Workman Achieves Fitwel First at the Metro Building

24/05/2022

The Workman-managed Metro Building has become the first in the UK to achieve Fitwel three-star certification under the Built Certified Multi-Tenant Base Building (v2.1) scorecard. The Fitwel standard provides a blueprint for making positive changes that are scientifically proven to enhance occupier health and wellbeing. Workman is the UK’s leading implementer of Fitwel, achieving certification for almost 2 million sq. ft of office, retail and business parks – the most completed Fitwel certifications in the UK and Europe.

UK’s leading implementer of Fitwel

Enhancing occupier health and wellbeing

Showcasing ESG credentials

Situation

Workman is the largest independent commercial property management and building consultancy firm in the UK. Recognising the importance of healthy workplaces, Workman has become the UK’s leading implementer of Fitwel – an international certification system based on a vision for a healthier future. It provides a blueprint for making positive changes that are scientifically proven to enhance occupier health and wellbeing. Using an evidence-based scorecard system, Fitwel certifies the wellness credentials of buildings and their surroundings.

The Metro Building in London’s Hammersmith offers 106,000 sq. ft of workspace, with capacity for 1,500 occupants. It is managed by Workman on behalf of global real assets investor PATRIZIA. Workman’s onsite team, led by the Building Manager and Property Manager, worked collaboratively with PATRIZIA and sustainability consultancy Evora to achieve the UK’s first Fitwel three-star certification under the Built Certified Multi-Tenant Base Building (v2.1) scorecard. This is the latest in a series of Fitwel firsts achieved by Workman, including Arlington Business Park, which was the UK’s first business park to achieve Fitwel certification.

Actions

Through the six-month Fitwel process, the team benchmarked the Metro Building’s health and wellbeing performance and developed strategies to improve it. 
Improvements introduced through the Fitwel process included:

  • Engaging with NAO Landscapes to incorporate edible planting into a landscaping development project. This turned a former parking area into a green space for occupiers to enjoy, with herbs and edible plants. 
  • Transforming a vacant unit into a relaxation area that nursing mothers can use as a lactation room, with facilities including running water and a fridge.
  • Implementing an indoor air quality policy, including regular testing. 
  • ntroducing policies to encourage the use of stairwells over lifts.

The Metro Building also scored particularly highly for fitness amenities, with an exercise hub on the fourth floor, extensive facilities for cyclists and an active events programme. All occupiers can enjoy free, unlimited access to YinYan yoga, Pilates and meditation classes online, in the exercise hub or at home. LGN Wellbeing also provides running club coaching. Cycling facilities include secure cycle storage, lockers, showers and changing facilities.

Workman engaged with occupiers on Fitwel certification and wellbeing improvements through quarterly occupier meetings, monthly newsletters and daily interactions. Indoor air quality reports were shared with occupiers, enhancing confidence about returning to the office following COVID-19 lockdowns.

Fitwel is also part of a wider sustainability programme at the Metro Building, including energy efficiency and waste management. 

Financial

Typical costs for Fitwel certification range from £6,000 to £10,000, depending on asset size, with additional costs for physical works such as landscaping. At the Metro Building, the Fitwel certification was funded by PATRIZIA.

Benefits

There are many benefits of Fitwel at the Metro Building, including:

  • Enhancing occupier health and wellbeing by identifying and implementing improvements. Relatively small changes can make a big difference. This also enhances the Metro Building’s market appeal.
  • Showcasing ESG credentials to occupiers and investors. Achieving the UK’s first Fitwel three-star certification under the Built Certified Multi-Tenant Base Building (v2.1) scorecard demonstrates Workman’s commitment to optimising buildings for health and PATRIZIA’s strategy of improving occupier wellbeing by using best-in-class design to create healthy buildings for a strong community. 
  • Supporting occupier satisfaction. According to the British Council for Offices’ Wellness Matters Report, health and wellbeing are important factors for 96% of office workers. 
  • Contributing to the asset’s performance on the GRESB Real Estate Assessment, the global ESG benchmark for real estate funds and companies worldwide.

Nicola Price, Workman’s Building Manager at Metro, said: “Occupiers at the Metro Building are engaged in the concept of healthy buildings, and we care about their wellbeing. Our landscaping project includes seasonal planting for occupiers to get involved with growing and harvesting. The introduction of initiatives such as indoor air quality testing has made a real difference to how our occupiers feel, and in turn this has motivated the onsite team, who have seen the benefits of Fitwel accreditation.” 

Jennie Brown, Associate, Asset Management at PATRIZIA, said:“Fitwel’s world-leading certification is testament to our strategy of improving occupier wellbeing by using best-in-class design to create healthy buildings for a strong community. Our focus on both mental and physical health – for example creating a new outdoor landscaped area, as well as a nursing mother’s room – were positively welcomed by our occupiers.”

Challenges & Achievements

INTERNATIONAL

 

How do you achieve a UK first?

Originally developed in the US, some tailoring may be needed to adapt Fitwel criteria for the UK and Europe. For instance, many US workers do not have access to paid family leave , so lactation rooms for new mothers are a top priority and thus the highest scoring item on Fitwel. Whereas, in the UK, there is greater statutory maternity leave and pay, reducing demand for lactation rooms. At the Metro Building, Workman solved this by creating a lactation room that doubles as a relaxation space. In addition, some of the indoor air quality testing kits were not available in the UK and needed to be sourced from France and returned there for processing. Evora provided feedback to Fitwel on the criteria for the UK market. The Workman ESG team has also toured the Metro Building with the Building Manager, identifying learnings to share across the portfolio

Health and Wellbeing Services | Workman LLP

“Across our managed properties and the wider industry, there is an increased focus on occupier health and wellbeing. For us, it was not only important to gain the Fitwel certification for the Metro Building, but also to use the strategies to make sure we are managing the building with health and wellbeing in mind.”

Charlotte Ross, ESG Manager and Fitwel Ambassador at Workman