Specialist wellbeing consultancy for the built environment – Ekkist – launches the Healthy Homes Checklist, which supports both developers and designers in examining every aspect of home design. Compiled with science-backed best practice, the tool measures the health credentials of new homes and identifies areas for improvement in design and construction.
Build to Rent operator Quintain and real estate firm FORE Partnership’s are among the first to trial the new Healthy Homes Checklist, which will be adopted with Ekkist’s guidance to measure and improve the health and wellbeing potential of their new residential projects. Quintain will be trialling the checklist across over 1,000 Build to Rent homes at Wembley Park.
“It’s really important to us to ensure we continue building positive, healthy homes for our residents. We believe that the Healthy Homes Checklist will be a useful tool in helping us achieve this, which is why we’re trialling it across more than 1,000 apartments for rent at Wembley Park, using it to assess the health and wellbeing credentials of the newly launched Repton Gardens building, as well as two further plots that are currently under construction. We believe that building healthy homes is vital to creating places to live that are fit for the future and we are pleased to be partnering with Ekkist to do so.”Clare Masters, Head of Sustainability, Quintain
The comprehensive tool comprises over 130 practical steps across 12 categories. Architects, developers and housebuilders can integrate these from the design stage to construction, through to post-occupancy – to ensure homes genuinely support the physical and mental health of residents.
The Healthy Homes Checklist’s categories range from external and internal layouts, design details (architecture and landscaping), and toxicity of materials, furnishings and air quality to feelings of community, comfort and happiness.
Aurélien Collignon of B-Corp FORE Partnership, who will also be adopting the Healthy Homes Checklist, feels that there is a strong alignment with their company ethos and business aims.
“A number of intersecting societal shifts are dramatically transforming what the buildings of tomorrow will look like: an increasing focus on wellbeing, the blurring of personal and professional lives, an aging population and an epidemic of loneliness – all combined with the urgency to move to a low carbon economy.
“We are committed to creating places that produce positive outcomes for residents in terms of health, wellbeing, and quality of life, while also being good for their local community and the planet. We share Ekkist’s passion for health in the built environment, and we firmly believe that buildings that prioritise the wellbeing of people and the environment will also be assets that generate healthy returns too.”Aurélien Collignon of FORE Partnership
The Ekkist team reviewed major health-focussed building standards, frameworks, guidance documents and scientific research papers relating to health and housing design, when creating the Healthy Homes Checklist. After pooling this research, it was reviewed with key industry experts and stakeholders – including Michael Chang from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Spire Building Services, Chapman BDSP, GIA and Sandy Brown.
Ekkist’s Co-founder believes that the tool will be popular among developers looking to add value to their developments.
“Not only do healthier homes have the potential to improve the lives of the public and reduce burdens on the NHS, but we are also seeing them be more popular with buyers. We see healthy homes as a ‘triple win’ – a win for consumers, a win for housing providers, and ultimately a win for society as a whole.”Olga Turner Baker, Co-founder, Ekkist
It is believed that this is the first time that a breadth of categorisation has been brought together in a readily applicable format, that enables developers to assess the cumulative impact that housing design will have on long-term physical and mental health.
The Healthy Homes Checklist can also be used as a precursor to building certifications such as WELL or the HQM, to form the basis of design briefs and ESG strategies, or to identify health focused USPs for new developments.
Ekkist’s Director Ben Channon co-created the Healthy Homes Checklist. He is an experienced architect of residential buildings and a specialist in healthy design. Ben believes that the tool could have a huge impact on the quality of both existing and future British housing stock.
“The sad truth is that lots of homes across the UK still negatively affect the physical and mental health of the people who live in them. This Checklist will make it easier to design new healthy homes and retrofit existing houses to improve health outcomes for all – so that we can provide new homes in both the quantity and quality at which they are required.”Ben Channon, Director, Ekkist