June 10, 2020
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has annouced the launch of the WELL Health-Safety Rating for all building and facility types, an “evidence-based, third-party verified rating focusing on operational policies, maintenance protocols and design strategies to address a post COVID-19 environment”. The new health and safety rating is one of the earliest outcomes of IWBI’s Task Force on COVID-19, a group of nearly 600 public health officials, virologists, government officials, academics, business leaders, architects, designers, building scientists and real estate professionals, which was established in late March to help guide a response to the pandemic.
The WELL Health-Safety Rating provides a centralised source and governing body to validate efforts made by owners and operators. It claims to leverage insights drawn from the IWBI COVID-19 Task Force, in addition to guidance on the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections developed by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and leading academic and research institutions, as well as principles from IWBI’s WELL Building Standard.
Participation in the program requires submission of policies, protocols and strategies for third-party document review and annual verification.
The WELL Health-Safety Rating will accept registrations in June from all types of buildings and facility typologies, including offices, restaurants, hotels, retail establishments, manufacturing plants, warehouses, sports stadiums, arenas, theatres and other entertainment venues, schools, multi-family housing, and many others. Current WELL-registered projects and WELL Portfolio participants
The WELL Health-Safety Rating is claimed to be the first of many anticipated outcomes informed by the work of the IWBI COVID-19 Task Force that will be introduced in the coming months.
“The Task Force has received overwhelming support and input from all over the world,” said Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States. “People are learning that buildings themselves can be powerful vehicles for protecting and improving public health. All of us individually have a responsibility to the collective whole to use every tool, including our buildings and our sense of community, to keep ourselves and those we care about safe.”
“The impacts of the virus have been many, but not the least is the anxiety of uncertainty about where people feel safe,” said Despina Katsikakis, Head of Occupier Business Performance at Cushman Wakefield and member of IWBI’s COVID-19 Task Force. “Achieving this new WELL Health-Safety Rating is a great way to increase confidence that evidence-based steps to do the right thing have been taken to keep health front and centre as the economy reopens.”