NewsExperts urge enhanced WHO guidance on role of buildings in addressing COVID-19

Call for further guidance on how best practice in the built environment can protect building occupants from the spread of coronavirus.
Content Team3 months ago4 min

More than 680 built environment experts from 51 countries have come together urging public health leaders to adopt and advance indoor environment best practices proven to help protect building occupants from the spread of COVID-19.

The statement, delivered as a petition to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), was written in support of the recent open letter penned by 239 scientists recognising the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus based on increasing research demonstrating that COVID-19 spreads via aerosol as well as through larger droplets.

While the latest WHO brief released on July 9, 2020, begins to integrate building-based solutions, the group representing some of the leading voices in the built environment calls for much more guidance.

“What started as a conversation among a few concerned practitioners across the entire built environment continuum quickly grew to a call to action drawing in experts from our collective organisations and communities and the compilation of more than 680 signatories from 51 countries in less than 30 days,” said Luke Leung, Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

The built environment experts support the medical and health professionals’ model of doing no harm and applying the precautionary principles. In the statement to WHO, architects, engineers, interior designers and experts from across the globe urged WHO to work with building environment experts to develop guidance for integrated design and operation solutions as a critical part of the defense path for mitigating COVID-19 exposure. This will enable built environment and health professionals to work together more seamlessly to improve indoor environments and for the public to be better informed.

In addition to the hundreds of individual building professionals’ signatures, a number of influential international associations have pledged their support for this statement, including the International Union of Architects (UIA), the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council commented “The World Green Building Council´s global network encourages the World Health Organization (WHO) to work in unity with our industry to incorporate proven strategies for healthy indoor environments into its guidelines for mitigating the transmission of infectious disease. We must action our universal principles for healthy and sustainable buildings and collaborate between different disciplines to deliver safer spaces for a green and equitable recovery.”

For more information on the role of buildings in addressing COVID-19, click here

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

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