Safer healthier office design
Given how much time we spend at work, our bodies are constantly exposed to the materials and furniture that have been installed in our office fit-outs.
The reduction of exposure to hazardous materials and ingredients is one of the aims of the WELL Building Standard® v2. WELL promotes healthy spaces that protect us from hazards, practices that can keep us well, and opportunities for us to connect with one another and live life to the fullest. This inspires our best work and our most productive selves.
Evoke Projects examines the recommendations for “Materials” under WELL v2 with recommendations for your next office fit-out or office refurbishment.
Think long term
Building materials and products are not only an integral part of our lives but, unlike most consumer goods, have a much longer use phase, making their chemical composition, and potential impact on indoor air quality, significant. While all materials should be evaluated during your next office fit-out or refurbishment, bear in mind that furniture, flooring and insulation give emissions over a longer period of time than paints, adhesives, sealants and coatings.
Manage hazardous ingredients
It goes without saying that exposure to highly hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead must be managed carefully during any new office fit-out or refurbishment program. The NSW EPA has guidelines for safe disposal, along with heavy penalties for breaches. Hazardous waste information can be found here.
The WELL v2 Standard requires the restriction of heavy metals in various building design materials and products, including furniture and furnishings and electrical components. Limits are placed on lead, mercury, cadmium, antimony and hexavalent chromium. If you work with an experienced office fit-out and refurbishment company, they can recommend materials and furniture that meet safe requirements.
Minimise exposure to volatile organic compounds
Both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) have a wide range of health effects, from respiratory irritation to reproductive damage and cancer. They may be found in insulation, paints, coatings, adhesives, furniture and furnishings, composite wood products and flooring materials.
A new office fit-out or office refurbishment can result in an increase in these compounds if you don’t take care to actively manage the choice of materials. Again, an experienced office fit-out company, particularly if they are familiar with the WELL Building Standard® v2, can advise you.
Choose human-friendly cleaning products
Low-hazard cleaning products, the use of effective cleaning equipment, and design and furnishing guidelines that promote efficient cleaning practices also ensure good indoor air quality. The WELL Building Standard requires the restriction of hazardous or harmful ingredients in soap, shampoos, cleaning, disinfection and sanitisation products as well as training for staff, a planned cleaning schedule and a protocol for entryway cleaning and maintenance.
Office designs for wellness
The WELL Building Standard has more detail about office design best practice. Version 2 builds upon WELL v1, offering choice to building and office designers while enabling a single version of WELL that could evolve to meet the needs of any type of building in any part of the world. Please visit their website for more information or talk to the team at Evoke Projects. https://www.wellcertified.com
A new office fit-out is a great opportunity to create a low emission office that advances a healthy workplace for better well-being. Please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out about office designs that focus on wellness, as well as information on safe office fit-out materials.