Developed in Romania, The IMMUNE Building Standard initiates international collaboration for a new perspective on the future of offices

Mihai Cristea 26/10/2020 | 14:42

The IMMUNE Building Standard™ (IMMUNE™) is the global standard that redefines the future of office buildings by certifying their resilience to current and future health risks, identifying a coherent set of measures that any office landlord in the world can apply to ensure the owned buildings’ health quality.

 

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemics, organization leaders from around the world engaged in a dialogue to find solutions for the return to the office and are seeking answers to develop the adequate scenarios to ensure the productivity of employees in a healthy environment, both in the near future and in perspective.

The IMMUNE™ standard was launched globally, open-source, and has immediately attracted both the attention of international media, being presented in prestigious media like CNBC, SKY News, Bloomberg, The Guardian, Reuters or Financial Times, as well as the manifested interest for collaboration from multiple professional entities in the realm of real estate development, technology and facility management from the USA, Europe, UAE and Asia.

 

The IMMUNE Building Standard™ is developed in Romania by a team of 20 experts in health, technology, architecture, constructions, engineering, and facility management and was initiated by Liviu Tudor, founder of Genesis Property and president of the European Property Federation.

“The pandemics has radically changed the way we live, work and interact. Excepting hospitals, clinics and “clean rooms” dedicated to scientific research, today no other building is prepared to face a pandemic challenge like Covid-19. Since people are spending up to 90% of their time indoors, the need to redesign and reengineer the built environments, mainly responsible for our health, becomes more and more articulated in order to obtain resilience to pandemic events as well as future bacteriological or toxicological threats”, explains Liviu Tudor, founder and president of Genesis Property that owns the West Gate Business District and Novo Park office buildings. “Just as we take care of our own immune system and constantly seek to boost it, there is a need for solutions to improve the immunity of the buildings in which we spend most of our time in and to prepare them for the new normality. This is how the IMMUNE™ concept was created, with the mission to boost the immunity of office buildings and design the healthy environment in which we will work in the future”, adds Liviu Tudor.

 

Over 100 measures for IMMUNE™ buildings

The IMMUNE™ standard is inspired by technologies and procedures developed and successfully applied in hospitals and medical clinics, adapted for use in offices. Specifically, the standard is based on an index of over 100 measures recommended for implementation in buildings, that includes technical solutions for architectural engineering, technology and design, as well as operational practices applied permanently or ready to activate in specific risk scenarios.

Some of the measures nominated by the IMMUNE™ are intuitive, while others are a premiere for office building occupants and will be instrumental in ensuring the security and health of workplaces of the future. Among these are IMMUNE™ Stewards, designated representatives in each building to ensure the implementation and monitoring of activities for the safety and health of people, as well as for the design of spaces, an IMMUNE™ Quarantine space – a dedicated area designed, fully equipped and ready to use in case of immediate need to isolate exposed people – and an Emergency IMMUNE™ Warehouse which is a rapid and effective relief logistic system for pandemic-response. Specific protective materials will permanently be deposited there, including personal protective equipment. The IMMUNE™ Steward will be responsible for maintenance of stock and distribution of all materials needed, at building level, for the safety of all occupants.

Another measure nominated in the index is the IMMUNE Digital Twin, digital screens placed in receptions to display immunity-boosting indicators such as daily improvement of indoor air quality in comparison to outside air, water parameters compared to those of the water from the city network and different relevant information about the functioning of IMMUNE™ equipment throughout the building.

“The attention of building operators to reduce energy consumption is replaced by the concern for the health of people and the spaces in which they work. The choice of equipment and management systems is focused on intelligent and sustainable energy consumption so that the performance conditions of buildings respond primarily to human health and create healthy productive spaces”, explains Gavin Bonner, Genesis Property vicepresident.

“Beyond measures that each employee must take, the most important being frequently washing hands, wearing a mask indoors and keeping the recommended distance from others, the standardized solutions provided by The IMMUNE Building Standard™ and applied at large-scale in office spaces can make the difference between high risk of contamination of a large number of people when suspicions of a first case of disease appears in the building and a safer, healthier space with lower risks”, explains Ștefan Tudos, Genesis Property vicepresident.

 

The IMMUNE™ certification, a Healthy by Design® instrument

“IMMUNE™ was designed for people, for each of us who want to return to the office without concerns that we might get sick – of Covid-19, but not only – and might endanger the health of those we love. This is why it is not only a standard, it is a window into the office market of the future and into the future of our professional lives”, adds Liviu Tudor.

An authorised building assessor in the field of sustainable building design, development and certification will evaluate a building based on an IMMUNE™ Assessment Scoring Index  and will award it with one of the three labels, Strong – equivalent of 3 stars , Powerful – equivalent of 4 stars or Resilient – equivalent of 5 stars. These are based on the score obtained by the building during the official evaluation. The labels reflect the commitment to implement the Healthy by Design® concept, considering the best practices to obtain the IMMUNE™ standard.

“Any landlord can choose to certify the owned office buildings with The IMMUNE Building Standard™, strengthening trust among occupant companies and employees regarding the safety of their workplace. The implementation costs of measures entailed by IMMUNE™ in an office building are estimated at no more than 2% of the total initial building development costs, depending on the existing facilities, as well as on the number and complexity of measures that must be implemented for the desired level of certification”, says Darren Allen, Genesis Property development manager.

 

West Gate’s H3 building, the first to be IMMUNE™ certified

The first building that will be certified with the highest IMMUNE™ level in the following period is the H3 building in the West Gate Business District, fully occupied by Ericsson, where the implementation of measures included in the standard is already in progress. Among tenants of Genesis Property buildings are also including companies like HP, Luxoft, Siemens, Accenture, Medicover, Infineon or Société Générale European Business Services.

The IMMUNE™ evaluation and certification process is conducted by Build Green, and independent company and a contributor to the development of the IMMUNE™ standard and which offers office building evaluation and certification for BREEAM, LEED, EDGE and WELL standards.

IMMUNE Building Standard™ was developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemics, in a very short timeframe, following a one million euro investment in research, development and implementation. The standard is dedicated to office buildings and can also be adapted for buildings with other use, like hospitality, retail, health care, education or residential.

“Health measures applied in the current context are not enough to ensure long term viability of business environments, whether offices or hospitality and retail spaces which entail the presence of many people. Just like no building can be imagined today without a fire prevention standard, we believe that IMMUNE™ will become a natural part of a building’s healthy life. Specialists have not reached the final conclusion about this pandemic yet. IMMUNE™ is an open-source and we have already received an impressive response to our invitation to collaboration, which remains open, aiming to develop the final version of the standard that will design the healthy workplace of the future”, concludes Liviu Tudor, founder and president of Genesis Property.

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