The world’s leading certification body for healthy buildings has instituted a health-safety rating system that will allow a range of building and facility types to demonstrate their operational policies, maintenance protocols and design strategies address the post- COVID-19 environment.

The International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Health-Safety Rating has its roots in the organizations’ task force on COVID-19. The group of nearly 600 public health experts, virologists, government officials, academics, business leaders, architects, designers, building scientists and real estate professionals started meeting in March to create a response to the pandemic.

The rating provides a centralized source and governing body to validate efforts made by owners and operators. In addition to task force input, it leans on infection control guidance on the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health and leading academic and research institutions. Participation requires submission of policies, protocols and strategies for third-party document review and annual verification.

“The WELL Health-Safety Rating is a sign of confidence that measures have been enacted to help support the health and safety of people entering spaces of all kinds, and that those measures have been mapped to scientific evidence and verified through a third-party review process,” said Rick Fedrizzi, chairman & CEO of IWBI. “By drawing on the proven strategies in WELL, we’re working from the best science available and that’s more important than it’s ever been.”

The WELL Health-Safety Rating will accept registrations this month. Current WELL-registered projects and WELL Portfolio participants can earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating as part of their already established certification efforts.

“Our buildings and the people who tend them are our first line of defense for keeping us safe and healthy,” said Rachel Gutter, president of IWBI. “The current pandemic has confirmed that health is a material economic consideration of the first order.”