UL and TIA Launch World’s First Smart Building Assessment and Rating

After two years of hard work and collaboration, LEDG is excited to witness the launch of the SPIRE Smart Building Program that provides a comprehensive building assessment to help owners and operators make better informed investment decisions, improve tenant satisfaction and increase asset value. LEDG’s Todd Boucher, Bill Moten, and Laura Polas are grateful to be a part of this renowned team of experts that helped shape the rating program. We have stated often in the last several months that there could not be a better time for SPIRE to come to the market. Technology is transforming the built environment and is no longer an option. Integrated technology infrastructure is essential for safe, high-performing buildings and we are looking forward to assisting our clients and partners achieve SPIRE rating criteria.

Here is the full announcements with details: https://tiaonline.org/press-release/spire/

Go directly to the website for more in-depth information on the pricing, benefits, case studies, and more. https://spiresmartbuildings.ul.com/

The above website also has FAQs. We have also provided them below.

What is the SPIRE Smart Building Program?

Developed by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and UL, the SPIRE Smart Building Program is the world’s first objective and comprehensive assessment and rating program for smart buildings. It is designed to help assess the performance and technologies that drive the outcomes of smart buildings – based on a new, industry-driven framework aimed at improving performance and occupant experience.

What are elements of the SPIRE Smart Building Program?

The program consists of two key components:

  • an online Self-Assessment with a report of results, and
  • a Verified Assessment and Rating facilitated via an in-depth UL audit.

What is the difference between the SPIRE Self-Assessment and the SPIRE UL Verified Assessment Rating?

The SPIRE Self-Assessment is the first step for assessing a building or an interior commercial space. By providing the relevant inputs, clients will gain performance insights related to six distinctive criteria that describe the current state of their smart building. In contrast, the SPIRE Verified Assessment and Rating entails an in-depth audit by UL. An objective, evidence-based assessment is performed using the six criteria. A successful assessment results in a UL Verified Mark, a plaque and a building performance score based on the SPIRE smart building assessment framework.

Why assess and rate smart buildings now?

The information and communications technology (ICT) industry, commercial real estate investment trusts (REITs), building owners and operators, and governments are embracing the concept of smart buildings as the new benchmark in today’s commercial construction world. Fully integrated smart systems can enable advanced building automation for increased efficiency, optimized operations and enhanced occupant productivity, safety, security and well-being. The SPIRE program supports the development of this market by creating a holistic benchmark of what “good” looks like, and it provides a roadmap for building enhancements and capital investment decisions.

Why did TIA and UL partner to develop the SPIRE Smart Building Program?

In 2019, TIA and UL joined forces to help owners, operators and other stakeholders gain a deeper understanding of their building’s operational performance and improve capital investment strategies. The two organizations formalized the collaboration with a signed agreement to share commercial, technical, and standardization insights and expand their work in the smart building ecosystem.

With over 400 members, TIA helps drive information and communications technology forward through programs, standards, and advocacy. Combining this expertise with UL’s safety and security heritage, an extensive global engineering network and building, system and product knowledge, the two organizations are driving the evaluation of smart, connected buildings to help enhance overall building performance – and set the bar for safe and secure smart building technologies.

In addition to TIA and UL, who else was involved in the development of SPIRE?

The foundation of the SPIRE Smart Building Program is the assessment criteria framework. This framework was developed by a TIA industry working group of more than 60 leading commercial real estate organizations, REITs, asset management firms, and technology and telecommunications industry leaders, including representatives from AT&T, ARUP, Corning, Deloitte, Honeywell, Legrand, Microsoft, JLL, Stantec, T-Mobile, the University of New Mexico, Verizon, among others.

What are the SPIRE Smart Building Assessment Criteria?

The SPIRE Smart Building Program assessment criteria are used to holistically evaluate smart building outcomes associated with life and property safety, health and well-being, power and energy, cybersecurity and sustainability, and the connectivity technology that underpins them all.

After I complete the SPIRE Self-Assessment, what do I get?

Once the online Self-Assessment is completed for a building or a specific commercial interior, as part of version 1.0 of the software, the tool presents an onscreen report of the inputted information. SPIRE Self-Assessment results provide valuable insights on how a building compares to the smart building criteria and can be helpful in making investment decisions.  As we continue to evaluate the reporting functionality of the self-assessment tool, we will be eager to hear feedback from our customers about how they want to use these reports so that we can provide the most impactful detailed insights that they can share with stakeholders.

If I want deeper insights about optimizing my smart building operations and performance, does the SPIRE Smart Building Program offer that?

Yes. The SPIRE Verified Assessment and Rating, which will be available in Q1 2021, entails an in-depth audit by UL experts. The assessment results in a UL Verified Mark, a plaque, and a building performance score based on the six key criteria categories of the SPIRE smart building assessment framework. In addition, ongoing advisory services will be available to help provide performance and operational strategies.

