The WELL Health-Safety Rating: An Overview

The WELL Health-Safety Rating: An Overview

WELL is the leading Health-Safety certification system designed for building to help owners provide the required guidance and third-party verification process for adapting to the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic. The WELL Building Standards include features that aid in preventing, not only the spread of COVID-19, but also are effective against most of the common germs, bacteria and fungi. However, getting the full certification can a time-consuming task considering the preventive measures against Coronavirus are of utmost importance and urgent.

The Rating is based on the WELL Building Standard but doesn’t necessarily need all the requirements to be met for a full certification. This helps building owners to implement features that can be deployed quickly without the need for major investments. Thus, building owners will be able to efficiently respond to the urgent need of preventive measures demanded by the ongoing emergency.

The rating was developed by (International WELL Building Institute) IWBI Task Force on COVID-19. The WELL Health-Rating System has been reviewed and verified by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI).

How Does the WELL Health-Safety Rating Work?

The WELL rating system is based on WELL v2, which is a second version of WELL Building Standard. It allows building owners the freedom to choose from the mandatory preconditions and is more flexible as cost efficient than WELL v1.

The main differences of the Health-Safety Rating with respect to the complete building certification are:

  • It consists of 21 design features, and building owners must choose any combination of at least 15.
  • No scores & certification levels, other than meeting at least 15 features.
  • The rating is available for new constructions and existing buildings.
  • The certification must be renewed once per year, to ensure the building stays compliant.

Building owners can put forward their own features with documented proofs while ensuring WELL Health-Safety Rating goals are achieved. These features are termed as Alternative Adherence Path (AAP). Building owners are able to propose up to 3 features per project.

WELL Health-Safety Rating: Five Performance Areas

The rating system focuses on 5 performance areas which included all the 21 design features. The performance areas along with their features are:

  1. Cleaning & Sanitization Procedures
  • Support handwash
  • Reduce surface contact
  • Improve cleaning practices
  • Select recommended cleaning products
  1. Emergency Preparedness Programs
  • Develop emergency preparedness
  • Create business continuity plan
  • Plan for health re-entry
  • Provide emergency resources
  • Reinforce emergency resilience
  1. Health Service Resources
  • Provide sick leave
  • Provide health benefits
  • Support mental health recovery
  • Promote flu vaccines
  • Promote smoke free environment
  1. Air & Water Quality Management
  • Assess ventilation
  • Asses & maintain air treatment systems
  • Develop legionella management plan
  • Monitor air & water quality
  • Manage mold & moisture
  1. Stakeholder Engagement & Communication
  • Promote health & wellness
  • Share food inspection information

Building owners must agree to list their projects in the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) public directory in order to display the rating logo and plaque. Drawing, schematics and related design documents will not be published unless the building owner gives direct permission.

The WELL Building Standard has been applied in over 4300 projects across 62 countries covering over 590 million sq. ft. as of July 2020. The rating system applies for facilities like restaurants, offices, academic institution, sports venue, movie theaters and manufacturing plants.


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