Health and wellbeing

Our environment has a direct impact on our wellbeing as we spend most of our time indoors. The key to delivering a sustainable development is to provide environments which promote and enhance the health and wellbeing of the building occupants so that they can flourish. Our research demonstrates that in healthy office environments, productivity increases, absenteeism reduces and concentration improves. In the home, sleeping patterns improves, respiratory issues decrease and even fitness can increase. Cundall is passionate about improving the way we live, work and is committed to delivering spaces that enhance the occupant’s health and quality of life. We deliver on our commitment to occupant wellbeing by providing services that include:

The WELL Building Standard® - WELL Accredited Professionals™ (WELL AP™)

The WELL Building Standard® The WELL Building Standard® is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

WELL AP™ are professionals who have demonstrated to the WELL Building Institute that they understand the detailed requirements of the WELL Building standard. The credential demonstrated knowledge of the issues relating to human health and wellness in the built environment. Cundall is able to offer advice and guidance based on our experience in delivering the WELL Standard, helping clients to achieve WELL certification.

Healthy materials

The choice of materials and finishes are fundamental to achieving a healthy building. Whether it is an unpleasant odour, or someone has chemical sensitivity, asthma, or common allergies, people are increasingly aware of the impact building materials have on their indoor environment.

Cundall has carried out extensive research in this field and is able to draw upon their wealth of knowledge on the back of their experience with the WELL Building Standard®, the World Health Organisation, American and European air quality standards. We are also currently working with UK and European suppliers to bring materials up to and beyond International standards. Based on our investigations, we can advise on different material properties, toxicity, ingredient transparency, cleaning protocols and labelling of products in order to achieve healthy environments.

Air quality

Indoor air quality is one of the basic building blocks of human health. Recent medical studies have shown that long-term exposure to a range of air pollutants can lead to long term health problems and even premature death. In parallel, research has shown significant reductions in cognitive performance and concentration from other air pollutants.

Cundall has been working with leading academic experts in this field and are able to optimise and enhance indoor air quality by producing bespoke indoor air quality plans. Using air testing and monitoring, we are able to diagnose any problems and provide effective remediation measures to enhance air quality. We can advise on the use of specific plants to actively clean the air, depending on the pollutant type. We also advise on cleaning plans to help maintain air quality during occupation. 

IEQube™

We have developed our own Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) monitoring system - IEQube™. The system gives live readings via the cloud of temperature, humidity, lux levels, particulates, CO2 and VOCs, so that action can be taken to maintain occupancy comfort and wellbeing. The system is being used to diagnose and improve air quality for a range of clients and building types. 

Biophilic design

It is well known that the quality of a space influences the wellbeing of occupants. Research has shown that the presence of direct and indirect references to nature can reduce stress; aiding mental and physical recuperation leading to improved cognitive performance. This can result in a positive impact on productivity, and creativity, whilst reducing absenteeism and presenteeism, supporting the business case for biophilic office design.

Cundall has been carrying out research into the affinity of people to nature with a focus on improving health and wellbeing in the built environment. We specialise in creating more productive, happier and healthier spaces to live and work in, by improving the human connections to nature. We provide design reviews and advice on a range of biophilic measures such as: quality of daylight and circadian stimulus, plants for people and places, impact on cognitive performance and material texture and colour.

Plants

On the back of NASA’s experience into the effectiveness of plants to improve air quality, Cundall has undertaken pioneering research into green roofs, living lungs and active green walls for purifying local air quality. We used this research to help clients optimise plant selection for different uses and locations. Understanding the sensitivity of certain plants to light levels is important in order for them to survive as well as avoiding them respiring during daylight hours.

Human comfort

It is fundamental that the basic building blocks for comfort, temperature, noise, humidity and air movement are designed correctly. Without these, it is impossible to deliver spaces where people can flourish.

Cundall was instrumental in producing the thermal comfort standards for the new Priority Schools Programme and is a specialist in this field. We are currently on the CIBSE review panel for TM40: Health and Wellbeing in Building Services and understand that designing to a standard is no guarantee of thermal comfort. Monitoring comfort levels and complaints is the only way of ensuring that comfort is delivered.

As well as providing design advice for all forms of human comfort, we are able to provide strategy for monitoring comfort in real time so that remedial action can be taken to ensure optimal performance.

