Alpin logo and WELL health-safety badge

Alpin Limited first company in the Middle East to achieve WELL Health-Safety Rating

The International WELL Building Institute announced the launch of the new WELL Health-Safety Rating in June 2020 with the aim of addressing a post COVID-19 environment. Our offices were the first in the Middle East to achieve WELL Certification, and so it came as a no-brainer for Alpin to enroll for the new WELL Health-Safety rating, to further strengthen the promise we made to our team to ensure the utmost safety and care as we gradually re-enter our offices.

We’re extremely proud to be the first in the Middle East to achieve the WELL Health-Safety rating!

What is the WELL Health-Safety Rating?

According to IWBI, the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management is a third-party verified rating based on scientific evidence, for all facility types, that focuses on addressing a post COVID-19 environment and beyond through the consideration of four major factors: operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder education.

There are 5 steps to achieving the WELL Health Safety Rating:

  1. Enroll
  2. Customize
  3. Review
  4. Achieve
  5. Renew

For Alpin, the first step was the easiest and the quickest decision that we made. Our offices were already WELL Certified, and it is in our culture to always put our employees’ health and wellbeing first. The early-adopter enrollment for the WELL Health-Safety Rating provided us with a structure to confidently tackle re-entry in the best and most informed way.

As for the customization, we started with a gap analysis to identify the features we can achieve and would make the most impact for us while being aligned with the company’s vision. Since IWBI has taken the conscious initiative of making these features accessible, and attainable with little to no capital expenditure, it was an overall smooth alignment between the WELL Certification to the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

What features did we implement?

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is comprised of a collection of WELL v2 features, adapted to focus specifically on facilities operations and management.

It allows for customization and selection from 21 offered features with a minimum of 15 features required to attain the rating. Alpin has implemented the following 18 features:

  • Category 1: Sanitation Procedures
    Support Handwashing, Reduce Surface Contact, Improve Cleaning Practices, and Select Preferred Cleaning Products.
  • Category 2: Emergency Preparedness Programs
    Develop Emergency Preparedness Plan, Create Business Continuity Plan, Plan for Healthy Re-Entry, Provide Emergency Resources, and Bolster Emergency Resilience.
  • Category 3: Health Service Resources
    Provide Sick Leave, Promote Flu Vaccines, and Promote a Smoke-Free Environment.
  • Category 4: Air & Water Quality Management
    Assess Ventilation, Develop Legionella Management Plan, and Manage Mold and Moisture.
  • Category 5: Stakeholder Engagement & Communication
    Promote Health and Wellness
  • Category 6: Innovation
    3 Innovation Features

“We of course had to start with a gap analysis and feasibility study, which showed that the rating was achievable for our company. A few of these features were fully equivalent to ones we had implemented at our offices with our initial WELL Certification under WELL v1, but for the most part, we had to improve and re-visit our policies and efforts to match the above features that were sourced from WELL v2, and modified with input from IWBI’s COVID-19 Task Force. A lot of the newer aspects we had to work on had to do with new policy development. This involved creating a plan for healthy re-entry, reducing surface contact, etc.” says Alpin’s Senior HR Generalist, Hala Hassan.

How was it assessed?

In comparison to WELL Certification, the WELL Health-Safety Rating is solely documentation based, meaning there would be no performance verification and the WELL Health-Safety seal is attainable after you successfully complete the review cycles. You may have more than one review cycle in case you receive any comments from the Green Building Certification Inc. (GBCI), the third-party entity responsible for the review process.

How do we plan to maintain this?

Since the WELL Health-Safety Rating is valid for one year from the date of issuance, Alpin will be filing an application for renewal extension on the WELL digital platform no later than one year after the date on which we were awarded our WELL Health-Safety Rating. At renewal, we will be submitting all on-going monitoring and other annual submission requirements for the selected features. This monitoring will be carried out by the task force we’ve appointed and according to a set plan we’ve already put in place.

What are its benefits?

The WELL Health-Safety rating acts as a step forward towards overall occupant health awareness, as it cultivates a mindset in built asset owners, developers, and operators, of being prepared for unprecedented changes.

Owais Yousef, Sustainability Engineer at Alpin, had this to say, “It is high time that facilities viewed environmental cleaning as not merely the removal of dirt or dust, but as a process of complex infection prevention and control intervention that requires a multipronged approach, which includes training, monitoring, auditing and feedback, reminders, displaying SOPs (standard operating procedures) and using strong chemicals such as alcohol and chlorine.

At Alpin, we were lucky to have already been WELL Certified, and the WELL Health-Safety Rating made it easier for us to strengthen our safety standards at the office. Since the new rating streamlines the environmental cleaning methodology and adheres to the international standards in fighting the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, after implementing the WELL Health-Safety Rating in our office, we are now able to confidently use all of our clean and disinfected facilities.”

Because the new rating allows building owners and operators to steadily transition towards WELL Certification in the future, many of our clients are highly interested in applying the rating and are currently exploring the possibilities. “For some building owners and operators, it is a step forward in their already existing health focused policies and measures, however, for others, this rating is truly a much needed game-changer during this time,” says Tasneem Bakri, Operations Coordinator at Alpin.

“COVID-19 has strengthened our belief in remaining flexible with the ways in which we run businesses around the world. It is important to maintain resilience, while staying prepared for emergencies. The WELL Health-Safety Rating has provided us with a structure to confidently tackle re-entry and ensure our employees’ physical and mental health is supported as we gradually delve into the new norm.” says Jourdan Younis, Managing Director at Alpin Limited.

“We congratulate Alpin for going above and beyond to prioritise the health and safety of their staff, visitors and stakeholders, and to address acute issues related to the COVID-19 now and broader health and safety-related issues into the future,” said IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “As the first organisation in the Middle East to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating, Alpin has demonstrated outstanding leadership by supporting the private sector toward a healthy, resilient recovery and sharing its knowledge base with Alpin clients so they, too, may get back to business with confidence.”

Learn more about the WELL Building Standard and WELL Health-Safety Rating

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