The new London headquarters of international engineering firm Cundall, located at One Carter Place London is the first building in Europe to achieve WELL Certification through the WELL Building Standard™.
On Thursday March 23rd, as part of Fit Out Conference 2017, at the Marker Hotel, Dublin, Alan Fogarty, Partner, Sustainability, with Cundall (the client) will be joined by Ben Allen, of Studio Allen London (the architect), to share with conference delegates the details of the journey they undertook to gain this achievement.
Alan Fogarty explained, “We seized the opportunity to pursue WELL for the fit-out of our new 15,400ft2 CAT A London office, which became WELL Certified™ at the Gold level, creating a practical expression of the company’s long-standing focus on sustainability and wellbeing.
This achievement was made possible by the close collaboration between us and the architects, Studio Ben Allen, working through the details of this relatively new standard and applying its features in a short design period. Key suppliers for products that could contribute towards satisfying the features of WELL, like recycled flooring and acoustic panels, were identified and those suppliers were very supportive in providing the levels of information required for the standard.
The new office has proved itself a unique, real-world platform on which to demonstrate how applying a selection of carefully thought out features can create a healthy, efficient and future-proof space that puts the wellbeing of the occupants at the heart of the design.”
Pursuit of WELL Certification was only a part of the office’s aim to improve employee wellbeing. A specially developed active green wall, a planted trellis divider and acoustic baffles integrated within the tall shelving units were all elements that reflect our research into acoustics and biophilia, as demonstrated in the specialist green and acoustic laboratories installed within the office.
Created through seven years of rigorous research and development, working with leading physicians, scientists, and industry professionals, WELL is a performance-based certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research. Our London office earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance - air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind.
According to Alan Fogarty, “Many businesses are seeing WELL as providing a means of demonstrating the quality of office space to attract and retain good staff. At Cundall, we have taken the refurbishment of our own London office and used it as an exemplar project, not only for ourselves, but also for our clients and collaborators. We’ve created a living, working example of how the WELL Building Standard™ can be applied, without breaking the bank. Our figures show a total uplift in the project costs of £200 per head. We are putting in place control measures to see exactly how the WELL building elements will improve staff welfare against our old office. However anecdotal feedback from our staff has confirmed the new office as a great hit.”
We have applied WELL criteria such as testing and monitoring air and water quality. The lighting design combines both the careful layout of the office to maximise the use of natural daylight with light level sensors that reduce or increase lux levels when appropriate.
Some required Preconditions or recommended Optimizations of WELL were incorporated into the planning of the building, for example changing facilities, showers and cycle racks to facilitate activities like cycling to work. Others are more concerned with day-to-day office life and activities, like weekly yoga classes and access to fresh fruit in the café.
WELL is designed to work harmoniously with other green building and achieving WELL Certification does not preclude a building from gaining additional sustainability credentials. One Carter Lane has achieved BREEAM and SKA ratings, at Excellent and Gold levels respectively.
He continued, “The acceptance of sustainability, the “wellbeing” of the planet and the environment, as an integral part of most developments has been a long fight. The WELL Building Standard takes a slightly different view – putting people’s wellbeing at the heart of the building. One thing our design at One Carter Lane has shown quite clearly is that, although the two ideas need to be addressed together and holistically, the two are not always completely compatible. It is exciting to be able to use our knowledge and expertise in the discussions on how best to combine the wellbeing of the person and the wellbeing of the planet in a single design.”
He sees the achievement of WELL Certification as the latest step in Cundall’s commitment to sustainable best practice, spearheaded by becoming the first consultants in the world to gain One Planet Company status.