The Melbourne office tower is the first existing building in Australia to hit Platinum status.
The building has recently undergone a $5 million refurbishment, including the installation of new end-of-trip facilities, a business lounge, and an upgrade of air, thermal comfort and ventilation systems.
The International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard seeks out the best in design and construction with scientific research. It focuses on enhancing people’s health and wellness through the built environment.
500 Collins Street went Platinum based on 10 building performance categories: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community.
It was subjected to testing of air quality, ventilation, thermal and acoustic comfort, and water systems. It has also introduced non-toxic cleaning products, mindful eating promotion through healthy vending machines and the creation of an online tenant portal to share nutritious recipes and promote mental health.
Mark Ross is managing director of Kamirice, the company that owns 500 Collins. Ross says the COVID-19 pandemic has led businesses to reevaluate employee expectations of the workplace and that this achievement demonstrates a commitment to tenant well-being, creating better workplaces and encouraging workers to return to the office.
“500 Collins shows how an older existing building, in which investment has been consistent and focused, and which has been upgraded over the years, was in a position to achieve WELL Platinum certification,” he says.
Kamirice acquired 500 Collins in 2002. After a full upgrade it became the first refurbished office building to achieve a 5 Star Green Star Office Design rating in 2007, with support from NDY (Norman, Disney & Young).
“The WELL accreditation is actually the bookend of 20 years of work,” says Tony Arnel, former global sustainability director of NDY and former chairman of the World and Australian Building Councils.
“500 Collins Street was a trailblazer in the early 2000s with the research that went on regarding indoor air quality and occupant productivity. Kamirice has continually paved the way to make its buildings healthier and drive tenant demand by providing better working spaces”, Arnel says.
Gray Puksand designed both the new ground floor business lounge and the new end-of-trip facility, which features bicycle parking, showers and lockers.