Lazy internet and signal outages in the elevator? Downgrade! New WiredScore certification awaits office buildings

What connects companies like Google, Spotify, Meta, Expedia and SalesForce? The need for a stable internet connection with the highest possible speed, high demands on server room security or a flawless telecommunications network. And how do office centres like The Bridge in Warsaw, Canada Water in London or Hammerbrooklyn in Hamburg fit in with these global companies? Simple: they guarantee all the superior IT and telecommunications needs of large technology companies. Tenants with the most demanding requirements for technical facilities are getting used to navigating the office market thanks to the certification - WiredScore. Since this year, the Czech Republic also has its first and so far only "domestic" auditor. He is Ondřej Svoboda, project manager at the real estate consulting company 108 REAL ESTATE. 

In addition to the green certification, commercial real estate in the Czech Republic can also strive for another "mark" evaluating their digital infrastructure and connectivity. For tenants with high demands on this security, the WiredScore is a clear indicator of which office buildings make sense to be interested in. 

"Since January, two buildings in Prague have been so certified - RiGa in Karlin and Palác Anděl. And we are convinced that interest will rocket. For several types of tenants, premium telecommunication services are a condition for choosing to stay in their existing offices or choose new ones. For many of them, an hour of non-functioning internet can mean losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars," explains Jakub Holec, Director of 108 REAL ESTATE.

In the US, Canada, the UK and already in other European countries, WiredScore is required as an additional standard to certifications such as BREAM or LEED in the area of sustainability. And major development or investment groups such as Hines, Blackstone and LendLease have had their portfolios certified since 2013, when the service first appeared. In addition to the WiredScore plaque, 108 REAL ESTATE will roll out a parallel certification that holistically assesses building performance - SmartScore - in the domestic real estate market.

How many mobile network operators can serve a building? What indoor connects to a fibre optic cable - and is there only one? How are the most common reasons for reduced data rates, such as imperfect horizontal cabling or poorly chosen cabling and insulation, being addressed. Does the building have signal boosters in the elevator or in underground garages, and how are rooms with installed servers secured, for example against fire or flood? These are just a fraction of the questions that are addressed in a WiredScore screening with the owner, developer or designer of an office building. The result then determines the certification level - or the fact that it is simply not possible to certify the building without the necessary modifications.

According to Ondřej Svoboda, WiredScore is a symptom of an age where time means money. And the constant of time in the eyes of managers and ordinary employees is the speed of internet connection or the stability of mobile operators' signal.

"As part of the in-depth audit, which involves virtually all property management departments as well as the tenants themselves, we evaluate not only reliability and the aforementioned speed, but also quality, security, availability and even a backup system in case of outages of the main telecommunications network," describes Ondřej Svoboda. For an average office building with around 10,000 m2 of floor space, the certification process takes about 4 months.

The cost of the audit depends on the size of the building. The larger the area, the lower the cost. However, for owners or builders, the results can very quickly bring an effect in the form of lease contracts, retention of existing tenants or the discovery of deficiencies at the level of project documentation. And thus avoiding subsequent multi-costs after the building would have been constructed according to inadequate documentation. In fact, WiredScore can be applied in both the pre-construction and construction phases. If the office building is already completed, a distinction is made between a building occupied by tenants and one that is still empty.

In all cases, however, the WiredScore certificate is temporary: 18 months for buildings in the planning or construction phase, 24 months for an office building that is at least 2/3 leased. Recertification is then required, which rarely requires minor changes to the infrastructure. Otherwise it is not even possible given the rapid development of technology and innovation.

As Ondřej Svoboda points out, the work of an auditor can be compared to that of an ethical IT hacker. For goodness sake, he checks the quality of the telecommunications system of an office building, including the resilience of the server rooms. These are, with a slight exaggeration, more important to certain types of tenants than the CEO's office - compromising their operation could have a major impact on hundreds of thousands or millions of users or clients worldwide.

"It may seem almost absurd, but we are also addressing how a building is protected against a disruption or complete break in the fibre optic cable. In Prague, in particular, so-called knocked-over or severed utilities are not rare. And there are companies that can't send people to the home office in such a case - they have to operate around the clock," describes Ondřej Svoboda, who describes the WiredScore certification as an evaluation of the best telecommunications service in a given place and time.

WiredScore itself refers to its certification as ESG-R. It extends the already established E-environmental, S-social and G-governance criteria with the letter R-resilience. In this case, it is the building's resilience to obsolescence specifically in the area of its technology and communication solutions.

"Thinking at the planning stage of a building about how to avoid costly alterations, extensions and further renovations in ten or fifteen years' time is, in our opinion, the most environmentally responsible approach. Because it also means lower or no greenhouse gas emissions," adds Jakub Holec

For example, WiredScore Platinum tells tenants (but also banks or investors) that such building modifications will not be necessary in the foreseeable future to keep the building competitive.