WELL Tips for Office Design
In today’s dynamic architectural landscape, the pursuit of sustainable and health-conscious design has become paramount. Enter the WELL Building Standard, a revolutionary framework that places human well-being at the heart of architectural endeavors. Tailored for architects and designers alike, the WELL Standard encompasses vital aspects like air quality, water quality, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind to create spaces that not only minimize environmental impact but also nurture the occupants within. Well tips are essential.
Here’s a brief overview of the key categories within the WELL Building Standard:
- Air: This category focuses on optimizing indoor air quality, including measures to reduce pollutants and enhance ventilation.
- Water: It promotes safe and clean water for consumption and use, as well as measures to promote hydration.
- Nourishment: This category encourages healthy eating habits by providing access to nutritious food options and promoting mindful eating.
- Light: It addresses natural and artificial lighting to support the circadian rhythm and promote visual comfort.
- Fitness: This category encourages physical activity and fitness by providing opportunities for exercise and active transportation.
- Comfort: It focuses on creating a comfortable indoor environment by controlling factors like temperature, humidity, and acoustics.
- Mind: This category addresses psychological and emotional well-being, including measures to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
In the rapidly evolving field of architecture, the WELL Building Standard has emerged as a transformative framework, placing the well-being of occupants at the forefront of design considerations. For architects and designers, this holistic approach introduces a set of vital criteria that encompass a range of elements, from ergonomic workstations to access to nature and places that inspire. Let’s explore these WELL tips, and not only understand their significance but also consider the associated costs, ensuring that these principles can be seamlessly integrated into office or commercial projects.
1. Ergonomic Workstations
- Requirement: All 10 computer monitors must comply with height-adjustable requirements.
- Implementation Cost: The incorporation of height-adjustable monitors may entail an additional investment, ranging from $200 to $800 per monitor, depending on the model and specifications.
- Requirement: In the case of laptops, they must be equipped with height-adjustable stands/mounting.
- Implementation Cost: Height-adjustable laptop stands/mounting solutions are available at a cost of approximately $50 to $150 per unit.
- Requirement: At least 3 workstations must be of the “height adjustable” type.
- Implementation Cost: Height-adjustable workstations typically range from $500 to $1,500 each.
- Requirement: All seating provided must comply with height-adjustable requirements for seat height, seat depth, and one additional adjustability requirement (backrest height and lumbar support, backrest angle, or armrest height and distance between armrests).
- Implementation Cost: Chairs meeting these requirements may cost between $300 and $1,000 per unit.
2. Access to Nature and Place
- Nature Integration: This encompasses the incorporation of natural materials, patterns, shapes, colors, images, or sounds throughout the space.
- Place Integration: This includes elements celebrating the culture, local architecture, art integration, and human delight.
3. Sound Reducing Ceilings & Vertical Walls
- Requirement: Finish materials with an NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) value of a minimum of 0.75.
- Implementation Cost: Sound-reducing materials may incur an additional cost of $5 to $10 per square foot.
4. Aesthetically Designed Staircases
- Design Elements: Staircases should incorporate elements such as music, artwork, appropriate lighting, windows for natural light, and natural design features.
- Implementation Cost: The incorporation of these design elements may range from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the complexity and scale.
5. Promote Visible Stairs
- Requirement: At least one visible staircase should be prioritized over elevators/escalators.
- Implementation Cost: Minimal, as this involves strategic placement and signage considerations.
6. Integrate Point of Decision
- Requirement: At least one supported staircase should be open to regular occupants, with point-of-decision signage at key locations.
- Implementation Cost: Signage and wayfinding elements may cost between $500 and $1,500, depending on materials and quantity.
7. Outdoor Physical Activity Spaces
- Requirement: Provide at least one outdoor physical activity space within a 400-meter walk distance.
- Implementation Cost: Costs vary widely depending on the chosen activity space. For instance, a basic fitness zone may range from $5,000 to $20,000, while a playground could range from $10,000 to $50,000.
8. Dedicated Activity Spaces
- Requirement: A dedicated fitness facility of a specified size, equipped with a minimum of two types of exercise equipment.
- Implementation Cost: Establishing a fitness facility can range from $50,000 to $150,000, including equipment and flooring.
9. Design of Lactation Room
- Requirement: Provide a dedicated lactation room meeting specific criteria.
- Implementation Cost: Design and construction of a lactation room may cost approximately $10,000 to $20,000.
