Hilson Moran Manchester

Hilson Moran Manchester

Monday, July 9, 2018

WELL Projects

Hilson Moran has long aimed to stay ahead of the curve in innovative design, so pursuing WELL Certification for their new Manchester office was a natural next step for the multidisciplinary engineering firm. Led by a team of in-house experts, including one of the first WELL APs in the UK, the project achieved WELL Certification at the Gold level in December 2017.

Why did you pursue WELL? What were your objectives?

As leaders in the building certification sector, it was natural to make the decision to pursue WELL Certification for our new Manchester office and provide our team with a healthy working environment. The project also enabled us to harness the skills of our in-house WELL APs, acoustics, M&E and building certification experts and collaborate with interior design firm, SpaceInvader.

At a glance:

Preconditions achieved

Optimizations achieved

Certification level


How does WELL align with the mission or values of your organization?

The health and well-being of our employees is at the heart of everything we do as a business and is communicated in our core mission: To put people first. We already provide our staff with comprehensive employee benefits packages, mental health support, flexible work options, discounted gym memberships and opportunities to get involved in community service initiatives. WELL enables us to elevate our existing offerings and deliver a truly holistic program.

How did your team approach the WELL Certification process and work together to achieve your WELL goals?

We initiated the project with a pre-assessment workshop. The entire team, including management, M&E designers, architects, WELL APs and human resource professionals met and reviewed all of the WELL features and requirements. We stayed on track by setting clear targets and goals. 


Feature 52: Mindful Eating

Intent: To encourage mindful eating behaviors and socialization by providing communal eating spaces.

The office promotes healthy nutrition habits through its well-equipped kitchen and eating space. The space allows employees to prepare their own healthy meals and enjoy them in social or distraction-free quiet zones.


Feature 73: Ergonomics: Visual and Physical

Intent: To reduce physical strain and maximize ergonomic comfort and safety.

The office includes a wide assortment of spaces and setups for working and gathering. By using the station that best suits their needs and working in a variety of positions each day, employees can maximize their working comfort and avoid muscle strain and injury.


Feature 88: Biophilia I - qualitative

Intent: To nurture the innate human-nature connection within the project.

The office incorporates plants and nature themes throughout. Aside from contributing to the overall design of the space, these biophilic elements help to speed healing, boost morale and decrease negative health effects.

What are the most innovative or stand-out aspects of your WELL project?

  • BUS (Building Use Studies) surveys monitor staff comfort and satisfaction. Our findings have already reported satisfaction levels in the top 5% of all buildings in the UK’s BUS database.
  • All materials, including furniture, are low-VOC certified.
  • Use of eco-friendly cleaning materials and UV sanitising.
  • Optimum acoustics technology designed by our own in-house team.
  • Office layout encourages free address and movement.
  • Ergonomically designed workstations.
  • Clean desk policy enables an easily cleaned office environment. 
  • Continuous air quality monitoring and biophilic elements that support clean air. 
  • Floor to ceiling glazing optimizes access to daylight.

What challenges did you face as you were incorporating WELL features? How did you solve them?

One of the main challenges we faced was selecting furniture that met WELL’s feature requirements. Many of the compliant materials are manufactured in the U.S., and this limited our furniture choices. Ultimately, after many conversations with furniture and supply chain manufacturers, we found a solution that worked for us.  

What positive impacts resulted from your WELL Certification?

The results from our post-occupancy surveys yielded a more than 95% satisfaction rating among all parameters (acoustics, thermal comfort, lighting, etc). These results encouraged the building owner to adopt WELL features throughout the entire building and prompted other tenants to learn more about WELL. We also noticed a significant shift in office culture. Our team takes part in more sporting activities and plans regular ping pong networking events in the communal lounge space. We are also thrilled that our project has gone on to receive design recognition and was shortlisted for a coveted Mixology North17 Award in the "Small Commercial Interiors Project of the Year" category.

What did you learn from WELL? What post-certification metrics can you share related to outcomes?  

We learned the importance of an integrated approach – from project initiation through to completion. It is essential that key stakeholders and teams are aware of and understand WELL’s requirements. We also learned the value of creating robust and continuous feedback loops. Through our post-occupancy surveys we gain valuable insights on elements of our space ranging from thermal comfort, acoustics and light quality to working space layout. Because we are always striving to improve our workplace, we have committed to disseminating these surveys once a year.

How has WELL Certification changed or improved your company culture or operations?

The project served as a catalyst for company-wide shifts in policy and office design. We decided to rollout WELL features to all of our offices in the UK and our other offices are now considering following suit. We also made changes to our HR policies to increase benefits for staff across the entire firm.