Posted on Oct 19, 2017 by Natalie Phillips
Number One Kirkstall Forge has become the first ever commercial building in Yorkshire to be awarded Wired Platinum certification by the digital connectivity rating company WiredScore.
The accreditation acts as a trusted benchmark for technological capacity and infrastructure resilience and connectivity. The bronze framed 110,000 sq ft Number One Kirkstall Forge has scored Platinum – the highest possible level – and enters an elite club of iconic buildings which includes the Empire State Building in America, The Shard in London and MediaCityUK, Salford.
Platinum is best in class and only accounts for around 10% of buildings worldwide. It is the first time a Leeds building has secured the Platinum rating, in fact very few buildings in the north of England have achieved the accolade.
Almost 70% let, Number One Kirkstall Forge is due for completion in November 2017. Developer CEG has worked closely with Zenith, which is relocating its UK headquarters to the top four floors, Fox Lloyd Jones and Hoare Lea to deliver world-class connectivity and infrastructure.
When making a real estate decision, behind location, a building’s communications, digital resilience and security are now topping the list as a key occupier requirement.
Advising Zenith, the UK’s largest car leasing business, on its move to Number One Kirkstall Forge, Fox Lloyd Jones established that the company’s move to cloud storage created total reliance on its digital platform. As such, Zenith needed reassurance that there would not be a risk of communications downtime.
Paul Fox from Fox Lloyd Jones explained: “Zenith needed the highest levels of connectivity and digital security and CEG embraced that challenge, sourcing a technology team which could investigate previously unexplored levels of digital excellence in Leeds. Not only is this building a benchmark for world-class broadband connectivity it has also been future proofed for continued further development of digital infrastructure.
“We are experiencing a step change in the way people work and occupy space, as well as what they demand from a building’s design and infrastructure. Working with a developer so keen to truly understand and deliver what the occupier wants has been enlightening, challenging and educational and as a result we have achieved a fundamentally improved and far more marketable building.”
Nick Lee, Head of Commercial Development at CEG, said: “This accolade is a real team effort and we couldn’t have achieved it without Fox Lloyd Jones and Hoare Lea. Kirkstall Forge was once at the forefront of the industrial revolution and it is now at the forefront of the digital revolution. This building truly is ‘different by design.’
“We will continue to respond to this occupier need, embracing world-class technology infrastructure on our other flagship developments in Leeds South Bank, SBQ Birmingham and Revolution, Ealing.”
Well established in America, WiredScore launched in the UK in October 2015 assessing and certifying commercial buildings across the country. It provides an independent connectivity accreditation. Its Platinum rating highlights that world-class technology infrastructure has been installed, setting the standard for innovative and progressive landlords.
Wired Certification Platinum for Development & Redevelopment means a building has been designed as best in class across all features of connectivity, including the number and quality of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) coming into the building, redundancy and resiliency of telecom and power infrastructure, wireless network infrastructure, ease of installation and capacity to readily support new telecom services. Number One Kirkstall Forge can support tenants with the most stringent technology requirements and offers the following attributes:
Thomas Bone of Hoare Lea said: “Our early discussions with CEG, Zenith and Fox Lloyd Jones enabled us to embed digital connectivity and resilience considerations into the design from an early stage driven from the occupier’s business needs. We have delivered a building that can support and match cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, intelligent building capability and virtual and augmented reality as well as being ready to respond to new and future technological advances.”
William Newton, President & EMEA MD at WiredScore said: "CEG has dedicated itself to providing an exceptional lived experience for Kirkstall Forge's future tenants, demonstrated by the Wired Certified Platinum rating. The team was really committed in making sure the building was designed with the best connectivity features to meet their tenants’ immediate and future needs. Kirkstall Forge was designed in a unique way to guarantee full physical diversity and protection, with redundant cabling routes and secure containment in the premises. This is truly a fantastic achievement.
The news has been welcomed by the city which is bidding to become a pilot 5G city.
Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for resources and strategy Councillor James Lewis said: "It is fantastic news that the new office building at Kirkstall Forge has won this prestigious accolade, putting it alongside globally iconic buildings such as the Shard in London and the Empire State Building in New York. This is in line with our ambitions for Leeds to have world-leading digital connectivity through full fibre networks and 5G.
“With fast rail services from the new station to Leeds, Ilkley, Skipton and Bradford, and the new City Connect cycle superhighway there has been increasing awareness of Kirkstall Forge's superb transport connectivity. This is combined with state-of-the-art digital connectivity, reflecting the way people increasingly live and work."
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership commented: "I'm delighted that Number One Kirkstall Forge has been recognised with the Wired Platinum certification by WiredScore. This benchmark highlights that Leeds City Region is home to developments of the highest quality which meet the demands of modern occupiers that need reliable fast digital connectivity. Leeds is looking to become a pilot city for 5G technology and with a long tradition of innovation and technology revolutions from the first through to the fourth industrial revolution, its only right that our buildings be at the forefront of digital technology.
"This award comes at a time when our City Region is attracting significant attention from international digital businesses looking to grow or expand into the UK. In the last 12 months alone we've seen global digital media company Perform Group expand in Leeds and digital marketing agency Fractl select the city for its first international office."
Jon Kenny, Director of CEG, said: “Number One Kirkstall Forge is the best connected building in the most connected place in the city.”
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