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Building Health and Wellbeing: Standards and Business Case

By Rachel Kempsell, on 28 March 2017

By Clive Shrubsole 

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The “Building Health and Wellbeing: Standards and Business Case” Seminar took place at UCL on the 21st March 2017.

The seminar was hosted by the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (UCL IEDE) and supported by the CIBSE School Design Group.

The seminar, prompted by substantial industry interest in the well-being agenda and the imminent arrival of the new MSc Health and wellbeing in Sustainable buildings, was quickly sold out. However, this didn’t stop a queue of people on the waiting list turning up, hoping to attend what quickly became a dynamic and exciting event.

Speakers included: Sarah Welton, Vice President, Technical Solutions, International Well Building Institute who gave an introduction to the Well Building Standard – the business case for office buildings and residential developments, followed Dr Elanor Warwick, Head of Strategic Policy and Research, Clarion Housing Group, who gave a very practical perspective in her talk on futureproofing our homes and neighbourhoods: perspectives on the ‘value’ of wellbeing.

Following this, a panel discussion took place with members including  Judit Kimpian Panel Chair, Chair of the Sustainability Group, Architects Council of Europe; OBE, LSA Studio; , Sustainability Consultancy; and Alan Fogarty, of Cundalls the company whose new offices in London are the first building in Europe to be certified as reaching the WELL Building Standard.

A very lively discussion took place. Alan spoke of “a significant reduction by 50% in absenteeism in Cundall’s London offices.” Lynn mentioned that “25% of NHS funding is spent due to poor indoor environments.”, and the need for case studies to support the business case for the Well Standards wider acceptance. Julie felt there was “a strong business case on productivity and we need to reinforce existing standards towards this”. Judit reminded us that “the word architecture is not included in standards”, and the contribution of architects to the well agenda maybe currently undervalued.

Networking over drinks and snacks followed, new ties were formed and in the end, people had to be asked to ‘go home’, such was the appetite for the subject and the measure of the success of the evening. The speakers and members of the MSc Advisory Group were invited to a dinner where the lively discussion continued until much later.

 

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