Arup’s Cork office becomes first in Ireland to achieve leading-edge WELL Certification

Clare O'Loughlin Clare O'Loughlin Europe Press Office, Ireland
12 February 2018

Arup announced today that it is the first project in Ireland to be awarded WELL Certification for its Cork office. It is one of only two Arup offices to receive this certification so far, alongside our Boston office who became WELL Certified in 2017.

The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™), delivered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™), is the world’s first building standard that focuses on the health and wellness of people in buildings. With the majority of us spending 90% of our time indoors, there has been a growing awareness surrounding the importance of providing healthy environments for building occupants in recent years.

One Albert Quay’s WELL Certification at the Gold level demonstrates outstanding leadership and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate this unique project as Ireland’s first WELL project. Our mission at IWBI is to bring human health and wellness to the forefront of building practices globally, and it is industry leaders like Arup that are putting people at the centre of design decisions and helping to advance this movement globally. ” Rick Fedrizzi Chairman and CEO of IWBI

IT-enabled meeting rooms in Arup's Cork office IT-enabled meeting rooms in Arup's Cork office

After over 30 years in 15 Oliver Plunkett Street, Arup moved to a new office in One Albert Quay in July 2016. An integral driver for ensuring the maximum health and wellness of Arup’s employees at work was to adopt WELL in the innovative design of the office.

WELL is a performance-based system for measuring and certifying features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being. Arup’s Cork office earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance; air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

To increase the comfort levels of employees and eliminate any downward drafts, the air flow of each ceiling vent was simulated and particular air diffusers were carefully selected for all locations within the office. Arup also has a permanent sensor kit in the office that records air quality parameters such as carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and particulates in real-time. Ensuring that there is excellent air quality maintained throughout the working day means that the potential adverse effects of poor air quality (e.g. nausea, headaches and asthma) are eliminated.

The office has been designed with spaces that enable and encourage employees to adopt different working locations, postures and environments, such as sit-stand desks, huddle spaces, booth seating and standing-up meeting spaces. These working locations encourage all employees to move around throughout the day and utilise these areas, thus increasing individual comfort and focus.

Specialised acoustic design throughout the open-plan areas reduces background distractions which helps to increase privacy levels without the need for physical walls. Focus rooms, booths and break-out spaces allow for focus, contemplation and relaxation.

The town hall area (affectionately named No. 15 after the former offices in Oliver Plunkett St.) is linked to the main reception. The look and feel immediately sets the tone for the rest of the office, aligning with the brand and unique culture of the firm and serves as a welcoming area and focal meeting point in the office. The variety of seating types, the availability of quality water and tea/coffee stations and access to an outdoor balcony area encourages people to meet and engage throughout the day.

Accommodating 170 staff in a flexible, IT-enabled environment, the fitout delivers a great place to work – staff surveys indicate a 25% improvement in performance. An early innovator, this proof of concept, adaptive, flexible and modern workplace is a reference for the quality of the work we do and sets a new standard in tenant fitout.

Achieving WELL Gold Certification for our own office puts us in a unique position to advise our clients who are interested in doing the same. We are delighted to be the first office in Ireland to achieve this innovative certification. With our busier lifestyles, it is important that we place an increased focus on health and wellness at work. By specifically focusing on including well-being features into the design of workplaces, we can create spaces where people are happier, healthier and more productive. ” Liam Luddy Liam Luddy Chief Operating Officer Europe

Balcony and break-out area in Arup's Cork office Balcony and break-out area in Arup's Cork office

As the ninth project in Europe and the first project in Ireland to be WELL Certified™, Arup is at the forefront of incorporating wellness into designs. Putting people first ensures a healthy environment, thus increasing employee satisfaction.