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Last edited 16 Oct 2020
Self build initiative
Self build is an alternative to the traditional model in the UK, where houses are built speculatively by a developer, and then people buy them and move in. Self build does not necessarily mean that the physical construction is undertaken by the home owner, but rather that they instigate the development of the home, 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.
At the moment, self building only accounts for around 10% of new homes built every year, that amounts to around 15,000 to 20,000 homes. This compares very unfavourably with other EU countries. In Austria for example, more than 80% of new homes are self built.
A 2011 YouGov poll commissioned by the Building Societies Association suggested that 1 in 2 people would consider building their own home if they felt that they could (ref Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England).
The government proposes that self building can result in properties that are higher quality, greener and cheaper. They state that '...The average cost of a ready-made home is now more than £232,000, but a budget of £150,000 is usually adequate to build a three to four-bedroom house..'
- Increasing the availability of mortgages for self builders. The government suggests that the number of mortgages available to self-builders will rise by 141%.
- Reducing red tape that might put people off self building (for example by the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework and neighbourhood planning).
- Creating the self build portal. This provides step-by-step guidance about how to set up and run a self build project, including information about the average cost of land and the cost of building in different parts of the country.
- Providing short-term financing to help self build groups to part fund land acquisition and preliminary development costs.
- Increasing the availability of land for self builders. For example through the release of public land exclusively to self builders. The Government has committed to releasing public sector land with the capacity for up to 100,000 new homes. Lists of public land that government departments are selling are available on the Homes England website. In addition, the National Planning Policy Framework gives local authorities a duty to assess local demand in their area for all types of housing, including people wishing to build their own homes.
- Since 24 February 2014, homes that are owner-occupied and built or commissioned by individuals, families or groups of individuals for their own use are exempt from the community infrastructure levy (ref Gov.uk Levy cuts to help hard-working people build their own home).
- Introducing council tax discounts for self-build family homes.
- The Community Right to Reclaim Land.
There remain concerns about whether self builders will be able to navigate their way through the legal and legislative complexities of building design and development such as; insurance, planning permission, building regulations, restrictive covenants, health and safety, mortgages and so on. In addition questions remain about how planning obligations (section 106 agreements) should be applied to self builders.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building regulations.
- Community infrastructure levy.
- Community right to build.
- Custom build home.
- Kit house.
- Localism Act.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- Neighbourhood development order
- Neighbourhood planning.
- Planning obligations.
- Planning permission.
- Restrictive covenants.
- Right to contest.
- Self build home.
- Serviced plot.
- Statutory permissions.
 External references
- Self build portal.
- Build It + Home Improvement.
- Homebuilding and Renovating.
- National Self Build Association.
- Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England (published in November 2011).
- Self build blog: House Planning Help.
- Department for Communities and Local Government, More government support for self-build surge. 17 September 2013
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