Retail

The latest WELL Health-Safety Rating: what you need to know

The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) has published the new WELL Health-Safety Rating. This certification is recommended by TFT as a tool to prepare workplaces and other facilities for use in a post-COVID-19 environment thanks to its specific and practical guidance, which can help build trust among building users and visitors as we transition to increased building usage and seek to mitigate future risks.

TFT is embedding these principals and the interim guidance, published by the IWBI in May 2020, for our offices and in best practice guides for our clients. Our teams are here to help occupier organisations and building owners understand the certification and provide a higher standard of well-being by applying it.

What is the WELL Health-Safety Rating?

WELL Health-Safety Rating: an evidence based and third-party verified rating for all new and existing buildings

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence based and third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and facility types. The rating focuses on operational policies, maintenance protocols, occupant engagement and emergency plans across six themes, including:

  • Sanitising Procedures
  • Emergency Preparedness Programs
  • Health Service Resources
  • Air & Water Quality Management
  • Stakeholder Engagement & Communication
  • Innovation

The full set of requirements are now available on wellcertified.com.

Get in touch with our team to find out how those apply to your organisation or building.

Does the WELL Health-Safety Rating deal with COVID-19 risks?

The IWBI is clear that the latest certification doesn’t make an organisation or building COVID-proof. However, it was developed in response to the pandemic and details interventions at a building and organisation scale which help reduce the risk of infectious diseases transmission. Furthermore, the strategies it contains apply to numerous health and safety issues relevant today and in the future.

What types of building can attain the WELL Health-Safety Rating?

The rating applies to any type of building, as well as any type of single-use or single-owner space within a building. Multi-use spaces such as stadiums, airports and shopping malls can also be certified by the same themes, but the application would take a different form due to differing requirements for the various uses of the space.

WELL Health-Safety rating applies to all building types, including office, restaurant, hospitality, education, retail and industrial sectors

Will it help me achieve a full WELL certification for my building?

Yes! While the Health-Safety Rating is a certification in its own right, and achieving it is a significant step for an organisation’s well-being journey, it will also support an application to become fully WELL-certified.

Given that it deals with a very immediate concern for employees and other building users, embarking on this process is timely and a good future-proofing step for your building or organisation.

Do you have other questions about the latest rating from WELL? Get in touch to learn how it could help you progress your organisation’s well-being journey.

Newcastle’s The Gate: creating the future of leisure and retail

We know all too well that the retail sector is undergoing a period of transformation, but whether that means decline or rebirth seems to depend increasingly on the vision of a brand or store in question. Yes, shopping habits are changing, rendering many tricks of retail past irrelevant and unproductive, but we’re seeing new innovators and fast-moving incumbents take steps to get ahead of the curve. Familiar shopping centre and leisure brands are highly exposed to these challenges but, equally, by leveraging their large estates in the right way they can create a major advantage in a changing landscape.

The Gate is a retail and leisure complex situated in central Newcastle, which originally opened in 2002. It now plays host to 19 venues including nine food and drink outlets and five unique leisure activities including increasingly popular activity: escape rooms. With 18.65m tourists visiting Newcastle & Gateshead in 2018, a 3.5% increase from 2017[1], the Gate has had to rethink its offering to remain a popular destination for a broad range of visitors.

TFT has been lucky enough to be part of the transformation of The Gate, Newcastle, since it has been in the hands of investors The Crown Estate. As lead building consultant, we’re supporting its reinvigoration as a modern leisure destination by incorporating new and unique features to position it as a one-of-a-kind destination.

Jake Honor, project lead and Associate at TFT said:

“Since our involvement commenced on site in 2013, we have seen a shift in the retail and leisure market to becoming a much more challenging environment for landlords and tenants alike. We have also seen individual tenants more and more determined to overcome these challenges and best position themselves with a unique market offering.”

With several vacant units at the start of the 2019, it was all hands-on deck to achieve a complete makeover over the last 12 months. The transformations are clearly oriented towards a new generation of entertainment, including Cineworld’s first 4DX cinema in the North East which boasts ‘extreme sensory cinema’ capable of simulating effects like water, wind, scent, strobe lighting and motion to put you in the middle of the action. It was the largest project to date at The Gate at a value of £7m. But that’s not the only immersive entertainment on offer, with one of the largest gaming and virtual reality entertainment centre in the UK, YuMe, and The WonderBar and Mayfair Pub & Kitchen which offers guests interactive multiplayer darts tournaments, live music, sports events and more.

The 220,000sq ft retail wonderland is now able to set itself apart from its competitors by combining forward-thinking market insight and a readiness to adapt for a changing leisure sector. Supporting this transformation, TFT provided proactive and technically informed advice to ensure that the works would achieve the vision of The Crown Estate and the expectations of The Gate’s many future visitors. As more venues appraise the potential of a new generation of retail, leisure, or perhaps more accurately a hybrid of the two, the specifics of how such projects are carried out could be a deciding factor in their long-term viability.

Our projects and work streams for the site have been diverse; ranging from large scale full common area refurbishment work to individual unit enabling works, dilapidations and fit-out reviews, which has covered multiple TFT offices, disciplines and skill matrix’s.”

