Created by a taskforce consisting of nearly 600 worldwide experts in public health and building design, the WELL Health Safety rating has been originated by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

The new tool is centred around the topic of building operations and maintenance.

Certification will be offered where owners are able to demonstrate:

  • Operational policies, such as protocols to direct teams in operating, maintaining and managing their workplace that can safeguard the health and well-being of employees and visitors
  • Maintenance protocols, such as processes to improve the health and safety of interior environments; and
  • Emergency plans that include improvements to strategies and protocols to enhance emergency response and resilience.

Ratings will be offered to corporate offices, hotels, cinemas, live athletic and entertainment venues, eateries, schools, retail stores and industrial centres.

Those who wish to certify their structures must submit policies, protocols and strategies for the purposes of third-party document review and yearly verification.

The new tool is the first product of IWBI’s Task Force on COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Infections, implemented in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and which includes almost 600 public health experts, virologists, government officials, academics, business leaders, architects, designers, building scientists and real estate professionals.

The new tool is inspired by information accrued on the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and prominent academic and research institutions and core principles established by IWBI’s WELL Building Standard.

Rachel Gutter, president of IWBI, asserts that the value of safer buildings is extremely important.

She said that our structures and the individuals who maintain them form our initial line of defence for maintaining our health and safety. COVID-19, in her mind, has proven that good health is an economic matter of extreme importance—thus the necessity for better and healthier buildings.

WELL chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi asserted that the new rating scheme will reinforce confidence that safety measures have been put into place in a building or facility—and that these measures claim equally trusted scientific origins.