2020 year in review: WELL

February 18, 2021

The WELL Building Standard, developed and administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing. GBCI supports the advancement of WELL by providing certification, precertification and performance testing services for multiple WELL certification programs including: WELL v1, WELL v2 pilot, WELL v2, WELL Portfolio and WELL Health Safety-Rating (HSR).

WELL certification

WELL v1 and v2

WELL v1, the original version of the WELL Building Standard was launched in October 2014. In 2018, IWBI launched WELL v2 in Pilot and, in 2020, formally launched the latest version of the standard – WELL v2. Each of these versions requires on-site performance testing, and GBCI provides precertification and certification for all three versions of the standard. In 2020, GBCI issued 107 WELL v1 or v2 certifications.

WELL Portfolio

GBCI also provides certification delivery for IWBI’s WELL Portfolio program, which was launched in late 2019 and saw increased participation in 2020. The WELL Portfolio program provides participants with a WELL Portfolio Score reflecting their impact against WELL Building Standard criteria across an entire portfolio of assets. The program also allows participants to submit projects for individual recognition under the WELL v2 program. In 2020, GBCI reviewed submittals from 18 organizations under the WELL Portfolio program, representing nearly 600 assets under management.

In total, as the exclusive provider of third-party certification and credentialing services for WELL, GBCI has issued 375 WELL certifications (totaling 45.5 Million square feet), 427 WELL precertifications (totaling 133.6 Million square feet) and awarded more than 6,900 WELL AP credentials in nearly 70 countries.

WELL Performance Testing Training

GBCI continues to deliver WELL Performance Testing workshops to train performance testing agents to conduct on-site verification of the wellness strategies required by WELL. In 2020, using a combination of on-demand course modules and live webinars, GBCI trained 42 new individuals, expanding the capacity of trained performance agents around the globe to 250.

WELL credentialing

GBCI also serves as the exclusive credentialing delivery provider of the WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) credential. WELL APs demonstrate advanced knowledge in human health and wellness in buildings and a documented, full understanding of the industry’s latest principles and practices.

In response to COVID-19, GBCI promptly made the WELL AP exam available online to continue to help practitioners gain much-needed knowledge and recognition during the pandemic. In 2020, we saw increased interest in the WELL AP credential, allowing us to add 1,300 new WELL APs from 47 countries.

The success of the WELL AP program could not be realized without the contributions of our committee members and volunteers who not only served as our subject matter experts but also as our implementors to ensure the completion of critical deliverables this year, including a virtual Job Task Analysis and launch of a job analysis survey. Thanks to their efforts, we will soon have the WELL v2 AP exam available.

As we quickly delivered on the online WELL AP exam, we also modified our processes and workflows to support WELL certification around the world. While we temporarily postponed onsite visits to conduct performance testing, we relied on our local network within each country to engage and support WELL clients in more than 70 countries. Again, this would not have happened without the commitment of so many GBCI partners around the world. Simultaneously, the IWBI team worked hard to release the WELL Health-Safety Rating to support project teams during COVID. It was inspiring to see everyone rise to the occasion and unify around the singular goal of making our places healthier when the world needed it the most.

GBCI performed over 265 phases of review and issued 56 WELL Health-Safety Ratings, covering 6,700+ individual building assets and nearly 300 million square feet. We are proud of all our reviewers who worked hard to deliver WELL HSR while supporting all other WELL certification programs.

In 2015, GBCI made a commitment to IWBI and the WELL Building Standard and are committed to supporting project teams around the world in realizing our vision of healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy. The pandemic has only made that commitment stronger. In 2021, we will work even harder to make the world a healthier place to live, work, learn and play.