The WELL Building Standard

The WELL Building Standard

10 Nov 2015

The WELL Building Standard® (WELL) combines best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research — harnessing the built environment as a vehicle to support human health and well-being. WELL is an independently verified, performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being.

WELL Certified™ and WELL Core and Shell Compliant™ spaces can help create a built environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, productivity and performance of its occupants. WELL is composed of over 100 Features that are applied to each building project. Each WELL Feature is designed to address issues that impact the health, comfort or knowledge of occupants through design, operations and behavior.

Download the WELL Building Standard®

What is WELL?

The WELL Building Standard® is the first building standard to focus exclusively on the health and wellness of the people in buildings. WELL is a performance-based system for measuring and certifying features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. It marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing the built environment as a vehicle to support human health and well-being.

WELL is grounded in a body of research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend more than 90 percent of our time, and the health and wellness impacts on us as occupants. WELL Certified™ spaces and WELL Core and Shell Compliant™ developments can help create a built environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns and performance of its occupants.

WELL sets performance requirements in seven categories, or Concepts, relevant to occupant health and well-being in the built environment: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Each WELL Feature is designed to address issues that impact the health, comfort or knowledge of occupants through design, operations and behavior.

The WELL Building Standard can be applied across many real estate sectors, and the current WELL v1 is optimized for commercial and institutional office buildings. WELL is further organized into Project Typologies of New and Existing Buildings, New and Existing Interiors and Core and Shell, which take into account the specific set of considerations that are unique to a particular building type. Pilot Programs are now available for new market sectors including retail, multifamily residential, education, restaurant and commercial kitchen projects.

Why WELL?

A WELL Certified project has the potential to add measurable value to the health, well-being, productivity, and happiness of building occupants. By placing people at the heart of design, construction, operations and development decisions, we have the ability to add value to real estate assets, generate savings in personnel costs, and enhance the human experience, health and well-being. Prioritizing WELL also provides the opportunity to stand at the forefront of innovation in the sustainable and healthy building movement.

WELL Certification is positioned to provide added value for commercial and institutional projects. Physical workplace is one of the top three factors affecting performance and job satisfaction. Personnel costs significantly outweigh the costs for design and construction and maintenance and operations. Addressing occupant health channels resources towards reducing the largest line item in the 30-year costs of a building – the personnel – offering a meaningful return on investment.

The Seven Concepts of WELL

WELL measures attributes of buildings that impact occupant health by looking at seven factors, or Concepts, relevant to occupant health and well-being: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

What Project Typologies Does WELL Apply To?

The Features of WELL can be applied across many real estate sectors, and the current WELL v1 is optimized for commercial and institutional office buildings.

WELL is further organized into Project Typologies which take into account the specific set of considerations that are unique to a particular building type or phase of construction. For WELL v1, there are three project typologies:

  • New and Existing Buildings
  • New and Existing Interiors
  • Core and Shell

WELL Pilot Programs

While the WELL Building Standard v1 is currently applicable to commercial and institutional office buildings, IWBI has developed pilot versions of the standard to test and refine how WELL can be applied to new building sectors. IWBI currently offers pilot programs for retail, multifamily residential, education, restaurant and commercial kitchen projects.

How Does The WELL Certification Process Work?

The WELL certification process involves five steps:

  1. Registration: WELL Certification begins with registration through WELL Online, an online platform designed to take projects through the WELL certification process from start to finish.
  2. Documentation: Documentation is required prior to final certification review.
  3. Performance Verification: A series of onsite post-occupancy performance tests known as Performance Verification occurs.
  4. Certification: WELL Certification recognizes that the project has successfully documented compliance with all features and passed Performance Verification.
  5. Recertification: Recertification, which must be completed after three years, ensures that the project maintains the same high level of design, maintenance and operations over time. For Core and Shell projects, no recertification is required.

WELL Certification Levels

There are three levels of WELL Certification: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Silver level certification is achieved by meeting 100 percent of the WELL Preconditions applicable to the Typology in all Concepts. Gold level certification is achieved by meeting all of the WELL Preconditions, as well as 40 percent or more of the Optimization features. Platinum level certification is achieved by meeting all of the WELL Preconditions, as well as 80 percent or more of the Optimization features.

Certification and Recertification

Certification

WELL Certification recognizes that the project has successfully documented compliance with all features and passed Performance Verification.

Recertification and Documentation Submission

Recertification ensures that the project maintains the same high level of design, maintenance, and operations over time.

For New and Existing Building projects, WELL Certification is valid for three years from the date of the certification award letter. In order to maintain certification after that time, a project must apply for recertification and performance verification to determine that the building continues to perform to the WELL Building Standard.

For Core and Shell projects, no recertification is required. WELL Core and Shell Compliance is a one-time determination that, as of the date of the award, a project has achieved all applicable requirements of the WELL Building Standard.

WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP™) Credential

The WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP™) credential signifies knowledge in human health and wellness in the built environment, and specialization in the WELL Building Standard.

Certification Body

IWBI has joined forces with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the same organization that administers LEED certification, to provide third-party certification for WELL.