Last edited 29 Jun 2016

Self-build homes

Have a look at out free project plan for self-build homes.


[edit] Introduction

Self building is an alternative to the traditional model of house building in the UK. Traditionally, houses are built speculatively by a developer, and then people buy them and move in. With self building, the prospective home owner instigates the development of the home themselves, whether by purchasing a kit house, employing a design and build contractor, employing consultants (such as an architect) and a contractor, or managing the entire process and ordering all the goods and services required themselves. Self building does not necessarily mean that the physical construction is undertaken by the home owner.

The Self Build Portal suggests describes a number of different routes by which the home owner can instigate the development of the home:

A 2012 Build It survey revealed that:

In theory, self building can result in lower costs and a home that is more suited to the occupants personal needs and preferences. However, the process is very complicated and is extremely time consuming and the risks can be high. As a consequence, projects can get out of control, with costs increasing, quality reducing and programmes slipping.

[edit] Collaborative projects

Self-build projects can be undertaken collaboratively or may be undertaken alone

Collaboration has the advantages of:

  • Greater influence over the local planning authority.
  • Greater buying power.
  • Lower cost land than might be possible for a single plot.
  • Favourable terms for finance.
  • Shared infrastructure costs.

Proceeding alone has the advantages of:

  • The potential for greater privacy.
  • It may be simpler to find a single plot than a larger site.
  • The potential for developing more individual character.
  • Independence.
  • The potential for higher investment value when completed.

[edit] Self-build initiative

At the moment, self building only accounts for around 10% of new homes built every year. This compares very unfavourably with other EU countries. In Austria for example, more than 80% of new homes are self built.

The self-build initiative is an attempt by the government to increase the number of new homes that are self built in the UK. They hope to achieve this by:

See Self-build initiative for more information.

[edit] Resources

There remain concerns however about whether self builders will be able to navigate their way through the legal and legislative complexities of building design and development. Particularly difficult issues include:

Because of the complexity of these issues, a number of resources have been developed to help self builders:

Self builders will still generally find that they need professional help during the course of a project, this may include; a project manager, an architect, engineers, lawyers, financial adivsers, health and safety advisers and so on.

[edit] Other matters

[edit] CDM

The previous, 2007 version of the CDM Regulations exempted domestic clients from most CDM obligations. The 2015 CDM Regulations removed this exemption, but transferred the client’s obligations to the contractor on a single contractor project or to the principal contractor on a project involving more than one contractor. Alternatively, domestic clients can choose to have a written agreement with the principal designer to carry out the client’s duties.

If domestic clients on projects involving more than one contractor fail to appoint a principal contractor and principal designer, those duties will fall to the designer and contractor in control of the pre-construction and construction phases.

Part 4 of the Regulations sets out a number of additional requirements for work carried out on a construction site that contractors must comply with. However, a domestic client who controls the way in which any construction work is carried out must also comply with these requirements where they relate to matters within the client’s control.

See CDM for self-builders and domestic clients for more information.

[edit] VAT

Self-build homes and the conversion of non-residential buildings into dwellings may qualify to reclaim the VAT paid on eligible building materials and services. See VAT refunds on self-build homes for more information.

[edit] Registers

From 1 April 2016, local authorities will be required to keep a register of aspiring self and custom house builders when planning for future housing and land use. See Self build and custom housebuilding registers.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references