One Carter Lane is more than an office fit-out. It is an expression of Cundall’s belief that great design should inspire a creative, healthy and collaborative workspace. It is unique in being BCO compliant as well as the first project in the UK and Europe to achieve WELL Certification through the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) and only the seventh to have been through the process in the World (there were also six pilot projects); a goal intended to put the health and wellbeing of occupants at the heart of the design. The design achieved the WELL Certification at the Gold level, BREEAM Excellent and SKA Gold ratings which demonstrate that health, wellbeing and sustainability are compatible.
The space was designed by Studio Ben Allen to include research and development areas in the form of an ‘Acoustic Lab’ featuring Cundall’s award winning Virtual Acoustic Reality (VAR) - Oculus Rift technology and a ‘Green Lab’ for continued research into biophilia and indoor air quality testing.
Build quality and materials are of paramount importance to achieve WELL compliance. The design team collaborated closely with local fabricators, engaging early in the design process to ensure fittings were of the highest quality from sustainable materials.
Medical research indicates indoor air quality has a major influence on the health, comfort, wellbeing and productivity. All materials and finishes were specified to achieve low VOCs, significantly beyond what is typically done in the UK. Furnishings, interior paint, adhesives, oils, waxes, varnishes, finishes, fabric/acoustic insulation were all selected for low or zero TVOC, formaldehyde and toxic content. The products were carefully selected with a focus on using natural materials. High density areas have variable volume air distribution controlled by CO2 sensors to ensure that air quality is maintained.
In addition to air quality, the incoming mains water quality was tested with results indicating that World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended limits were not being achieved. Therefore filters were added to the design, demonstrating the importance of testing to ensure target performance standards are achieved.
Other innovative features include bespoke locally sourced desks (the Cundall workbench), high reflectance low openness factor blinds and recycled zero phthalate floor finishes and blinds, a ventilated green biowall, living natural timber structures, potable water testing against dissolved minerals, chemicals and microbes. Plants are prevalent throughout the office, integrated in furniture and raised from the floor, to increase occupant awareness.
There is continuous monitoring and recording of zonal space temperature, humidity, lux levels and indoor air quality through Cundall’s prototype Mesh Sensor Network.
The project significantly reduced the carbon emissions of the office which is shown by a reduction in the EPC rating from C (base build) to B. Costs-in-use are kept to a minimum using efficient lighting with passive infra-red occupancy detection and daylight dimming controls.
Cundall has already started to measure some of these metrics in their WELL certified office in London. The early findings from their post occupancy elevations show significant improvements in staff engagement, enjoyment in the environment as well as increases in perceived wellbeing and productivity.
Using our own Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) monitoring system - IEQube™ we are monitoring in real time our internal environment, including temperature, humidity, lux levels, particulates, CO2 and VOCs – all of which are performing significantly better than the EU and World Health Organisation limits.
In HR terms, absenteeism rates have reduced significantly; they are 20% lower than those of a typical new office development. Staff turnover is also down by more than 25% in the year. This has resulted in a payback period for implementing wellbeing measures of months rather than years, with on-going savings potentially in the millions for the life of the lease.