by Ákos Budai | Office

Skanska helps introduce the WELL Building Standard (WELL) to the market of Central and Eastern Europe. WELL is the preeminent building standard to focus on enhancing people’s health and well-being through the built environment. Spark is one of the first office buildings to pursue WELL Certification in Poland. Skanska will also apply for certification for its projects developed in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

Administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the WELL Building Standard is a standard focusing on the influence that the places we work, live and play have on the well-being of their occupants. In order to achieve certification, WELL requires the property owner to submit documentation regarding their property, and have the property undergo rigorous testing and a final evaluation by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI).  GBCI is the third-party certification body for WELL that evaluates whether properties meet WELL performance requirements in areas such as water and air. In order to maintain certification, testing must be done every three years. Spark, developed in the Wola district of Warsaw by Skanska, will be one of the first such buildings in Poland to pursue this pioneering building standard. It will allow for the state-of-the-art implementation of WELL Certification into the Polish real estate market and will present an opportunity to popularize this standard throughout the whole CEE region.

“For us, this is a major business decision and another step towards futureproof workplaces that focus on the employees' needs and comfort. In 2009, we were the first developer in the CEE region to decide on developing all buildings in compliance with the LEED certification system and convince both tenants and investors, as well as the whole construction market that green buildings were a good thing. We are sure that it will not be any different this time. Now that LEED has become a commonplace standard, we are making yet another step and committing to one more sustainable trend. WELL is an innovative tool on the Central and Eastern Europe market that will allow us to put an even greater focus on creating friendly and healthy workplaces”, says Katarzyna Zawodna, President at Skanska Commercial Development Europe. 
WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being through the quality of air, water and access to light, as well as a focus on personal comfort, access to healthy foods, and the influence that buildings have on one’s body and mind. Office buildings recognized with this certification in the future may provide additional benefits for employees such as sports activities and vegetable gardens. As stated in the “How to create a workplace that’s fit for the future” report compiled by JLL, up to 96% out of 6,500 of examined organizations introduced elements of well-being and up to three quarters of them plan to expand this proposition in the next two years as a result of improvements in productivity recognized among employees.
“Since the beginning, IWBI has worked to find ways that WELL can work harmoniously with the world’s leading sustainable building standards such as LEED, the Living Building Challenge, and international leading green building systems like Three Star, Green Star and BREEAM. In order to promote both environmental sustainability and human health, IWBI welcomes projects to pursue LEED and other green certifications alongside WELL. This solution gives us the possibility to design buildings in compliance with the highest standards. For example, while LEED Certification ensures low water consumption within a particular building, WELL Certification evaluates the quality of the water in this building”, added Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman and CEO of IWBI. 
“Newest trends point towards people and their needs, so developers also started putting humans in the centre of their office building concepts. This approach is already being introduced in the CEE region as one of Skanska Polish project - Spark is about to get the WELL certification. We are also planning to apply for it here in Hungary for upcoming office projects which are currently in design phase”, said Marcin Łapiński, Managing Director of Skanska Property Hungary & Romania.