First developer ratings to lift consumer confidence in the NSW apartment market

Published: 10 Dec 2021

Released by: Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation

Purchasers will now have the power of choice when buying an off-the plan apartment with the first new apartments now rated through the NSW Government’s world-leading independent rating initiative.

Deicorp, Helm and Ultra Building are the first developers and builders in NSW to complete the Equifax Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT) and received scores above three out of five stars, the benchmark to be deemed “trustworthy”.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said having the first rated players marked a new era of transparency 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.”

iCIRT leverages from Equifax’s global expertise as a regulated ratings agency, using data to be able to evaluate the risk of a developer’s business and practice by looking at aspects such as their track record, capital, risk management and ownership structure. Each rating will be listed on an online register and developers are committing to displaying their ratings on sales brochures.

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

“I congratulate Deicorp, Helm and Ultra Building for taking the lead, and there are many others not far behind them. By March next year we expect to have close to 50 players rated.”

CEO of the Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW Steve Mann said he was proud of the industry’s response to 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.”

Executive Office of Owners Corporation Network Karen Stiles said this game changing tool will give buyers in NSW real choice of who to engage with.

“The ratings will give consumers the power of choice when considering a new development, which will have a big impact on purchasing decisions,” Mrs Stiles said.

“With 623 apartments already rated as part of the program, it won’t be long until buyers entering the market can do so knowing exactly who they are dealing with.”

The ratings initiative forms part of the NSW Government’s Construct NSW transformation strategy to rebuild public confidence in residential construction. It will be key to the Government’s plan to introduce Decennial Liability Insurance, a special type of insurance taken out by the developer to guarantee against major defects for up to 10 years, which is not currently available in Australia.

More information on the strategy can be found at the Office of Building Commissioner.

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