26th Aug 2021
How To Achieve the WELL Building Standard
The WELL building standard is a programme designed to help businesses create health-first office spaces for their employees. By becoming WELL certified, your organisation can profit from various financial and performance benefits, from reduced staff turnover and sick leave to increased productivity. This not only improves your employees’ health, but also your company’s bottom line.
With more employees looking for jobs at companies that value their health and wellbeing, let’s take a look at what steps your business can take to achieve a WELL Building Standard Certification.
Step 1 – Understand the Certification requirements
The WELL certification is ranked on points gained from 108 features (24 preconditions and 84 optimisations). These are achieved across 10 concepts: Air, Water, Light, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Nourishment, Movement, Mind, and Community.
Your building needs to meet all the preconditions to achieve certification, but optimisations are optional to meet certification requirements. The levels of certification span Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, with each one requiring more optimisations per concept than the last.
Step 2 – Assess the feasibility
Before you get started on your journey to achieving the WELL Building Standard, you need to understand if your current office could feasibly attain it in the first place.
Start by defining your goals, certification aspirations and success factors. How big is your project? What is your proposed timescale? Which optimisations do you plan to pursue? Once you’ve finished assessing, present the WELL standard and certification process, along with your assessment, to everyone involved in the project.
Once preparation is complete, you can register your project on the WELL portal.
Step 3 – Implement the Changes
Now you have your project planned and registered, and your supporting documents submitted and accepted, it’s time for the fun part! You can finally get to work making the changes to improve your office space.
Unsure of where to start? WELL can help you with this part through their Project Office. They help you to set up and track your workstream activities, roles and responsibilities. Your WELL advisor will also oversee your project through weekly progress and strategy review meetings, helping you to achieve your goals in your proposed timeframe.
Finally, on completion of your office redesign, you need to submit all documentation and evidence to the WELL board for review.
Step 4 – Verify the Project
Once all the hard work is done (on your part!) your WELL certification team will conduct a preliminary benchmark test, to judge how your completed changes stack up against your project proposal. They carry out performance tests on the relevant concepts and optimisations, and your final documentation report is also checked for any errors.
Once this is complete, WELL will invite an external Performance Testing Organisation to carry out the official verification process. If needed, they’ll advise on curative, and you can make appeals in the case of minor failures.
Then comes the part you have been waiting for… your WELL Score and Certification Award, along with all the marketing and communications assets you need to brag about your success!
Step 5- Monitor your Certification
So you have your award. Congratulations! But the work doesn’t end there. WELL advise that you conduct a post-occupancy study on your employees health/safety and workplace satisfaction. After all, this is the reason why you carried out the work in the first place.
Then, annual reports are needed from your team to update WELL on the change progress and employee feedback. Along with any other documentation from ongoing improvements.
Finally, when the time comes, WELL can start the recertification process with you. They’ll help with process planning activities and create a schedule to get you on the track to WELL recertification. You could also spend the time applying for a WELL Health-Safety Rating, but we’ll get into that another time!