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Five gold stars for quality

sustainability Article #74

iCIRT Ratings restore the balance of power for consumers buying off the plan apartments in NSW.

To fully appreciate the importance of the iCIRT rating for property buyers you have to go back to the summer of 2018. The distressing picture of residents toting suitcases on Christmas Eve, not for a holiday but for a mass evacuation from Opal Tower, crystallised decades of shortcomings in the construction industry. When residents fled Mascot Towers barely six months later, things reached a tipping point when blame shifting, inquiries and warnings would no longer suffice.

The appointment of NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler in 2019 signalled just how serious the government was about raising industry standards and restoring consumer confidence in newly built homes and apartments. A no-nonsense, straight-talking industry veteran with both academic and real-life construction experience, Mr Chandler has been likened by some in media to a super-hero on a crusade to prop up a building industry undermined by lack of oversight and dodgy developments. This unlikely hero in a hard hat left no doubt about his intent, promising to name and shame dodgy builders, shut down sites that failed to comply and withhold occupation certificates if buildings were not up to standard. He also promised a star rating system that would help home buyers easily assess the quality and integrity of builders before they handed over their money.

Mr Chandler required iCIRT ratings to provide a way for all developers to benchmark their ratings against peers with 3 stars being considered an acceptable on-ramp for those businesses who wanted to adopt the trustworthy brand in NSW. Importantly, the new ratings were not to work against small and medium sized developers and builders, meaning those delivering perhaps 50 apartments per year could be rated alongside larger developers delivering hundreds. In this way the iCIRT rating process is designed to raise the tide for all boats, not just a few.

In November last year, Mirvac was awarded the highest possible 5 Gold Star iCIRT rating, the first, and so far, only, property group in Australia to hold the honour. For property buyers, a star rating is familiar and easy to grasp; it’s used for energy efficiency in home appliances and health ratings for food, helping them to make informed buying decisions. But behind the simplicity is a probing assessment of six criteria to measure character, capability, conduct, capacity, capital and counterparties. The stars, ranked from zero to five, colour-coded in gold, silver and bronze levels to denote different tiers of due diligence.

Mirvac’s 5 Gold Star rating is based on a detailed assessment in which the business has fully participated and provided all requested disclosures for a comprehensive business review, including all key people. The rating is assessed by Equifax, an independent global data, analytics and technology company. There is no compulsion for a builder to be assessed for an iCIRT rating but as consumers become familiar with the star system, they will be entitled to ask questions about why a company has no stars or low stars and exercise their own judgement.

Mirvac CEO of Development Stuart Penklis sees the iCIRT rating as a critical measure in raising industry standards and protecting home buyers.

“Customers have every right to expect that the quality and longevity of the home they buy is assured,” says Mr Penklis. “The iCIRT rating system allows buyers to make an informed decision, confident that the company they are dealing with is trustworthy and that their record of past performance attests to their capability." “Ultimately consumer pressure will make it harder for dodgy builders to profit on people’s misery and that is a win for the industry and home buyers.”

“The iCIRT rating system allows buyers to make an informed decision, confident that the company they are dealing with is trustworthy and that their record of past performance attests to their capability.”


NSW Building Commissioner

Jason Vieusseux, Mirvac General Manager Construction and Design Management with the NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler

Jason Vieusseux, Mirvac General Manager Construction and Design Management with the NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler

Mirvac General Manager Construction and Design Management, Jason Vieusseux believes the iCIRT rating will be an even more valuable tool for home buyers following two years in which the construction industry has faced extraordinary pressure.

“There have been enormous pressures on construction due to wet weather, constrained supply chain and workforce shortages,” says Mr Vieusseux.

“We never cut corners and that uncompromising approach to construction quality is what our customers expect. It also allows us to retain and attract the very best construction professionals and work with experienced subcontractors who take pride in their workmanship and the finished products we deliver.”

 NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler

 The architect of iCIRT, David Chandler, is unapologetic about making life tough for the industry’s bad apples who have undermined public confidence.

“The construction industry has recently been under heavy public scrutiny after numerous precarious events, resulting in a lack of trust from potential buyers,” says Mr Chandler.

“The iCIRT star rating allows buyers to quickly distinguish a company’s reputation and reliability. Before iCIRT this information wasn’t easily accessible to the public which allowed developers and builders to maintain unsafe practices with little consequence.”

While Mr Chandler has been unrelenting in his exposure of unsafe buildings and poor construction practices, he hasn’t hesitated to give credit where it is due, holding up Mirvac as the standard bearer for construction quality.

“Mirvac is the first to achieve the prestigious 5 Gold Star rating; it’s not easy in fact it is very difficult,” says Mr Chandler. “The process of becoming iCIRT certified is rigorous and requires complete transparency from the developer or builder.

“Equifax looks extensively into an entity’s capability, capacity and ability to deliver a trustworthy building. Mirvac has been executing properties that fit these criteria to the highest extent for over 50 years now which is an incredible feat well-deserving of the first five star nomination.”

Discover more about our rating here.



Five gold stars for quality