If you’re thinking of pursuing both BREEAM and WELL building certification, this guidance shows how to earn both at the same time

by Brianna Crandall — February 7, 2018 — UK-based building sciences group BRE and the US-based International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) recently released a new, improved briefing paper that outlines how projects may achieve both a certified BREEAM rating and WELL Certification.

The updated crosswalk document, Assessing Health and Wellbeing in Buildings — Alignment between BREEAM and the WELL Building Standard, was developed as part of a commitment to continuous improvement by IWBI and BRE using industry feedback from professionals working to achieve joint certification to the BREEAM green building standard and the WELL standard for healthier buildings.

The WELL Building Standard explores how design, operations and behaviors within the places where we live, work, learn and play can be optimized to advance human health and well-being. It covers seven core concepts of health — air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind — and hundreds of features.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a global sustainability assessment method for master-planning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It is now applied in 77 countries around the world, with over 2.2 million buildings registered under its programs.

To simplify the process for project teams pursuing both standards, BRE and IWBI have worked together to compare performance requirements, harmonize evidence and identify opportunities to streamline the process of achieving dual certification.

Specific improvements and enhancements to the guidance document include instructions for projects that clarify how to use the crosswalk, minor amendments to the alignments and overlaps between the two standards, and a simplified labeling system. The new crosswalk also features useful notes and comments to clarify these alignments.

Additionally, the project types and schemes for both certification programs have expanded. Extra guidance is now included for Core and Shell projects targeting dual certification, to ensure that all WELL project types — New and Existing Buildings, New and Existing Interiors, and Core and Shell — have a clear roadmap forward. BREEAM schemes in the crosswalk include BREEAM New Construction UK and International, BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-out, BREEAM-In-Use and now BREEAM USA–In-Use.

IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi stated:

Our friends working to deliver sustainable, healthy buildings in the UK and Europe have given us specific and thoughtful input that helped inform this update. We’re pleased to continue our collaboration with BREEAM to make it easier for project teams to link their sustainability initiatives to WELL. Through this enhanced crosswalk, together we can advance the positive impacts we can have on both people and the planet.

Alan Yates, technical director of BREEAM, remarked:

We welcome this feedback from the early adopters of the crosswalk. Since its development over 25 years ago health and well-being factors like air quality, lighting, ventilation and ecology have been a key part of the BREEAM standard. WELL introduces further complementary factors and post-occupancy measurement. We look forward to working together to drive further progress in delivering a built environment that enhances the lives of people and the planet.

Originally published in January 2017, the document demonstrates the significant synergies between the two methods, and the efficiencies that exist between their assessment and certification processes.

It highlights the BREEAM credits that can be used to demonstrate compliance with WELL features and, conversely, the WELL features that can be used to demonstrate compliance with BREEAM assessment issues.

WELL is a global standard and addresses a number of issues already covered by regulations in the UK and across the EU. For this reason, the document also sets out the areas where WELL requirements are aligned with UK and/or EU regulations.

This work forms a part of an ongoing collaboration between BRE and IWBI to work together to harmonize their approach to health and well-being in the built environment across their standards, research programs and services generally.

BREEAM and WELL are both evidence-based systems that have best practice, ongoing improvement and the interest of both the environment and people at their heart. Certification under both systems is pursued through the submission of project documentation and on-site post-occupancy performance testing.

BRE and IWBI say they will continue to work together to update this document as BREEAM and WELL are significantly updated or modified. This will include the launches of BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 and WELL v2.

Assessing Health and Wellbeing in Buildings — Alignment between BREEAM and the WELL Building Standard is available for free download from the BRE Web site.