How Equifax’s iCIRT Builds Trust for Developers, Consumers in Australia

June 01, 2023

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AUSTRALIA, individuals and families seeking to purchase a home or an apartment have a resource where they can find developers and builders who have a proven track record of quality and integrity, supported by objective evidence of their past capability. 

The Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT) from Equifax helps increase transparency – for both developers and consumers – in the home building industry. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Construction professionals in parts of Australia can obtain a rating of between one and five stars using iCIRT.

  • The more stars, the more confidence the public can have that the construction firm, design practitioner, consultant and/or certifier is likely to deliver a more reliable outcome.

  • Only parties with three or more gold stars are included on the iCIRT register.

The rating system, introduced by Equifax in close consultation with the public and private sector, pulls together thousands of data points to understand the character, capability, capital and other vital aspects of each building professional and their projects. A robust data-driven assessment connects the dots within a web of ownership structures, associated parties and key trading partners, leveraging a wide range of commercial, financial, legal, regulatory, government and other data sources. 

Here’s who benefits from iCIRT:

  • Consumers can make better informed decisions about construction professionals selling pre-construction apartments or new property purchases. Further, consumers can entrust their home build, renovation or upgrade to a skilled and licensed tradesperson with the right track-record, backing and credentials.

  • Financiers and Insurers can gain independent insights from evidence-based data analysis. Additionally, they can streamline data collection and protect portfolios with appropriately priced risk using valuable market intelligence about individual operators and project teams.

  • Government and Regulators may restore confidence with proactive, risk-based surveillance for early intervention in building compliance. They can use market intelligence to effectively target regulatory resources on construction sites that are more likely to exhibit unsafe, higher risk or non-compliant outcomes.

  • Construction Professionals can build their reputation for integrity. They can differentiate themselves within the property market. They can select reputable contractors or consultants to gain a competitive edge, and they can use their high star-rating to reflect their brand, reputation and proven track record.

  • Supply Chain benefits from working with trading partners that can be trusted. Construction professionals can be better informed about payment and credit risk. They can assess their building contractors and counterparties to build supply chain resilience.

  • Advisory Services such as legal, financial and professional advisors can better assess payment risk and gain deep data-driven insights for guiding and advising clients. They may establish relationships based on trust and ethical behavior to collaborate effectively towards successful construction project delivery.

“The release of our public register of iCIRT rated construction firms will help bolster consumer confidence amidst a backdrop of challenging times in the construction industry. We’re seeing growing signs of financial stress and pressure across the industry, including a significant increase in construction insolvencies since the beginning of 2023,” said Melanie Cochrane, Group Managing Director, Equifax Australia & New Zealand.

For property buyers or anyone who works with or supplies to the construction sector, being able to access a register of trustworthy developers, builders, and others involved in the delivery of reliable, built assets is a game-changer for reducing risk in decision making.

[READ MORE: iCIRT and Financial Inclusion]

“Importantly, these reforms will help protect people from physical, emotional, and financial harm, leaving those few that have been doing the wrong thing with nowhere to hide, while providing a fair and equitable playing field for those doing the right thing. Helping people live their financial best is at the heart of our purpose at Equifax,” Cochrane said.

Building this type of trust and transparency is part of Equifax’s commitment to driving a more-inclusive financial ecosystem. We are committed to enabling the opportunities that move people and businesses forward. Learn more about our commitment to financial inclusion HERE.