As the world grapples with COVID-19, it has never been more important to ensure our buildings support our health and safety and for business and governments to prioritise employee health and wellbeing.

What is the WELL Health-Safety Rating?

WELL Health-Safety Rated 2021

Developed by The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI), the WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party rating verified by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) for all new and existing building and space types and focuses on operational policies, maintenance protocols, stakeholder engagement, and emergency plans to address a post-COVID-19 environment now and into the future [1].

Designed to empower owners and operators across large and small businesses alike to take the necessary steps to prioritize the health and safety of their staff, visitors, and stakeholders, the WELL Health-Safety Rating can help guide users in preparing their spaces for re-entry in the wake of the pandemic, instilling confidence in those who come through the building as well as the broader community. The certificate is an investment in a company’s most valuable asset, their people.

Why WELL Health-Safety Rating Matters Now

According to the International Journal of Recent Scientific Research, UAE residents spend 80-95% of their time indoors, to escape the high desert temperatures, underlining the importance of having healthier buildings with good indoor air quality. UAE government entities like Dubai Land Department (DLD) and the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) have sought the WELL Health-Safety Rating to improve building health, and in turn contributed to an 18 percent increase in the WELL H-S rating adoption in 2021 in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. [2] The DLD aims to encourage businesses in Dubai to implement changes that focus on operational policies, such as air and water-quality management, cleaning and sanitizing procedures, emergency preparedness programs, and regular health maintenance in order to meet the requirements set out by the IWBI [3].

How to attain the WELL Health-Safety Rating

WELL Health-Safety Rating Journey

In November 2021, Summertown Interiors, earned the WELL Health-Safety Rating for our Dubai head office in JAFZA – one of the first private sector businesses in the region to achieve the seal, among the likes of ICD Brookfield Place – the largest office building in the MENA region to receive this certification.

To achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating, Summertown developed new office policies to improve our existing cleaning and sanitization procedures and updated our emergency preparedness programme, including a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan and IT disaster recovery plan. The team also revised our employee health and wellbeing policies to include more flexible working opportunities, promotion of flu and COVID-19 vaccines, sick leave, and discouraging smoking. Upon the successful completion of a third-party documentation review by GBCI to confirm we met the feature-specific intents and requirements we were awarded the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

So far there are 19,316 certified and rated WELL Health-Safety Seal projects in 109 countries worldwide, of which just 19 are in the UAE [4]. As the UAE’s leading fit-out contractor, Summertown is well equipped to support businesses in the UAE to adopt measures to achieve the respected safety seal. Summertown’s expertise in green solutions can help companies achieve certified features such as improving air and water quality control, reducing energy consumption, and occupying sustainable materials in fixtures.

The certification further demonstrates Summertown’s commitment to providing the highest standards of health and wellbeing for our people, clients, and suppliers. By supporting more businesses to adopt these practices and achieve certifications like the WELL Health-Safety Rating, we also strive to play a small part in helping the UAE to achieve its sustainability goals and contribute to the achievement of the global SDGs [5].


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