Healthy Buildings in Pandemic Times. The Safest of Them All Stands in Poland

The Olivia Business Centre in Poland is the healthiest business park considering the ongoing pandemic. It is the first building in the world to obtain the highest possible rating after a comprehensive audit by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). This certificate is proof that the building is fully prepared to continue functioning, even during the pandemic. It was designed with features that support health to guarantee the comfort and safety of its tenants and guests. These include a special technology that removes viruses, bacteria and other pathogens from ventilated air, as well as a Polish innovation: titanium coatings that remain free from pathogenic microorganisms.

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is a thorough certification system developed by IWBI in response to the hazards posed by COVID-19. This certification guarantees the highest possible levels of comfort and safety for the people inside a building. In a congratulatory letter to the business park, Rachel Gordon, CEO of IWBI, wrote: “Our certification is based on the insights of nearly 600 virologists, government officials, scientists, business leaders, architects, designers, construction scientists and real estate professionals, as well as the WELL construction standard – the world’s leading platform for the development of healthy buildings and spaces.”

Gdansk’s Olivia Business Centre, the largest business park in Poland, received a maximum score of 25 out of 25 points in each of the 25 categories tested by IWBI’s team of 600 experts.

“The safety and quality of life of our tenants are an absolute priority for us, which is why we were happy to undergo such a thorough and extensive certification process that prioritises the comfort and well-being of our tenants,” stated Konrad Danecki from the Olivia Business Centre. “During the preparations, we set ourselves the goal of meeting all the requirements, down to the smallest of details. Our goal was to obtain the maximum rating in all categories. We are proud that we managed to achieve this and that we are one of the first buildings in the world to join IWBI’s campaign, which aims to restore normality and freedom of movement in public areas and buildings,” Konrad added.

The Olivia Business Centre is one of the first office complexes in the world to have implemented ion air purification technology in its buildings, a solution that has so far been used only in the most prestigious facilities worldwide, including the White House, the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi and private Gulfstream jets. Ion air purification devices saturate all internal areas with ventilated air that contains ions capable of destroying viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. This air purification process is constant and continuous, even with people inside, so the fight against pathogens begins from the very moment they appear.

Active titanium coatings have been applied to all common areas (e.g. elevators, lobbies and access paths to parking areas), ensuring the most commonly touched surfaces are free from pathogenic microorganisms. Bacteria, fungi and viruses that come into contact with these coatings – which were developed by Polish company Lumichem and scientists from Jagiellonian University – are eliminated and their residues are broken down into carbon dioxide and water.

In addition, the filtration in the air handling units has been raised from G4 to F7, which is the highest level currently available. Sensors for pollution such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and particulate matter (PM) have also been installed. Thus, the purity of the fresh air drawn in from the outside and pumped into the buildings is monitored to ensure that it does not contain any harmful compounds. Moreover, the intensity of the air exchange is controlled based on real-time CO2 measurements, significantly contributing to the comfort of those inside. As part of the Olivia Business Centre’s strategy to maximise the safety of its tenants, sterilisers have been installed for the entry cards used by tenants. Elevator settings have been changed so that lift cabins remain open when in stand-by mode, allowing in larger amounts of fresh air.

By undergoing IWBI’s rigorous certification process, the Olivia Business Centre has demonstrated the possibility that life, free from health concerns, will return to how it was before the pandemic, including direct social and professional contacts and mass events.

About the Olivia Business Centre

The Olivia Business Centre in Gdansk is the largest office complex in Northern Poland. It is a prestigious and attractive business park that offers 230,000 square metres of state-of-the-art office space. The centre’s tenants include global corporations such as Allianz, AirHelp, Amazon, Bayer, Energa, Epam Systems, PwC, Sii and ThyssenKrupp, as well as Polish SMEs and start-ups. The Olivia Business Centre’s residents are a unique community. Today, more than 8,500 people work at Olivia.

About the WELL Health-Safety Rating

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is a data-driven independently verified assessment of a building, focusing on operational procedures, use, maintenance standards, stakeholder engagement and contingency plans. The aim is to provide the maximum COVID-19 protection now and in the future while ensuring the safety and comfort of its users.

The WELL Health-Safety certification takes into account guidelines on the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), global disease control and prevention centres, crisis management agencies, recognised standards associations such as ASTM International and ASHRAE, as well as leading academic and research institutions.

Many famous people from all over the world, including Lady Gaga, Robert DeNiro, Michael Jordan, Venus Williams and many others, have engaged in a broad campaign to restore confidence in public spaces.

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