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Last edited 01 Feb 2021
Health performance indicators in the built environment
On 28 January 2021 CIOB hosted a webinar entitled, IMMUNE - The world’s first open source Healthy by Design Building Standard. Chaired by Dr Darren Allen, IMMUNE project director, the webinar panel included Catalin Nastasoiu, IMMUNE marketing consultant, Gavin Bonner, vice president of Genesis Property and Dr Liviu Tudor, president of the European Property Federation and developer of the IMMUNE building standard.
The IMMUNE Building Standard is an international certification programme that can be used to identify buildings that have been designated as safe from the transmission of COVID-19 or other contagious airborne illnesses. It was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020/21.
As employees return to the workplace there is likely to be an expectation of better water filtration, cleaner air and other improvements in the environment. Allen suggests, “people will ‘interview’ their buildings” before agreeing to return, and Health Performance Indicator (HPIs) will help to document adjustments that have been made. Citing precedents first set in structural safety standards (such as those addressing earthquakes, fires or floods) and then sustainability standards (such as those addressing energy usage, pollution controls and the need for more efficient buildings), Allen sees health and wellness as the next critical area for building standards.
Noting the lack of preparation in most built environments (other than those with clean room requirements or dealing with healthcare and infectious diseases), Allen opened the webinar by discussing the need to address the current condition of the built environment. He stressed the importance of a Healthy by Design System (HbDS) at the core of a building’s resilience. IMMUNE seeks to produce HbDS by using technology such as big data (captured by IoT sensors) and artificial intelligence which is then relayed in real time to facilities management departments to prompt adjustments to cleaning, security, fire safety and other practices associated with health.
IMMUNE and HbDS are primarily associated with existing buildings, and seeks input from facilities managers, property owners, architects, human resources and other stakeholders. The expectation is that everyone will come together to develop, design, engineer and permanently maintain the building with health in mind.
 Examples of HPIs
One important aspect of HbDS is the concept of health performance indicators (HPIs). Allen sees them as a wellness-based counterpart to key performance indicators (KPIs) commonly used as a measure of business activity.
Essential to HbDS are the HPIs introduced in the book Healthy Buildings by Joseph G. Allen, Director of the Healthy Buildings Program and John D. Macomber, Senior Lecturer in Finance at Harvard Business School. This matrix illustrates the concepts that have been incorporated into IMMUNE and its HbDS. These concepts are designated as HPI factors to be measured over time.
|Employee happiness||Illness trends|
|Employee complaints||Total sick days|
|Data collected from personal digital devices||How employees perceive their health|
|Sentiment analysis||Healthcare costs|
In evaluating the input of people (who are fully encouraged to contribute their observations), the HPIs are examined based on benchmarking levels recorded over time and then compared to data from places, including:
- Comparable examples in the industry.
- Buildings within the organisation.
- Specific areas (such as different floors) within the building.
|Building design||Space utilisation|
|Building composition||Building audits|
|Ventilation||How employees perceive the building|
|Continuous commissioning||Retroactive commissioning|
- Water quality
By establishing HPIs and continuously monitoring them, facilities management departments will be able to take proactive measures to respond to other adverse conditions that may occur in the built environment. These might include seasonal flu outbreaks, industrial accidents, fire safety issues and so on.
Those buildings that apply for IMMUNE accreditation will be required to recertify issues over a period of time explains Tudor, who reiterates that the standard “will not be buried when the pandemic is gone.” He stresses its importance, seeing it as part of an organisation’s corporate social responsibility.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
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- Building services and health risk resilient buildings.
- CEOs predict COVID-19 workplace changes will be permanent.
- CIOB articles.
- Coronavirus and the construction industry.
- Corporate social responsibility in construction CSR.
- Facilities management.
- Health and safety for building design and construction.
- IAQ developments accelerated by COVID-19 pandemic.
- IMMUNE Building Standard.
- Key performance indicators KPI.
- SAGE EMG guidance on ventilation and COVID-19.
- Ventilation and control of COVID-19 transmission.
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