DASCO joins group of highly-rated builders and developers in NSW with iCIRT rating

DASCO joins group of highly-rated builders and developers in NSW with iCIRT rating
Render of Kassis Homes' Castle Hill development, Grand Reve
Alison Warters May 24, 2023

DASCO, a 30-year-old family-run construction and development business, was one of the first companies to achieve a coveted 4.5-star iCIRT rating in NSW – and they are now among the first to go through the rigorous assessment process for the second time.

The Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT) was created by Equifax in consultation with the public and private sector. The tool pulls together thousands of data points to understand the character, capability, capacity and other vital aspects of developers and building professionals and provides a rating of between one and five stars.

It’s an investment that DASCO co-owners Daniel and Sam Nicolas are more than happy to make, with the group having achieved their rating in February 2022, and now preparing for their rating review.

With many developers now realising the importance of the rating, DASCO are seeing the benefits, receiving engagements to help attract confident purchasers to their projects. 

“We have had situations where buyers have come to us specifically because of the rating, and even getting deposits on other competing projects refunded so they can buy with us. We’ve always been confident in our quality, but having the rating to prove it gives buyers incredible confidence and that’s definitely translating into sales,” Daniel said. 

“The trust from buyers is returning – the industry has gone through some significant challenges in the past few years, and we see the iCIRT as key to restoring trust in and revitalising the industry.”

With more than 1,200 dwellings in the pipeline, DASCO sees the rating tool as an integral part of building and protecting their brand and reputation.

“The iCIRT rating was an extremely detailed process to go through, however, the benefits that we’ve seen and how we’ve improved our systems have already started to pay off."

‘We have had developers tell us that they’ve entrusted their projects to us as builders because the iCIRT rating has given them confidence in our ability to deliver. We’ve also heard from sales agents that our 4.5 star rating has given off-the-plan buyers assurances about our reliability,” Salim said.

DASCO is working with Kassis Homes on 192 apartments with 2,000 sqm open space at Grand Rève at Castle Hill. Managing Director Sam Kassis signed up with DASCO before the iCIRT was awarded based on his knowledge of the company and its good reputation.

“We have known the DASCO team is innovative and experienced with a proven track record, but the iCIRT rating has provided a real edge over others in the market. It really means something to buyers, and we can see that confidence reflected in the strength of early sales at Grand Rève,” said Kassis.

DASCO is also working with Top Spring on 323 apartments at The Newlands in St Leonards, a luxury mid-rise development in the Lower North Shore.

A Stage 2 DA for an approved masterplan consisting of 376 apartments, with circa 800 sqm of retail, indoor gym and rooftop pool and many other amenities, such as an outdoor boot camp, walking trails and communal garden and barbecue areas, in Epping is currently under assessment with the NSW Department of Planning.

The rating tool was introduced in response to reforms introduced in NSW in recent years and is intended to improve transparency and assist in lifting construction capability and consumer confidence in residential buildings within the state.

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler joined a recent industry forum hosted by DASCO where their rating journey was shared with financiers, competitors, trade contractors, real estate marketers and insurers. Chandler told the forum that the NSW industry reforms were having a profound effect at all levels.

“There is an obvious shift in the respect now being given across the entire building ecosystem from designer to contractors and manufacturers. Suddenly sharing the imperative to restore trust in the industry and reverse the previous race to the bottom has taken hold,” he said.

The Building Commissioner also pointed out the growing value being placed on the new rating system by financiers and insurers. Having rated players delivering complex projects, like the integrated developments involving apartments, improves the quality of the debt that is required to fund and own these assets.

The iCIRT scheme is restoring confidence and building momentum in the construction industry, particularly at a time of rising demand for high-quality housing developments.

Equifax's Head of Product and Rating Services, Brad Walters said iCIRT brings much-needed visibility to an industry where reliable objective data has up until now been hard to come by.

"It applies an independent, holistic and evidenced-based assessment, boosting trust in the industry and giving more confidence to buyers,” Walters said.

“The iCIRT system is building momentum with more than 91 companies already rated and 238 more in the pipeline. I want more companies to be like DASCO and look critically at their business and respond to feedback in the iCIRT process,” Chandler said. 

ICIRT ratings are giving insurance providers and financiers extra confidence to engage and invest with highly-rated companies.

“As more small and large companies take the time to invest in their business and get certified, we’re going to see longer-term business resilience, more confident buyers and investors, and more reliable, trustworthy buildings that will stand the test of time,” said Chandler.

Alison Warters

Alison Warters is a property journalist for Urban, based in Sydney. Alison is especially interested in the evolution of the New Build/Development space, when it comes to design innovation and sustainability.

Editor's Picks