WiredScore launches digital connectivity certification for buildings in New Zealand.

Landlords and real estate developers in New Zealand can now proudly showcase their buildings’ digital capabilities through global real estate certifier WiredScore’s certification schemes – the eponymous WiredScore certification for digital connectivity, and the SmartScore certification for smart technology. 

WiredScore’s certifications measure the key aspects of a building’s digital capabilities, ranging from its ability to adapt to future technology, to the quality of the user experience. This allows building owners to benchmark their buildings against global standards, so they can assess and improve their assets to provide a better experience for tenants.     

After entering the Australian market in 2019, the New York-based company is starting operations in New Zealand, looking to add to the more than 4000 properties it has certified around the world – with assessments of digital quality now available to New Zealand’s building owners and developers.  

WiredScore Head of Australia and New Zealand, Ed Jennings, says the company sets a global standard for technology in the built world through certification and education: “It’s really about attracting and retaining occupiers in a real estate market facing huge headwinds with factors like flexible working and rising operating costs impacting office market fundamentals.”  

“Occupiers expect more from their office – not only do they want sustainable buildings to support their own carbon zero goals, but they also need great digital connectivity to operate effectively.” 

The pain point of unreliable connectivity, he notes, was exemplified by the recent Optus problems in Australia where millions were affected by a national outage, always better prevented, than experienced: “If your internet and mobile go out, your business simply can’t operate.”

WiredScore’s certifications – issued as Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum – settles the question of exactly what tenants can expect in terms of digital connectivity. It also guides landlord investment, giving building owners the insights necessary for bringing connectivity in their buildings up to standard, should it be lacking. 

The benefits of a WiredScore certification are set out in a research report published by Moody’s Analytics in 2022. The study notes: “In times of tremendous stress for the office market, certified Class A properties outperform the Class A national average in rent growth with a premium of 2.2 per cent over the past two years.” 

Class A, or premium office space, also benefits from lower vacancy rates with a WiredScore certification. Moody’s Analytics’ research has also revealed that, through the third quarter of 2022, properties holding certification posted a vacancy of 17.0 per cent, while Class A’s national average was 17.3 per cent.  

Building owners and investors want to be guaranteed they have the best possible assets, Jennings says: “There’s been a bifurcation in the market, with a flight to quality and A grade assets. Now, 90 per cent of the built environment is already in place, and investors and owners want to improve those assets from a digital experience and connectivity perspective.” 

A look at what’s covered in an assessment is instructive. While most companies assess their own connectivity in relation to their access to internet networks, Jennings says WiredScore evaluates the entire digital infrastructure of a building, with about 60 per cent of the review focused on the physical attributes that deliver this. 

This includes assessing how connectivity comes into the building, if redundant options are available, the protections against fire, floods, quakes and other potential disasters, the capacity of telecom rooms and their accessibility and security.  

“We make sure the base infrastructure is of sufficient capability, is well-maintained over time, and has the necessary resiliency and redundancy measures in place,” Jennings says. “After all, even when it comes to wireless connectivity; every bit is wired somewhere.” 

Other areas evaluated, he adds, include processes, policies, and security, with an allocation for innovation – adding extra credits for buildings pushing the boundaries of the possible. “There’s a lot that goes into connectivity, from the availability of service providers in a building, to mobile coverage and performance, and maintenance, security and capacity of the critical infrastructure. For example, if a mess of cabling remains after tenants leave, leaving no space for new fibres, new tenants will struggle to get quickly connected.” 

For new builds, he says WiredScore can be engaged at any stage, but involvement early on is preferred: “The earlier the better, as we can advise on what should go in and how, getting the design and build right from the start.” 

After the initial focus on WiredScore certification dealing with connectivity infrastructure, the company offers SmartScore, which evaluates the application of smart technology. “After all, the smart technology sits on top of the infrastructural layer; SmartScore certification is targeted at the more progressive side of the market.” 

With more than 100 buildings already certified in Australia, Jennings says several local premises have undergone WiredScore evaluations ahead of the company’s official Kiwi launch on November 29, speaking volumes about the strong demand for the certification. 

 “Generally, we start with demand coming from local occupiers who are part of larger organisations operating out of premises certified in the USA or elsewhere, and seeking aligned specifications that meet their standards so they don’t have to do their own due diligence for redundancy and other aspects of basic infrastructure. That opens doors to more generalised demand as word-of-mouth gets spread.” 

New Zealand is growing familiar with other building certifications that attest to the quality of sustainability measures or energy efficiency, from the likes of New Zealand Green Building Council or NABERZNZ. Jennings says WiredScore is open to collaborating across the industry with these bodies to help New Zealand’s built environment address the challenges of today and the future. 

“Technology and connectivity have a crucial role to play in sustainability, specifically when it comes to ESG + R [Environmental, Social, Governance + Resilience]. You want assets that are not only future proof, but also highly resilient.” 

“With our audits and assessments, more granular data becomes available to occupiers quantifying their carbon footprint.” 

For more information: wiredscore.com