The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh has secured the WiredScore and SmartScore building certification from global property consultancy Knight Frank.

WiredScore certification is a measure of a building’s digital infrastructure and connectivity. A SmartScore certified building demonstrates cutting edge innovation with the use of market leading technology, processes and automation to deliver world class outcomes to all users of the building and creating the most efficient, inspirational, sustainable and future proofed building.

Backing the debut WiredScore and SmartScore building certification for KAFD, Knight Frank said this follows on from its achievement in the certification process of the first Platinum SmartScore building in the Middle East in Dubai last November, when Brookfield Properties’ ICD Brookfield Place in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was awarded the accolade.

James Lewis, Managing Director Middle East and Africa, Knight Frank said: “We are constantly striving for excellence and our business now boasts the largest team of accredited professionals for both the WiredScore and SmartScore certifications in the Middle East, something we are incredibly proud of as it reinforces our end-to-end suite of ESG-linked services in the region.”

“And what a better way to showcase this achievement than through our work in Saudi Arabia on the 2.14 building at KAFD, as well as ICD Brookfield Place in Dubai, which are both iconic buildings and among the region’s finest and most sought-after business addresses,” noted Lewis.

“Our newly opened office in Doha now also boasts Qatar’s only two WiredScore and SmartScore Accredited Professionals,” he added.

Knight Frank pointed out that digital connectivity was an element of the built environment that isn’t necessarily visible but plays a considerable role in unlocking the true potential of a workspace as well as having a direct impact on the wellbeing of its occupants.

“GRESB, the global ESG benchmark for real assets, now recognises both WiredScore and SmartScore as Green Building Certifications. This encourages transparency and international standards for corporate occupiers and investors as they pursue their ESG strategies,” noted Tim Holmes, Partner – Valuation & Advisory.

“Both WiredScore and SmartScore certifications provide a detailed gap analysis, allowing building owners to focus their capital expenditure on making their buildings smarter and better connected,” he stated.

Ibrahim Alrashed, Manager, Valuations and Advisory at Knight Frank’s team in Riyadh, said: “This is a real milestone for KAFD. Riyadh and the kingdom. Occupiers are increasingly placing greater value on the wellbeing of their staff and this mindset shift will drive the evolution of what is considered a grade A building today.”

WiredScore or SmartScore certifications do not yet feature overtly in the equation for determining rents, or indeed the value of commercial real estate.

However, with the technology sector a significant source of office requirements globally and with serviced office space increasing in popularity around the world, digital connectivity looks set to play a bigger role in commercial real estate valuations in the future, according to Knight Frank.

Wiredscore’s Middle East Lead John Hilliard said: “SmartScore Platinum certification is a clear indication to the real estate industry that a landlord is committed to creating long-lasting, resilient assets that will be relevant for their tenants in the years to come.”

At a time when ‘smart’ is at the top of the national agenda, the ability to translate the technological enablement of real estate is more important than ever, and smart buildings will play a key role in creating more attractive, efficient and sustainable workplaces that allow individual productivity to flourish,” he added.