About the WELL Building Standard
The WELL Building Standard is an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and well-being. WELL builds on LEED. It starts where LEED left off.
WELL integrates performance thresholds after the design/prescriptive green building work has been completed. Additionally, behavior and human resource optimization for wellness are addressed in the Standard. WELL and LEED are complimentary building standards and do not compete with one another.
WELL is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment. Early adopters include financial institutions, owner-occupied real estate, and also new construction that is doing LEED Platinum and wants to add on WELL.
By integrating more wellness into the built environment, we encourage healthy lifestyles. The business case is made for lower health insurance premiums, less absenteeism, higher productivity, and more. After all, people spend around 90% of their time indoors (Source: EPA).
WELL Building Standard is grounded in research. Medical, scientific, and building system research. How can building systems improve health systems? Paul Scialla at Delos pioneered this standard and when he says they took architects and doctors and put them in a room, they really did! Continued work with the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, for example, add credibility to each feature within the WELL Building Standard.
Buildings/projects get certified. People get accredited. WELL Certification is achieved when projects demonstrate all Preconditions. Preconditions are core wellness features required for all levels of WELL certification. WELL provides flexibility when selecting Features (like LEED credits) that best meet the project’s goals.
WELL Certification is based on performance and requires a passing score in each of the seven categories of the WELL Building Standard. WELL Certification is awarded at one of three levels: Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
- To earn Silver, you have to meet all of the preconditions.
- To earn Gold, you have to earn 40% of the applicable optimizations, as well as all preconditions.
- To earn Platinum, you have to earn 80% of the applicable optimizations, as well as all preconditions.
Currently, New/Existing Buildings | New/Existing Interiors | and Core + Shell are the three main building types that can earn WELL Certification. There are additional building/space types in pilot now that you can utilize.
About the WELL AP Exam and Credential
The new WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) credential signifies knowledge in human health and wellness in the built environment, and specialization in the WELL Building Standard.
To become a WELL AP, all candidates must pass the 115-question multiple-choice WELL AP v2 exam, administered by GBCI, taken at Prometric testing centers. The exam is designed to test a candidate’s competency to perform the duties on a WELL Certification project. The exam is based on the expertise of leading practitioners in the field of design, health, and wellness in the built environment.
It is a closed-book professional credential exam that you need to study for in order to pass. If you are coming from a green building/LEED background, you will have a head start by being familiar with much of the terminology. However, you will still need to learn numerous health statistics and information about various body systems to be prepared for these questions on the WELL AP exam.
Like LEED credentials, the WELL AP credential has maintenance requirements within each two-year credentialing period. Due to the complementary nature of LEED and WELL, many credit hours can be shared across credentials during the same credentialing period. For example, your 6 well-specific hours will serve as general CE for your LEED credential.
Our advice? Get this hot credential now and show you are an early advocate. It will help your career and your company as the IWBI and GBCI/USGBC push WELL to further success!
GBES has helped over 150,000 professionals (and students) prepare for LEED professional credential exams since 2007. We are experts. Our WELL practice tests are built on the same industry-leading exam simulator and are WELL customers are loving how realistic our questions are as they study and pass!