Operating WELL – What Building Engineers Need to Know About the WELL Building Standard

October 16, 2019 | By: Molly Looman

The alphabet soup of designations, certifications and qualifications can be difficult to wade through. Finding out what to prioritize and which ventures will better your career and your building can be even trickier. One of the many alphabet offerings out there is the WELL Building Standard. Here is your comprehensive guide to what it is, how to get it and what value it can add to a building. 

The Basics: 

The WELL Building Standard is a system of monitoring the features of a building that impact human health. This could be lighting, HVAC, air filtering, comfort or nutrition. The building standard is meant to improve the way of life for both employees and tenants of a building 

The process of achieving the WELL Building standard in continuous. First, you register and set goals to improve certain systems in the building to achieve the standard set by the International Well Building Institute. After you register and set goals, you work with your team to modify and improve upon the systems. Lastly, you submit your building for review and are given the designation if the goals have been achieved. The work is not done though. You and your team must continue to improve and maintain the systems in place in order to achieve higher awards in gold or platinum.  

The Effects:

For building engineers, there are certain factors about achieving and maintaining the WELL Building Standards that most affect them and their job. Charlie Cichetti, CEO and co-founder of Sustainable Investment Group, said that the WELL Building standard is not just to improve the lives of tenants.  

We spend 90% of our lives indoors and must have healthy buildings,” Cichetti said.  While LEED focuses on your building’s impact on the environment, WELL focuses on the building’s impact on you, the occupant, and your health and productivity. “ 

Implementing and maintaining WELL building policies can improve your quality of life while working. While achieving the WELL Building Standard involves a concerted effort, maintaining it is just as important. Building engineers play a main role in ensuring their building’s systems stay up-to-date and following best practices. 

As WELL standards update and buildings age, building engineers are at the forefront of making sure their building either makes adjustments to achieve the WELL Building Standard or updates to the new versions as time goes on.  

Use WELL (or even Fitwel) as a set of best practices and guides,” Cichetti said. Where are you at currently and what will you implement next at your building? Next thing you know, maybe you are close to an official plaque.” 


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