How will scoring model and rating work for the SPIRE Verified Assessment and Rating?

We are hard at work developing the scoring model for our SPIRE Verified Assessment and Rating. By engaging closely with our technical teams, valued stakeholders and current customers, we will identify the best way to deliver a rating that is meaningful, relevant and can be readily adopted by the market.

What does SPIRE offer to help enhance relationships with my tenants?

The SPIRE Smart Building Program provides insights, guidance and verification of smart building outcomes that are important to tenants. Receiving a positive rating through SPIRE can help elevate brand reputation for the property owner/operator and developer, and even for the building itself. Smart building capabilities attract and retain tenants, while also providing them with a source of pride about their building or space. Upon receiving a verified rating through the SPIRE program, customers will be able to display a UL Verified Mark and promote their participation in the program, including a plaque for display in their building and digital assets for use in online platforms.

Why is version 1.0 of the SPIRE Self-Assessment being released now? Are there plans for other versions in the future?

As the world’s first objective and comprehensive assessment and rating program for smart buildings, SPIRE helps satisfy industry’s need to assess the performance and technologies that drive the outcomes of smart buildings. The launch of version 1.0 is a milestone that allows customers to start evaluating their buildings in a cost- and time-efficient manner. We are eager to hear feedback from customers about their experience with the tool, and we intend to use their input to develop enhancements and capabilities for future iterations – helping ensure that the Self-Assessment remains relevant to all stakeholders.

What is the cost of the SPIRE Self-Assessment?

The SPIRE Self-Assessment is available for an introductory price of $1,499 per building or interior commercial space, with preferred pricing available for assessments of multi-building portfolios.

How much effort will the SPIRE Self-Assessment require of my organization?

The SPIRE Self-Assessment is an easy and cost-efficient way to gain valuable smart building insights. The self-assessment is most effective if it employs input from various functional teams and subject matter experts, and the entire process is conveniently performed online. By working together with subject matter experts in your organization to input your building’s data, the automated experience is a well-structured means to evaluate current performance and provides a roadmap for future investment decisions.

How will UL and TIA continue to work together to ensure the SPIRE remains relevant in the future?

As smart buildings advance, the criteria that we use and the processes that assess the building will evolve as well. Given this, TIA and UL will continue to collaborate with the TIA Working Group – made up of industry-leading companies and contributors to the overall assessment framework – and will welcome ongoing input from our customers to help inform criteria evolution.

How does SPIRE compare to other rating programs?

As the world’s first and only comprehensive assessment and rating program for smart buildings, SPIRE was designed to help owners, operators and investors improve smart building performance and occupant experience. During the development of SPIRE, we analyzed many respected and established building rating programs. We saw that while they are great, they had a distinct focus on one individual building aspect, such as sustainability or connectivity. Some of the evaluation criteria included in these program frameworks were actually incorporated into SPIRE. A single source to measure all smart building technologies, SPIRE is the only program of its kind that holistically looks at smart building performance across multiple key criteria. That’s what makes SPIRE unique and attractive to potential customers: they don’t need go to multiple sources. They come to us for an all-in-one assessment and rating.   

How often do I need to reassess to get the SPIRE rating?

As building operators progress their capabilities, we believe that they would want to reassess their building or space to validate improved performance of their investments. We continue to work on details for this part of the program and will share more as the specifics are available.

What does SPIRE tell me about my building in the current economic environment?

The SPIRE Smart Building Program comes at a time when businesses are grappling with the unparalleled reach of the current economic downturn on building assets. A better understanding of operational efficiency, overall costs and risk mitigation of their building portfolios in light of the pandemic has become a top priority of commercial real estate companies, building owners, managers and tenants. SPIRE delivers guidance to aid in better aligning performance strategies, planning tactics and operational efficiencies. By providing insight to smart building technologies and outcomes, SPIRE helps empower informed investment decisions about where to focus technology, building enhancements and safety optimizations.

How can SPIRE help address building issues related to the pandemic?

With the persistence of COVID-19, building occupants’ health and well-being continue to be of major concern.  Owners, operators and tenants are looking to embed COVD-19-related technologies in their plans to help mitigate risk and minimize the virus spread.  Once plans are articulated, SPIRE can assess plan implementation and automation to further inform decisions related health and well-being.

Why is the program called SPIRE?

Throughout history, the spire atop a building has made the structure stand out from the all of the rest, signaling that it was special and worthy of attention. The SPIRE Smart Building Program similarly enables a real estate asset to stand out in this challenging time, raising visibility for the investments made to generate smart outcomes for the benefit of tenants, owner/operators and investors.

Don’t forget to check out the entire SPIRE website here. https://spiresmartbuildings.ul.com/