frontier in commercial building quality has arrived, with a new building standard that will focus on the health, and in turn the productivity, of the people who occupy Perth’s commercial office buildings.
Joining the now established NABERS, a government-lead initiative which measures the environmental performance of buildings, and Green Star, a voluntary environmental rating system, the WELL Building Standard is a new program which measures seven concepts—air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind—that affect human health in the built environment.
Perth-based Colliers International sustainability manager Patrick Jeannerat, who is also WA’s first accredited WELL professional, said WELL would take time to filter into the market but would have a significant impact once it took hold.
“It provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks to help occupants understand and analyse the aspects of a building that impact on staff health and responds with a plan that will optimise the productivity of their organisation,” Mr Jeannerat said.
“While occupant happiness will still be affected by factors like the management style of an organisation, WELL provides a framework for tenancy organisations and landlords to address the aspects that are within their control.
“It will tackle factors like the creation of an environment that promotes physical and mental comfort, opportunities for physical activity, and lighting that minimises disruption to the body’s 24-hour sleep-wake cycle.”
To obtain a WELL certificate, a set of minimum requirements needs to be achieved for air, water and lighting quality, as well as options for healthy food and physical activity. The certificate also details aspects of thermal and acoustic comfort to be reached, along with mental and emotional wellbeing.
Mr Jeannerat said landlords and businesses with office tenancies would be important decision-makers in the take-up of improved indoor environmental standards but individual employees would also be influential in the process.
“As WELL gets a foothold in Perth, one or two buildings will shine and then the pressure will be on the others to catch up,” he said.
“For landlords, the benefits will be in tenant retention and for tenants, the benefit will be lower staff turnover.”
Since it was launched in the US in 2013 by the International WELL Building Institute, 16 buildings have achieved a WELL certification and while most are in the US, buildings in China, Canada, the UK and Brazil have also made the grade.
According to the WELL Building Standard’s website, another 318 buildings have registered for the WELL Building Standard, including one in Perth.
Shanghai, China - JUN.18,2016: Interior of SOHO office Lobby & meeting room in Shanghai, China.