Blog: 12 December 2017Building with wellbeing in mind

Romy Panesar

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Romy Panesar

Architectural Director

Reading office

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Landid and Brockton Capital are in the news this week as they seek to confirm their ‘Well Building Standard’ certificate at their latest project, The Porter Building, located opposite Slough Railway Station. And it’s not just the press talking about it. Just last week, I was talking to a key investor in commercial property about this building and the general run of advancement in the commercial office development space, as the market tightens, particularly across the South East.

As Architects and Designers, we have all long been champions of the contribution the built environment can have to health and wellbeing. Embedded within the BREEAM and BCO standards we complete on so many of our projects, are numerous measures for wellbeing. The way in which we address simple conditions like comfort and daylighting, form a core part of the design process but are all too often concealed in the overall ‘administrative’ structure of the assessments, and as such rarely exposed or celebrated for the contribution they will make. Our recently completed refurbishment of 9 Greyfriars in Reading for example, secured 85% in the wellbeing section of the BREEAM assessment and went on to  win the BCO regional award, a great reflection of how sustainable the building is.

The ‘Well Building Standard’, will hopefully change this and allow us to all articulate and celebrate the contributions some of our design moves will have to advance healthy working and productivity within our proposals. But I do wonder how our form of appointment may limit (or indeed encourage) how far we can deliver on requirements as architects, if we are handing over the building prior to fit-out for example? How can we adopt more specialist approaches in the early design process which can benefit the overall Well concept?

Ultimately it is about leadership and best practice, ensuring that achieving a ‘Well’ building is beneficial to all. Either way this is a great debate to be opening up with clients as we seek to deliver market differentiation, and the ‘next big draw’ for occupier.



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