The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC), a division of worldwide cleaning industry association ISSA, has announced a joint strategic initiative to accelerate the uptake of best practices that strengthen the role of buildings in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and other infections.
Specifically, the GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation Program will become a recognized path of partial compliance for cleaning and sanitization criteria within IWBI’s holistic WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management. A GBAC STAR accreditation will count towards five of the 15 points necessary to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating overall. Furthermore, ISSA members and GBAC Star accredited projects are eligible for a 25% discount when enrolling to pursue the WELL Health-Safety Rating.
“We could not be more excited about this joint initiative and the opportunity to partner with the world’s leading association for the cleaning industry worldwide,” said IWBI president and CEO Rachel Gutter. “We share a common commitment to deploy the places and spaces where we spend our lives as a first line of defense in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. As cleaning and sanitization are critical components in the defense against the spread of pathogens, we are confident that our work with ISSA will lead to an acceleration of the industry’s uptake of best practices. In working together, we make it easier for shared customers to pursue dual designations and most importantly, help guests, employees, and the communities they serve get back to business with confidence.”
“Facilities using GBAC STAR as guidance know they are using proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques and infection prevention practices that are critical in the age of COVID-19 and beyond,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “Leveraging the power of partnership to ensure that GBAC STAR is fully supported as a critical compliance path within the third-party verified WELL Health-Safety Rating is a home run, not only for every market leader in health and safety, but also for every person who walks through the door that bears WELL Health-Safety Rated and GBAC STAR Accredited seals.”
The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all facility types and is holistically focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans, and stakeholder education. Iconic buildings like the Empire State Building and Taipei 101 Tower, a substantial number of professional stadiums, including Yankee Stadium, AT&T Stadium, and Prudential Center, all of Fairfax County, VA public schools, and portfolios of major global companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Uber, Aimbridge Hospitality, Loews Hotels, and USAA, are using the WELL Health-Safety Rating to help visitors, employees, and customers alike feel more confident in getting back to business.
GBAC STAR accredits facilities that follow a rigorous set of proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques, and infection prevention practices to combat biohazards and prevent the spread of infectious disease. More than 3,500 facilities in 81 countries have committed to GBAC STAR accreditation since the program launched in May. Notable facilities that have achieved GBAC STAR to date include Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the Dubai Mall, and McCormick Place in Chicago. Additionally, GBAC STAR has garnered worldwide adoption from Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and American Airlines.
Gutter noted that future collaborative efforts may include joint education on the critical role of buildings in advancing human health and well-being, partnering on key advocacy efforts, exchange of expertise between the IWBI community and ISSA and GBAC’s biorisk and cleaning professionals, along with the expansion of professional trainings and certificate programs.
“Through this partnership, we’re doubling down on our considerable shared efforts to help companies respond to this global public health crisis, bridge what has become a pervasive confidence gap for re-entry, and get back to business,” Gutter said. “They have access to both the 100+ year bedrock that ISSA has established in the development of state-of-the-art cleaning and disinfection practices, and IWBI’s global leadership in advancing better buildings, more vibrant communities and stronger organizations that help people thrive.”