Rating system measures digital connectivity of buildings

Rating system measures digital connectivity of buildings

27 September 2019

A ratings system that assesses office towers around the world based on digital connectivity has been introduced to Australia reports The Australian Financial Review.

WiredScore, which was founded in New York in 2013, is a scheme that rates the connectivity and technological capacity of buildings. The company now has operations in the UK, France, Ireland, Germany and Canada, and has rated 50 million square metres of commercial real estate globally.

The company announced its expansion to Australia by signing up property group Lendlease and certifying 14 of its commercial properties across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“It comes down to the things tenants really care about, which is four things,” WiredScore managing director William Newton said during his visit to Australia this week.

“Firstly, can they get the internet up and running quickly when they move into a building or are they going to spend months working on a 4G dongle? Secondly, are they going to be able to pay the right price for the speed they want? Thirdly, is it likely the internet is going to go down?

“And fourthly, we look at mobile phone signal as well, which is becoming more and more important to office workers,” he said.

Four of Lendlease‘s buildings – International House Sydney and International Towers 1, 2 and 3 as well as the new Circular Quay Tower development – all achieved the top “platinum” rating. New York’s Empire State Building and The Shard in London, share the same top rating.

“Despite connectivity being increasingly fundamental to a business’ operations, there has been little information available to tenants about the quality of connectivity in office spaces until now,” said Lendlease chief executive of property Kylie Rampa.

“We recognise connectivity plays a vital role in creating the best places for our customers and this is a driving force behind our partnership with global connectivity rating scheme, WiredScore.”

The new rating adds to the list of variables office buildings can now be rated on, from energy, waste and water efficiency to wellness. WiredScore covers infrastructure, electrical resiliency, wireless capability, and ease and reliability of connectivity.

Mr Newton said losing connection to the internet at work can raise people’s stress level to the same degree “as watching the movie Jaws”.

He said, using the data from overseas users, that the new rating system has led to a 4.9 per cent rise in rents as landlords can offer a point of differentiation.

“We are not a disruptor but an enabler and tenants now want to know how digitally efficient buildings are before they sign up,” Mr Newton said.

“What tenants demand from an office has shifted so much this decade and the new developments must adapt to this change.”

Investa group executive of property Michael Cook told The Sydney Morning Herald that Australian buildings are being constructed to be “flexible and adaptable to all new technology”.

“Investa will definitely consider the merits of the WiredScore rating tool, but in reality what we have achieved at 60 Martin Place and 151 Clarence Street, Sydney demonstrates that the Property Council of Australia’s guide to office quality and good industry practice for premium-grade buildings will deliver a WiredScore Platinum rating, and for A-grade buildings a WiredScore Gold,” Mr Cook said.