Growthpoint’s head office development for Exxaro receives Africa’s first WELL certification

Published on: 18/05/2020

Growthpoint Properties has developed the first building on the African continent to achieve a WELL certification, further differentiating its workspaces and taking its portfolio of office properties to the next level.

The Growthpoint-developed Exxaro headquarters in Pretoria, an 18,500sqm office building opposite the Centurion Gautrain Station, is the very first building in Africa to be awarded a WELL certification. It received a Silver Level WELL Core and Shell Certification by the US-based International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

The close collaboration between Growthpoint, Exxaro and the development’s entire professional team crafted this innovative, green, aesthetically compelling, high-performance building.

Because people spend 90% of their time indoors, there is no doubt that our built environment has a big impact on our health, well-being and productivity.

The WELL Building Standard is the first global rating system to focus exclusively on how buildings, and everything in them, can enhance our health and wellness. WELL was developed by integrating scientific and medical research with leading property expertise.

The global WELL portfolio includes more than 4,000 projects in 61 countries. With Growthpoint’s ground-breaking WELL certification, South Africa has become part of the leading community of nations with buildings that put the well-being of people first. Pretoria is now the home of one of only 300 WELL certified buildings worldwide.

Receiving Africa’s first WELL certification is another proud milestone on our journey to provide work environments that contribute to the positive health, well-being, safety and performance of the people and businesses in our buildings, contributing to both human and environmental sustainability, says Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint’s Chief Development and Investment Officer.

Growthpoint is already an established leader in green developments. It owns the biggest portfolio of green-certified buildings in Africa, providing quality spaces that work best for its clients.

With Growthpoint’s commitment to innovative and sustainable property solutions that provide space to thrive, it identified the opportunity to push the boundaries of building design in South Africa yet again by aiming for a WELL Certification. Exxaro’s head office development provided the ideal starting point for Growthpoint to create a model of sustainability and well-being for its occupants.

For some time now, we have been integrating design innovation and sustainability to create positive places for people and businesses. When your people perform at their best, your business does too. With our experience using the WELL Building Standard, Growthpoint has proven it can deliver healthy buildings for the future which help companies implement proven wellness strategies and performance, notes Pienaar.

With the COVID-19 crisis, there will be increased importance placed on the design and operation of buildings for occupant health and well-being. Our experience will prove to be an invaluable asset to businesses in South Africa. This crisis has clarified the urgent need for work environments that have a positive impact on physical and mental health, and workplaces that protect our families, businesses, communities and the public. Human health factors, such as good ventilation and air quality, are going to be the defining feature of Premium-grade office properties in future.

In line with both Exxaro’s and Growthpoint’s high environmental standards, the design for the leading-edge HQ development initially targeted a 5 Green Star rating from the Green Building Council South Africa.

Working with IWBI and with input from the entire professional team – including Aurecon, AECOM and AMA Architects – Growthpoint navigated the complexity of aligning the building’s design with the requirements of both the Green Star rating system and the WELL Building Standard.

The WELL certification scheme is performance-based with targeted criteria in the categories of air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. The development had to meet 26 preconditions for WELL Certification, and because it was designed for a high Green Star rating, many of these were already in place.

The two certifications proved to be complementary, even though one focuses on the environment and the other on people,” explains Pienaar. Professional team collaboration ensured that the building achieved both its WELL Certification and 5 Green Star rating for design. Its ‘As Built’ Green Star rating application is currently in progress.

While occupied by Exxaro, the signature building is owned by Growthpoint. Pienaar points out, Growthpoint has assembled an office portfolio of quality, efficient, sustainable, high-performance workplaces, and we are thrilled that it now includes the first WELL-rated building on the African continent. This asset signifies the calibre of office building that we target for our portfolio. It is the type of workspace that we believe our clients are going to want to safeguard and enhance their employees’ health and well-being and their business performance.