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WiredScore and SmartScore: How Two Certifications Can Set Your Building Apart

March 29, 2024
These two building rating systems focus on connectivity and smart technology that delivers experiences. Could they be differentiators for your facility?

Is your building smart or well-connected? These terms are often used to describe buildings with some level of high-speed connectivity or amenities that unlock with a tenant experience app, but they can be nebulous. Two certifications—WiredScore and SmartScore—can help you define exactly what these terms mean for your connected building by evaluating what you have to offer.

Here’s how they’re different—and how to use them to set your building apart in the marketplace.

What Are WiredScore and SmartScore?

Both WiredScore and SmartScore demonstrate a building’s commitment to resilience and deploying technology that enables smart building outcomes, said David Stephenson, director of the Smart Building Studio for Little Diversified Architectural Consulting. WiredScore focuses on the building infrastructure, such as seamless connectivity and the resilience of systems coming into the building. SmartScore measures how underlying technologies enable smart building operations, like seamless access control, Stephenson explained.

The two certifications are administered by the organization WiredScore, founded in 2013. WiredScore certification is available for homes, offices and neighborhoods in development or already occupied. Digitally connected buildings certified with WiredScore will deliver on four primary outcomes:

  • Mobile and internet: Outstanding connectivity is in place to deliver the very best user experience to occupiers across the building.
  • Setup: People can connect to the internet quickly and easily without any unnecessary complications. The setup process has been streamlined to ensure a hassle-free experience.
  • Future-ready: The building can accommodate new and emerging technologies to meet the requirements of occupiers well into the future.
  • Resiliency: The building is resilient against outages, accidental damages, cyberattacks, or the impact of climate change.

SmartScore certification, which launched in 2021, is intended to help landlords and developers create smart buildings that deliver exceptional user experiences, drive cost efficiency, meet high standards of sustainability and be fully future-ready, according to Andrew Freitas, director of business development, North America, for WiredScore. It’s available for offices and neighborhoods. SmartScore-certified buildings deliver on these outcomes, according to WiredScore:

  • Inspirational experience: A workplace that attracts and delights, with flexible and personalized services.
  • Sustainable: With a reduced whole-life carbon footprint.
  • Operationally effective: Using technology to operate the building more efficiently
  • Resilient: From the initial design and for years to come.

How Do I Certify a Building with WiredScore or SmartScore?

Both certifications have Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels, though these levels mean different things for the two certifications, according to the WiredScore organization. They’re both open to new and existing buildings. Certifying existing buildings enables owners and landlords to benchmark the technology across their portfolio and make data-led decisions about how to prioritize investment. When certifying new buildings, clients benefit from engaging WiredScore in early stage design as this makes it easier to apply WiredScore’s design standards. It’s possible for a building to pursue both WiredScore and SmartScore certifications together or choose one or the other.

WiredScore and SmartScore also both have an audit or design review process. The team at the WiredScore organization will review evidence—anything from design documents for new developments to photos, videos and policies for existing buildings—and compare it to the requirements in the scorecards for each certification. You’ll receive a building report—essentially, an audit of your building’s features with areas where you can improve. WiredScore’s Client Success Team helps clients interpret the building report and identify cost-effective improvements that can help them hit their target score.

The Occupied certifications each have a two-year certification cycle to ensure buildings are keeping up with the speed at which both technology and the standards themselves evolve, Freitas explained. The Development certifications are valid until 18 months after practical completion to ensure developers gain maximum value by engaging WiredScore during early design. The certification renewal cycle allows users to discover things that have changed since the last audit; perhaps a tenant moved in or out and removed cabling, or a telecom company has swapped or moved equipment. “These may not be huge problems at the time, but can proliferate,” Freitas explained. “That’s why we want to have a re-audit and make sure the building is still up to the standard level.”

3 Tips for Certifying with WiredScore and SmartScore

Interested in pursuing one or both certifications? Consider these three takeaways first.

1. Understand the process. It’s easy to assume that certification will be hard and involve a lot of homework, but that’s often not the case, Freitas explained. “With WiredScore, you don’t have to have a great understanding today of your telecom infrastructure. We’ll audit it and then we’ll explain it to you against the standard,” Freitas said. “Or, you think you have technology in the building, but you don’t really know how you’re using it or whether you have enough. We’ll help you audit that and understand exactly what kind of technology you have, where it stacks up and things you can do to leverage it for better outcomes.”

2. Start collecting documentation early. “From an owner’s standpoint, documentation is a big driver of being able to get certified,” Stephenson said. “There is a lot of documentation that needs to be captured during the certification process. You’re really going to need to think about where your documents are—construction documents, as-builts, service agreements and more.” For WiredScore, for example, you’ll want to have documents showing how services enter your building, service agreements you have with different telecom providers and even the dimensions of your telecom rooms to ensure there’s room for tenants to put in their own technology if needed. Audits can help with this, but if you have some of the documentation already, you can get a head start on your certification journey.

3. Follow through after you’re certified. “WiredScore does provide marketing materials,” Stephenson noted. “Work with your brokers in the local market to make sure they understand that your building is now a WiredScore building and communicate what the WiredScore and SmartScore benefits are. WiredScore provides marketing materials you can use to promote your building—get the word out and make sure the community understands you’re now a WiredScore building.”

About the Author

Janelle Penny | Editor-in-Chief at BUILDINGS

Janelle Penny has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with a special emphasis on covering facilities management. She aims to deliver practical, actionable content for facilities professionals.

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