WELL, Fitwel, WELL Health-Safety and Fitwel Viral Response Module
WELL vs. Fitwel Certification
WELL and Fitwel are two certification programs that focus exclusively on occupant health, wellness, and safety. Certification programs such as LEED and Green Globes share some of the fundamental aspects as it relates to indoor air quality and occupant health and comfort areas but are more broadly encompassing overall building sustainability.
Fitwel, compared to WELL, allows for the most flexibility in earning a certification and does not have mandatory requirements (prerequisites). It also costs less to implement and earn certification. Fitwel was originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration (GSA.) The CDC remains the research and evaluation partner for Fitwel. The Center for Active Design was selected as the licensed operator of Fitwel, charged with expanding Fitwel to the global market.
The WELL Building Standard is more comprehensive and has very strong market recognition, particularly by tenants with strong Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) goals. The standard was first launched by Delos, a for-profit wellness real estate and technology firm, in 2013. Recently the second version was released from beta and is now available for certifications. WELL shares a documentation system similar to LEED where there are mandatory preconditions in order to earn certification. Certifications are also reviewed and instituted by the same group that reviews and certifies LEED projects, the Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI.)
WELL v2 has four levels of certification: bronze (40pts), silver (50pts), gold (60pts), and platinum (80pts) The certification covers the following categories:
Fitwel has three levels of certification, one star (90pts), two stars (105pts), and three stars (125pts). The certification covers 7 health categories and has more than 55 strategies.
The categories are classified into the following 12 sections:
Location • Building access • Outdoor spaces • Entrances and ground floor • Stairwells
Indoor environment • Workspaces • Shared spaces • Water supply • Emergency procedures
Cafeterias and prepared food retail • Vending machines and snack bars
WELL & Fitwel Certification Fees
The following fees are subject to change and should be used only for budget purposes.
WELL v2 Certification
- 3-Year Certification
- Enrollment Fee: $2,500
- Program Fee (e.g. certification): $0.16/SF (Starting at $6,500; capped at $98,000)
- Onsite Performance Testing: Starting at $6,500
- Portfolio program available with discounts
- 3-Year Certification
- Registration: $500
- Certification Fee: See comparison table below
Certification Review Fee Comparison
WELL Health-Safety Rating vs. Fitwel Viral Response Module
The WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all facility types, focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder education to address a post-COVID-19 environment now and broader health and safety-related issues into the future. The property can pursue this rating without the need to go through a WELL certification as this is an independent rating. The project must achieve 15 features out of the 24 possible features to receive the certification. The features are spread out through the following core area:
- Cleaning and Sanitization Procedures
- Emergency Preparedness Programs
- Health Service Resources
- Air and Water Quality Management
- Stakeholder Engagement and Communication
Fitwel has a certification called Fitwel Viral Response Module. The Fitwel Viral Response module covers three key topic areas for mitigating infectious disease transmission:
- Enhance Indoor Environments
- Encourage Behavioral Change
- Build Occupant Trust
In each topic area, there are minimum requirements (MR) and dependent strategies (DS). An entity achieving a module score of 70%-89% will be recognized as “Fitwel Viral Response Certified.” An entity achieving a module score of 90% and above will be recognized as “Fitwel Viral Response Certified with Distinction.”
WELL Health-Safety can be certified in as quickly as one month, Fitwel Viral Response Module as quickly as six weeks.
WELL Health-Safety Rating & Fitwel Viral Response Fees
The WELL Health-Safety Rating and Fitwel Viral Response are annual ratings. With both programs, portfolio-level programs are available with discounts, Cyclone can assist with portfolio-level ratings.
If you are budget conscience but would like to evaluate and certify the work you do to health and wellness, Fitwel is a great program and we can guide you through it. If you are seeking a more competitive certification with bigger brand recognition, then WELL would be a better fit. Fitwel certifications can work for any building but we most commonly see them with tenant spaces within office buildings. WELL is often done on new construction projects.
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