Safely Returning to Offices with the IMMUNE Building Standard

What was clear to see following the global implementation of lockdown measures across the world was that the property sector was neither prepared nor equipped to manage a situation of this nature. In this context, the framework behind the IMMUNE Building Standard (IMMUNE) was initiated, with a strategy to engineer safer built environments for people and organisations returning to their offices, says Liviu Tudor, Founder and President at Genesis Property.

Liviu Tudor

is Founder and President at Genesis Property

IMMUNE has been developed as a set of measures, technical solutions and facility management practices to certify how built environments can withstand present and future health challenges and minimise the impact of a pandemic such as COVID-19 and other bacteriological or toxicological threats in the most sustainable way possible.

To provide a new global standard as a reference for buildings of all types, we allocated budget exceeding $1m for prototyping and enlisted an expert team of around 20 multi-sector R&D professionals from the health, technology, real estate, architectural and engineering fields, who borrowed learnings from hospitals and IT industry’s clean rooms to develop the IMMUNE model. It was during this phase, coupled with additional research and personal expertise of over 30 years in the commercial property sector, that we were able to draw up 100+ recommended measures for buildings to implement. An authorised building assessor in the field of sustainable building design, development and certification, will evaluate and award a property with one of the three IMMUNE labels: ‘Strong’ – equivalent of three stars, ‘Powerful’ – equivalent of four stars or ‘Resilient’ – equivalent of five stars, based on the number of criteria met during the official assessment. The award demonstrates a building’s diligence and commitment to implementing the Healthy by Design approach while considering best practices to achieve the IMMUNE standard.

The IMMUNE index measures include architectural engineering, technology, design and two levels of operational practices – perpetual and ready-to-action – and offers a step-by-step guide for anyone involved in the realm of real estate development, including architects, engineers, designers, developers and building owners, with target benchmarks to help them create a resilient future workplace.

One of the main advantages of the standard is that as it is an open source inaugural version, there will be adequate opportunities to continually re-assess and evolve as time goes on to ensure that the workplace is the safest it can be, regardless of its size and facilities, as we continue to learn more about the challenges we face.

As per the recommended engineering and design in the criteria, the workplace of the future could include various unique features established by IMMUNE, including:

•  IMMUNE Stewards would be deployed within each building to implement and monitor activities

•  The IMMUNE Quarantine/Room – a specially designed, fully equipped and ready to use area in case of an immediate need to isolate any exposed people

•  The Emergency IMMUNE Warehouse – contriving a rapid and effective relief logistic system for pandemic-response, containing specific protective materials including PPE. The IMMUNE Steward will be responsible to maintain the stock materials and to distribute at building level everything necessary to ensure safety to all occupants.

•  The IMMUNE Digital Twin – digital screens placed in receptions to display immunity-boosting indicators such as daily improvement of indoor air quality in comparison to outside air, water parameters versus the water source received from the city network, etc.

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