WELL Movement Takes Off in the Middle East

WELL Certification, WELL Health-Safety Rating and other offerings demonstrate value in advancing health, safety and well-being in these pandemic times
Dec 16, 2021 8:40 AM ET

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates and NEW YORK, December 16, 2021 /3BL Media/ - The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) announced incredible growth and adoption of WELL across the Middle East, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to elevate awareness of the importance of health, safety and well-being in buildings, communities and organizations in the region.

The WELL Building Standard (WELL) ecosystem, which comprises WELL Certification, the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management, WELL Portfolio and certification under the WELL Community Standard, has been adopted by projects in various sectors ranging from regional public sector and governmental entities to real estate developers, sustainability consultancies and Fortune 500 companies. To date, nearly 21 million square feet of real estate are enrolled in WELL programs across eight countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – representing an 18 percent increase in WELL adoption over the course of 2021.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a heightened focus on how spaces affect our health, which has translated to increased demand for WELL’s evidence-based strategies that promote human health, safety and well-being,” said IWBI Founder Paul Scialla. “Driven by the UAE, organizations across the Middle East are embarking on the WELL journey to make continuous improvements that enhance quality of life, and we’re committed to working with local leaders across government, the private sector and academia to deliver health-focused solutions that prioritize people’s health.”

Pioneering projects within the United Arab Emirates are paving the way for future adoption across the region. In 2021, the UAE Prime Minister’s Office achieved the WELL Health-Safety Rating for its Dubai office. This follows the office’s achievement of WELL Certification at the Platinum level, the first in the region to be certified through IWBI’s WELL v2 pilot and the first WELL Certified government ministry office in the world. The 40,000-square-foot Prime Minister’s Office helps deliver on the UAE’s National Programme for Happiness and Well-being, which aims to inspire people, government and the broader community in the UAE to cultivate happiness and well-being as a way of life.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD)’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) has officially adopted the WELL Health-Safety Rating and is encouraging organizations to align with the program in jointly owned properties (JOPs) and enhance investor confidence. DLD also achieved the rating for its building to strengthen the health and safety of all employees, staff, and guests during COVID-19 and beyond.

Also in Dubai, UAE, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) was the first university in the Middle East to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating earlier this year and is pursuing WELL Certification, demonstrating leadership in supporting the health, safety and well-being of students, staff and educators in higher education learning environments. LEAMS Education was the first group of K-12 schools and pre-KG nurseries in Dubai to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

“As we emerge from our current global public health crisis, it has never been more important to deploy our buildings, organizations and communities as vehicles for public health,” said IWBI President and CEO Rachel Hodgdon. “Human health is inextricably linked to both the health of our planet and the strength of socioeconomic institutions that support everyday life, and it is incredibly encouraging to see these leading Middle East projects deliver far reaching influence that enables other organizations to follow.”

Other regional highlights include the following:

  • Alpin Limited’s Masdar City office was the first building of any type in the region to achieve WELL Certification, and it was the Middle East’s first company to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating.
  • In the healthcare sector, Zulekha Hospital – Sharjah achieved WELL Certification.
  • PwC Dubai’s 171,500-square-foot office is WELL Precertified and WELL Health-Safety Rated.
  • Dubai Police has enrolled five buildings to pursue WELL Certification. MAG Residential and Honeywell Emaar Business Park are also each enrolled to pursue WELL Certification.
  • District 2020, the site of the Dubai Expo, is the region’s first registered community to pursue certification through the WELL Community Standard pilot, a district scale program that sets a benchmark for healthy communities.
  • In addition to enrolling in the WELL Community Standard pilot, the 167-acre Imkan Misr community in Egypt has enrolled their signature building to pursue the WELL Building Standard.
  • At nearly 1.1 million square feet, ICD Brookfield Place in Dubai is the largest office building in the Middle East to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating. Other major commercial office towers in Dubai that have enrolled to pursue the rating include Al Thuraya Tower by Emirates NBD REIT, and two towers by Majid Al Futtaim.

WELL is the leading global framework for scaling health across buildings, organizations and communities. Developed over 10 years and backed by the latest scientific research, WELL outlines key building-level interventions and organizational strategies across 10 categories: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community. The resonance of the program has spurred innovations across the building, design and construction industries, providing projects with customizable approaches to address geographical and cultural health concerns. Uptake in the Middle East has contributed to overall WELL adoption, which now stands at nearly 33,000 projects encompassing more than three billion square feet of real estate in 98 countries.

Nearly 400 industry professionals across the Middle East are now credentialed or registered through the WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP), highlighting the growing pool of practitioners and industry professionals looking to develop and demonstrate their knowledge of health-focused strategies.

About the International WELL Building Institute
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is a public benefit corporation and the world’s leading organization focused on deploying people-first places to advance a global culture of health. IWBI mobilizes its community through the administration of the WELL Building Standard (WELL) and the WELL Health-Safety Rating, management of the WELL AP credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources, and advocacy for policies that promote health and well-being everywhere. More information on WELL can be found here.

International WELL Building Institute pbc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delos Living LLC. International WELL Building Institute, IWBI, the WELL Building Standard, WELL v2, WELL Certified, WELL AP, WELL Portfolio, WELL Portfolio Score, The WELL Conference, We Are WELL, the WELL Community Standard, WELL Health-Safety Rating, WELL Health-Safety Rated, WELL Health-Equity, WELL Performance Rating, WELL Enterprise Provider, WELL EP, WELL and others, and their related logos are trademarks or certification marks of International WELL Building Institute in the United States and other countries.

Media Contact: