Arup has announced that it is the first project in Ireland to be awarded WELL certification for its Cork office. It is one of only two Arup offices to receive this certification so far, alongside its Boston office who became WELL Certified in 2017. The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™), delivered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™), is the world’s first building standard that focuses on the health and wellness of people in buildings. With the majority of us spending 90 per cent of our time indoors, there has been a growing awareness surrounding the importance of providing healthy environments for building occupants in recent years.

Building performance, air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind

WELL is a performance-based system for measuring and certifying features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being. Arup’s Cork office earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance; air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Accommodating 170 staff in a flexible, IT-enabled environment, the fitout delivers a great place to work – staff surveys indicate a 25 per cent improvement in performance. An early innovator, this proof of concept, adaptive, flexible and modern workplace is a reference for the quality of the work we do and sets a new standard in tenant fitout. The office has been designed with spaces that enable and encourage employees to adopt different working locations, postures and environments, such as sit-stand desks, huddle spaces, booth seating and standing-up meeting spaces. These working locations encourage all employees to move around throughout the day and utilise these areas, thus increasing individual comfort and focus.

Specialised acoustic design and permanent sensor kit

Specialised acoustic design throughout the open-plan areas reduces background distractions which helps to increase privacy levels without the need for physical walls. Focus rooms, booths and break-out spaces allow for focus, contemplation and relaxation. To increase the comfort levels of employees and eliminate any downward drafts, the air flow of each ceiling vent was simulated and particular air diffusers were carefully selected for all locations within the office. Arup also has a permanent sensor kit in the office that records air quality parameters such as carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and particulates in real-time. Ensuring that there is excellent air quality maintained throughout the working day means that the potential adverse effects of poor air quality (e.g. nausea, headaches and asthma) are eliminated. “Achieving WELL Gold Certification for our own office puts us in a unique position to advise our clients who are interested in doing the same," said Liam Luddy, director and Cork office manager, Arup. "We are delighted to be the first office in Ireland to achieve this innovative certification. With our busier lifestyles, it is important that we place an increased focus on health and wellness at work. By specifically focusing on including well-being features into the design of workplaces, we can create spaces where people are happier, healthier and more productive.” As the ninth project in Europe and the first project in Ireland to be WELL Certified™, Arup is at the forefront of incorporating wellness into their designs. Putting people first ensures a healthy environment, thus increasing employee satisfaction.