By Roxanne Libatique
A boutique residential project in North West Sydney's Tallawong is making waves as one of the city's most affordable complexes offering a sought-after 10-year Latent Defects Insurance (LDI).
Ophora, a venture by Sydney property developer KDMC, is set to become the first of its kind within the Blacktown City Council.
Projected for completion next year, Ophora comprises 81 residential apartments, with prices starting at $475,000 for a one-bedroom unit – almost 45% below the city-wide unit median.
Situated just two kilometres from the new Tallawong Metro Station and Schofields Train Station, with a bus station within a two-minute walk, Ophora offers one-bedroom apartments from $475,000, two-bedroom units from $625,000, and three-bedroom homes from $745,000 – all below Sydney’s median unit price of $781,024.
According to SHC Insurance Brokers, Ophora stands out as one of the city's most affordable developments featuring the new LDI. This insurance, exclusively offered through Resilience Insurance, provides a 10-year policy covering all structural elements of the building post-completion. SHC Brokers is among the four approved distributors of this insurance nationally.
Nationwide, just under 60 developments now offer LDI, introduced to Australia in November last year.
Serving as a government-approved alternative to the mandatory Strata Bond, LDI, valued at 2% of a building's construction cost, aims to instil confidence among buyers, particularly in the aftermath of significant development defects witnessed across Sydney, including Mascot Towers and Opal Tower.
Incorporated into the 2019 building reforms by the NSW government and the NSW building commissioner, David Chandler OAM, LDI extends consumer protection by strengthening building regulation and certification administration. The reforms enhance the accountability of certifiers while maintaining a best practice building regulation and certification system.
SHC Insurance Brokers founder Stefan Hicks acknowledged the rarity of obtaining LDI, particularly for entry-level residential apartment complexes like Ophora.
“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.”
KDMC development manager Ronnie Rahme said rebuilding confidence among apartment buyers has become a priority for many Sydney developers since the Opal Tower crisis in 2019, which exposed major defects shortly after completion.
Rahme emphasised the significance of offering LDI at Ophora, stating that it provides peace of mind to first home buyers and investors with 10-year insurance coverage exceeding $50 million.
“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,” Rahme said. “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.”