10. Restorative Spaces
- Requirement: Design a restorative space considering specific design criteria for lighting, sound, thermal comfort, seating arrangements, nature incorporation, calming elements, and visual privacy.
- Implementation Cost: Costs will vary based on the selected design elements. For instance, indoor restorative spaces may range from $20,000 to $50,000.
11. Provide Garden Space
- Requirement: Establish a permanent and accessible space for food production within a 400-meter walk distance.
- Implementation Cost: Costs will depend on the chosen approach. A community garden might cost $5,000 to $10,000, while a greenhouse or hydroponic system could range from $10,000 to $50,000.
12. Designated Eating Space
- Requirement: Ensure the cafeteria accommodates a specific percentage of regular occupants and provides protection from environmental elements.
- Implementation Cost: Costs will vary depending on the size and design of the cafeteria, but can range from $50,000 to $200,000.
13. Food Preparation-Meal Support
- Requirement: Provide supportive amenities for food preparation and meal support within a designated eating area.
- Implementation Cost: Costs will depend on the specific amenities provided. For example, providing cold storage and countertop surfaces might range from $5,000 to $15,000.
14. Accessibility and Universal Design
- Requirement: Ensure the project meets local accessibility laws and codes without exclusions or exemptions. This encompasses physical access, development and intellectual considerations, inclusion strategies, wayfinding, technology provision, and safety measures.
- Implementation Cost: Costs for compliance with accessibility standards may vary widely depending on the scope of modifications needed, but budgeting for an additional 5% to 10% of the total project cost is a common estimate.
15. Provide Lockers
- Requirement: Provide locker facilities co-located within shower areas, with an estimated ratio of 5 lockers per shower.
- Implementation Cost: Locker installation costs can range from $500 to $1,000 per locker, depending on material and features.
16. Bathroom Accommodations – Hygiene Support
- Requirement: Implement various accommodations in bathrooms, including trash receptacles, sanitary products, accessibility features, infant changing tables, syringe drop boxes, and floor drain requirements.
- Implementation Cost: Costs will vary depending on the scope of installations and may range from $1,000 to $5,000 per bathroom.
17. Design Healthy Entryways
- Requirement: Incorporate design elements to slow the movement of air from outdoors to indoors, such as building entry vestibules, revolving doors, or air curtains.
- Implementation Cost: Costs will vary based on the chosen design solution, with vestibules potentially ranging from $20,000 to $50,000.
18. Sound Isolation at Doors
- Requirement: Ensure doors between occupiable rooms and mechanical equipment rooms have a minimum Sound Transmission Class (STC/Rw) of 30, with appropriate seals.
- Implementation Cost: Costs for soundproofing doors can range from $500 to $1,500 per door.
19. Space Provision for Supplement Lighting
- Requirement: Identify space provision for stacking supplemental task lighting.
- Implementation Cost: Depending on the chosen task lighting options, costs may range from $100 to $300 per unit.
20. Space Provision for Portable Desk Fans
- Requirement: Identify space provision for stacking portable desk fans.
- Implementation Cost: Desk fans typically cost between $20 and $100 per unit, depending on the chosen model.
21. Space Provision for Blankets
- Requirement: Identify space provision for stacking blankets to support personal heating options.
- Implementation Cost: Blankets can range from $10 to $50 each, depending on quality and material.
22. Active Workstations
- Requirement: Implement a specified number of height-adjustable workstations and one workstation with stepper/bicycle/treadmill options.
- Implementation Cost: Costs for active workstations will vary based on the specific models chosen, with height-adjustable desks ranging from $500 to $1,500 each, and specialized active workstations costing between $1,000 and $3,000.
These are estimates and actual costs may vary based on factors such as location, materials used, and specific design considerations. It’s advisable to consult with contractors and suppliers for accurate pricing tailored to your project’s requirements for WELL tips. Remember that investing in WELL standards can lead to long-term benefits in occupant health, productivity, and satisfaction. You can find more information on the WELL website..
Russell M. Henderson is a practicing RIBA Chartered Architect based in Tanzania, East Africa.
Architect Russell Uncensored is podcast also available on YouTube, talking about an architect’s life unfiltered. The education of 7 years to controversial topics such as RIBA and ARB, to unusual architect experience abroad like in Bangkok and Tanzania. This is content never before released on any platform and you can only get it here first. The truth through the eyes of Architect Russell, unfiltered and uncensored.