Consultant AESG incorporates several ‘regional first’ design features in Xworks’ new HQ
Xworks Interiors has become the first company in the Middle East to achieve the WELL Gold accreditation for its new headquarters.
According to the firm, WELL is administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and is a performance-based system for measuring and certifying features of the built environment that impact human comfort and wellness, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
The Dubai-based interior company turned to AESG, a world leading Specialist Consulting, Engineering and Advisory firm for design elements, policies and investment advice to ensure its Dubai-based headquarters improves the health and well-being of employees.
“Xworks Interiors’s competitive differentiator as an interior contracting company has always been our unmatched value and expertise. Being the only organization in the region to achieve Gold level certification in both the LEED and WELL standards, is validation of our commitment to advancing interior design through the incorporation of international standards and best practices,” explained Soren Kraen, executive director and owner, Xworks Interiors.
Unlike many other green building certification schemes, WELL is a performance-based rating, assessing the actual performance of the space post-occupancy prior to certification.
“This reduces the performance gap between design, construction and operation and ensures correct application and implementation of health and well-being features. While a performance-based rating provides a more robust assessment, it also poses additional challenges. AESG effectively addressed these challenges through comprehensive monitoring and testing during the construction and handover stages, identifying any risks to non-compliance and providing mitigation and remediation measures to assure the attainment of the desired certification level,” Xworks Interiors and AESG explained in a statement.
It added that AESG worked to incorporate several innovative design features in the Xworks office, many of which are first in the region.
“Extensive daylight modelling of the office has ensured that all workstations are optimised to take in natural light. The office is furnished with economical, environmentally friendly Danish furniture, such as sit-stand desks, which contributes to high levels of indoor air quality and appealing aesthetics. AESG also executed comprehensive air and water quality testing to ensure the office’s compliance with the IWBI’s strict thresholds,” said the firms.
In addition to design and construction features, WELL evaluates operational policies and procedures as part of the certification scheme.
“This unique approach requires “out-of-the-box” thinking to apply the requirements of WELL features within the context of the project. Through a practical and proactive approach, AESG provided clear advice and guidance on the development of operational policies that would enhance the well-being of employees, while remaining within the constraints of the clients’ operations. These policies included the provision of sit-stand desks; having the freedom of selecting their own chairs; offering employees a 50% subsidy on Fitbit activity trackers and organising intra-office competitions to encourage employees to stay fit while also fostering a healthy level of camaraderie and competition in the office.”
AESG also advised on the provision of longer maternity and paternity leave for Xworks Interiors LLC’s employees, childcare subsidy vouchers, dedicated time off for volunteering and regular employee well-being surveys.
Saeed Al Abbar, director at AESG, said his company is now leading the field within the health and well-being sector.
“We are proud to be the first consultancy to achieve WELL Gold certification in the Middle East,” said Saeed Al Abbar, Director at AESG who is confident that the number of WELL accredited facilities in the region is set to grow at an exponential rate,” he said.
“This approach is especially beneficial in the Middle East, where people spend the majority of their time indoors. The biggest asset to any organisation is its employees and therefore providing a working environment that is conducive to improved physical and mental health, cognitive function, productive as well as morale is a win-win for companies, employees and the wider community.” he added.