How iCIRT is changing the off the plan industry for the better: The Sydney developers to first secure the accreditation

Urban Property Group CEO Patrick Elias says it's great to have a list that allows consumers a way of verifying developers past just the marketing
How iCIRT is changing the off the plan industry for the better: The Sydney developers to first secure the accreditation
Joel Robinson June 24, 2022

Buying a home is likely the biggest purchase one will make in their lifetime.

And while the off the plan property market is quickly tarnished in the media, the truth is less than one percent of developments across Australia will face extensive defects, and the chances of those coming from a reputable developer are slim to none.

But now prospective buyers will be able to buy with full confidence and transparency of who they are buying from. Data analytics house Equifax, backed by the NSW Government, have created an independent construction industry ratings tool, or iCIRT, a star rating outcome on a firm’s capability and willingness to deliver reliable and trustworthy built assets.

Equifax do a full sweep of the developer or builder with a fine tooth comb, analyzing their full financial and development history, before they are given the accreditation.

Urban Property Group CEO Patrick Elias says it's great to have a list that allows consumers a way of verifying developers past just the marketing.

"Unfortunately, the industry has been plagued with bad press from a few bad players which has concerned buyers. It is important for the development industry as a whole to give confidence back to consumers so that off the plan sales can start to gain momentum. More importantly it gives consumers a choice when looking to purchase."

Elias acted swiftly to secure the status as soon as it was announced.

"By becoming an early adopter, we believe it really demonstrates the confidence we have in our business and brand."

One of Sydney's most prominent developers, Deicorp, were another among the first to apply and secure their rating.

Deicorp Chief Financial Officer Bruce Rayner said the list is an incredibly valuable tool for purchasers.

"It's a simple, ready reckoner of which builders and developers have the confidence to submit their business for assessment," Rayner says.

Deicorp have developed and delivered over 8,000 apartments since 1999, and Rayner says they understand how important purchaser confidence is in the buying decision.

"Anything that helps buyers have confidence in their choice is very positive," Rayner added.

Rayner says that already some buyers are looking for rated developers when buying off the plan.

"Over time, it will commonplace for buyers to seek out developers who have achieved a positive rating."

Another who moved quickly was the North Sydney-based Made Property Group, who have been creating high-end, multi-residential developments across Sydney for over two decades. One of their most recent was Crenelle, the luxury Neutral Bay collection of just 11 house-sized apartments.

Made also applied for the iCIRT rating soon as the accreditation was available.

"We always had every intention of seeking to gain a rating as we see it as the most important new initiative in our industry in a long time," Made's Managing Director Davin Finn said.

"Whilst the assessment was rigorous, time-consuming and thorough, if you have all the information, systems and processes ingrained in your business already and the performance history in place, it is a reasonably simple process. If you don’t however, there is no hiding."

Finn said consumers deserve to have a high level of confidence and trust in their decision to purchase an off the plan property.

"Purchasing a home is most likely the single biggest purchase anyone makes in their lifetime and to make the decision to purchase off the plan from a glossy brochure or display suite can seem a real leap of faith and can often feel like a gamble. It shouldn’t ever be that way. It should be a time of excitement not trepidation or simply hoping for some luck.

"The companies that achieve an iCIRT rating are the ones that have been proven to deliver on the marketing material promised at time of purchase."

Finn thinks it's crucial the industry promotes the existence of the rating system and advocates for consumers to deal with developers and builders from the list. 

"Whilst most purchasers will do their own due diligence, nothing can replace a rigorous and independent rating system which requires the industry to fully participate and engage and be marked on past performance, current and future capabilities, and open their financial books and businesses processes to a third party for assessment.

"The independent rating system now provides a very useful tool for consumers to enable them to make informed decisions about who and what they choose to purchase and enable them to have confidence in that decision"

TOGA are currently working through the process. Their General Manager of Sales Anthony Falas says there will come a point in the future where people will only purchase off developers on the rating system, and everyone else will carry a risk having not been independently verified.

Dasco has been given a rating for its building arm, and is working through the process to get their developer status added. Platino Properties, who primarily develop in the lower north shore, also made the list.

Dasco General Manager, Martin Vaughan said the status is an important part of the group's future planning to be well-recognised not only by its industry peers, but also by the broader community.

"Dasco has been an active participant in the industry since 1993. To be able to participate in the assessment process and be accredited by an independent body is important in maintaining our reputation for quality and security. To have been awarded a 4.5 Star rating is a significant achievement," he said. 

Vaughan outlined the assessment process as extremely rigorous, with an in-depth examination of all elements of Dasco's operation.

"The Company was judged for its building quality and practices as well as its financial stability to provide an overall picture of the Company’s recent and long-term performance," he added. 

"Dasco's Executive Directors saw this as an intrinsic step in demonstrating Dasco’s credibility but also supporting the changes currently underway in the industry."

Vaughan said there were obvious benefits for the company to be highly rated by independent review, forming a significant part of the evaluation process for a potential buyer. 

"As more and more buyers become familiar with the rating system and understand it’s reliability, it could become a significant list of reference to buyers seeking to by off-the-plan."

"As the media and the NSW Building Commissioner continue to uncover more and more projects with structural issues, buyers will continue to feel apprehensive about buying off-the-plan unless a builder/developer has been deemed ‘trustworthy’ by accredited parties," Vaughan said. 

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is the Editor in Chief at, managing Urban's editorial team and creating the largest news cycle for the off the plan property market in the country. Joel has been writing about residential real estate for nearly a decade, following a degree in Business Management with a major in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University in England. He specializes in off the plan apartments, and has a particular interest in the development application process for new projects.

Editor's Picks