The WELL air concept aims to ensure high levels of indoor air quality across a building’s lifetime, and if you are carefully controlling the airflow and the supply of fresh air, you can reduce the risk of cross-infection. For mechanically ventilated buildings, it’s absolutely crucial, for example, that the right filters are installed and regularly cleaned or exchanged to ensure that no bacteria or viruses are brought into the space. WELL contains strict requirements both on equipment specifications and maintenance regimes.
Perhaps now other areas of wellness standards will come to the fore.
A key aspect of WELL is that organizations have to prepare an emergency management plan, to deal with risks such as fires and earthquakes as well as infections. So in the case of a pandemic, they need to have measures in place for informing staff of the risk, providing alternative ways of working, implementing strategies for at-risk groups and so on. All of this was already in the standard, therefore buildings with a WELL strategy in place might be a bit better prepared for the current situation.
Buildings that promote use of stairs over lifts will fare better post-COVID.
Giving people access to stairs and making them a prominent feature of the building is a key aspect of WELL, because it encourages occupants to move about, socialize and stay fit. It will be easier to socially distance in a building with a well-dimensioned feature stair that provides enough space to allow people to go up and down at the same time, rather than a narrow fire escape stair or a small elevator.