Up Next for WELL: “Look for the Seal” at Trinity Industries
From incorporating active design elements to increasing access to natural light, the concept of enhancing human health and wellbeing through the built environment has revolutionized the AEC industry. Last year, the pandemic pushed the wellness community to take their approach to occupant health a step further.
To address post-COVID concerns—and future health risks—the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) developed a new certification: the WELL Health-Safety Seal. With the help of Corgan Architects, BCCI Construction’s sustainability consulting group, and Structure Tone Southwest’s construction team, Trinity Industries, a leading railcar manufacturer, has become the first project in Dallas, Texas to secure the WELL Health-Safety Seal for their new headquarters.
EYES ON THE PRIZE
After occupying the same complex for nearly 30 years, Trinity Industries knew it was time to update and consolidate their headquarters. The company decided to relocate to International Plaza II, a premiere business center in North Dallas. Despite the challenges, Trinity Industries was one of a handful of clients in Texas that continued their project when COVID-19 hit the US.
Virtual venture. Due to COVID, interviews with construction, design, and consulting firms were conducted virtually. For the STSW team, this was a first. “I was worried we wouldn’t be able to tell our story as well as we can in person,” says Ryan Friend, Structure Tone Southwest project manager. “But the unique circumstances actually helped us bond as a team.” Through tools like OpenSpace and video conferencing, virtual meetings and site walkthroughs kept the project moving forward through the ups and downs of the pandemic.
A safety feat. As one of the largest projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex operating during the height of COVID, safety was a major concern. With additional shifts and the support of extraordinary trade partners, the construction team managed to keep more than 200 workers per day socially distanced and safe on-site.
Making it happen. Trinity Industries’ target completion date was in February 2021, but before construction began in August 2020, to find alternate materials and Trinity’s hands on team made quick decisions to keep the project on track. “The confidence Trinity had in us to not only build their space, but to guide them in the right direction made this an incredible project experience,” says Steve McAfee, Structure Tone Southwest senior superintendent.
TRAILBLAZING WITH TRINITY
Spanning 168,000sf across five floors, the finished headquarters features a conference center, collaborative workstations, a wellness room, and café. A detailed history wall in the reception area displays the company’s many patents and a professional-grade greenroom and studio was soundproofed for recording podcasts and commercials. To all who enter, it’s evident Trinity curated the perfect space for their evolving needs—but as a company committed to the health and wellness of their workforce, Trinity wanted to go the extra mile to ensure their employees felt safe in the new space.
When IWBI launched the WELL Health-Safety Seal in September 2020, Trinity jumped at the chance to certify their space. Having worked successfully with Corgan and BCCI Construction to deliver the first WELL-Certified office space in Texas, Structure Tone Southwest suggested Trinity Industries engage BCCI’s sustainability consulting group to guide the process.
SO, WHAT’S NEW?
Designed to address the safety concerns of today, IWBI’s Health-Safety Seal is essentially a condensed version of the greater WELL Certification’s operational policies and facility management elements—meaning the new certification can be used as a stepping stone to achieve full WELL Certification. However, requirements related to cleaning practices, mechanical maintenance, and mold control make gaining buy-in from the building team key to success. Thankfully, Cushman & Wakefield were extremely supportive of Trinity’s goals. In fact, the facilities team is currently working with BCCI to determine what upgrades need to be made in order for both buildings within the campus to become WELL Health-Safety certified.
“The WELL Health-Safety Seal is a great certification, not only for tenants who want to get back to the office, but for landlords and developers,” Kena David, BCCI director of sustainability. “It’s a way to signal to tenants and employees that you’ve implemented extra safety measures and they’ve been verified by a third-party so occupants can feel safer in the built environment.”
Delivered in December 2020, Trinity Industries is loving their new space. The company has continued working with BCCI to explore upgrading to the full WELL Certification for their new HQ by the end of 2021.