Project teams seeking to have their building projects receive dual certification under both BREEAM and WELL have an improved guide to help them save time and costs associated with submitting the documentation twice. The updated document, Assessing Health and Wellbeing in Buildings: Alignment between BREEAM and the WELL Building Standard, was developed as part of a commitment to continuous improvement by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and BRE using industry feedback from professionals working to achieve joint certification of BREEAM and the WELL Building Standard.
Originally published in January 2017, the document demonstrates the significant synergies between the two methods and the efficiencies that exist between their assessment and certification processes.
Energy Manager Today caught up with Jessica Cooper, IWBI’s chief commercial officer to ask her more about the process of dual certification and what teams should be aware of.
EMT: As property developers or owners, project managers and the like consider pursuing these certifications, what are some common mistakes? What should they avoid doing? What should they make sure to do when getting started? Who should be involved?
Projects that are pursuing dual certifications have the opportunity to take advantage of the synergies between WELL v1 and BREEAM. The crosswalk document, developed by BRE and IWBI, provides guidance as to how projects can improve efficiencies when pursuing both certifications. In areas of alignment, strategies can be designed to accommodate both programs, and the only documentation needed to comply with equivalent WELL features is proof of the awarded BREEAM credit, as well as the as-built BREEAM Certification.
A WELL project-team is multifaceted and can include a range of experts. Depending on the project, typical stakeholders include architects, interior designers, engineers, building engineers, and professionals from workplace wellness or human resources. To help manage the process, many projects also engage a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), who has expertise in the WELL Building Standard and a commitment to advancing human health and wellness in buildings and communities.
To obtain WELL Certification, developers and building teams begin by registering a project online, which signifies the intent to pursue WELL Certification. Upon registering, projects will be assigned a WELL coaching contact who serves as a primary contact at IWBI until the project is certified. The WELL coaching contact offers support to the WELL AP by providing project-specific technical guidance and solutions for overcoming challenges. At documentation submission, projects will be introduced to their WELL Assessor, who is the third party that performs a technical review of the submitted documentation and facilitates performance verification, which includes a series of post-occupancy performance tests and visual inspections. WELL Performance Verification is the final step to achieving WELL Certification.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when applying WELL to your project is that WELL Certification is primarily focused on achieving performance and outcomes. The WELL Building Standard includes specific evidence-based strategies for health and well-being outcomes, but there are often other design, operations, or policy protocols that can achieve the same results through different means. To accommodate, IWBI encourages project teams to leverage Alternative Adherence Path’s (AAPs) and Equivalency Proposals (EPs) to pursue new and alternative strategies to meet the intent of WELL features or feature parts. AAPs and EPs provide opportunities for innovation and creativity, empowering project teams to help shape the future of WELL.