Acoustic soundscapes

The behaviour of sound in the workplace is key to its success. People need to be able to communicate, hold private conversations and concentrate, often all in the same open space. The internal design is therefore of paramount performance, and communication between the acoustician, design team and stakeholders must be constant and effective.

Cundall’s award-winning acoustics team can help develop soundscapes that promote productivity and wellbeing; they are currently carrying out research into soundscaping systems and their effect on occupancy wellbeing and productivity, innovative methods of sound absorption (using biophilia and natural materials), putting these into practice in our own office’s acoustic lab and encouraging clients to adopt people-centric design.

Human centric lighting

The quantity and quality of natural daylight plays a vital role in the wellbeing of occupants. Cundall's lighting design team, Light4, has a wealth of experience in all aspects of lighting design. They helped produce the UK-GBC’s Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in the Workplace Report as well as being part of CIBSE’s Daylight Task Group, they have championed the use of climate based daylight modelling, human centric and circadian lighting.

Light4 is the only lighting designer in the UK currently carrying out research into the measured melanopic lux levels in workspaces both under natural and acritical lighting conditions to understand the effect it has on occupant wellbeing and productivity. Using this wealth of experience, we are able to help maximise natural circadian lighting and where required supplement it with high quality targeted artificial lighting.

Water quality

It is generally accepted that water from municipal supplies is of a high quality. However, for individual buildings and sites, this may not be the case. In reality, if you don’t test, you don’t know what you have! We provide advice and guidance on water testing, health concerns associated with various pollutants, as well as remedial measures such as water filters.

Ergonomic design

Ergonomic design has never been more important in the workspace. The traditional workstation had evolved into several incarnations catering for classical office work, through to agile and task-based working methods. Workspaces are no longer confined to the desk, with use of coffee bars, shared spaces and mobile working becoming the norm. Organisations are using creative architecture and layout to produce inspiring workspaces and these are far from the classical designs found in the text books.

The challenge of designing ergonomic workspaces therefore grows. Architects need to cater for rapidly evolving technology, and users need to be trained on the best utilisation of creative spaces. We can offer advice and guidance to design teams on the impact of furniture on occupants and recommend optimised solutions.

Fitness

There is increasing awareness of health and wellbeing. This can easily be seen by the growth in the lifestyle / fitness watches industry. More people than ever are cycling to work and the demand for cycling facilities has far outstripped the allowances made in certification methodologies such as BREEAM and WELL. Alternative gym and fitness clubs are springing up to offer a greater range of choice to consumers. Workspaces are increasingly offering a range of internal facilities and fitness programmes for occupants.

We can offer advice and guidance to design teams on the impact of furniture, spatial arrangements and fitness facilities on occupants and recommend optimised solutions.

Nutrition

Nutrition plays a key role in health maintenance, weight management and chronic disease prevention. Suboptimal dietary patterns can also lead to other detrimental health outcomes. A variety of social, economic, physiological and environmental factors can affect individual dietary behaviours; the built environment is one of them. Eating the right foods can help maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but your diet can also affect your concentration, confidence, mood and sense of wellbeing.

In partnership with Cundall, Public Health England, through their One You programme and our research into behavioural economics in cafeterias, have shown that access to healthy food options, enable people to make more informed dietary choices, resulting in a healthy workforce.

Mindfulness

We understand the single biggest factor for health and wellbeing is our mental wellbeing. One in four office workers are likely to suffer from a mental health problem during their career. The mental health charity Mind has launched a programme aimed at breaking down the stigmas associated with this illness and equipping individuals and organisations to better cope with these challenges. They are researching the effects of the office physical and cooperative environments on people’s mental wellbeing which can be found on their website. In addition, academic studies have shown clear positive links between biophilic design principles and reduced stress levels.

 

For further information on these services please contact:

UK and Ireland: Alan Fogarty
Poland: Wojtek Stec
Spain: José Castilla
Romania: Paula Onofrievici
MENA: Hala Yousef
China and HK: Amie Shuttleworth
Australia: Andrew Thompson
Singapore: David Collins

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Established in the UK 40 years ago, Cundall has developed into an international multi-disciplinary consultancy operating from over 20 locations across the globe.