New Arup tool to track wellness impact of buildings

23 July 2019 3 min. read

International engineering consulting firm Arup has partnered with wellness specialist Delos to address the growing issue of health and wellness in buildings. The new BUS Wellbeing survey will help companies to monitor the impact of their building and office infrastructure upon employees.

A 1984 report by the World Health Organisation Committee stated that up to 30% of new or re-modelled buildings throughout the world may contribute to various building-related illnesses. Building-related illness, otherwise termed ‘Sick Building Syndrome’, is a term used to describe medical symptoms that can be attributed to a specific illness caused by airborne building contaminants. Symptoms usually get worse the longer staff spend in a particular building and get better when they leave, having suffered headaches, tiredness and difficulty concentrating, among other issues in that time.

Every year, sick staff cost British firms a combined £77 billion in lost productivity, so it is understandable that at present firms are moving to tackle the avoidable matter of Sick Building Syndrome and similar problems. Consulting and engineering firm Arup has subsequently seen a spike in work relating to the sustainability and wellness impacts of the built environment on the business world.

New Arup tool to track wellness impact of buildings

In this line of work, Arup was recently lauded for its collaborative design of the HAUT office complex in Amsterdam. Situated on the banks of the River Amstel, the structure, which will be the highest timber structure in the Netherlands, will stand at a proposed 73 metres and 21 floors, and is slated to start construction mid-way through 2018.

Now, the London-headquartered consultancy has teamed up with US wellness real estate firm Delos in order to create a tool which can monitor the mental and physical health of building users. Called the BUS Wellbeing survey, the innovative test combines the existing standard BUS Methodology Occupant Satisfaction Survey – covering a range of criteria such as air quality, lighting and access to nature – and Delos’ Building Wellness Survey.

The resulting combination meets the precondition survey criteria in the WELL Building Standard for both WELL version one and two. The BUS Wellbeing survey is available in multiple languages with location-specific sets and is already being used by US healthcare firm Adventist Health, in order to test the latest features with the aim of achieving Well Certification under the WELL Building Standard.

Commenting on the new offering, Darren Wright, Arup Building Performance and Systems Director, said, “While the standard BUS Methodology Occupant Satisfaction Survey focuses on occupants’ experience of a building e.g. thermal comfort, air quality, lighting, personal control, the Delos Building Wellness Survey assesses their wellbeing in terms of access to nature, nutrition, physical activity and mental health. By combining the two, the new survey offers clients a more comprehensive analysis of how a building’s design impacts its staff and business.”