The minute I saw the ad for this on T.V. and saw who was promoting it, my blood ran cold. This concept is scaring the hell out of me right now. I will be looking into this, as much as possible in this edition of Steel Pencil, and try to get to the bottom of it. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize this is tied into the ‘New Green Deal”. I’m sure the impact on our economy is going to be very big.

So what on earth could be the driving force behind this organization? It was founded by Paul Scialla, an 18 year veteran on Wall Street, including ten years at Goldman Sachs, as a partner. Paul’s interest in altruistic capitalism and sustainability led him to establish the International Well Building Institute ( IWBI ), which of course administers the WELL BUILDING Standard ( copyright ) globally, to improve human health and well being. (statement from WELL website )

To answer the question above; MONEY. Lots of MONEY.

In the promotion, they say when you are selecting a business to patronize, look for the seal on the window or door, and feel better about entering the building. This is sort of like a “soft protection” racket. If you want to attract customers, you need to have this seal to make people more eager to enter your building. If you don’t have the seal, you will need to have the WELL representatives pay you a visit and tell you what you need to do in order to comply. ( sound like a shakedown? ) In order to bring your building into WELL compliance, I’m quite sure the cost is going to be significant. I have to commend Mr. Scialla for his brilliant idea. It sort of reminds me of the old Dire Straights song, “Money for Nothing.”

I am a career member of the construction industry. I have seen massive changes in the way buildings are built. The changes are fabulous. Buildings built today are safer, and healthier for many reasons. Our modern architects and engineers are the best in the world. That said, attempting to bring a 30 year old building or older, up to these standards is a monumental task, and a very expensive undertaking. I seriously doubt that many property owners could afford to do that.

How do you make a building a healthier place to be? We already have strict OSHA regulations for building safety, and an International Building Code, as well as a Universal Building Code. Most of these codes are incorporated into city, county and state building codes. The Los Angeles City building code is one of the best in the world, widely adopted by smaller cities and towns.

It appears that WELL is focusing on personal health rather than safety. Does this incorporate some sort of deep cleaning of the building? If so, who determines that it was done properly and what type of tools are used to determine cleanliness? Does this require your building to be inspected on a regular basis? Seems like it would have to be, very frequently. Who pays for those inspections? This would likely involve a completely new air handling and ventilation system, with maybe some type of bacteria killing capabilities. Wow, that sounds complicated and expensive to operate and maintain. If you are employed in such a building, what types of personal hygiene will you be required to perform? Special clothing processed by an certified cleaner? I don’t see you being able to walk in off the street without removing your shoes, especially where homeless people congregate. Maybe patrons will have to pass through a machine that disinfects your entire person. Seems like that in itself could be a health risk.

Are you with me on this? Does this sound a little scary to you? I’m thinking it’s the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on steroids. I am going to keep looking into this, and keep you updated as I find out more information about the requirements. In the meantime, stay healthy. Jack Daniels Old No. 7 is a good mouthwash to kill those pesky Covid germs. ( when used with caution )



  1. No different than SQF just another made up institution. Another way to extort money via private industry vs government.


  2. I’m involved with the WELL program, not from the inside, but as a consultant who helps companies become WELL Certified. Personally, I align with many of your thoughts politically and socially, but this is pure capitalism in a nutshell. It’s not much different than having a sign that says “Made Fresh Daily” or any other thing to encourage people to enter a building and do business at their establishment. WELL is actually more geared to the wellness of the employees with the customer response secondary. Companies have been spending millions of dollars in pension plans and benefit packages to do the same thing for decades. WELL features categories like air quality, water, lighting, acoustics, and several others to make it a more comfortable and safe work place, beyond basic OSHA requirements. When you make a business a more healthy and attractive place to work, you will get better quality employees and they tend to stay longer – two issues that have been plaguing now more than ever. This is meant to be an informative and objective response and in no way initiate a debate. I hope it has been helpful and I hope you all have a great day.


    1. Hello Adam, thanks for taking the time to read my article. It was a little difficult to get much hard data. But as you saw from reading my piece, I am sensitive to more restrictions on the building industry, as that’s my chosen career. I have been in the steel construction industry most of my life. As a young guy I soon learned that AISC was the fabricators ally against unwarranted back charges and being forced to perform work outside of our normal scope. Then in the nineties AISC did something I totally disagreed with. They came up with a system for fabricators to adhere to in order to become an AISC Certified Fabricator. They sold the architects and engineers on the idea. Their system is cumbersome and expensive, only large fabricators can afford to implement it. The smaller shops could no longer participate in projects that required AISC Certified Fabricators. In the beginning it was a serious blow to small shops. Twenty years later not so much. But AISC did this for one reason, to force the fabricators to buy an expensive library, and pay a fee for tonnage produced.
      So when someone comes up with an idea that is going to burden and already struggling industry even more, I’m not happy. Good luck , thank you for your feedback, hope you stay in touch.


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