WELL – Update 2.0


IWBI, the International Well Building Institute, launched WELL Building Standard version 2 pilot (WELL v2) on May 31st, 2018. Under the leadership of Rick Fedrizzi (previously CEO and founding chair of the USGBC from 2001 to 2016), IWBI is working to reduce barriers to entry while maintaining features that distinguish WELL Building Standard version 1 (WELL v1) from other certifications in the market. They are keen to entice and push the existing building market towards WELL. The hope is that with the WELL v2 pilot they can close the gap and target this huge market, increasing the equity of the buildings pursuing WELL.

Highlights of this pilot version are:

  • One WELL: While the market appreciates customization, with the different certifications available, architects and engineers certainly welcome one WELL certification for all project types. This update consolidates all iterations and pilot versions into one WELL – for all project types.
  • 7 Concepts Revised to 10 Concepts: WELL expands the original seven concepts (Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind) to ten concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, and Community. At a recent Newcomb & Boyd Health and Wellness seminar, the therapist said that the health and wellness industry is moving towards inclusive terminology. She preferred the use of the word ‘movement’ over ‘fitness’. We see how this terminology is also embraced in the new version of WELL.
  • Point-Based System: Like LEED, WELL v2 introduces the point system along with thresholds for Silver (50 points), Gold (60 points), Platinum (80 points). There is also a Core and Shell Certified (40 points) option for projects that are not able to get to Core and Shell Silver. The total number of ‘preconditions’ in the WELL v2 standard has reduced in this update. The teams can now choose the ‘optimizations’ they want to pursue. Further, project teams may choose which parts to pursue within optimizations up to the point maximum established for the optimization (in WELL v1, all parts of the optimizations had to be attempted). The features and their parts have point weightings based on what IWBI identifies as having the greatest impact.
  • Flexible Numbering: Design teams can rejoice with the revised numbering system. It is now similar to LEED (concept abbreviation followed by number), giving IWBI the flexibility to add or reduce features in future versions.
  • New Dynamic Scorecard: A new WELL platform guides project teams through the development of a custom scorecard. The digital platform suggests a selection of features based on project-specific parameters that can be further defined and refined by the project team.
  • Changes to Performance Verification: A new approach to performance verification allows projects to contract local providers. GBCI (Green Building Certification Inc.) provides training for independent consultants, and project teams can choose between GBCI or a GBCI-trained local performance testing agent to perform the tests.
  • WELL Assessors to Become WELL Reviewers: The method to reviewing projects continues to follow a collaborative and personalized approach (unlike the LEED review process). WELL Assessors are now called WELL Reviewers.
  • Early Phase Review: Project teams can pursue interim recognition through a WELL D&O ™ designation, that affirms and celebrates progress towards a full WELL Certification. Like LEED precertification, this can be a great marketing tool for projects working towards WELL. The additional cost to pursue the precertification is $10,000.
  • Cost Model: IWBI introduces a subscription-based pricing model as an option instead of the one pass project registration pricing model.

IWBI expects to remain in the pilot version for the next year, at a minimum, and will likely provide a good buffer before the WELL AP exams switch to the new version. As long as WELL v2 remains a pilot version, IWBI does not expect any changes to the testing curriculum.

Projects attempting the pilot version will be assigned an IWBI coordinator to help navigate the pilot certification. Projects can, very much like LEED, attempt some of the preconditions and optimizations from the pilot version as optimizations within WELL v1 where applicable. Projects can continue to pursue WELL certification with WELL v1 or they can choose to go with WELL v2 pilot.

Newcomb & Boyd looks forward to helping projects pursue their health and WELLness goals. We are excited to continue this conversation with you.

For additional information check out v2.wellcertified.com

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