What contractors should know about Wi-Fi connectivity in new office construction
— Contractors that build offices need to be aware of the newest trends and tenant requests, including the latest developments that can help improve internet access, Lars Olsen, head of midwest for WiredScore, which certifies buildings for connectivity and technologies, said in a recent webinar.
— Olsen said it’s vital to hire a tech expert to evaluate plans toward the end of the schematic process. He said he's seen developers keep cards close to the chest for constructing innovative amenities, but one small flaw could dampen a new tech.
—Making changes and upgrades after construction can be tough, so it’s important to be as up to date on the latest office technologies before construction begins, Olsen said during the webinar interview with BizCast HQ.
Wired Score provides a certification for commercial real estate projects based on their connectivity and building technology, Olsen said. That certification can be silver, gold or platinum, and indicates to owners and tenants how well equipped a building is for fast, safe and reliable internet service.
More than 2,000 properties totaling 500 million square feet of office space in more than 160 cities worldwide have registered for the Wired Certification program. Certified buildings in the U.S. include the Empire State Building in New York City and 150 North Riverside in Chicago, home to Hyatt’s global headquarters.
Retrofitting or upgrading a building’s connectivity once the structure is complete can be tough, so it’s important to consider all options before construction begins, said Mark Higgason, executive vice president and CTO for Encompass AV, a Chicago-based AV/IT designer and installer, during the webinar.
“We like catching mistakes on paper; it's much easier all around,” he said.
It’s vital to remember how internet connectivity has become a work necessity, said Higgason. If the internet drops out, that’s essentially the same as losing electricity, and the day is lost, he said.
Meanwhile, 5G and smart buildings technologies are making a lot of noise, though many people aren’t exactly sure what they are. It’s important to have a grasp on up-to-date wireless communication, Olsen said.
At the same time, Higgason said, some technologies like ethernet are sure to stay. Government employees, for example, will always need secure wired connections for classified work.
One of the largest challenges for office buildings is upgrading existing spaces with the newest technology. Tenants often don’t leave a space in shape for easy repairs, and new wiring and fiber optics can create fire hazards. Thankfully, Olsen said, some owners have taken advantage of remote work to fix wiring issues and update wireless communications, while others look to build contactless work spaces.