Access to ultra-fast, high-capacity connectivity is now a key factor in deciding where to base a business. In fact, research from Creative Places found that technology and access to skilled staff were the top reasons for choosing a location. That means landlords of multi-tenanted commercial property need to focus on providing the right internet infrastructure if they want to attract and retain tenants. This is even more important post-pandemic – companies want to be able to move into offices and be up and running from day one, without lengthy delays in getting connected.
At Bridge Fibre we work closely with landlords to ensure they can offer tenants the connectivity they need. That’s particularly true when it comes to constructing completely new buildings or completely refurbishing and repurposing existing spaces. Ensuring connectivity and technology infrastructure is part of the design, planning and construction process is fundamental to successfully delivering the services that will keep multi-tenant properties consistently full.
Building in connectivity from the start
We have experience of working directly with landlords in both the university and commercial sectors who are creating offices and parks for fast-growth, innovation-led companies. Recently we’ve been involved with a number of high-profile projects, such as the University of Leicester’s Space Park and Eden Campus at the University of St. Andrews.
Based on these and other projects we’d highlight four key pieces of advice for landlords looking to build or repurpose multi-tenant commercial properties:
1. Engage early
While installing networks won’t be the first activity in any construction project, it’s important to bring in your connectivity supplier early in the project. You can then have initial conversations that help set your strategy and ensure that your design takes into account your networking needs. This will avoid potentially expensive issues down the line.
2. Think about what you want to achieve and understand your options
Essentially there are three main ways for landlords to provide connectivity to their future tenants:
- Creating and running their own network and making that part of the offering. This gives control but adds overheads, particularly around support, and is normally outside the key skills and experience of the managing agent and their team.
- Allowing tenants to bring in their own suppliers. While this removes the headache of support, every new connection that a tenant takes out has to be deployed individually. This adds to installation time and is likely to cost the tenant more, potentially putting off tenants who want to be up and running quickly and cost-effectively. It also introduces networking equipment that is outside your control. Landlords will need to allow more space for this option to accommodate tenant equipment. Additionally, it will increase dilapidations over time and involve the landlord in complex, time-consuming and often expensive wayleaves.
- Partner with a specialist. Working with an experienced provider, such as Bridge Fibre, means that they handle all connectivity for you, from installation to ongoing management as well as billing and credit control. This approach can also create new revenue streams, while ensuring that new tenants can quickly get the internet access they require.
3. Be clear who is doing what
As construction and fit-out progresses, ensure that everyone’s responsibilities are clear to avoid any gaps. For example, who will fix the access points to walls? While some of these actions may seem minor, they all have the potential to delay projects and add to costs. Work with your connectivity provider to create a detailed checklist and then agree responsibilities between them and other contractors.
4. Share information
Give your connectivity provider early access into your design plans. This will enable them to help identify the optimal networking approach to meet your needs, such as whether you have a central communications room or distributed cabinets. This all impacts areas such as heating, cooling and whether you will be offering extra services such as server racks to tenants. This all avoids the need for costly retrofits or suboptimal network layouts and comms areas.
Read more about how we’ve helped our landlord customers running science parks and multi-tenanted commercial property here.
Ian Underdown, Business Development Manager, Bridge Fibre