Hoped to improve consumer confidence. Image – Canva
  • The rating tool is hoped to usher in an era of transparency
  • Equifax Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT) now introduced in NSW
  • Deicorp, Helm and Ultra Building are the first developers to be deemed "trustworthy"

A rating system introduced by the NSW government is hoped to improve the transparency of developers and builders thereby improving consumer confidence in the apartment market.

NSW developers and builders can now receive a rating of up to five stars through the Equifax Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT).

The announcement comes after new legislation was introduced in July designed to better protect apartment buyers, along with disturbing government data revealing over a third of starta buildings in the state have a serious defect.

Those with three or more stars can be considered “trustworthy”, an accreditation that is boasted by Deicorp, Helm and Ultra Building. These are the first developers and builders in NSW to receive an iCIRT rating.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson believes that with the first rankings announced, a new era of transparency is on the horizon for NSW apartment buyers.

“Our building reforms have focused on lifting standards and rebuilding public confidence in the residential apartment industry and our rating system is the ultimate embodiment of that goal,” Mr Anderson said.

“Ratings are a game changer.”

“Consumers in NSW will now have the benefit of an independent assessment that lets them find a trusted, rated developer who has shown they have the capital, experience and capability to deliver a quality apartment.”

Kevin Anderson, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation

How is the rating determined?

Created by Equifax, iCIRT, rewards companies with a proven good track record.

The tool evaluates the risk of a developers business and practice. Some elements taken into account are developers capital history, risk management ability and even its ownership structure.

The iCIRT website highlights that the tool is “…not designed to provide financial product advice, nor does it provide a recommendation to purchase any particular built asset.”

Prospective buyers will be able to find all ratings on an online register while developers are also committing to displaying their ratings on sales brochures.

Spotting the bad apples

Mr Anderson is of the opinion that developers as a whole are trustworthy.

“The reality is there are a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. Ratings allow customers to spot them before picking them off the tree.”

Kevin Anderson, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation

“As we roll out more and more ratings we will deliver a fatal blow to developers and builders who engage in phoenixing or turn out defective work,” he explained.

Mr Anderson has indicated that he anticipates close to 50 developers and builders will have received a rating by March next year.

Re-establishing momentum

CEO of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) NSW, Steve Mann, has expressed his pride in the industry’s response to the ratings.

“This is a huge leap forward for NSW developers, who are delivering great apartment products,” Mr Mann said.

“As we re-establish construction momentum off the back of COVID delays and push hard on delivering more apartments to the market to meet demand, ratings will help customers gain confidence when they buy new properties off-the-plan.”

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