by Neil Menzies, Director of Sustainability at Hibernia REIT plc
In Hibernia’s view the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated changes in occupier expectations for office space that were already happening pre-pandemic, with occupiers and their staff increasingly seeking flexible, efficient, amenity-rich office space with strong wellness and ESG credentials. Hibernia’s strategy is focused on office clusters and ESG excellence, which we believe will be key for us in providing this type of space.
In order to validate our commitment to delivering safe workplaces and provide confidence to our customers that the wellbeing of their employees is being prioritised at all times, we have become one of the first property companies in Ireland to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management (the “WELL Health-Safety Rating”) in its owned and managed office buildings.
The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating designed to enable building owners and operators to take the necessary steps to prioritize the health of their staff, visitors and stakeholders.
The rating, which consists of a subset of relevant features from the WELL Building Standard adapted for facility operations and management in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, supports the ongoing health and safety needs of people in Hibernia’s buildings, during both normal operating periods and in times of emergencies. Achieving the rating resulted in Hibernia attaining the WELL Health-Safety Rating seal, a visual mark for buildings that signals a commitment to evidence-based interventions that support human health.
Organisations must re-certify annually to maintain the WELL Health-Safety Rating seal, further re-assuring the people inside Hibernia’s buildings that their health, safety and wellbeing are of the utmost importance. Achievement of the rating follows an extensive audit of Hibernia’s policies and procedures introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the following interventions:
- operational policies: Adoption of policies and procedures to facilitate a healthy and safe workplace or facility.
- maintenance protocols: Implementation of facility management and maintenance protocols designed to reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission.
- emergency plans: Development of emergency plans and protocols that, when applied, help to safeguard building users.
- stakeholder education and engagement: Regular communication, education and signage that includes important health and safety actions and information.
Hibernia was assisted by Meehan Green with the WELL Health-Safety Rating process. Hibernia had engaged Meehan Green as a sustainability consultant previously, where it was primarily advising on LEED certification. As part of those previous engagements, Meehan Green had already completed a preliminary WELL assessment for some of the properties. As Hibernia was already familiar with the broader WELL Building Standard, when the WELL Health Safety Rating was launched, they were well-prepared to embrace it for their portfolio.
Achievement of the rating is a sign of Hibernia’s commitment to supporting the health of individuals in their buildings in the post-COVID-19 environment and as they start to return to office-based working.
Dan Boyd, Head of Occupier Services at Hibernia, said:
“The safety and wellbeing of our tenants, staff and suppliers has been our key priority throughout the pandemic, during which we have rigorously followed government guidelines and international best practice in our response. Obtaining the WELL Health-Safety Rating provides third-party verification that we operate our buildings to the highest international standards. As our tenants’ employees return to offices, they can have full confidence that their building is being operated to support a safe and healthy working environment.”
Nellie Reid, Managing Director, Meehan Green, said:
“I’ve been working with Hibernia REIT since 2013, when I was invited to advise on LEED certification for 1 Windmill Lane. From that first work session, it was clear that there was a strong commitment to integrate sustainability thinking into every key decision. With each new project we’ve collaborated on since then, the goal became more ambitious. Third-party, validated green and healthy building certifications are now an integral part of their ongoing portfolio management.”
Ann Marie Aguilar, IWBI Senior Vice President EMEA, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how critically important it is to prioritize health and safety in the spaces where we gather. By achieving the WELL Health-Safety Rating, Hibernia has demonstrated incredible leadership in directly supporting the health, safety and overall well-being of staff, tenants and suppliers.”
Heads up from IGBC:
Want to know more about the WELL Standard? Have a look at our learning hub here.
About Hibernia REIT plc
Hibernia REIT plc is an Irish Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”), listed on Euronext Dublin and the London Stock Exchange. Hibernia owns and develops property and specialises in Dublin city centre offices. It has a target to become a net zero carbon business by 2030, providing spaces that prioritise the environment, health and wellbeing and creating long-term positive social impact through its operations.
About Meehan Green
Meehan Green provides sustainability consulting services to its building industry partners. It has successfully assisted clients to achieve LEED certification on over 120 LEED projects throughout the world, ranging from commercial office buildings, hotels, multifamily residential, pharmaceutical and data centres. Its range of consulting services includes LEED, WELL, HPI, BREEAM, LCA and ILFI’s Net Zero Carbon. Its Managing Director, Nellie Reid, has been a LEED AP since 2001 and a LEED Fellow since 2011. The company is recognized as a LEED Proven Provider, the only Irish-based company to have this designation.
The International WELL Building Institute (“IWBI”) is a public benefit corporation and the world’s leading organization focused on deploying people-first places to advance a global culture of health. IWBI mobilizes its community through the administration of the WELL Building Standard (WELL) and the WELL Health-Safety Rating, management of the WELL AP credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources, and advocacy for policies that promote health and well-being for everyone, everywhere. More information on WELL can be found here