The health, wellbeing, productivity and skills of the people occupying the buildings we design is now, quite rightly, being recognised as being of vital importance, as important as sustainability which had previously been the headline grabber in building design.
With sustainability we often talk about the “triple bottom line” although the focus is most often the environment, but with wellness, the social and economic elements come to fore.
Often grouped together under the term Wellbeing, or even Wellness, the benefits of a healthy work environment is twofold: Firstly, that there continues to be clear evidence that this impacts employee productivity, making a clear business case for employers for this to be on their agenda, but also, that progressive generations of employees are unwilling to compromise on such matters of health and happiness, and that it is an expectation of their working environment, which is neglected at the cost of loosing talent, or not being able to recruit them in the first place.
An ever growing number of worldwide companies have not only embraced the question of how content their employees are, but are pushing the envelope of what an office can be, with emphasis placed on activities away from the desk, breakout spaces and more ‘out there’ design as a way of attracting the very best talent.
Biophilic design (biophia meaning love of nature) is another wellness principle that focuses on our innate attraction to nature, and using principles from the natural world to create a human-centered approach to spaces, with benefits such as reduced stress and aiding recuperation.
The building services sector, being the professionals that have arguably the greatest effect on occupant comfort, has always been mindful of the ill effects of a poor environment, ‘sick building syndrome’ was a term coined in the mid 80’s to describe where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason. However, there are many additional benefits in looking further than those environments that are not harmful, to those that can actually have a positive effect on health and wellbeing, actually stimulate productivity and even lead to higher cognitive function of employees.
Developed by The International WELL Building Institute, the WELL Standard is a performance-based assessment methodology, focused on the way buildings and everything in them run to enhance our health and wellness. It aim is to provide a framework for achieving building wellness. WELL works in conjunction with global green building rating systems like LEED and BREEAM to enhance and add another dynamic to building performance.
The assessment is split into 7 Concepts
"The steps to achieve certification are graduated making it accessible to a wide range of products. Even without formally certifying a building, there is a lot to be gained from introducing the concept of Wellness into your next project."
Scope of Services:
- WELL Building Assessment
- Pre-Planning Consultancy
- Thermal Comfort Modelling
- Daylight Modelling
- Glare Assessment and Control
- Lighting Design
- Overheating Analysis
- Air Quality Plans
- Water Quality Assessment
- System Controls
- Post Occupancy Assessment
- Competition Work
- Masterplanning Assistance
- Corporate Social Responsibility Policies (Guidance on Wellbeing Aspects)