Introducing the IMMUNE™ Building Standard. A future-proof COVID-19 response

1. What is IMMUNE™?

The IMMUNE Building Standard™ is the first, Open Source Global Certification Standard to certify built environment’s level of immunity to a health crisis such as the current pandemic. The standard is inspired by technologies and procedures successfully applied in hospitals and “clean rooms” and adapted for use in commercial real estate development.

It is composed of a comprehensive set of 100+ recommended measures, technical solutions, and facility management practices, to certify how built environments, at any stage of their life cycle, can withstand present and future health challenges and minimize the impact of a pandemic and a bacteriological or toxicological threat such as COVID-19. IMMUNE™ covers building types such as Offices, Hospitality, Retail, Residential, Health Care, and Education.

The IMMUNE Building Standard™ was developed by Bucharest-based Genesis Property in collaboration with The National Institute for Infectious Disease in Romania and several global experts, is a new approach to assessing and certifying human health and safety measures in the built environment.

2. How does IMMUNE work?

The IMMUNE™ index allows assessment of health measures for commercial offices at any stage of the life cycle. The index covers (A) architectural engineering, technology, design, and two levels of operational practices – (P) perpetual, and (R) ready-to-activate – and offers a structure with measures and relevant questions to help property developers and landlords achieve the resilience of a building. A few examples of proper health measures would be thermal scanning at entrances, de-densification of outdoor and indoor space, and touchless hand sanitizer dispensers.

For designers, IMMUNE™ is a guide for preemptively defending against health threats and mitigating their impact. Quarantine rooms and emergency warehouses are some of the notable features that architects can include in building plans.

For owners and building managers, this is a manual for effectively integrating health precautions into building operations and facility oversight.

3. IMMUNE™ highlights and features

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

· 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 all the necessary to ensure safety to all occupants.

· 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 vs. the water source received from the city network, and different measures imposed by the IMMUNE™ Steward, relevant information related to the good functioning of IMMUNE™ equipment throughout the building.

Other elements include:

· Built-in technologies to enhance the sanitizations of indoor spaces in the prevention of bacteria, viruses, and toxins spreading.

· Bathrooms to be fully equipped with Bio Sanitizers – Urinal & WC Hygiene Flushing System.

· Ozone space and water treatment.

· Walls covered with antimicrobial paint proven to prevent bacteria as well as mould and mildew growth.

· Rounded corners to minimize bacterial deposits in toilet cubicles, crowded areas such as meeting rooms, cafeterias or break out rooms to be fitted with high-class filters for the intake air.

4. IMMUNE Certification

A property can be awarded one of the three IMMUNE™ labels, Strong – equivalent of 3 stars, Powerful – equivalent of 4 stars or Resilient – equivalent of 5 stars, based on the number of points received during the official assessment.

The Accreditor, an institute or specialized building standard issuer, will be appointed to award a building one of the three IMMUNE™ labels after receiving the compliance report provided by an authorized building Assessor, an independent third-party company specialized in the field of sustainable building design, development, and certification. The Assessor is trained by the

Accreditor to verify how the architectural engineering and design measures were implemented in the assessed building and how the Facility Management (FM) team is implementing the operational practices.

Once a building owner has been awarded an IMMUNE™ certificate, an IMMUNE™ Steward will be appointed via the building owner’s FM team to manage a dedicated project team. The project team’s role would be to determine the specifications for individual measures in order to create a workspace that is Healthy by Design®, a productive space for people to conduct their activities.

5. Closing thoughts

The current COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how people, businesses, and communities operate and interact. Leading organizations are boldly questioning long-held assumptions about the way we work and the role of the workplace as we reimagine the future of a post COVID-19 era.

With people spending up to 90% of their time indoors, there is an urgent need to re-design and re-engineer indoor spaces, including offices, commercial properties, institutions and homes, to create workplaces that are productive and safe with the correct capacity to prevent the spread of pathogens and diseases. The Open Source IMMUNE Building Standard™ is providing the robust foundation required to successfully adapt to the challenges of today and lead the way to a safe and productive future.

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