360 Workplace has successfully guided developers RO Real Estate to secure Fitwel accreditation for the Dakota building in Weybridge. Fitwel is an approachable, and evidence-based healthy building measure that is quickly gaining traction in the UK and Europe. 360 Workplace and RO Real Estate are leading the way in Europe, with Dakota as the first UK Fitwel certified property outside of London and first multi-tenanted building to secure the accreditation in Europe.
Fitwel is rooted in the concept that buildings can be optimized to encourage wellbeing for their occupiers and their employees, visitors and guests through design and operational strategies. Hence, the rating system is being applied by companies of all sizes and industries as a part of employers’ wellness commitments.
The Fitwel standard provides a route map, backed by scientific research, for making positive changes that are scientifically proven to improve wellbeing. As a points-based system, they satisfy developers and occupiers’ demand for data and evidence. The Fitwel certification is achieved through a streamlined and user-friendly online interface. Georgia Elliott-Smith, Director at 360 Workplace and Fitwel Ambassador, guided the RO team through the process. She said,
“We’re delighted that we could assist RO with this fantastic achievement. RO’s commitment to put building users’ health and wellbeing at the heart of the project sets a new standard for UK commercial property development. The wellbeing agenda is not going away, and we hope that this will encourage others to focus on user experience, making the health of occupants and end user communities a priority.”
Dakota, which comprises around 39,461 sq. ft. office space across four floors is a multi-let workplace. Gaining Fitwel accreditation sets it apart. Nick Moore, Head of Investment at RO Real Estate said,
“At RO we pride ourselves on creating unique, inspiring workplaces and improving the built environment. As a family run business, relationships are integral to everything we do, and we were keen to ensure that the building would be a perfect business environment for our future tenants. Whilst we recognised that wellbeing is increasingly crucial to modern living and therefore occupiers, it wasn’t till we heard of the Fitwel standard that we could begin to quantify whether we had fully incorporated this into our design.
It has taken six months to fully integrate the Fitwel standard and ensure that Dakota remains an inspiring workplace. I am really proud of what has been achieved and we are now adopting the key principles throughout our portfolio, with the next scheme already in the pipeline.”
Fitwel has been embraced by developers and workplace strategists. In Europe, there are over 4.1 million sq. ft. of office space currently registered with Fitwel and seeking Fitwel certification, and over 100 individuals’ part of the Fitwel Ambassador program. There are no preconditions and there is a single certification and registration fee of $6,500 for all projects regardless of size which is valid for three years.
Reena Agarwal, COO at Center for Active Design said, “By Fitwel certifying the Dakota, RO Real Estate jointly with the Fourfront Group have advanced the healthy building movement and helped to set the standard for multi-let buildings within Europe. We are proud to work with these industry leaders, dedicated to impacting the health of their future tenants.”
360 Workplace is the independent consultancy arm of the Fourfront Group, a family of companies that help bring workplaces to life. We provide the insight to help our clients create exceptional workplaces. Our team of workplace consultants have extensive industry experience, delivering strategic, ‘real world’, evidence-based advice and solutions. We help our clients reduce costs, increase workplace efficiency and enhance the employee experience to maximise return on investment in their people and property. We create inspiring workplaces that not only embody your culture and values but also foster productivity and wellbeing.
Along with 360 Workplace Fourfront comprises Area, delivering office design and fit-out, detail and build and Sketch, an independent commercial furniture solution and move management consultancy.
About The RO
RO Real Estate and its various sister companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of the RO which is a family owned group of companies established in 1932. The RO has always invested in a diverse range of interests which today embraces commercial property, housebuilding, holiday lodges and financial services.
RO Real Estate, the commercial property division, has built over 1.1 million sq. ft to date and currently manages over 800,000 sq. ft of office, industrial, retail and hotel accommodation. All acquisitions are funded through its existing cash resources, meaning that it can move quickly if the appropriate investment criteria are met.
RO’s housebuilder, Metis Homes, builds modern homes with traditional values and has created a diverse portfolio of bespoke, high quality homes in prime locations – from traditional properties in rural settings to contemporary town centre schemes. In 2017, Metis’ achievements were recognised at the What House Awards, recognised by the industry as ’the housebuilding Oscars’, where they were presented with the Gold Award for Best Small Housebuilder.
Fitwel and the Center for Active Design
Named one of Fast Company’s 2017 Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Social Good, Fitwel is the premiere global health certification system for optimizing building design and operations. Generated by expert analysis of over 3,000 academic research studies, Fitwel is implementing a vision for a healthier future where all buildings and communities are enhanced to strengthen health and wellbeing. Fitwel was created as a joint initiative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention together with the General Services Administration. The Center for Active Design, an international non-profit that uses design to foster healthy and engaged communities, was awarded the exclusive operating license in 2016 with the mandate to expand Fitwel globally to the private sector. www.fitwel.org