In 2023 Trustek completed full technology audits on 2.4 million sq.ft of real estate, over 146 floors from London to Glasgow and in assets built in 1789 up to 2018.
A wealth of data on real estate, but why did our clients want their assets audited in the first instance?
There were four key drivers in 2023:
- To understand what technology an asset already has and to gain the insight on how to sustainably develop an asset’s technology stack further
- To strategically procure tech that supports the reduction of operational costs
- To support the beginning of ESG data collection strategies
- To benchmark their assets against others in the market to support letting strategies
Our Audits enable the owner and operator to collate each building's existing technology and to maximise its potential. The Audits analyse not only an asset's existing technology, but the knowledge of the people who use it every day and the processes they have created surrounding them.
2023 Audit Data: An overview
Overall, we saw an improvement in the knowledge of and adoption of technology across all assets we audited and there’s a definite eagerness to innovate and improve from landlord to FM.
However, to keep this momentum, and push forward innovation in the built environment, we identified two key areas that need addressing:
- Making the most from the existing technology – Every asset has at least one piece of technology where the team did not fully understand it’s purpose. Often these technologies have a licensing fee attached to them.
- Analysing the data available – in many buildings there was almost too much data for the teams to manage and collate into actionable insights that drive better performance or experience. The creation of clear KPIs before any procurement decision is made in 2024 will be critical in determining the ROI or success of PropTech.
*Each building we audit is benchmarked against assets of a similar size and age and we know that 100/100 is not a realistic goal as every asset, and the requirements from its landlords, operators and occupiers, are different.
Highest Scoring Area: Access Control
A huge 95% of assets have an access control system in place. And those highest scoring buildings got their milage from it – they regularly pulled occupancy reports, used it daily and were able to easily extract historical data to inform decision making around floor usage, energy efficiency and future leasing strategies.
On the flip side, poorly scoring assets, whilst having an access control system in place, didn’t make full use of it and relied on anecdotal information to inform operational strategies.
Other utilisation data solutions, such as IOT people counting, featured in only 5% of buildings audits – an area where a relatively low-cost outlay would provide invaluable data to inform cost saving initiatives.
Lowest Scoring Area: Visitor and Tenant Experience
Visitor and Tenant Experience was the lowest performing area across all audited assets with an average score of 15/100 because of People and Process not technology.
We found that training and processes were not in place to take full advantage of the tech available, and 89% of assets don’t gather feedback or analyse data on the customer experience in a building.
Highest scoring buildings on the other hand, invest in tech such as digital displays (56%), helpdesk platforms (50%) and tenant engagement apps (72%) but also prioritise things like music, scent, and public Wi-Fi in communal areas. They also ensure the technology in place integrates well with other solutions in the tech stack.
Often called the 4th utility, Connectivity is vital to the smooth running of an asset. It was therefore surprising to see that 95% of buildings do not have reliable indoor phone signal and only 50% have public WiFi.
However, the highest scoring buildings invested well in their technology, have a backup line prepared and a connectivity strategy in place. There were also strong reporting processes internally, to tenants and landlords, and teams had a good knowledge of riser topology and a well organised comms room.
We still only saw leak detection 11% of Comms rooms to prevent a connectivity failure though!
ESG Strategies on the Up ↑
For 2023 we saw a 130% increase in company ESG strategies, and this is demonstrated by the fact we saw a big increase in projects requiring PropTech to support an asset or portfolio’s environmental credentials - particularly around energy consumption.
The next step now though is to improve the data collection and analysis. A lot of what we witnessed was siloed and ineffectively reported, as demonstrated by the fact only 5% of audited buildings had an ESG reporting platform in place.
We saw a 4% increase in assets adopting AMRs to collect energy consumption data but 49% are still manually reading energy meters.
"I want to make my building SMART”
It was great to see in increase in technology in this area, including the use of CAFM systems, CCTV and system alerts, to support the proactive management of a building.
We did however see a lack of training and knowledge about the technology in place, resulting in solutions not improving productivity as they should and ultimately, money wasted on tech that’s not being used to its full potential.
And whilst there was a desire to innovate it was siloed, both in its procurement but also when it comes to connecting disparate systems via Middleware software – only one building we audited was exploring connecting solutions into a single pane of glass.
Wellness in the built environment
As the return to office battle continues, those who understand that occupants want more from the office experience are investing in tech to support wellness in the built environment. This is seen by the fact that 73% audited assets have at least one wellness amenity in place.
Highest scoring buildings in this area have a range of technologies such as air quality sensors (5%) and lighting control systems, as well as indoor bike parking, green spaces, and physical activity opportunities on site or nearby. In 2023 we also saw an increase in biodiversity on site from 5% to 16%.
However, only 11% of those audited conducted surveys to measure and report on the impact and success of these initiatives.
What next for 2024?
Earlier this month we made our predictions for 2024 based on our work with clients and observations of the industry.
In 2023 there were multiple challenges facing the commercial real estate sector, with the increasing pressure on ESG strategies and Net Zero pathways driving the implementation of technology.
The average building score shows the opportunity for improvement within each asset, yet the continuing strain on service charge budgets and operational efficiency, mean we do not predict that the average figure will jump significantly in 2024. We are however confident that it will improve as the industry strives for innovation to support their sustainability journey.
The launch of our Verified Marketplace will continue to support our clients on their procurement journey as well as support improvement of their scores prior to re-audits being completed.
If you are keen to understand how your building compares against our data set then please download additional information below or get in contact with us >