Blacktown apartment project becomes one of Sydney’s first entry level buildings to offer 10-year defects insurance

13 December 2023

In a bid to rebuild buyer confidence across the apartment sector, a boutique residential development in North West Sydney’s Tallawong has become one the capital’s most affordable apartment complexes to offer a coveted 10-year Latent Defects Insurance (LDI), and the first within Blacktown City Council.

Ophora, which will comprise 81 residential apartments that are priced from $475,000 for a one-bedroom apartment (almost 45 per cent cheaper than the city-wide unit median), is currently under construction and due for completion next year through prominent Sydney property developer KDMC.

KDMC is a leading Australian provider of property development, management, and capital services. KDMC was one of the first developers to identify Sydney’s North West as a potential for future growth back in 2009, and among the first to make applications to the Blacktown City Council for high-density residential projects in the area.

According to SHC Insurance Brokers, Ophora is one the city’s most affordable developments to come with the new LDI, which offers buyers a 10-year insurance policy post-completion on all structural elements of the building. LDI is being offered exclusively through Resilience Insurance, with SHC Brokers being one of only four approved distributors of the insurance nationally.

Just under 60 developments across the nation now boast LDI, which was brought to Australian shores in November last year. It is a government-approved alternative to the mandatory Strata Bond – worth two per cent of a building’s construction cost and is tipped to play a role in rebuilding buyer confidence in the wake of major development defects across Sydney, including Mascot Towers and Opal Tower.

LDI was incorporated by the NSW Government and the NSW Building Commissioner – David Chandler OAM – into the 2019 building reforms to extend consumer protection. The reforms strengthen the administration of building regulation and certification and enhance the accountability of certifiers while also maintaining a best practice building regulation and certification system.

How LDI is driving buyer confidence across Sydney’s residential buildings

KDMC Development Manager, Ronnie Rahme, said while their projects had long been synonymous with providing much needed quality housing across Sydney’s North West, offering LDI at Ophora meant they could provide peace of mind to first home buyers and investors, offering 10-year insurance and coverage over $50 million.

“Rebuilding confidence among apartment buyers has become crucial for many Sydney developers since the Opal Tower crisis back in 2019, when occupants noticed major defects in the building not long after it was completed. It’s why, in a nutshell, we were quick to acquire LDI before we began construction on Ophora,” Ronnie said.

“This means a far higher surety of compliance with standards, codes, and safety for our buyers’ new home is provided in addition to Design and Building reforms implemented by the NSW Building Commissioner.

“Given the gravity of the nation’s housing crisis, coupled with a slew of construction horror stories that rocked the apartment sector over the past few years, we understand there’s a greater need than ever to provide safe, quality and affordable housing to all. LDI removes a lot of the unethical and untrustworthy behaviour we’ve witnessed from builders across Sydney. It helps us send the message that entry-level prices don’t equate to a sacrifice on safety or quality.

“We (KDMC) are also in the process of incorporating the KPMG Building Trustworthy Indicator, which collates data on the regulated design and construction process in a bid to build trust of the building ecosystem by providing transparency to our buyers.”

SHC Insurance Brokers founder Stefan Hicks said while a handful of Sydney developments were quick to embrace it, KDMC’s Ophora would be among the first entry-level residential apartment complexes to offer LDI, and the first in Blacktown City council.

Stefan says: “Gaining LDI is no mean feat. It’s offered selectively to developers and builders with a quality building history, and it requires both parties to employ an independent inspection service throughout construction. While this insurance is well-established around the world in about 40 countries, in Australia we’re typically seeing high-end buildings covet LDI. The fact that Ophora has joined this exclusive list of quality-assured builds is a coup for entry-level home buyers.”