Dubai: Last week, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) became the first integrated government building to achieve the WELL Global Health and Safety Rating after successfully passing the assessment and review by the Green Business Certification Corporation. (GBCI) as a neutral assessor. DLD announced that it achieved the main features of the scoring system, such as best practices in hygiene and sterilization procedures, emergency preparedness programs, health service resources, health management air and water quality and innovation standards.
The Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) under the DLD not only adopted the rating, but also recommended it for buildings to encourage a safe and sustainable lifestyle.
But what exactly does this note correspond to?
In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, RERA CEO Marwan Bin Galita said that the WELL Health and Safety Assessment is currently being implemented in the common areas of all freehold properties that fall under the properties in condominium (JOP) in Dubai and there are plans to expand it to all buildings with Ejari in phases. According to RERA, there are 2,224 JOP buildings registered in RERA’s Mollak database, and 90 active management companies oversee these properties.
Bin Galita said RERA held a seminar with the IWBI earlier this year, presenting the WELL health and safety assessment to JOP freehold property management companies.
“[Due to the pandemic], everyone was concerned about health and safety and inspected every corner of their buildings. So we thought we had to implement a standard that offers a sustainable and healthy solution for our buildings, âBin Galita said.
Rating characteristics and criteria
Support hand washing; Reduce surface contact; Improve cleaning practices; Select preferred cleaning products; Develop an emergency preparedness plan; Create a business continuity plan; Return to health plan; Provide emergency resources; Strengthen emergency resilience Offer sick leave; Provide health benefits; Support the recovery of mental health; Promote influenza vaccines; Promote a smoke-free environment; Evaluate the ventilation; Evaluate and maintain air treatment systems; Develop a legionella management plan; Develop the best practices of the legionella management plan; Monitor the quality of air and water; Manage mold and humidity; Innovation; Promote health and wellness and share information on food inspection.
According to Paul Scialla, founder of IWBI, 15 of the 23 stipulated criteria will allow organizations to achieve the WELL health and safety assessment.
Scialla said the WELL standard was developed after years of rigorous research and work with leading medical and scientific institutions, physicians, scientists and industry professionals.
“It provides a performance-based system that aligns best design and construction practices with evidence-based medical and scientific research, harnessing the built environment as a vehicle to support health and well-being.” humans.
Improve the quality of life
While it could be argued that the rating would add financial burdens to management companies, Bin Galita has denied such apprehensions. âAt first, we thought it would be a burden on the management of the building; but we realized that this was not the case as many policies are already built into the costs of building management and this had no cost effect on the operation of the buildings. By focusing on creating healthier building environments, the rating actually creates more value for the building.
âObtaining the rating will increase the quality of life in the building and the confidence of tenants will increase. From now on, it will be an accreditation standard for management companies, âhe explained.
Bin Galita believes tenants would start asking management companies about rating requirements, just as they learn about smart solutions such as high internet speed and lower power consumption in buildings.
Many takers for a new note
Several buildings in other sectors have also started adopting the WELL Building Standard.
Dr Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamdan bin Mohamed Smart University (HBMSU), which recently became the first university in the United Arab Emirates to achieve WELL health security clearance, said: âThe rating meets global standards for sustainable buildings that we follow, which support the health, well-being and happiness of individuals, which is why we are committed to working with international leaders in the field such as IWBI to ensure that HBMSU meets international standards of health requirements We believe that providing a sustainable and secure building will help improve the quality of life of our learners, teachers and administrative staff in line with global best practices.
He said it meets directives from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the University, to support national efforts for environmental sustainability for future generations.
Another organization to adopt from WELL in Dubai is District 2020. Nadimeh Mehra, District 2020 vice president, said :, temperature and noise pollution levels controlled to ensure an optimal, comfortable, safe and clean environment.
District 2020 was to evolve from Expo 2020 Dubai into a future city designed for people first. âThe human focus is a central part of urban planning, held by the most forward-looking developers,â said Mehra.
âWELL standards combine best practices in design, construction and operation with evidence-based scientific research; their goals align exactly with ours and with how the entire site footprint can – and should – interact with buildings, public transport and infrastructure, and most importantly to create a positive impact on people and the community, âNadimeh added.
Healthier indoor environments
Scialla asserted that the standard is the world’s first standard global platform to focus on improving the health and well-being of people through healthier indoor environments. Organizations from nearly 100 countries (representing more than three billion square feet) have adopted WELL since its launch in 2014, he said.
Scialla said, âAs a global leader, the UAE is leading new avenues to ensure their buildings help advance human health and well-being through the adoption and use of WELL. Thanks to government leaders, more and more buildings and communities are using WELL not only to instill confidence in employees, residents and visitors, but also to create huge strides in the health and long-term sustainability of the country.
In addition to HBMSU, District 2020 and Expo 2020 DLD, Scialla said a number of other government and private organizations in the UAE have integrated BIEN into their buildings and communities.