A well-recognised Melbourne CBD office tower has achieved WELL Certification at the Platinum level, positioning it as an industry leader in the advancement of health and wellbeing in older buildings. The tower, located at 500 Collins Street, is reported to be the first existing building in Australia to achieve the accolade.
WELL Certification is performance based
The International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) WELL Building Standard is a performance-based certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based scientific research. It is the premier building standard focusing on enhancing people’s health and wellness through the built environment.
Owned by private property group Kamirice, the building was awarded the highest-level certification under the IWBI’s WELL Building Standard. Completed in 1973, 500 Collins Street is a 26-storey tower featuring approximately 26,000 m2 of net lettable area comprising an office tower with a retail plaza at ground level.
500 Collins Street earned the distinction based on 10 categories of building performance
500 Collins Street earned the distinction based on 10 categories of building performance: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community.
To achieve this, the building underwent rigorous testing on its air quality, ventilation, thermal and acoustic comfort, and water systems. Other initiatives include the use of non-toxic cleaning products, mindful eating promotion through healthy vending machines, and the creation of an online tenant portal to share nutritious recipes and promote mental health.
The role of COVID-19
Kamirice Managing Director Mark Ross said that COVID-19 has led businesses to re-evaluate employees’ expectations of the workplace and that this achievement demonstrates a commitment to tenant wellbeing, creating better workplaces and encouraging workers to return to their offices.
Setting a benchmark
“500 Collins Street sets a benchmark in how existing office buildings can be transformed to lead the way in workplace health and wellbeing, for both small and large tenants alike,” Ross said.
“It shows how an older existing building, in which investment has been consistent and focused, and which has been upgraded over the years, was in a position to achieve WELL Platinum Certification. By putting tenant health and wellbeing first, we were able to invest where it really mattered.”
WELL also recognised the building’s recent multimillion-dollar upgrades, including a high-quality end-of-trip facility featuring bicycle parking, showers and lockers, and a new ground-floor business lounge, both designed by Gray Puksand.
“When we undertook the refurbishment of the communal areas, wellness was at the forefront of our decision-making. With the help of our exceptional building property management team, we were able to execute this strategy and deliver an industry-leading result for our tenants,” Ross added.
An unwavering commitment to creating an environment that always puts tenants first
IWBI President and Chief Executive Officer Rachel Hodgdon said the milestone showed an unwavering commitment to creating an environment that always puts tenants first.
“We are excited to celebrate with Kamirice the milestone achievement of 500 Collins Street being awarded WELL Platinum Certification. By incorporating WELL strategies into the existing excellent design at 500 Collins Street, Kamirice demonstrated its commitment to people-first places, no matter the age of the building, and we congratulate them on this achievement,” Hodgdon said.
Kamirice acquired 500 Collins Street in 2002 and, following a full upgrade, it became the first refurbished office building to achieve a 5-star Green Star Office Design rating in 2007. This was recognised at the time with the building receiving a number of innovation and sustainability awards.
Norman Disney & Young (NDY) provided consulting services throughout.
The bookend of 20 years of work
“The WELL accreditation is actually the bookend of 20 years of work. 500 Collins Street was a trailblazer in the early 2000s with the research that went on regarding indoor air quality and occupant productivity. Kamirice has continually paved the way to make their buildings healthier and drive tenant demand by providing better working spaces,” said Tony Arnel, former Global Sustainability Director of NDY and former Chairman of the World and Australian Green Building Councils.
Hayley Koerbin, the Senior Associate with NDY’s Global Sustainability Team, added, “It’s a testament to Kamirice and their ongoing investment in 500 Collins Street that an older, existing building has been able to meet WELL Platinum Certification without requiring top-to-bottom refurbishment or significant capital investment. I was very privileged to be the WELL Accredited Professional leading this Australian-first project.”
500 Collins Street achieves Platinum WELL Certification was originally published by Sustainability Matters.