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Eco-development first in Africa to achieve US certification

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

A commercial property based in Pretoria has become the first building in Africa receive an international certificate for being sustainably built for the welfare of its occupants.  The Growthpoint-developed Exxaro headquarters has become the first building in Africa to receive a WELL certification.

The building provides more than 18000sqm of office space and is situated opposite the Centurion Gautrain Station. The building received a Silver Level WELL Core and Shell Certification by the US-based International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint’s Chief Development and Investment Officer, said that achieving this certification was another proud step in their journey to provide positive working environments.

“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.”

The Well Building Standard is the first of its kind. It is the first to focus exclusively on how buildings and everything in them influences the health and wellbeing of their tenants. The global WELL portfolio includes more than 4,000 projects in 61 countries. Growthpoint’s achievement has allowed South Africa to become one of 300 buildings worldwide that are WELL certified.

Pienaar explained that the building is occupied by Exxaro but is owned by Growpoint. He added that achieving this certification would not have been possible without the collaboration between Growthpoint and Exxaro. 

Due to many people spending the majority of their time indoors, it has become a necessity for workspaces to positively influence the health and well-being of workers. Growthpoint has always committed itself to provide a space that allows those within their buildings to thrive.

“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.”

Pienaar also added that the Exxaro head office development provided the ideal foundation for Growthpoint to create a model of sustainability and well-being for its occupants. To adhere to the high environmental standards set by Growthpoint and Exxaro, they initially aimed for the five Green star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa. 

Growthpoint worked with IWBI and with input from the entire professional team with included Aurecon, AECOM and AMA Architects to ensure that the building’s design adhered to the requirements of both the Green Star rating system and the WELL Building Standard.

The design had to meet 26 preconditions in order to receive the WELL Certification. These preconditions included categories of air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Pienaar further stressed that during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic it has become important now more than ever to consider the health and wellbeing of occupants in future developments.

“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.”

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