WELL v2 ‘ready to change the world’

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has formally launched the latest version of the WELL Building Standard – WELL v2.

The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing. It is centered on 10 concepts that impact human health and wellbeing: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community.

WELL v2 features an upgraded rating system and new digital project management platform. The latest version consolidates previous iterations and pilots into a single rating system that is designed to accommodate all project types and sectors.

The official launch comes after two years of extensive development, in-use application and review.  It was globally released in pilot form back in 2018.

“It was a long road to get here, but we’ve confirmed that WELL v2 is implacably strong, robust and resilient in the face of every challenge,” says IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi.

“We’ve channelled all that we have learned into a more accessible, adaptable and equitable rating system, which continues to be anchored by the latest scientific research and industry best practices,” says IWBI President Rachel Gutter.

“WELL v2 has demonstrated it is dynamic, resilient, validated and ready to change the world.”

Australian involvement

IWBI Vice President, Asia Pacific, Jack Noonan, agrees that the pilot of WELL v2 put the new standard to the test, and notes that there was strong take-up in Australia.

“The pilot was adopted quickly by IWBI’s global community, and since its release more than 3,300 projects from a wide range of typologies representing more than 38 million square metres across 54 countries have registered to pursue WELL Certification under the pilot,” Noonan says.

“More than 150 projects in Australia adopted the WELL v2 pilot. These projects, as well as advisors and technical experts from Australia, provided a significant amount of feedback to the IWBI team to ensure that the graduated version of WELL v2 is relevant and accessible to the Australian market.”

Noonan says that a number of features in WELL v2 have special relevance for Australia. These include:

  • More flexibility and options while retaining the rigour and concept of what a WELL building must be
  • Acknowledgement of emergency management as something that every WELL Certified project must achieve
  • Alignment with all of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Increased focus on equity, diversity, inclusion and justice through features such as housing equity, responsible labour practices (modern slavery), universal design and mental health education
  • Simplified pricing structure that drives equity and WELL for projects that need the health interventions the most (education, government, social housing, NFPs, and developing countries). 

Coping with COVID-19

The appearance of COVID-19 came late in the pilot phase, but IWBI responded quickly.

“The IWBI Task Force on COVID-19, comprised of 16 globally acknowledged thought leaders in the role of co-chair and nearly 600 professional and market leaders and experts from 30 countries, collectively crowdsourced thousands more comments during a 40-day sprint to further assess ways in which WELL v2 could be further strengthened to better support prevention and preparedness, resiliency and recovery,” says Noonan.

“As a result of COVID-19, we have seen significant growth in projects registering for WELL Certification and projects targeting the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management. We strongly believe that the pandemic has shifted the narrative to reflect the importance of healthy and WELL Certified buildings across the world.”

With the graduation of WELL v2 from pilot, registration for new WELL v2 pilot and WELL v1 projects will close on December 31, 2020. The WELL AP exam will continue to be based on WELL v1 until the end of 2021.

Click here to learn more about WELL v2.

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