Change, driven by you: Guide to Q2 2017 addenda


Change, driven by you: Guide to Q2 2017 addenda

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
/ By:
Rachel Gutter

WELL Certification

We’re celebrating springtime with a breadth of fresh changes and improvements to the WELL Building Standard, and invite you to explore the Q2 2017 quarterly WELL Building Standard v1 addenda:

You spoke, we listened. In January, we released a survey to our core WELL users that many of you completed. We want to thank you for connecting with us on what’s working for you in WELL, what’s causing you headaches, and the resources you need to be successful in advancing the WELL movement. Your responses informed this highly comprehensive addenda cycle, which includes a large volume of changes that we hope will make your WELL certification experience easier and more enjoyable.

Addenda are changes and improvements to the WELL Building Standard to help clarify, amend, interpret or provide alternative language for requirements.

Among the changes included in this addenda release, we’re pleased to introduce:

  • Amendments, equivalencies and other new options that make it more feasible for projects outside of the U.S. and across the world to achieve WELL Certification.

  • Clarifications to language within the standard, and supporting documents to address points of confusion expressed by our community of WELL users and reviewers.

  • A handful of adjustments to the thresholds required by certain features to be more inclusive of different geographies, cultures and sectors. In these instances, the intent remains the same, but the available pathways have been amended to better address the broad range of projects pursuing WELL.

We’ve included an overview below on key components of the Q2 2017 addenda release. To learn more about the addenda process and details surrounding the technical changes included in this round, register for one of our upcoming webinars on:

Have questions? Registered projects can reach out to their WELL Assessor, and all others should contact the technical team behind WELL at

Thank you for working alongside us to improve WELL. We are proud to debut these updates, and look forward to continued collaboration and dialogue to advance the movement for healthy places and people everywhere.

Q2 2017 addenda highlights:

Alternative Adherence Paths

New Alternative Adherence Paths, including three that cap a project’s potential WELL score:

  • Feature 01 (Air quality standards) - Allows a project to comply with a lower air quality threshold during PV. (Note: for the second option, GBCI will use data from air quality measurements near the project and take 30% of the average value. For example, if the ambient PM2.5 levels average 90 µg/m³ on the day of Performance Verification, the project will use 27 µg/m³ as threshold for Part 2c.) Projects that pursue one of these paths are limited to either Silver or Gold certification.

  • Feature 75 (Internally generated noise) - New and Existing Interiors projects may achieve NC levels higher than listed, when they meet the conditions outlined. Projects that pursue one of these paths are limited to either Silver or Gold certification.

  • Feature 76 (Thermal comfort) - Multifamily residential projects may certify when not supplying central-system air conditioning or air conditioning units in individual dwelling units, when they meet the conditions outlined. Projects that pursue this path are limited to Gold certification.

The remaining AAPs address a wide range of WELL Concepts:


Equivalencies have been published for the following regions:


The 2017 Q2 addenda introduces more than 100 amendments. Below are some highlights:

  • Not Applicable Features - Projects can pursue unlimited “Not Applicable” features and the number achieved does not affect the total optimizations applied as a denominator for scoring.

  • Air

    • Feature 04 - Addition of CDPH (in addition to existing ANSI/BIFMA) for VOC evaluation for furnishings.

    • Feature 08 - Clarified that walk-off surfaces are the sum of indoor and outdoor lengths.

    • Feature 11 - Added a separate threshold for lead content for pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures.

    • Feature 26 - Altered option for Living Building Challenge (option a) to make it more in line with options b and c; added Living Building Challenge to option d, so that projects can meet some combination of the described certifications across options a, b and c.

    • Table A4

      • Revised “Cleaning, Disinfection and Hand Hygiene Product Selection” section to specify human health endpoints (more agnostic) so that projects can use any seal or certification label that addresses endpoints. Provided examples of seals that meet criteria. Integrated hand hygiene and disinfection/sanitization products to abide by criteria of this section.

      • Removed requirement for equipment that reduces chemical use and qualifies as a sanitizing device (under EPA).

  • Water

    • Feature 36 - Amended so filtration systems no longer apply to showers and baths.

  • Nourishment

    • All - Clarified scope of applicability (e.g., specify features that include vending machines, defined acceptable labeling).

    • Feature 47 - Updated dishware sizes.

  • Light

    • Feature 53 - Added further guidance on how to craft a successful narrative to meet the requirements.

    • Feature 54 - Added greater specificity and provided another option for verification.

  • Fitness

    • Feature 64 - Revised feature language to increase feasibility for projects to achieve the location, visibility and stair width requirements.

    • Feature 65 - Revised list of incentives to create more flexibility and improve feasibility for projects outside of the U.S.

  • Comfort

    • Feature 75 - Removed NC requirement for teleconference rooms.

  • Mind

    • Feature 85 - Broadened language to clarify that stakeholder charrette can be undertaken at any time, including existing projects or those that are already underway at the time of registration.

    • Feature 92 - Added language to broaden acceptable types of flexible spending accounts.


Certification Guidebook

One update has been made to the Certification Guidebook:

  • Project area calculation has been added.

Performance Verification Guidebook

Updates have been made to the Performance Verification Guidebook:

  • Third-party laboratory water sample evaluation standards have been added.

  • Clarification around potential performance verification delays has been added.