By Dennis Mazaris, President & Founder, Concert Technologies
Published in Real Estate Journal Interactive
It used to be rare for a commercial real estate prospect to ask about network cabling. But real estate managers are getting used to fielding these types of questions. That's because these prospects are well aware that a high-quality, well-designed network cabling system could mean the difference between a profit and a loss on their bottom line.
Consider this: every major system in today's highly technological office depends on cable and connectivity to do its job. Networked computers, telephones, fax, even copiers and building controls are all wired into the network cabling system. And if that system were to go down, the company would cease operations-dead in the water.
Every hour that a system is down can cost more than $50,000. The worst part is this: 70 percent of the time when a system is down is due to a network cabling problem. Yet, network cabling is the least expensive part of the system. Just imagine, a basic system that costs no more than 5 percent of any system price can bring the whole company to its knees in seconds.
No wonder real estate clients are paying attention to such items as network cable connections, pathways and grounding. And it's also no surprise that cabling contractors and architects who serve these clients are just as concerned. They know that standards are changing. They are becoming stricter and more detailed, because as computer systems get faster and more powerful, they demand more of the network cabling that support them.
What does all this mean for the corporate real estate professionals? It means that clients will be asking more and more questions about the network readiness of buildings. It means clients will be taking a more active and hands-on approach to the build-out. When a system warranty can be voided if a system is not standard compliant, even if only slightly out of spec, you can be sure the owner of that system will take an active interest in the network cabling design and installation.
A basic system that costs no more than 5 percent of any system
can bring a whole company to its knees in seconds.
This will become the rule, rather than the exception, as fast, advanced networks become more and more prevalent.
How can the corporate real estate people meet the needs of their clients?
Gather resources on the state-of-the-art in network cabling. The easiest way to do that is to take a brief meeting with a Network Cabling Consultant (NCC), a specialist in cabling connectivity. He will know the latest standards and the best products and service companies available for your client's needs.
Recommend that your clients hire specialists as well. That will guarantee their eventual system will meet their needs and the needs of the facilities managers who have to accommodate them.
A good way to identify a qualified specialist is to look for a NCC firm that employs designers with the letters "RCDD" after their name. That means they're qualified as a Registered Communications Distribution Designer. A professional qualification bestowed by the organization known as the Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI).
Make sure your NCC is familiar with current and upcoming standards applicable to your client's installations. Ensure that the cabling consultant has hands-on experience in work of the type and scope of your client's project.
Where to start looking for a good NCC? One starting point is BICSI. This is the organization that administers and bestows the RCDD, so they can refer you to one in your area. It could make the difference between a sold-out building and an empty one.