When Australians purchase, invest in, build, or renovate a home, trust matters. 

Recent Equifax research reveals that one in three potential consumers aiming to venture into the market within the next five years holds a negative perception of the construction industry, with 47% identifying a lack of trust and/or shortage of qualified contractors and builders as impediments.

The research also demonstrates a willingness among Australians to pay more for the assurance that their projects are in reliable hands. A substantial three in five consumers (63%) expressed readiness to pay a premium to collaborate with trustworthy property developers or building professionals.

This inclination intensifies, reaching nearly three in four Australians (76%), among those intending to buy, build or renovate within five years. 

Star-ratings improve consumer confidence

For consumers seeking assurance, the challenge lies in distinguishing credible building professionals from shoddy operators. Pillar 2 of the NSW Government’s 6-Pillar Construct NSW reform strategy addressed this by facilitating the introduction of ‘ratings’ to make it easier for homeowners, industry and regulators to identify trustworthy building professionals. 

The Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool, iCIRT, is already making inroads in improving confidence in construction. Of the consumers who knew of the existence of iCIRT, there has been a 76% improved perception of the construction industry over the past 12 months. 

iCIRT was developed in close consultation with the government, industry and market to complement other market-led mechanisms. To receive a star-rating, businesses undergo a rigorous, independent review process that leverages thousands of public-and-private-sector data points to evaluate the trustworthiness of building professionals and their projects. Data is assessed, scored and weighted across six eligibility criteria - Capability, Conduct, Character, Capacity, Capital and Counterparties.

Ratings are assigned from 0 to 5 stars, with a 3-gold star rating or higher signifying a trustworthy business with a demonstrated capability and reliability in honouring its commitments and delivering quality built assets. Ratings also serve as an early warning for financial distress. The iCIRT assessment process has identified that nine out of every ten construction collapses have a high-risk rating at least twelve months in advance (and in many cases closer to 2+ years).

Identifying trustworthy building professionals

Eden Brae Homes is a distinguished example of an iCIRT-rated building company, having maintained a 4-gold star rating for two consecutive years. Premier Chris Minns, along with the Minister for Fair Trading and the NSW Building Commissioner, acknowledged this achievement during a visit to Eden Brae Homes Leppington Display home. The visit was to announce expanded regulatory powers and resources to broaden building reforms, extending from apartments to residential houses (Class 1 Buildings). 

Under the new laws, the Building Commissioner will have the authority to inspect any apartment or free-standing home in NSW pre-completion to promptly address defective work and substandard practices while compelling builders to rectify issues.

“We’re making the right investments and delivering the right powers to rebuild trust and integrity in this sector to help tackle the housing crisis in our state,” said Premier Minns.

“Grifters in this sector will have nowhere to hide in NSW,” adds Minister Anoulack Chanthivong. 

Eden Brae Homes Director Todd Symons supports ratings as a mechanism for improving consumer confidence. He emphasises the value of iCIRT as a tool that provides stakeholders - customers, staff, suppliers, subcontractors and developers - the comfort of working with a financially sound and integrity-driven company.

As the National Cabinet sets a bold new target to construct 1.2 million new well-located homes around Australia over the next five years, trust emerges as a guiding principle shaping the narrative of the construction industry towards raising standards and rebuilding market confidence.

Find out more about iCIRT-ratings here or download the Homebuyer’s Guide to Choosing a Rated Building Professional

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