When we began planning the renovation of Webcor's San Francisco headquarters in early 2018, we knew we wanted to build a space that reflected our craft, core values, and employee wellness.
August 19, 2020
by Jenelle Shapiro, Sustainability Director
When we began planning the renovation of our San Francisco headquarters in early 2018, we knew we wanted to build a space that reflected our craft, core values, and employee wellness. These pillars were the foundation upon which our 18,000-square-foot expansion’s WELL Gold Certification, achieved June 26, was built.
The journey toward WELL Certification is not for the faint of heart . The process involves coordination in early design through operational oversight with extensive on-site performance verification. However, by extensively collaborating with all of our departments, owning the entire process, and wearing multiple hats – as the Builder, Owner, and Sustainability Consultant – we’ve proudly earned this rare certification. Most general contractors can’t speak to the minutiae of what goes into creating a space that performs as a living, breathing machine. However, after this 2.5-year experience, we can confidently say we understand all that the process entails and the benefits it brings to our employees! We recognize the value of applying this experience when working with diverse clients and projects that prioritize the implementation of health and wellness strategies in their workspaces.
One of our early priorities was to create a space that would illuminate who we are as a builder and what it means to be Webcor – Building Solutions. Bettering Lives. The renovation team included every specialty contracting group in Webcor’s arsenal – Webcor Carpentry for doors/millwork/finish carpentry, Webcor Concrete Group for custom countertops, and Webcor Drywall for framing and drywall. The “One Webcor” mantra was consistently applied to amplify the collective output of the project. The self-perform work by Webcor’s specialty divisions was designed to challenge them in terms of creativity, craftsmanship, and process to build, making the overall project more personal and rewarding for Webcor and every team member contributing to the project.
Webcor’s renovated headquarters brings our quality and craftsmanship to the forefront – in both subtle and distinctly visible ways.
The environment was created through the synthesis of bold design decisions and mindfully selected elements — such as sustainably sourced materials and furnishings, health-responsive lighting, exceptional air quality monitoring systems, and in-house foliage (575 total plants to be exact) — that contribute to the office’s employee-centered atmosphere and symbolize the balance between the built and natural worlds.
While natural light permeates throughout most of the office, all lighting fixtures are equipped with innovative BIOS LED chip technology structured around natural circadian rhythms to optimize employee health. Office materials, from drywall and flooring to carpets and ceilings, contain high levels of recycled content and were chosen based on optimal sustainability criteria. The selected furniture exceeds the ANSI/BIFMA eFurniture Sustainability standard. Webcor acquired furniture and materials from companies with take-back programs for end-of-life waste management and sought to purchase furniture and materials from manufacturers that demonstrated a tangible commitment to corporate social responsibility.
To ensure clean, breathable air for employees, the team vetted furniture, adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, ceilings, walls, insulation, composite wood, and flooring materials to safeguard against VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and off-gassing. New Omni Awair sensors were installed to track various aspects of air quality such as VOCs, particulates, CO2, and humidity. The space includes 130 square feet of green wall spanning two unique walls, and repurposed rebar planters hold rows of plants throughout the workspaces.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, we value having a trusted and safe space for our employees now more than ever. Proper air quality has traditionally been viewed as a “nice to have”, but we prioritized it as a necessary component of our design strategy and goals. Studies have shown that proper air management is a critical item when determining ways to mitigate the virus’s spread. Our space is able to filter, process, and track data over time to ensure the healthiest and safest work environment for our people.
Visually, the office celebrates Webcor’s craftsmanship as a general and specialty contractor. Pipes and conduits are exposed, allowing unobstructed views of the ceiling and offering visitors a glimpse into every detail of the building. The reception area features a complex concrete double-curved ceiling. The reception desk itself was custom-made by Webcor’s Interior Construction Group. The lobby boasts a feature wall that showcases all of Webcor’s various departments and specialty contracting groups, including the Core and Shell operation, Webcor Concrete Group, InteriorConstruction Group, Paramount Drywall, Paramount Builders Supply, and the company’s various support functions, including the Sustainability Department.
The lessons learned from this renovation have led us to prioritize health, wellness, and innovation in our jobsite offices. In response to the needs of our ever-changing workforce, we’ve mirrored some of the features we implemented at207 King Street across our entire company. As part of our internal Employee Experience initiative, we have been rolling out an Enhanced Workplace Community (EWoC) framework for all of our new project workspaces. We’re proud to say we’ve received fantastic feedback on people’s happiness and productivity within these environments.
Key sustainability and wellness features include:
o 130 sq. ft. of green wall spanning two walls
o Fourornamental rebar planters
o Living greenery throughout the office, including plants on employees’ work stations and desks
o Green color palette and natural wood and textures incorporated throughout
o BIOSlighting with innovative, nascent “Sky Blue” technology that supports circadian rhythms and consistently provides natural light to the entire office
Materials and furniture
o All furniture subject to stringent ANSI/BIFMA eFurniture Sustainability standards
o A focal wall spotlighting all Webcor departments and self-perform groups, including building, concrete, interiors, drywall and sustainability
o Optimally sustainable materials were incorporated, including:
· Drywall with over 90% recycled content
· Sustainably sourced wood flooring
· Products with material take-back programs for end-of-life waste management
· Carpet, ceilings, tile and metal framing made with highly recycled content
· Cork, ceiling tile and drywall made of bio-based elements
· Products and finishings with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and off-gassing
o In-office bike racks, lockers and showers, and an in-building gym
o Built-in sensors to measure and ensure optimal air quality
o Kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and beverages
o Wellness room for rest and recuperation
o Mother’s room equipped with a mini fridge and private sink
o Two countertop Bevi systems serving flavored sparkling water as an alternative to soda and water bottles
Construction is what we do best and it’s no surprise that we live and breathe every aspect of California construction.