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Championing Buildings Fit for Wellbeing

As we transition into the Third Era of Health, there is a growing societal focus on health and wellbeing. One notable way that this focus is manifesting itself is through a greater emphasis on physical place design and the way in which they are operated. It is well known that buildings and the way they...

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Date

April 3, 2018

As we transition into the Third Era of Health, there is a growing societal focus on health and wellbeing. One notable way that this focus is manifesting itself is through a greater emphasis on physical place design and the way in which they are operated.

It is well known that buildings and the way they function can influence our health and wellbeing, whether through building fabric, environmental conditions or through the physical design and layout. Therefore, opportunities exist across our estate portfolios for employers, educators, human resources departments, landlords, property developers and investors to positively contribute to supporting our society’s interest in health and wellbeing. In doing so, a strong organisational business case can be driven by:

  • Improvements to productivity: through a healthier employee team, supported by physical space and operational policies that enable improved health;
  • Reductions in absenteeism: through improvements in health, whether physical, social or mental;
  • Talent attraction: with increased challenges around talent attraction, our newer workforce is placing greater emphasis on quality of life. Promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace can be seen as a direct factor in this.

Organisations can now deliver these qualities through new approaches, including the recently launched Fitwel certification system, created by the US Centres for Disease Control, but globally available through a series of Fitwel Ambassadors.

Fitwel is a building certification system that takes an integrated approach to how design and operations of a building can improve occupant health and productivity. Fitwel operates through an evaluation process, which encompasses 55 strategies that are defined through empirical evidence and focus upon positively supporting:

  • Improvements in community health;
  • Reductions in morbidity risk and reduced absenteeism;
  • Supports social equity for vulnerable populations;
  • Increases physical activity;
  • Promotes occupant safety;
  • Instils feelings of wellbeing.

The certification process involves a review of the 55 strategies. For existing buildings, the certification involves a review of the processes, operational policies and established solutions to health and wellbeing. In the case of new build developments, the process can provide advice on opportunities to create solutions that directly impact the health and wellbeing of occupants.

The certification process, uses a points system, which has a threshold level, and a one-to-three star rating system. IBI Group has committed to ensuring all of their UK studios are Fitwel certified within a two-year period.

IBI Group can provide Fitwel ambassador services across the UK, and builds upon our longstanding reputation for the application of evidence-based design solutions supporting society’s health and wellbeing, including the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, and most recently our commission with NHS England on their innovative Healthy New Towns programme.