Health and wellbeing
The importance of health and wellbeing in buildings was clear before the pandemic, but the issue is under more public scrutiny than ever. Safety remains fundamental, along with a wider array of health and wellbeing goals which occupiers are calling for to meet their own obligations to staff, customers and other building users. The commercial risks to building occupiers and owners include reputational damage from sub-standard delivery, and asset obsolescence is a long-term possibility.
Main risks ahead for property portfolios
We asked about the greatest risks to our respondents' property portfolios. Standards of both health and wellbeing and sustainability top the chart, overshadowing more recent and potentially short-term changes to building usage. While dealing with the impacts of the pandemic, building owners and occupiers can't lose sight of those long-term risks.
How building performance will change in 3-5 years
We asked respondents about their view of changing health and wellbeing concerns in the next 3-5 years. The differences between investor and owner views, and those of occupiers, show potential shortfalls in the way buildings are designed or built, and the preferences for those who will be using them.
More information on safety
All respondents largely agree that more information about building safety will be needed, with occupiers appearing slightly more concerned about the issue. Transparency around health and wellbeing information is applicable across the building lifecycle, from project teams to building management and through to technical due diligence reporting at the point of sale or acquisition.
Nearly all of our respondents believe that safety will be an important part of investment criteria over the next three to five years. Data collection, reporting and clear attainment of high standards will strengthen the investment case and enable healthier buildings to perform commercially.
Time to act
Taking action on health and wellbeing improvements is a priority. 41% of respondents have already implemented safety improvements on their buildings, though 50% plan to do so in the next two years.
A broader diagnosis
The safety of buildings has never been more high profile than following the Grenfell fire, and the government’s pledge to introduce “the biggest change in building safety for a generation”. But in addition to the fundamental safety of buildings, a wider view of health and wellbeing will be essential to a commercially valuable building.
The long-term trend for wellbeing has become more clearly defined through the pandemic: buildings must be demonstrably healthy for users. Moreover, benefits should be clear to visitors and inhabitants, especially for those returning after a period away from the workplace, retailer, leisure venue or another commercial space which will be looking to increase usage.
Wellbeing factors including air quality, thermal comfort, water quality, lighting and the use of healthy materials can all contribute to that outcome. However, these are not strictly superficial improvements, involving close thought and specialist input to the design and management of a space.
Early engagement of wellbeing specialists is important to set the right goals against best practice rather than building regulations or current market standards alone. Working with project teams and engineers, those high standards can be implemented, maintained and enhanced through a building’s life.
For project teams and building users alike, transparency is critical. Clear information such as material specifications and building services operation and maintenance plans will help teams hit the right objectives and to provide occupants with the right data too.
How we can help
We’re here to help
For more information on how we can help your organisation improve building performance for more valuable and resilient assets, please get in touch with our expert team today.