It is no secret that there is a high street crisis in the UK and the decline in shoppers is at a growing rate, but do experience-led retail offerings promise to reverse this loss? The Global Wellness Institute have reported that fitness and wellbeing industry sales have been thriving as more and more health-conscious individuals are making efforts to incorporate fitness into their daily regimes. Similarly, we are seeing more funding going into inclusive leisure activities for a wider customer profile, including disabled, elderly and young consumers.

“Looking forward we see significant potential for growth in the North East, with key infrastructure programmes rolled out with this family-friendly leisure centre paving the way for the sector, proving to be the best in its class.”

If you need a team of consultants with retail and leisure experience, and deep understanding of building materials and systems which those sectors demand, get in touch with us, we’d love to hear about your challenges.

To get in touch with Jake Honor, click here.

TFT’s involvement in the 2019 upgrades to The Gate included:

MAP Works: Project Management, Principal Designer & M&E services for The Crown Estate to replace sections of the main roof, the air handling units and provided a building management system and fire alarm upgrade works for the centre. 

Empire to Cineworld Refurbishment: Fit out review and monitoring of £7m refurbishment of the whole second floor level at The Gate to convert the old Empire cinema into Cineworld.

Sam Jacks to Mayfair Refurbishment: Fit out review and monitoring exercise of G10 fit out for new bar area.

Tiger Tiger to Eden Refurbishment: Fit out review, cost consultancy and monitoring of G11 fit out of new restaurant and bar area.

Bar Beyond to Wonderbar Refurbishment: Fit out review and monitoring of G5 to create the new Wonderbar from the former Bar Beyond.

Handmade Burger and Vacate unit F4 to YuMe Refurbishment:Landlord enabling works to facilitate YuMe occupation. Fit out review of YuMe to create one of the largest virtual reality units in the UK.

General Building Surveyor Roles:Maintenance Action Plan (MAP) for the next 10-years’ worth of maintenance works. Dilapidations of various units. Further feasibility appraisals for proposed projects.


[1] Major Events Help Tourism Grow In Newcastle and Gateshead. UMi. 2019.

My MIPIM: Dan Henn

As we start to imagine the sand between our toes and the smell of the fresh ocean air, we spoke to another TFT MIPIM attendee, Dan Henn (Partner and Head of Development & Project Consultancy) to get his view on regional trends and how to seize the opportunities MIPIM has to offer.

What has changed the most in the industry, since MIPIM 2018?

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the property and construction world seems to be more or less business as usual. There was a hiatus of decision making in the industry after the May 2017 general election but eventually those time-bound decisions that weren’t being made (which were becoming urgent) had to be made – and the work continues apace.

What would you like to see more (or less) of at MIPIM 2019?

More sunshine and less rain!

What industry topic isn’t getting enough attention?

Retail parks. We are all very used to hearing about the high street and the need to keep up with the pace of the changing consumer behaviour, as our shopping habits become more online-oriented. Will retail parks fall by the wayside, will they become more important, or take a new form altogether?

We’re seeing such a demand across other burgeoning sectors (industrial, logistics, build to rent and senior living) – they represent a wealth of opportunities to re-purpose poorly trading sites into an alternative high performing asset.

What regional trends would you like to explore at MIPIM?

I’m interested in the booming market in the midlands. Following an uptick of activity TFT is investing in project management and cost consultancy resources to match client demand for our services across the region.

Elsewhere, there are interesting micro-markets in London where demand for offices is still strong and fuelling development.

What should every MIPIM first-timer do, or not do?

Don’t fill your diary up too much! The temptation is to accept every offer going in a hope to make sure that you are fully occupied. The real value is in those chance meetings walking along La Croisette or queuing for a drink at the London stand.

On a similar note, avoid those tempting lunches at a fantastic venue but out in the sticks. As nice as they are, they can take you away from the hub where those chance conversations are happening.

Technical Due Diligence in Commercial Property

Technical due diligence (TDD) enables those involved with the acquisition, occupancy and disposal of commercial property to understand and manage risk, make informed decisions, and future-proof their investments. Building services installations are more dynamic – and their associated issues often result in greater disruption and cost – than the building fabric elements, so M&E technical expertise and advice is a fundamental part of the TDD process.

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Lack of government incentives puts brakes on energy efficiency

80% of commercial property landlords claim a lack of government incentives is the single biggest barrier to widespread energy efficiency measures being introduced across UK commercial real estate, according to TFT, the leading property and construction consultancy, in the TFT Energy Survey 2016 published today.

With a confusing array of disconnected, individual energy regulations, a further 75% have said that the current regulatory framework is too complex to navigate. This comes even though an overwhelming majority of respondents to TFT’s first annual survey (92%) say that attitudes to energy efficiency have improved since the last recession.

Similarly, 90% are clear that energy efficiency is a higher priority in their portfolios than it was before 2008. However, only 35% of investors have introduced a formal energy management system or implemented energy efficiency improvements.

TFT Energy Survey 2016 is TFT’s first annual survey into the current barriers to delivering truly energy efficient real estate. Specifically targeting property investors and managers, it explores a range of key issues including whether energy efficiency has become a higher priority.

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