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The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has launched a taskforce to examine the role buildings can play in reducing the burden of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

Its goal is to define the critical role buildings, organizations and communities play in prevention and preparedness, resilience and recovery.

The taskforce’s work will take a broad approach, considering both new and recurring infectious agents that can affect large populations.

IWBI CEO, Rick Fedrizzi, said the organisation’s work centres on providing evidence-backed solutions that advance better health and well-being in the places and spaces where we spend our lives.

“The creation of this Task Force provides a mechanism to focus on this immediate challenge and collect and apply the expertise and insight of our global community, which includes practicing physicians, environmental and behavioural scientists, leading design practitioners and innovation leaders from global corporations,” he said.

“This timely effort will mine the scientific literature to identify enhanced opportunities for the built environment to improve population health.”

IWBI president, Rachel Gutter, said the aim of the Task Force is twofold.

“First, to identify and develop a set of signature deliverables and resources, including guidelines for individuals, organizations and communities to help them better integrate actionable insights and proven strategies into how they manage both their buildings and their organizations.” She said.

“Second, the taskforce will assess ways in which the WELL Building Standard (WELL) itself can be further strengthened so the system, which touches more than a half-billion square feet of space across 58 countries, can best continue to support prevention and preparedness, resiliency and recovery in this critical moment and into the future.”

 “WELL already reflects the massive amount of current health research and data we’ve amassed and integrated since its launch in late 2014,” she said.

“But the landscape shifted at the first of the year with the global onset of this virus. We are committed to making sure we share freely everything we’ve learned with our global community and beyond.”

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